What Is Cannabigerol (CBG) & Is It Psychoactive?

Look Out, There’s a New Kid In Town

Cannabigerol (CBG) is starting to make its way into the cannabinoid market, which is currently dominated by the huge influx of CBD based products. Here in this post though we’ll address some of the basics of CBG, and why you’ve probably not heard much about it yet.

What Is CBG?

The reason why CBG isn’t so widely talked about is due to how low the levels are in the cannabis plant. It’s classed as a minor cannabinoid and it’s only present in trace amounts or less than 1% of the volume.

First the cannabis plant produces CBGA as defined is the start-point, or the precursor to phytocannabinoids found within the Cannabis sativa plant in its acid form. This precursor is converted by the plant into the acid forms of the three main cannabinoids to aid during the flowering cycle. These three known ones are cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA). CBDA and THCA compose of the majority of the cannabinoids created from CBGA.

After being exposed to UV light ( or sunlight) or heat, the acid part of the cannabinoid is removed to form CBD, THC and CBC. These are probably names you’ve heard – as they are the most active forms.

CBG is formed when CBGA doesn’t convert to CBDA, CBCA, or THCA – however this is very rare and as such only trace amounts of CBGA are available in the plant come normal harvest time. This is why you haven’t heard much about it – it’s expensive and hard to get in large quantities.

CBG & What It Does Inside You

While CBD has a more indirect approach to interacting with the ECS, CBG has a more direct approach. It functions in similar, but also different ways to CBD. Unlike CBD it binds to cannabinoid receptors directly in the body, however due to it’s “inactive” nature it acts more as a regulatory or therapeutic component in the body.

(This also means that CBG is completely non-psychoactive just like CBD!)

Simply put, instead of causing something in the body to happen, CBG can slow down functions normally proceeding too fast. It binds to receptors and stops other bodily endocannabinoids from doing the same. Because of this function of slowing things down, it’s seen quite lot of success in scientific research at being potential treatments for a host of illnesses.

Talk is Cheap – What About The Research?

Appetite stimulant

Using rat studies, research in 2016 found that CBG was able to more than double the food intake of rats compared to the placebo control group. The meal sizes were not increased, but the time between feeds became shorter. This result was produced with zero psychoactive effects.

Antibacterial properties

Cannabinoids such as CBC, CBD and CBG have been shown to possess antibacterial properties, especially against problematic bacteria such as Gram-negative bacteria. Some of the members of this family of bacteria include MRSA, the superbug that is quickly becoming resistant to multiple antibiotic treatments.

The research found that the cannabinoids are effective at preventing the bacteria from creating ‘biofilms’. Biofilms put simply is a sticky, sugary nest that surrounds the cells, trapping molecules that come into contact with it. This biofilm contains enzymes which can then inactivate or destroy the molecules – this makes bacteria like MRSA extremely hard to fight with medication and precisely why cannabinoids show such promise!

When paired up with other antibiotics, the paper explains that the cannabinoids enhanced the activity even against drug-resistant strains of MRSA!

Glaucoma + intraocular pressure

One of the major discoveries when it comes to CBG is it’s effect on intraocular pressure. Using cats, scientists found that CBG produced a reduction in tension between 4 to 7 mm Hg with no psychoactive effect either awake or asleep. The real exciting part of this research is the potential for therapy with the entourage effect of the full cannabinoid spectrum.

References

  • Brierley, D.I., Samuels, J., Duncan, M. et al. (2016) Cannabigerol is a novel, well-tolerated appetite stimulant in pre-satiated rats. Psychopharmacology, 233, 3603–3613.
  • Maya A. Farha, Omar M. El-Halfawy, Robert T. Gale, Craig R. MacNair, Lindsey A. Carfrae, Xiong Zhang, Nicholas G. Jentsch, Jakob Magolan, and Eric D. Brown. (2020) Uncovering the Hidden Antibiotic Potential of Cannabis. ACS Infectious Diseases. 6(3) 338–346.
  • Colasanti, B K. (2009) A Comparison of the Ocular and Central Effects of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabigerol. Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 6(4) 259-269.

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