In the rat model, CBG was very successful in the increase of appetite, and in increasing size of muscle.
The cannabis plant contains over 100 compounds, known as cannabinoids. Besides the well characterized THC and CBD, relatively little is known about the other cannabinoids. Non-psychotropic compounds, such as cannabigerol (CBG) may contribute to several therapeutic benefits of cannabis.
Most clinical trials focus on investigating one particular cannabinoid (such as THC) or a combination of THC and CBD. However, medical cannabis consumers are exposed to many compounds and the benefits they experience are likely a result of the synergistic Entourage Effect.
Some of the benefits of CBG have been investigated in the context of a mouse model for multiple sclerosis (MS). CBG was found to give neuronal protection, anti-inflammatory benefit and restored motor function. MS, like many other debilitating neurodegenerative disorders that affect motor function, often leads to muscle atrophy. While the science behind how CBG may prevent muscle wasting is still under investigation, looking at the effect CBG has on CB-receptors offers some clues.
Increased Protein Synthesis From CBD could Lead to Muscle Growth?
It is known that making new muscles and increasing muscle size involves cannabinoid signaling. Namely, it has been reported that muscle growth is associated with the down-regulation of CB1 in human skeletal muscle. This down-regulation is caused by the receptors becoming less responsive. Interestingly, preventing binding to the CB1 receptor (which is the probable mechanisms of CBD) results in greater muscle growth through increased protein synthesis (in vitro).
Recently, it was shown that CBG activates α2-adrenoreceptors and blocks CB1receptors. Consistent with the requirement of CB1 down-regulation for muscle synthesis and the inhibitory action of CBG on CB1, it could be expected that CBG promotes muscle synthesis.
Neurodegenerative disorders are also characterized by muscle wasting (cachexia), that is often a consequence of lack of appetite and results in diminished overall strength. CBG has been shown to be a potent appetite stimulator in a pre-clinical studies using rats. The researchers demonstrated that CBG at a dose of 120 mg/kg did not have any detrimental effects on balance, fine motor control and muscular strength.
Given that CBG acts as an inhibitor of CB1, it is possible that appetite-stimulating effects are effected through orexigenic endocannabinoid tone. Alternatively, CBG may mediate this increase in appetite by its activity as a highly potent agonist of α2-adrenoceptors. In support of this, it has been shown that stimulation of α2-adrenoceptors in the region of the brain called hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus increases appetite in well-fed rats.
The possibility that CBG’s stimulatory effect occurs via indirect and/or CB1 receptor-independent mechanisms warrants further studies, as this non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid may represent a novel therapeutic option for patients with muscle wasting, and it may have benefit for muscle training.