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The Case for CBG

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Welcome to Cannabis Conclusions, a unique educational series from Higher Learning LV that is targeted at hemp and cannabis industry professionals. This series provides readers with the conclusion section from important modern peer-reviewed research studies.


A February 2021 study entitled "The Pharmacological Case for Cannabigerol" that was published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics explored the potential health benefits provided by the cannabinoids cannabigerol (CBG). The research stated that its goal was to focus on "the unique pharmacology of CBG, our current knowledge of its possible therapeutic utility, and its potential toxicological hazards."

The study explained that the synthesis of cannabinoids within the glandular trichomes found within the flowers of mature female cannabis plants "begins with the precursor molecules olivetolic acid and geranyl-pyrophosphate, which combine to form cannabigerolic acid (CBGA)," the acidic precursor that, under the right environmental conditions, morphs into CBG.


"CBGA serves as the precursor to most other cannabinoids and is converted to D9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (D9-THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid," reported the research. The unique role of CBGA, which some thought leaders have dubbed "the mother of all cannabinoids," means that it is "normally found in very low quantities in Cannabis; however, strains with reduced activity of the three major synthesis enzymes can accumulate higher levels of CBGA."


Study Conclusions

"CBG is distinct from D9-THC and CBD in its pharmacological profile. In a variety of different ways, CBG seems to reside, pharmacologically, in between D9-THC and CBD.


"Research into cannabigerol is in its infancy but has shown promise for addressing a diverse array of therapeutic needs. Based on its pharmacodynamics, here we highlight potential indications for CBG and its derivatives to improve available drug treatment regimens for selected diseases and medical conditions. However, these applications will rely on additional research studies to further understand how CBG can be used safely and effectively.


"Research into cannabigerol is in its infancy but has shown promise for addressing a diverse array of therapeutic needs."

"First, there is potential for CBG as a major player in the treatment of metabolic disease as described by its action on the PPAR family of receptors to improve insulin sensitivity and adipogenesis. A supplementary effect is its antihypertensive properties at a-2 receptors. Patients with diabetes frequently have hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and insulin resistance stemming from glucose dysregulation and vascular endothelial dysfunction.

"CBG may improve this profile as an adjunct to the mainstay of treatment, metformin, or potentially serve as its own regimen. In current practice, a-2 agonists such as clonidine are infrequently used as antihypertensive agents, largely because these effects of clonidine are enhanced with imidazoline receptor activity; this rendered clonidine too powerful as an antihypertensive drug and unreliable in practice. To our knowledge, the sympatholytic effect of CBG is limited to a-2 activity, which makes it more useful for this indication than clonidine, but more studies are needed.


"CBG's effect on cognition has yet to be studied, but it may improve quality of life in vulnerable populations, as the few drugs currently available for neurodegenerative diseases also carry uncomfortable and disabling side effects."

"Second, several studies have described the neuroprotective effects of CBG through action on the PPAR family of receptors. Other sources have reported reduction in age-related cognitive decline in patients with neurodegenerative disease with the addition of a-2 agonists to their treatment regimens. Although CBG's effect on cognition has yet to be studied, it may play a role for improving quality of life in these vulnerable populations, as the few drugs currently available for neurodegenerative diseases also carry uncomfortable and disabling side effects.


"Third, similar to other phytocannabinoid derivatives, CBG may play an important role for improving the drug cocktails of patients who struggle with disorders of executive function, such as schizophrenia and ADHD. Two current a-2 agonists, clonidine and guanfacine, are indicated for their a-2–mediated action on the human prefrontal cortex to improve executive function and self-regulation; however, clonidine is less safely prescribed because of its potent antihypertensive properties and generalized action on a-2 receptor subtypes.

CBG molecular structure


"Guanfacine is well studied as an adjunct therapy with stimulants in ADHD because of its a-2A receptor subtype specificity. The subtype specificity of CBG has yet to be elucidated; therefore, it cannot be predicted how CBG will improve executive dysfunction compared with guanfacine. Finally, researchers have studied the effects of CBG as a safe appetite stimulant in chemotherapy-related appetite suppression in vivo and as an agent that reduces in vitro signs of pathology in colitis and colorectal cancer.


"There is much to suggest that CBG may provide alternative therapeutics for a number of disorders."

"In closing, although there is much to suggest that CBG may provide alternative therapeutics for a number of disorders, much is left to learn. In particular, given the potent bioactivity CBG displays in a number of settings, we should be very cautious about releasing it in an unregulated retail environment. There is simply insufficient experience with this relatively rare phytocannabinoid, and the potential for adverse effects is high. Given the dramatic increase in unregulated CBD oil use following deregulation of hemp, it behooves the pharmacology community to undertake CBG research before its use explodes as well."


View the original study.


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