Brain Inflammation May Be Stopped By CBG In Cannabis
CBG can reduce brain inflammation, which is the root cause of many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, MS, and Huntington’s.
CBD is one of the most studied of the non-intoxicating cannabinoids. It is known to have protective effects on different human health aspects, including neurodegenerative disorders, through its anti-inflammatory action. Cannabigerol (CBG) is a lesser known, non-intoxicating cannabinoid, but it is showing great promise in some of the same areas of research as CBD.
CBG is a precursor for THC, CBD, and CBC. It is found in very small amounts within the cannabis plant, making up about 1% of the concentration of total cannabinoids.
Its aAnti-inflammatory and neuro-protective effects have been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo for neurodegenerative disease models. CBG has shown positive effects on reducing brain inflammation, which is one of the most dangerous culprits of degenerative brain disease.
How does Inflammation Damage the Brain?
Inflammation and oxidative stress both play roles in neurodegeneration. These lead to the death of neurons, which, in turn, amplifies brain degeneration. It is well known that these two pathophysiological processes are tightly related and influence each other. Inflammatory cells can produce reactive species at the site of inflammation, causing oxidative stress. And reactive oxygen/nitrogen species may start an intracellular signaling cascade that turns on pro-inflammatory genes. Given the interdependence of these processes, a compound able to act against both, such as CBG, may be a promising treatment route for the neurodegenerative disorders.
Different cell types participate in the inflammatory processes, including macrophages. These immune cells act to maintain homeostasis and are directly involved in the neuroinflammation. Circulating monocytes are recruited form the periphery and enter into the central nervous system, contributing to the inflammatory process. For this reason, these macrophages and monocytes play a significant role in disease of the central nervous system, including autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.
CBG Reduces Brain Inflammation
The beneficial properties of CBG were studied using an in vitro model of neuroinflammation. The purpose of the study was to determine if the CBG was able to counteract the toxicity induced in motor neurons by immune cells, called macrophages. The focus of the study was to evaluate the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant capabilities of CBG.
CBG Acts on the CB2 Receptor
CBG doesn’t appear to bind directly to the CB receptors, much like the behavior of CBD. It can, however, alter the way other cannabinoids engage with these receptors The results of the study indicate that the anti-oxidant action of CBG depend on influencing the CB2 receptors.
This cannabinoid was able to change the pathways regulated downstream of the receptor, which resulted in preventing brain cell death. In addition, CBG increased the number of viable (live) cells compared to the control, in all concentrations tested.
It was shown that CBG prevents apoptosis (cell death) caused by oxidative stress. The condition of stress was demonstrated by an increase in nitrotyrosine levels, a well-known marker of oxidative stress involved in neurodegenerative disease.
Other Studies Support These Findings
Although these are preliminary in vitro studies, done in the cell culture environment, these match the positive results of earlier in vivo studies. Such studies showed the beneficial effects and anti-inflammatory activities of CBG.
In a model of colitis in mice, CBG was shown to have strong anti-inflammatory characteristics. CBG also showed neuroprotective properties in experimental models of the Huntington’s, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
CBG improved motor deficits in the Huntington’s disease model. It also reduced microgliosis and inflammatory markers.
A derivative of CBG, the CBG quinone VCE-003 showed neuroprotective actions in experimental models of multiple sclerosis. Specifically, VCE-003 mitigated disease symptoms, decrease microglia reactivity and modulated expression of genes, responsible for the multiple sclerosis pathology.
Another CBG derivative, VCE 003.2 prevented neuronal degeneration in an experimental model of the Parkinson’s disease.
Future of CBG Treatment for Brain Inflammation
Some limitations of the study was that it was mainly done in terms of protein level evaluation. It would be interesting to perform gene expression analysis, in order to evaluate how CBG influences pro-inflammatory genes. In addition, also these promising results need to be evaluated and confirmed within the human body.