Cannabigerol or CBG: What is it and what are its effects?

In this article I am going to tell you about cannabigerol or CBG. We will review its characteristics and properties, as well as its effects and potential medicinal uses.

What is CBG and what are its effects?

What is CBG?

CBG is the acronym for cannabigerol, one of the different types of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.). It is a chemical compound non-psychoactivewhich is found in cannabis at lower levels than the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the cannabidiol (CBD) [1], but which has aroused great interest in the scientific community for its possible therapeutic properties.

When was it discovered?

Cannabigerol (CBG) was first described in 1964 by Gaoni and Mechoulam [3]. Historically, however, researchers have focused on the two best-known cannabinoids, THC and CBD. In recent years more attention is being paid to the minor cannabinoid CBG.

Where is it located?

CBG is produced in the resin-filled glandular trichomes of cannabis that cover the surface of the cannabis plant, especially in the flowers of the female plant.

CBG is produced from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which is the precursor of all cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. This compound is known as the mother cannabinoid, because THCA, CBDA and CBCA are produced from it.

Characteristics of CBG

The Cannabis sativa plant produces all of its cannabinoid compounds in acidic form, represented by an “A” at the end of each cannabinoid’s name (e.g. CBGA, THCA, CBDA). CBG is obtained from CBGA by a process called decarboxylation. decarboxylation .

What is the difference between CBD and CBG?

CBD (cannabidiol) and CBG (cannabigerol) are two of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Although they have some similarities, they also have notable differences in terms of their chemical structure and biological effects.

Both types of cannabinoids have in common that they act on the endocannabinoid system endocannabinoid system system of the organism.

In terms of chemical structure, CBDA has a cyclic structure of more compared to CBGA. This structural difference translates into differences in their biological effects [4].

On the other hand, CBD has been the subject of more extensive research and has certain approved therapeutic properties, while CBG requires more research to fully understand its potential therapeutic effects.

Medicinal properties of CBG

What are the therapeutic properties of CBG?

It appears that both CBG and its acid form, CBGA, may have therapeutic properties. These molecules may be neuroprotective [3], anticancer [4], and useful in the treatment of epilepsy [5]. However, many studies are needed, as most of the studies so far have been performed in mice.

Are there any clinical trials with CBG?

As I mentioned earlier, cannabigerol is not as well studied as THC and CBD, which, for years, have been all the rage.

There are some ongoing clinical trials investigating the therapeutic use of CBG in different conditions, although most of them are in the early stages of research:

  • Study to evaluate the effect of cannabigerol on the mental, physical and emotional well-being of healthy people (NCT05743985).
  • Study to examine the acute effects of CBG on anxiety, stress and cognition (NCT05257044).
  • Clinical trial on cannabigerol to improve sleep quality (NCT05088018).
  • Study to evaluate the efficacy of cannabis oil in different proportions of cannabinoids, including CBD + CBG-rich oil, in the treatment of patients with autism spectrum disorders or ASD (NCT05219370).

It is important to note that these clinical trials are ongoing and the results have not yet been published. Therefore, more research is needed to determine the efficacy and safety of CBG in these different conditions.

Cosmetic properties of CBG

Cannabigerol is an approved cosmetic ingredient in Europe and is listed as such on the CosIng list, along with other cannabinoids such as CBD or CBN.

How to consume CBG?

Currently, there is no recommended dose of CBG for oral consumption, due to the lack of research and regulations in this field. We also do not have information on its drug interactions.

As mentioned before, there is little information on the efficacy and safety of CBG, so it is probably not the best therapeutic option right now, or the first choice.

CBG oil

CBG oil moves in a gray area, because it does not have psychoactive effects like THC, therefore it is not considered a drug and therefore its sale is legal. However, on the other hand, their internal use is not regulated either.

Therefore, most CBG oils can only be purchased for external use (as an approved cosmetic agent).

It is likely that if you use full-spectrum cannabis oil, you will be in contact with small amounts of minor cannabinoids, including CBG.

In short…

CBG is a new cannabinoid with promising medical prospects, although there is still much research to be done.

Personally, as an evolutionary biologist, what fascinates me most about this compound is at the biochemical level. The mother cannabinoid has the potential to produce different protein structures, and is essential for the production of the other cannabinoids in the next step of the metabolic pathway.

I hope I have convinced you that the mother cannabinoid is the coolest of them all, an example of a cool cannabinoid. See you next time!

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  1. Smith, C.J., et al., The phytochemical diversity of commercial cannabis in the United States. PLoS one, 2022. 17(5): p. E0267498.
  2. Fischedick, J. T., & Hazekamp, A. (2016). Cannabis-From Cultivar to Chemovar. Frontiers in plant science, 7, 19.
  3. Gaoni Y, Mechoulam R. Isolation, Structure, and Partial Synthesis of an Active Constituent of Hashish. J Am Chem Soc. 1964;86(8):1646-1647. doi:10.1021/ja01062a046. PMID: 14149668.
  4. Navarro F, Carrillo-Salinas FJ, Palomares B, et al. Cannabigerol Action at Cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 Receptors and at CB1-CB2 Heteroreceptor Complexes. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2018;3(1):158-165. doi: 10.1089/can.2018.0006. PMID: 29632456; PMCID: PMC6140266.
  5. Allen, K.D., et al., Evolution, Expansion and Characterization of Cannabinoid Synthase Gene Family in Cannabis Sativa. bioRxiv, 2022: p. 2022.11.18.517131.
  6. Valdeolivas, S., et al., Neuroprotective properties of cannabigerol in Huntington’s disease: studies in R6/2 mice and 3-nitropropionate-lesioned mice. Neurotherapeutics, 2015. 12(1): p. 185-199.
  7. Borrelli, F., et al., Colon carcinogenesis is inhibited by the TRPM8 antagonist cannabigerol, a Cannabis-derived non-psychotropic cannabinoid. Carcinogenesis, 2014: p. bgu205.
  8. Anderson, L.L., et al., Cannabigerolic acid, a major biosynthetic precursor molecule in cannabis, exhibits divergent effects on seizures in mouse models of epilepsy. British journal of pharmacology, 2021. 178(24): p. 4826-4841.
  9. Swortwood, M. J., et al. (2017). “Cannabinoid disposition in oral fluid after controlled smoked, vaporized, and oral cannabis administration.” Drug testing and analysis 9(6): 905-915.

Dra. Daniela Vergara
Investigadora y catedrática | Especialista en cultivos emergentes y consultora de cannabis

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