Cannabigerol, better known as CBG, is one of more than 120 identified cannabinoid compounds found within cannabis. Other more common cannabinoids obtained from cannabis plants include cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBG specifically is the decarboxylated form of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), the parent molecule from which other cannabinoids are synthesized. Because it is present in low levels in most cannabis strains — usually less than 1% — CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid.
Cannabis plants produce CBGA, the precursor to the three main cannabinoid lines: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA). In most strains, CBGA is immediately converted to either THCA or CBDA. More THC means less CBG and CBD, and vice versa, because of how these compounds are synthesized. Due to the difficulty of obtaining CBG, cannabis growers have been experimenting with cross-breeding and genetic manipulation to help cannabis plants produce more CBG.
To date, CBG most commonly used as an oil. But, how does it work?
In short, CBG is processed by the body’s endocannabinoid system and works by imitating endocannabinoids, the natural compounds our body makes.
CBG has a wide range of potential applications and benefits. It’s thought to be effective in treating glaucoma, in decreasing the inflammation characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease and in blocking receptors that cause cancer cell growth, to name a few. It may also have therapeutic effects. But more research needs to be done, particularly on humans.
Still, the industry is optimistic about initial CBG results, both with CBG alone or CBG in combination with other cannabinoids or therapies.