Cannabigerol, or CBG for short, is a phytocannabinoid that is found in various hemp plants. The molecule is made up of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.
The highest concentration is found in the Indian hemp plant, Cannabis Indica, and in young plants of around six weeks old. This was also found by researchers at TU Dortmund University who tested the cannabinoid content on a weekly basis during its flowering stage.
Tiny amounts also occur in hemp seeds. It is one of the first cannabinoids to arise straight from the plant as it grows.
Since CBG has no psychoactive effects, it does not come under the German Narcotics Act.
In addition to the other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, (there are over one hundred of these) CBG was discovered relatively early. It was isolated and investigated as early as 1964 through the distillation process.
It develops in the form of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). As the cannabis plant matures, the plant's own enzymes convert CBGA into various acidic cannabinoids, for example THCA, CBCA and CBDA. After the drying phase, which is followed by curing and heating, these acidic phytocannabinoids are converted into non-acidic cannabinoids. The results include the most well-known cannabinoids, THC and CBD. Although this process makes CBG a preliminary stage of CBD, there are still slight differences in the effects. For scientists and patients, this opens up new areas of application such as treating acute and chronic inflammation, persistent pain, nausea and containing cancer cells. Other areas include promoting the growth of bones and brain cells.
However, because cannabis plants have previously mainly been grown to yield the psychoactive cannabinoid THC or for CBD, mature plants only had a low CBG value of around 1%. This is probably why research has only now come to focus on cannabigerol and uncover the growing list of benefits for the endocannabinoid system.
CBG has the same anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects as its partner CBD. Both cannabinoids are fairly good at alleviating feelings of nausea. CBG also has a faster and longer lasting effect than its successor.
Cannabigerol is particularly used to treat diseases of the eye such as glaucoma. This widespread disease results from increased intraocular pressure. It is caused by ineffective drainage of the tear fluid at the corner of the eye chamber and can even cause patients to go blind without appropriate treatment. In such cases, the cannabinoid CBG can be used to good effect and helps drain the aqueous fluid, reducing painful intraocular pressure.
We now know that psychological distress can have negative effects on the health of the gastrointestinal tract. The endocannabinoid system is in close communication with the gastrointestinal tract and plays a major role in this area. It regulates the feeling of hunger and the way in which gut flora work. For people suffering with indigestion, inflammation of the intestinal tract or a chronic, painful irritable bowel, a number of phytocannabinoids can be used for treatment and management. Italian scientists were able to demonstrate this through studies in 2018. Natural ingredients in the cannabis plant like cannabigerol have a neuroprotective effect to combat intestinal inflammation. This means that CBG could protect nerve cells and nerve fibers from death and delay the progression of diseases in patients. In addition, patients with intestinal diseases often generate too many free radicals and these cannot be broken down to optimal levels because the body does not have enough protective antioxidant mechanisms. The result is oxidative stress and an imbalance in iron reserves.
Oxidative stress is believed to be the cause of many well-known and widespread diseases in our society, including arteriosclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer.
The world of medicine is taking great interest in the phytocannabinoid CBG because of its antioxidative, as well as anti-inflammatory effect. Researchers even hope to use CBG to treat colorectal cancer by stimulating tumour inhibition and providing better support to the healing process. This growth inhibition results from the antagonistic active component of a specific gene. Further important genes are also activated by the phytocannabionoid.
Of course, there are many more types of cancer. In the future, CBG could play an important role in treating these and in therapy. The component of cannabigerolic acid has also been shown to help with skin cancer. CBG reduces the growth of malignant tumours in pigment cells, i.e. melanomas. Animal experiments have revealed that cannabigerol has the greatest potential for success in cancer treatment when directly compared to other ingredients that are part of the cannabis plant.
This finding was later backed up by scientists when they revealed the results of their research in the British Journal of Pharmacology under the title “Effects of cannabinoids and cannabinoid-enriched Cannabis extracts on TRP channels and endocannabinoid metabolic enzymes’. They concluded that the results of cannabinoid research, including CBG, are relevant in terms of the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. The cancers examined as part of their research were prostate cancer and breast cancer.
Activating the cannabinoid receptors induces cell death in prostate cancer cells. It is not yet clear whether CBG is alone responsible for this or whether an interaction with other phytocannabinoids is needed.
However, CBG not only has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, but also shows a slight antifungal effect. This ranges from inhibiting the growth of fungal infections or even killing them.
In addition, the combined effects of lime and CBG have been discovered. The citrus fruit acts in synergy with CBG by supporting the death of breast cancer cells.
Huntington's disease, also known as Huntington's Chorea, is an inherited and, so far, incurable brain disorder, where nerve cells die over a long period of time. The ASENT organisation has published medical test results that illustrate the positive properties of CBG for neuroprotection. These results have shown that due to a rare neurogenic method of action, CBG can support the regeneration of nerve cells to stimulate the growth of new brain cells. So far, there has not been sufficient research to show whether CBG can be used alone or as a prepared combination to treat neurodegenerative diseases in the future.
As the largest human organ, the skin is an area where diseases and infections can proliferate. These range from simple itching to rashes or even painful and serious conditions like atheroma or skin cancer.
CBD has been used successfully in dermatological treatments as an oil or skin cream for a long time. But CBG has surprising effects too, especially in combination with the body's endocannabinoid, anandamide. While anandamide is responsible for the controlled forms of genes for skin differentiation, it can also displace cannabinoids like THC by binding to the same receptors in the endocannabinoid system. However, it is CBG-friendly. Cannabigerol is able to control the differentiation initiated by anandamide and its spread within the cells.
Therefore, phytocannabinoids can help endocannabinoids to stop the build-up of dead skin cells that inhibit the proliferation of living cells. Scientists demonstrated this connection in the fight against various skin diseases in 2007 and published their results in a study in the Journal of Dermatological Science.
This interaction is also an interesting and important element in the treatment of pain. Although cannabinoid receptors are predominantly located on nerve cells in the cerebellum and intestine, the skin also reveals genetic information about CB1 and CB2 receptors. This is down to successful cannabinoid treatments for dermatological diseases and also paves the way for treating pain.
For example, increasing levels of anandamide can reduce pain in patients. If phytocannabinoids can support enzymes that are responsible for the natural breakdown of their own endocannabinoids, pain-relief can be targeted and longer-lasting, with better support and relief for patients. Supporting the endocannabinoid system with phytocannabinoids like CBG means that any disorders can be managed with gaps closed to allow optimal functional processes. Cannabigerol, like some other cannabinoids, creates excess cell division by keratinocytes. The keratinocyte is by far the most common horn-forming cell type in the human epidermis. Its cell cycle is eight times faster in someone suffering from psoriasis. Therefore, it speeds up the cell spread from the basal layer to the upper layer from about four weeks to about four days. The horny layer of keratinocytes exists on the upper skin layer where cells have already died. Normally, the body peels away these tiny skin cells without it being noticed. In psoriasis, these cells appear as dandruff due to the disturbed cornification process. Even if this psoriasis does not cause any serious health problems for those affected, itching and visible dandruff result in psychological stress.
Itching often becomes painful for people with eczema and can even lead to infections. Unregulated stimulation of the mast cells is presumably responsible, releasing substances that promote inflammation and are likely to cause the itching described.
For those who are interested in Cannabinoids, it is hardly surprising that in addition to all the weaving and threading actions of the endocannabinoid system, it is also influenced by the activities of mast cells. If endocannabinoids alone are no longer able to contain the inflammation caused by mast cells, phytocannabinoids take effect. Incidentally, this effect has not only been seen in acute but also in chronic infectious diseases. Skin cream, ointments and oil infused with CBG as an ingredient all have an analgesic anti-itching and anti-inflammatory effect in adult patients.
In recent years, the latest studies have successfully examined the effects of CBG in patients with anxiety and depression. The advantage of CBG over THC through its method of action is very clear as it does not cause any mental impairment. In addition, CBG can significantly reduce any psychoactivation because it not only attaches to CB2 receptors, but also, like its competing cannabinoids, controls and activates CB1 receptors.
This is an important factor for many people with anxiety when choosing the right form of treatment.
This little cannabinoid is even capable of more. CBG can inhibit the absorption of gamma-aminobutyric acid and block serotonin receptors. By regulating the central nervous system and without any psychoactive side effects, CBG plays an increasingly important role in cases of neurobiological disorders. Therefore, it is an interesting alternative to conventional psychotropic drugs. These medicines have long been the source of criticism, not least because many patients can quickly lapse into drug addiction, often unnoticed by doctors. This risk does not apply to cannabigerol.
Scientific studies suggest that cannabigerol has an inhibitory effect on cannabinoids that bind with CB1 receptors. Therefore, CBG is can curb or disrupt the psychoactive effects of THC.
Based on current knowledge, researchers assume that there is an interaction between cannabigerol and endocannabinoid CB2 receptors. How exactly CBG behaves in the human endocannabinoid system has not yet been finally clarified.
CBG is mainly found in cold-pressed hemp seed oil, i.e. natural seed or vegetable oil. These oils do not have a psychoactive effect as they either have no THC or just low levels under 0.2%. Therefore, CBG oil is fully legally available and applicable.
People can safely consume it as a supplement to CBD oil, but as no meaningful studies have been carried out on taking it during pregnancy and lactation, women should avoid CBG as a precaution during such times.
CBG is obtained using a CO2 distillation process where it is isolated in crystalline form from pressed hemp seeds. CBG is distilled and steamed before it is converted to the more popular cannabinoid, CBD.
The resulting cannabigerol crystals can be uniformly dissolved in oil and optimally processed. When using the correct procedure, CBG is evenly mixed with oil and there is rarely any sediment.
Upon consumption, CBG binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors and, thanks to the ECS, these transport the active ingredient.
Most noteworthy is that there is no fixed concentration for CBG oil, although for adults, 15% CBG oil is usually sufficient. Some oils contain just under 50% of CBG. In general, it is true to say that the prices of such oils rise along with increased CBG concentration.
The typical, intoxicating ‘high’ feeling that consumers get when consuming cannabis rich in THC does not apply to cannabigerol. Users need not be afraid of dependency or even addiction. The phytocannabinoid has no connection with psychoactive substances when it works upon the endocannabinoid system.
There are various methods for using CBG oil.
1.) The quickest way to achieve an effect is by inhalation. The oil can be evaporated and inhaled using inhalers or vaporisers. The droplets find their way directly into the blood through the lungs.
2.) As already mentioned, there are various ointments and skin creams that contain CBG. Cannabigerol drops can also be applied directly to inflamed parts of the body for external use.
3.) CBG can be also be easy to swallow. However, patients with stomach and intestinal problems prefer to consume capsules because pure CBG has a strong, grassy and bitter hay-like taste. Its odour and taste are conserved by the protective shells of the capsules. These also stop the active ingredients from being absorbed by the body too quickly.
4.) Oil drops can be dispensed as droplets under the tongue with a pipette. This is often used in patients who need help taking the substance. This sublingual administration helps to quickly reabsorb the active ingredient through the mucosa in the mouth. A potential disadvantage is that this method does not allow you to consume large amounts at once. However, this is irrelevant for a small intake of CBG.
Since the cannabinoid can easily oxidise when exposed to air, it should always be kept in well-sealed containers and in cool places, protected from strong sunlight. Due to the oil carrier, consumers should not exceed the recommended expiry date.
As in the case of phytocannabinoids, the side effects known so far for cannabigerol are manageable. Overdoses can cause symptoms like nausea and vomiting or diarrhea. These occur due to the body's natural defenses against a lack of fat-rich oil.
According to the maximum therapeutic dose, overdoses occur when ingesting more than 300 milligrams of CBG per kilogram of body weight in adults.
Researchers have gained a lot of scientific knowledge from animal experiments, but the results are also applicable to modern veterinary medicine. Just like people, cats can suffer from glaucoma. CBG can also help our four-legged friends with the reduction of intraocular pressure and pain relief. This works because many animals have an endocannabinoid system that can transport anti-inflammatory properties through phytocannabinoids.
However, since the organism of a small cat is not directly comparable to the human organism, the cannabinoids are adjusted for better compatibility and also have a fat content. CBD oil for cats often contains a significant amount of olive oil. However, the dosage is more like that for human patients. The recommendation for animals is to start treatment by administering small amounts of oral drops. The dose can be gradually increased. For cats, cannabinoid drops can also be mixed into food. Dog food can be mixed with CBG as a dietary supplement too. This is effective for dogs with osteoarthritis, among others. The cannabinoid can be particularly useful for dog owners who feed their animals an exclusively raw meat diet. The same positive effects that humans experience can be seen in pets when it comes to the reduction of tumour cells, eye diseases, depression and stimulating natural regulatory processes, as well as the bones and brain cells. For the purposes of adding CBG to pet food, it mainly comes as cold-pressed oils from hemp seeds, which, as already described, also contain proportions of CBG.
Also, the ability to counteract nausea and vomiting applies to animals when treated with CBG.