What’s Good in CBG News? The “Mother of All Cannabinoids”

Jessica McKeil August 28, 2020 0 comments

The most recent CBG news is its potential to become the darling of the ‘Entourage Effect.’

Move over cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG) is the next big idea circulating among cannabis research news. Often called the “mother cannabinoid,” this minor compound has earned relatively little attention over the years. But, with mounting evidence that it has therapeutic value, it may very well take the spotlight away from the more popular cannabinoid, CBD.

While most of the world remains focused on CBD’s power, a select few research-based cannabinoid companies are turning their sights towards CBG. This new focus is telling, especially when combined with the growing body of preliminary work done on the possible medical benefits of this underrated cannabinoid. Could CBG become one of the most important cannabinoids in medicine?

What is CBG?

Cannabigerol is one of the more than a hundred cannabinoids sourced from Cannabis sativa. It begins its life as cannabigerol acid (CBGa), the precursor, or “mother cannabinoid,” for several more famous compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD, and CBG.

This cannabinoid transformation happens as a plant matures, and therefore younger plants tend to have higher levels of CBG. Both medical cannabis (THC-rich) and hemp strains produce CBGa, but due to legal concerns, hemp is typically the source for current CBG products.

Cultivators seeking a high CBG content typically harvest much earlier than if they were seeking CBD. There are also reports of exciting new chemovars which do not produce enzymes that transform CBG into other cannabinoids, which means 100 percent CBG expression.

Unlike THC, CBG is not intoxicating and does not create a ‘high’ or other cognitive impairment. In many ways, because CBG doesn’t cause intoxication, it is much more closely related to CBD than THC. Evidence demonstrates, just like CBD, this mother cannabinoid has a slight binding affinity to both endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. These connections may also reduce the length and intensity of intoxication from THC (much like CBD).

CBG and the Entourage Effect

Ethan Russo, a neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher, has long discussed the Entourage Theory of cannabinoid medicine. This now-famous hypothesis details how combinations of cannabinoids work better together than they do as individual compounds. Terpenes and other natural compounds also play a role.

One of the most notable examples of this synergistic relationship is how chronic pain patients tend to tolerate and receive more benefits from formulas with THC:CBD, than if each cannabinoid was delivered separately.

According to Russo’s 2011 paper, “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects,” preliminary research suggests several fascinating applications for CBG in medicine. When paired with other cannabinoids in a natural or lab-made formula, each of these unique effects could lead to impressive synergistic benefits. 1)Russo E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x

As per Russo’s concise summary of scientific CBG news, this cannabinoid has greater GABA uptake inhibitor qualities than either THC and CBD, which suggests powerful muscle relaxation potential. Right behind CBD, CBG is also the second most beneficial cannabinoid yet tested against human breast cancer cell lines. Evidence tells us it could target prostate cancer as well. CBG is anti-fungal, an analgesic, and perhaps even a new tool in the fight against antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria.2)Russo E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x

CBG News: Recent Research

Newer research, published in 2016, reports CBG is a, “well-tolerated appetite stimulant in pre-satiated rats.” There are also exciting discoveries about the neuroprotective qualities of CBG for mice-models of Huntington’s Disease. 3)Brierley, D. I., Samuels, J., Duncan, M., Whalley, B. J., & Williams, C. M. (2016). Cannabigerol is a novel, well-tolerated appetite stimulant in pre-satiated rats. Psychopharmacology, 233(19-20), 3603–3613. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-016-4397-44)Valdeolivas, S., Navarrete, C., Cantarero, I., Bellido, M. L., Muñoz, E., & Sagredo, O. (2015). Neuroprotective properties of cannabigerol in Huntington’s disease: studies in R6/2 mice and 3-nitropropionate-lesioned mice. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 12(1), 185–199. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-014-0304-z

All these potential therapeutic applications are impressive enough by themselves. But what happens when formulas contain several cannabinoids at once? For example, could a CBD and CBG combination have measurably more anti-cancer benefits than each cannabinoid on its own? More research is necessary, but the prospect is exciting.

cbg news represented by hand holding seedling in ground

It’s Time to Put the “Mother Cannabinoid” to Work

Although several global extraction companies have launched lines of CBG isolate and CBG-rich broad-spectrum products, technically, CBG is still getting through early phases of study. There is a lot of CBG news, but few well-controlled, advanced, clinical studies. At this stage, it’s exciting and well-founded theories, but not a lot of facts.

Global Cannabinoid Research Center is a for-profit center creating courses on medical cannabis. It recently launched a campaign championing the power of CBG. Mike Robinson, the founder, spoke with Digital Journal in August 2020, to explain why he was personally so excited about the potential of this relatively unknown cannabinoid. He has created cannabinoid formulas over the years, incorporating minor-cannabinoids. For his own health, and that of his daughter, he reports remarkable benefits.

As he explained, “Formulators tend to focus on the federal legal cannabidiol (CBD) more than any other element of cannabis due to the ability to research it and use humans in clinical trial, but this is leaving the world of cannabis science with an incomplete picture of what this amazing plant can do.” He, like other passionate advocates, is eager to expand the research into CBG, especially as a component within a wider spectrum. In his words, “The industry is slowly understanding how the “Mother Cannabinoid” CBGa may be the most powerful of all of the cannabinoids.”

References   [ + ]

1, 2.Russo E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x
3.Brierley, D. I., Samuels, J., Duncan, M., Whalley, B. J., & Williams, C. M. (2016). Cannabigerol is a novel, well-tolerated appetite stimulant in pre-satiated rats. Psychopharmacology, 233(19-20), 3603–3613. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-016-4397-4
4.Valdeolivas, S., Navarrete, C., Cantarero, I., Bellido, M. L., Muñoz, E., & Sagredo, O. (2015). Neuroprotective properties of cannabigerol in Huntington’s disease: studies in R6/2 mice and 3-nitropropionate-lesioned mice. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 12(1), 185–199. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-014-0304-z
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Jessica McKeil

Jessica McKeil is a freelance writer focused on the medical marijuana industry, from production methods to medicinal applications. She is lucky enough to live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada where the cannabis industry is exploding. When not writing, she spends much of her time exploring in the coastal forests.

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