What is CBG?

Noel Palmer, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist, Evolab

Cannabigerol, often referred to as CBG, is an essential cannabinoid. Its acidic version -- cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) -- is the precursor to the three major cannabinoids -- tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA). Enzymes known as synthases break down CBGA into THCA, CBDA and CBCA - which after conversion via heat, become THC, CBD and CBC.

Because CBGA is the precursor cannabinoid in the biosynthetic pathway of THCA, CBDA and CBCA, it is always found in cannabis at the very least in low concentrations. A few cannabis chemotypes have been isolated that express mainly CBGA, while all other cannabinoids are at lower levels - although these chemotypes are not very common. Growers in Colorado and Europe have been selectively breeding certain strains to increase CBG yield, and the once impossibly rare cannabinoid is slowly becoming more available.

So why do we care about CBG?

CBG acts as a low-affinity antagonist at the CB1 receptor and triggers pharmacological activity at the CB2 receptor that is still being explored. What does that mean? CBG activates multiple components of your endocannabinoid system - and thus has quite a few potential benefits.

We’ve just begun to study the benefits of CBG, and we’ve already seen research pointing to potential to relieve pain, slow bacterial growth, reduce seizures and convulsions, reduce inflammation, support sleep, inhibit cancer cell growth, promote bone growth, stimulate growth of new brain cells and trigger neuroprotective effects.

An Italian study suggests that CBG has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which make it an ideal component of topical formulations for arthritis, muscle and joint injuries and other inflammatory issues.

Our lab will be continuing to explore the potential of CBG in various product formulations over the coming months, and consumers can expect to see more CBG product options coming to market in the next year.

Graham Sorkin