Nearly all of us have heard about CBD and THC. These cannabinoids have tremendous health and recreational profile. Of late, other novel chemicals from the cannabis plant are now making rounds in the media industry. One such compound is cannabigerol (CBG). CBG possesses anti-inflammatory and stimulant properties. However, before delving into details, let’s first understand CBG basics.
CBG is available in different dosage forms, e.g. oils, tinctures, capsules, gums, etc. Though present in small quantities, cannabigerol has therapeutic properties. Research is underway to explore its pharmacological and medicinal potential.
What is CBG?
A cannabis plant contains a variety of compounds mainly categorized as cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. Each one of them behaves differently chemically and biologically. CBG is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that develops from its acidic form called CBGA. All cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant evolve from CBGA, so we can say CBG is the mother of all cannabinoids.
CBG acts on the endocannabinoid system of the body. It binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors present throughout the body. CBG has anti-inflammatory properties, just like CBD. It possesses antibacterial properties and is also good for your digestive system. However, its main popularity lies in its beneficial effects on neuronal and swelling pain.
Before moving further, it is important to note that CBG is still under research. Unlike CBD and THC which have strict regulations on their sale and use, there are no legal complications associated with CBG.
So, now we know what CBG is, let’s discuss the health benefits of CBG.
Health Benefits of CBG
As mentioned earlier, CBG exerts its effect by binding with CB1 and CB2 receptors. Some studies support the use of CBG for several conditions, believing that it:
- Lowers the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body.
- Provides relief in Huntington’s Disease (HD). HD is an inherited brain disorder that affects emotions, thinking, and movement.
- Reduces swelling in the body Owing to its anti-inflammatory properties.
- May be effective in unintended and severe weight loss in patients in the late stage of cancer.
- Shows antibacterial activity against drug-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- May be effective in treating eye diseases such as glaucoma.
- May help fight cancer by blocking the receptors that cause cancer cell growth.
Please note that all of these uses lack significant scientific evidence. More study about CBG is required to prove its use for these conditions.
However, let us see what existing research has to say about CBG’s anti-inflammatory and neuron-protecting (neuroprotective) properties.
Neuroprotective Effects of CBG
Research indicates that CBG may be effective against diseases that cause neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s natural defenses. Both oxidative stress and inflammation cause mental disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and parkinsonism, etc.
CBG reduces the number of free radicals by surmounting the body’s natural defenses. It counteracts inflammation leads to neuronal damage.
In the study, researchers found that CBG possessed neuroprotective effects that came in handy against Huntington’s disease. The results encourage the use of CBG in HD where inflammation in the neurons is a major complication.
Another study found that the combination of CBD and CBG can protect neurons. CBD promotes neuron health whereas CBG reduces cell death and stress in neurons. Researchers tested both CBD and CBG on rat cells and noticed that both cannabinoids visibly reduced the number of charged and unstable species (reactive oxygen species, or ROS) and resulting in stress in the body. Moreover, CBG was much more effective at lower concentrations than CBD.
Anti-inflammatory Effects of CBG
Experimental studies endorse CBG use in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is the prolonged (chronic) swelling (inflammation) of the digestive tract and includes diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD is a serious complication and affects millions of people worldwide. It is incurable.
A mouse study reported the beneficial effects of CBG in IBD. on the experimental model of IBD. Researchers artificially induced colitis in mice to study inflammation and its markers in the blood. The mice then received CBG as a remedy. The results indicated that CBG was effective in reducing the inflammation of the colon. It did so by two mechanisms:
- Decreased the production of a chemical that causes swelling in the colon (nitric oxide)
- Reduced the formation of ROS formation in the colon cells.
Your immune system contains both CB1 and CB2 receptors. Cannabinoids exert their effects through the regulation of the immune system. Researchers have mainly investigated cannabinoids for their anti-inflammatory effects against some inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Both CBD and CBG have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. What’s great is that neither cannabinoid is addictive and causes dependency. It means there is a scope for the development of these novel drugs.
Another exciting bit to share before we close this section and move on to the other is that CBG may have a role to play in obesity. A mouse study indicates that the derivatives of CBG not also show anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, but also prevent obesity in mice.
The cannabis plant is full of compounds with potential therapeutic values. CBG is a lesser-known cannabinoid but it is of tremendous medicinal importance. It is effective against many diseases that cause inflammation and damage neurons, but we need more research. So, it is best to consult a medical professional before using CBG for any physiological or psychological ailments.