Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of more than 150 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. However, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are the most studied ones.

The cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) derives from an olivetolic acid (which is a conjugate acid of an olivetolate). During the growth of the cannabis plant, the CBGa or CBG in its acid form, becomes into THCa, CBDa or CBCa, under the action of certain enzymes that metabolize CBGa and break it down.

Afterwards, the decarboxylation produces the phytocannabinoids THC, CBD and CBC, among others. However, the direct elimination of a carboxyl group within the CBGa forms the CBG within the plant, approximately 1%.

How CBG works?

An article published by the British Journal of Pharmacology

[1] suggests that it acts as a potent agonist (activator) of the alpha-2 adrenergic receptor, and antagonist (blocker) of the 5-HT1A receptor.

Besides, it interacts with the CB1 receptors as a competitive antagonist (blocker competing for the binding sites of the activator), mainly affecting the central nervous system. Even more, it has a significant affinity for the CB2 receptors, however, the researchers still do not conclude whether its function in said receptors is agonist or antagonist.

Therapeutic effects of CBG

A study published in 2009 concerning glaucoma [2] in animals demonstrated that either THC, as well as CBG, could reduce intraocular pressure. The second one being a non-psychoactive substance.

Another scientific article argues that cannabigerol could decrease the progression of colorectal cancer[3] by selectively inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, blocking the transient receptor potential channels (TRP channels), which are known to be involved in the growth of cancer cells.

Older publications support its analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant and antihypertensive effects. Interestingly, high doses demonstrated to have cytotoxic properties in carcinoma of epithelial cells and breast cancer, as well as, being a good inhibitor in the proliferation of keratinocytes, therapeutic potential in psoriasis. At the experimental level, CBG could positively help in the treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)[4].

Lastly, a 2015 study [5]with mice explains that the CBG has a promising neuroprotective effect for the treatment of Huntington’s Disease. Other illnesses like Parkinson[6] or multiple sclerosis[7] could also benefit from this property. Despite the previous information, studies in humans are needed in order to clarify the side-effects, the needed dose, or even to obtain results with a combination of phytocannabinoids.

What is the future of the CBG?

Being a non-psychoactive substance opens the way for its medical research. Unfortunately, due to the low concentration of cannabigerol in the cannabis plant, it is difficult to produce it in large quantities. This aspect makes CBG less attractive than CBD, which can be found in very high concentrations.

Even so, better cultivation methods are being studied in order to increase the concentrations of cannabigerol in the plant, as it has been found that harvesting the plant after six weeks of flowering, instead of eight weeks, allows us to obtain a better concentration of CBG.

Did you like the post? Give us some feedback! This post has been done based on existent research to the date of publication of the article. Due to the increase in studies based on medical cannabis, the information provided can vary over time and we’ll keep informing in further writings.

[1] CASCIO MG, et alt. Evidence that the plant annabinoid cannabigerol is a highly potent alpha2-adrenoceptor agonist and moderately potent 5HT1A receptor antagonist. Br J Pharmacology 2010; 159:129-141.

[2] BRENDA K. COLASANTI. A Comparison of the Ocular and Central Effects of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and CannabigerolJournal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Jan 1990. Published in Volume: 6 Issue 4: March 18, 2009

[3] BORRELLI, FRANCESCA et alt. Colon carcinogenesis is inhibited by the TRPM8 antagonist cannabigerol, a Cannabis-derived non-psychotropic cannabinoid. Volume 35, Issue 12, 1 December 2014, Pages 2787–2797

[4] BORRELLI, F. et alt. Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel diseaseBiochem. Pharmacol. 2013, 85, 1306–1316

[5] Valdeolivas S, et alt. Neuroprotective properties of cannabigerol in huntington’s disease: Studies in r6/2 mice and 3-nitropropionate-lesioned miceNeurotherapeutics. 2015;12:185–199. doi: 10.1007/s13311-014-0304-z

[6] Garcia C.  et alt. Benefits of vce-003.2, a cannabigerol quinone derivative, against inflammation-driven neuronal deterioration in experimental parkinson’s disease: Possible involvement of different binding sites at the ppargamma receptor.  Journal of Neuroinflammation. 2018;15:19. doi: 10.1186/s12974-018-1060-5

[7] Granja A.G., et al. A cannabigerol quinone alleviates neuroinflammation in a chronic model of multiple sclerosis. J. Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2012;7:1002–1016. doi: 10.1007/s11481-012-9399-3