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A Look into the Medical Potential of CBG

January 26, 2021 • • Medical Marijuana

Research on CBG — a cannabinoid only present in small amounts in most marijuana strains — reveals the potential for significant medicinal benefits.  

Most people who are familiar with medical marijuana have heard of cannabinoids, the naturally occurring chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. The most well-known of these is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which causes the psychoactive high typically associated with marijuana use. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is another common cannabinoid that has a variety of medicinal benefits. However, a Cannabis sativa plant can have more than a hundred different kinds of cannabinoids — and those are the just ones scientists have identified so far.

One of these minor cannabinoids is called cannabigerol, or CBG. Though CBG only appears in small quantities in most marijuana strains, the compound has researchers interested in its potential for therapeutic use.

THC, CBD, and CBG — What’s the Difference?

Cannabis plants generate a chemical called cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which the plant then converts into tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), or cannabichromenic acid (CBCA). THCA, CBDA, and CBCA are the primary cannabinoid lines. When THCA and CBDA are decarboxylated — meaning activated by UV light or heat — they become THC or CBD, respectively. This is the chemical process that occurs when cannabis flower is combusted, for instance.

Because of the enzymatic process that CBGA undergoes, there’s typically very little CBG — less than 1 percent by mass, in many cases — present in the cannabis flower when the plant is harvested. In order to acquire greater yields of CBG for study, scientists have developed a technique of extracting CBG from budding cannabis plants three-quarters of the way through their flowering cycles.

The Potential Benefits of CBG

The reason cannabinoids like THC and CBD have physiological effects is because our bodies contain a widespread network of receptors that the compounds bind to once ingested. These receptors make up the
endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps the body regulate and balance various processes. THC and CBD bind to different receptors, which is why strains that are THC- or CBD-dominant produce different effects for patients.

CBG is likewise thought to affect multiple systems throughout the body. The eyes, for instance, contain a significant number of cannabinoid receptors. CBG
reduces intraocular pressure and could therefore be useful for treating glaucoma. CBG also has power vasodilation properties — meaning that it helps to open blood vessels by easing muscle tightening and constriction. Initial studies show CBG to have anti-inflammatory properties that could provide relief to IBS patients, as well as neuroprotective properties that might slow or prevent the development of neurodegenerative conditions like Huntington’s disease.

Researchers have also found evidence that CBG can be used as an
effective antibacterial agent, including against the strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that are highly resistant to most forms of drug-based treatments. CBG also appears to help fight colorectal cancer by blocking the cell receptors that enable cancer cells to grow. Other studies have demonstrated that CBG purified of THC is a strong appetite stimulant, which could prove beneficial for patients with AIDS or cachexia, or those who are undergoing chemotherapy.

Other proposed uses for CBG include as an analgesic, antidepressant, and even as a treatment for psoriasis and skin infections.

The Plant-Based Complement to Traditional Medicine

Initial studies on CBG seem to indicate a wide range of promising therapeutic benefits — especially since CBG is, like CBD, non-psychotropic. This means it won’t produce the high commonly associated with marijuana use, and will therefore likely face fewer hurdles on its way to medicinal use.

Cannabis-based treatments provide many options for Ohio patients with any of the 22
qualifying health conditions, and at Lakewood Medical Clinic, we work hard to make marijuana approachable and easy to understand. Our team of licensed physicians and specialists offer traditional medical practices and alternative methods to help ensure that each patient finds the course of treatment best suited for their needs and lifestyle. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.