Chances are if you’ve been going around the internet, you’ve probably heard talk about the “cadillac of the cannabinoids,” but wondered what sort of ride you were in with CBG. So far, the information we’ve been getting has been sporadic, and not all of the questions have conclusive answers just yet, this baby shows real promise.

THE CBG BASICS

WHAT IS CBG?

Well, first off, it’s C21H32O2. Found at the same time as THC by Israeli biochemist Raphael Mechoulm, CBG, just like the acidic versions of THC and CBD, is made by the same precursor, CBGA. However, there’s far less CBG in the plant than THC or CBD — less than 1%, which accounts for its “elevated” distinction. Not only does CBGA give birth to medicinal compounds, but it is also insecticidal in its own right, perhaps protecting the plant from active predators. Selective breeding has given rise to enzyme-lacking plants which increases the amount of CBG in the plant.

Fun Fact: CBG and CBGA have also been found in the South African Helichrysum unmbraculigerum

THE EFFECTS OF CBG

Effects of CBG

Does it get you High? 

No. CBG is considered a non-psychotropic substance similar to CBD. To recap, the main receptors in the brain and body’s endocannabinoid system (i.e. the components of our brain and body which respond to cannabis) are the CB1 and CB2 receptors . CBG has been shown to partially interact, or agonize, weakly with both receptors. THC also partially agonizes the CB1 receptor, and this is what gets you high. CBG’s  effects on CB1 are WAY too weak, and it’s possible that it could also neutralize the effects of THC as well on the same receptor. In other words, it’s a total buzzkill — which for some is a good thing.

CBG FOR PAIN: A study cited by Ethan Russo in “Taming THC” reported that analgesic effects of CBG topped THC. In addition, because of its activity as an antagonist of the TRPM8 receptor, may have a potential in reducing cold-induced pain, chronic pain, and inflammation.

CANCER: Not unlike other cannabinoids, CBG has shown preliminary promise in handling certain types of cancers and cancerous growth – human epitheliod carcinoma, breast cancer, and through its TRPM8 antagonism, prostate cancer as well, though we’ll need studies on humans to know for sure its role. A recent paper also examined its promise in treating glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive brain tumor, both on its own and with THC and CBD..

ANTIDEPRESSANT:  As a moderate 5HT1A antagonist, CBG has worked well to suppress certain signs of depression in rodent models. Again, this needs to be tested out in humans.

ANTIBACTERIAL: Just like CBN, CBG has been shown to have powerful antibacterial properties on MRSA. 

INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY: A 2013 study done in mice showed the promise of CBG in treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease, reducing nitric oxide and inflammation alike, as well as the presence of DNA-mutating reactive oxygen species in intestinal cells. Depending on how CBG does in this and other studies, it could also give CBD, itself an excellent antiinflammatory, a run for its money.

NEUROPROTECTANT: A study published last year looked into the suppression of reactive oxygen species as well as other antioxidant effects afforded by the CBD-CBG entourage effect. On its own, CBG was noted for its work as an inflammatory, calming the regions of brain injury for a specific line of mice with Huntington’s Disease.

GLAUCOMA: Similar to CBN, CBG can also relieve intraocular pressure on the eye, although whether it can do so better than other drugs on the market has yet to be proven.

APPETITE ENHANCER: As the search continues for a cannabinoid appetite enhancer that won’t get one high, CBG may also be a candidate. A 2016 study done in rats found that CBG increased “hyperphagia,” meaning a hunger strong enough to overcome previous satiety. 

And watch this space! Because a 2010 paper found that CBG was an alpha-2 receptor agonist. Drugs targeting this receptor are used for some important functions: reducing blood pressure, treating childhood-inattentive ADHD, and treatment for opioid withdrawal as well.