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What is Cannabigerol (CBG)? Why is it the ‘parent’ molecule of both CBD and THC? What are the medical benefits of CBG?

Everyone has heard about CBD and THC.  However, there is another molecule, the “parent” molecule that is fast becoming known.  Cannabigerol (CBG) is the first cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant.  CBG starts off as cannabigerolic acid (CBGa), and when exposed to heat or UV light, is transformed into CBG.  CBG is the “parent” of CBD and THC, and as such, the medical benefits of CBG are a blend of-sorts of the two, but without any of the psychoactive effects of THC.

How does CBG work?

CBG stimulates the alpha-2 receptor. This is the biochemical reason why CBG is capable of decreasing stress, decreasing anger, improving hypertension, improving working memory, improving executive function (by its activity in the prefrontal cortex), acting as an effective analgesic, and effectively treating opioid dependence and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

CBG blocks the 5HT1A receptor. Blocking  the 5HT1A receptor has been shown to improve learning and memory in rodents.  As a result, CBG is now being studied as a novel treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.   Activation of the 5-HT1A receptor has also been found to inhibit penile erection, thus CBG, which blocks the 5HT1A receptor may be able to improve penile erection.  

CBG has negligible activity at the CB1 receptor, but stimulates the CB2 receptor, therefore, CBG offers many of the same benefits of THC but without the “high” that are caused by CB1 receptor stimulation.

CBG inhibits the reuptake of anandamide. Consequently, CBG allows anandamide, the “bliss hormone”,  that our body produces, to last longer.

CBG inhibits TRPM8.  As a result, CBG can decrease the sensation of cold-induced pain.

What are the medical benefits of CBG?

Medical Benefits of CBG – The Best Of Both Worlds

The medical benefits of CBG are plenty. CBG can be used to treat inflammatory bowel disease.  In the research done to prove this, mouse models of colitis were tested.  Colitis was induced, and intestinal inflammation was assessed.  CBG was then given which caused decreased production of nitric oxide.  (Nitric oxide causes inflammation.) As a result of  administering CBG, the inflammation in the lining of the intestine was reduced and the inflammatory bowel disease improved.

CBG is neuroprotective, which means, it protects and preserves the nerves of the brain from injury, disease, and degeneration.  In the research done to prove this, mouse models were given agents that caused the same nerve damage as seen in Huntington’s disease.  After CBG was given, the nerve damage slowed down and further deterioration was prevented. Examples of diseases that require neuroprotection are Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke patients, and Huntington’s disease.

CBG, along with the other major cannabinoids can treat a resistant bacteria called “MRSA,”  methicillin resistant staphylococcal aureus.  This is an infection that can be deadly because this particular bacteria is resistant to most antibiotics.

CBG can be used to treat the loss of appetite seen in patients undergoing chemotherapy.  In the research done to prove this, rats were given CBG. The rats were then observed and what was found was that although the rats did not eat more at each sitting, they ate more frequently.  This suggests that CBG may be ideal for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, as these patients, because they are nauseous, cannot tolerate food. The only other cannabinoid that can do this is THC.  However, if you want to avoid the “high “from THC, you can get the same benefit from CBG – without the psychoactive effects.

CBG works as an antidepressant.  In the research done to prove this, mouse brain membranes were given CBG.  CBG stimulated alpha-2 receptors and blocked 5-HT1A receptors.  When the studies were repeated in lab rats, the clinical result was a decrease in anxiety and improvement of the symptoms of depression.

CBG has been found to have better pain-relieving properties than THC.  The reason is because of where in the cell CBG exerts its effect. CBD has negligible activity at the CB1 receptor, however it stimulates the CB2 receptor and inhibits the TRPM8 receptor.  As a result, CBG reduces pain.   However, in addition, CBG is an alpha-2 agonist and 5HT1A antagonist.  By simulating the alpha-2 receptor and inhibiting the 5HT1A receptor, there is a synergistic benefit.  Pain, which is a blend of emotions and physical symptoms is most effectively treated when there is dual receptor stimulation, which is seen when both the alpha-2 receptor is activated and the 5HT1A receptor is inhibited.

CBG has greater GABA uptake inhibition than CBD or THC, suggesting that it can be used as a muscle relaxant in spasticity, as seen for example in muscular sclerosis, chronic low back pain, and sports injuries.

CBG inhibits keratinocyte proliferation, and as a result, when used topically, CBG can successfully treat psoriasis.

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