Cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD, is enjoying much of the limelight for its therapeutic properties. However, in research labs, another cannabinoid is quietly coming into its own.
Cannabigerol is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids that can be extracted from cannabis plants. Although the compound was discovered way back in the ‘60s, it’s been sitting in relative obscurity compared to its much more popular cousins CBD and THC.
Much of that is due to the fact that there’s not very much CBG to be harvested. CBG is thought of by many in the industry as a “rare” cannabinoid. Present-day strains contain very little of it–approximately only 1 percent, to be exact. Limited supply means the current market value is astronomical compared to your average cannabidiol-infused product. In fact, at the time of writing, CBG can cost up to five times more than CBD.
Yet the cannabinoid may not remain a luxury item for very long. Interest in the compound has been building the last couple of years. An increasing number of investors and businesses are pouring more money into breeding viable CBG-first strains. For the majority of consumers who are new to the cannabis scene, the question is: what’s all the buzz about?
A New Lead Against Superbugs
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing and serious problem. The overuse of antibiotics has given rise to “superbugs”–pathogens that have evolved to persist against traditional drug-based treatments.
Science is turning to alternative solutions in search for an answer. Cannabigerol, with its powerful antibiotic properties, may be one of them. One study found it to be promisingly effective against notoriously drug-resistant bacteria, MRSA. “CBG proved to be marvellous at tackling pathogenic bacteria. The findings suggest real therapeutic potential for cannabinoids as antibiotics,” said study lead, Eric Brown.
May Help Calm Inflammatory Responses
CBG’s potent anti-inflammatory properties make the compound a promising candidate for the treatment of a myriad of conditions. Among these is glaucoma, which affects nearly half a million people in the UK. Animal studies on mice and cats have found that CBG can significantly reduce intraocular pressure, without the neurologically disruptive effects of THC.
Skin cells contain a proliferation of CB1 and CB2 receptors, the structures cannabigerol has been found to have a direct effect on. So it’s no surprise that the largest organ on our body seems to react in some ways to CBG. Studies have shown that CBG can inhibit the inflammatory response to the bacteria that cause acne. Another has found that it may help treat the redness and irritation from psoriasis by suppressing the systems that cause excessive skin thickening.
CBG may also help treat one system that’s commonly plagued by autoinflammatory diseases: our stomach. Studies show that CBG can significantly reduce inflammation from colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - welcome news for the 600,000 Brits who suffer from the condition.
Mood Mitigation and Management
Cannabis has long been used for self-treating anxiety and depression long before it was made legal. However, the psychoactive properties of the plant put most people off from ever taking it seriously as a medical alternative.
CBG is non-psychoactive, which opens up opportunities for use in psychotherapy. At present studies looking into the link between CBG and neurological functions are quite limited. But what evidence there is shows that CBG does directly interact with receptors that affect mood regulation.
One study found that the compound may inhibit the reuptake of Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). GABA is responsible for regulating mood, blood pressure, and pain relief, among other functions. Keeping GABA longer in the body may help mitigate the effects of anxiety and depression. In fact, GABA inhibition is a key function of antidepressants.
CBG may also help calm hyperactive systems. The compound has been found to be a potent agonist for the α2 adrenoceptor, which prevents the production of norepinephrine. That’s the same hormone that’s responsible for triggering our body’s fight-or-flight response. Agonists with similar suppressive properties are already used to treat several disorders such as ADHD, panic attacks, and hypertension.
Beyond Symptoms Management for Cancer
In the world of supplements and wellness, just about everything purports to treat cancer symptoms. It’s an ambitious declaration. Investigate further and you’ll find that many of those claims are founded on thin research.
Cannabis is well-known in cancer therapy. Medicinal forms of the cannabinoid THC are used to alleviate side effects from chemotherapy such as nausea and vomiting. Nabiximols, an oral spray containing THC and CBD extract, helps ease pain from damaged nerves.
With cannabigerol, cannabis has the potential to go beyond managing symptoms. Some early studies have found that raw CBG may promote the death of colon cancer cells, as well as slow cell growth. Researchers also found that cannabigerol’s precursor, CBGA, increased the efficacy of THC against tumour cells. It’s worth pointing out that this research is in it’s very early stages.
CBG may very well be the next big cannabinoid after the highly popular CBD. The compound’s therapeutic and curative potential means that we may see it reaching critical velocity not only in the consumer market, but also in the medical field. Further evidence will be needed, but with the booming market energising research, it’s only a matter of time before we discover the true potential of cannabigerol.
A final note. This guide is not intended as medical advice and CBG should not be seen as a substitute or replacement for professional medical advice and/or medicine for any condition, merely as a supplement to go alongside it.