This article was written and vetted for scientific accuracy by Dr. Thaisa Sandini, PhD.
Cannabigerol (CBG) is one over 100 different cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant. CBG serves as the precursor molecule for the most abundant phytocannabinoids, such as THC and CBD and for this reason it has become known as the “mother of all cannabinoids”. CBG is a putative candidate to treat inflammation, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic disorders and cancer proliferation in preclinical studies. However, unlike Δ9-THC and CBD, CBG is still not well-researched or understood. Nowadays, CBG is being marketed as a dietary supplement, so it is important to understand how CBG works, its potential for therapeutic use and whether it has any harmful side effects.
What is CBG
CBG is one of the phytocannabinoids produced by Cannabis sativa L. plants and it is non-psychotropic, which means it is not perception altering like THC. The CBD acid form (CBGA) is the biosynthetic precursor of the acid forms of 9 -THC, CBD and CBC in the cannabis plant. CBG can also target the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and other important receptors for pain and inflammation. Preclinical studies in animals and in cells have demonstrated that CBG has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antitumor properties. As a result, CBG has recently been gaining interest among the scientific community.
CBG vs CBD
Importantly, CBG and CBD do not produce psychoactive effects like THC. There are clear differences between the CBG chemical structure of CBD, and this is manifested through their different pharmacological properties. CBG acts more like Δ9-THC in the endocannabinoid receptors CB1/CB2 than CBD, but with a lower affinity for them and as a partial agonist.
There is a robust difference between CBG and CBD in the serotonin receptor (5-HT1A), where the CBG is described to be an antagonist (inhibitor) while the CBD is an indirect agonist. For example, CBG may block/interrupt CBD anti-nausea and antiemetic effects, due to the antagonism within the 5-HT1A receptors. CBG as well as CBD can inhibit the reuptake of the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA), thus increasing the tissue levels of this endogenous cannabinoid. CBG exhibits GABA uptake inhibition to a greater extent than THC or CBD, suggesting a possible application as a muscle relaxant as well as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.
CBG has also been shown to have in vitro activity at GPR55 and several transient receptor potential (TRP) channels. Also, in vitro studies demonstrated that CBG was able to inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX) 1 and 2 enzymatic activity, however the prostaglandin inhibition was very low. CBG exhibits potent activity at the alpha-2 adrenoreceptor; and stronger affinity to the PPARγ receptor than CBD. The PPARγ receptors transcriptionally regulate lipid metabolism, hepatic metabolic functions, and inflammation.
As a result, CBG has unexplored potential as therapeutic treatment for several conditions and diseases, from muscle pain to anxiety to inflammation.
Where to buy CBG
While CBG is still under researched and underrepresented among cannabinoids that you can buy online, several CBD manufacturers have seen the potential of CBG and have begun to create products containing CBG.
It’s not as easy to find as CBD yet, but there are some fantastic companies out there producing CBG formulations. It’s often combined with CBD or other cannabinoids.
Here are our top picks for buying CBG online:
Benefits of CBG
The amount of scientific research data about the therapeutic effects of CBG is still very limited when compared to the wide wealth of information available for CBD and THC. Preclinical research regarding the benefits of CBG is ongoing and have been growing recently. In a variety of different ways, CBG shows potential therapeutic effects to treat different in vivo/vitro conditions such as:
–Neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s disease: through neuroprotective effects and improving motor deficits in mice.
-Inflammatory bowel disease: through the reduction of nitric oxide produced in macrophages and the reduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in intestinal epithelial cells. Another in vitro study showed that CBG was able to decrease proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β, TNF-α and IFN- γ14.
–Glioblastoma (primary brain tumor) and other cancer cell lines: through suppressing cancer cell invasion and growth.
-Metabolic disorder: for the prevention of insulin signaling impairment in vitro.
-Antibacterial agent: as an effective agent against gram-negative bacteria.
-Appetite stimulant: it is associated with an increase in feeding and a reduction of weight loss in cisplatin chemotherapy in rats. No side effects were observed during CBG treatment.
-Pain: through anti-nociceptive effect in the tail withdrawal test in mice. This test is usually used in animal models to test the analgesia.
-Anxiolytic effect: by increasing the time that mice spent in the central quadrant of the open field. The central area of the open field is usually avoided by mice and rats and anxiolytic drugs administration tends to increase the exploration in this region.
Taking together all these CBG applications and mechanisms of action, it is evident that this compound needs to be explored further for its therapeutic potential and as a potential treatment for a wide variety of health issues.
Side effects of CBG
The potential adverse effects of CBG are still unclear and more scientific research is needed to be better understood. However, some factors can be considered, for example such as CBG has potent activity at the alpha-2 receptor and because of this, in high doses it can induce unintentional cardiovascular consequences like hypotension and bradycardia. As a result, over-the-counter high CBG doses can generate unintended adverse consequences when not appropriately supervised.
Is CBG legal?
Unlike CBD, CBG has not been approved as a drug by the FDA. Importantly, CBG is not scheduled as a Psychotropic Substance under the Controlled Substances Act. CBG oil can be found as a food supplement in different amounts and from lots of different brands. However, before buying a product it is worth checking if CBG is legal to be sold in your state.
CBG medication interactions
There is no scientific information regarding CBG human drug-drug interactions yet. However, as CBG can act by different mechanisms of action, there are reasons to monitor high doses of CBG for unexpected drug-drug interactions. For example, CBG acts as serotonin receptor (5-HT1A) antagonist, and if in concomitant use with another drug that is a 5-HT1A agonist, the CBG can block the effect of this drug. In this case, a real drug interaction can occur when over-the-counter preparations like CBG oil are taken by a patient with other (prescription) medications without healthcare supervision.
CBG has promising therapeutic potential to treat several diseases, however more preclinical and especially clinical studies are urgently required to further understand how CBG can be used safely and effectively.