Cannabigerol is the precursor molecule to THC, CBD, and CBC. All cannabinoids stem from the acidic version of CBG (CBGA). Because of the way cannabinoids synthesise with enzymes (geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid) and change their chemical structure during plant development, isolating and extracting CBG is challenging. It’s expected that approximately 1% of a mature Cannabis sativa plant’s cannabinoid content is CBG.
• Precursor cannabinoid
• Considered a minor constituent of Cannabis sativa
• Has displayed CB1 and CB2 receptor binding affinity
• Limited research data
• Therapeutic doses of CBG appear devoid of side effects
Research into the therapeutic effects of CBG is incredibly limited. Of the studies that have been completed, the vast majority are conducted in vitro or using animal models.
An animal study published in the Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics examined the effect of CBG on simulated Huntington’s disease. They found that “CBG was extremely active as a neuroprotectant in mice […] improving motor deficits and preserving striatal neurons”. The researchers concluded that their results “open new research avenues,” but that the cannabinoid’s mechanism of action is unclear (Valdeolivas et al., 2014).
A review of cannabinoids found within Cannabis sativa showed that CBD, CBC, CBG, CBN, and THC have inherent antibacterial qualities. Taken together, the compounds appeared to show “potent activity against a variety of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus”. However, the mechanism of action remained elusive (Appendino et al., 2008).
The journal Biochemical Pharmacology found that CBG “could be considered for clinical experimentation in IBD patients” thanks to the results of an animal model. After inducing mice with colitis, CBD reduced colon weight, nitric oxide production, and “ROS formation in intestinal epithelial cells” (Borrelli et al., 2013).
In 1990, cannabinoids THC and CBG were compared for their effects on glaucoma. Using an animal model, researchers found that “a considerable fall in ocular tension” occurred after chronic administration. They also found that “both cannabinoids produced a two-to three-fold increase in aqueous outflow facility”. The study concluded that “cannabigerol and related cannabinoids may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of glaucoma” (Colasanti, 1990).
Provided cannabigerol is extracted from industrial hemp, the compound is considered legal. CBG is not scheduled by the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, or the Controlled Substances Act.