What is CBG and how does it compare to CBD.
Science is beginning to unveil the potential of many formerly untapped cannabinoids. CBG is one of them. How does this up-and-coming chemical compare to CBD?
The cannabis plant produces a diverse array of molecules, including well over 100 cannabinoids. Limited clinical trials and animal studies have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of THC and CBD for specific conditions. As researchers begin to study their cannabinoid counterparts, the hype is developing around other compounds, like cannabigerol (CBG). Scientists have uncovered numerous promising attributes, piquing the interest of medical researchers and businesses alike.
WHAT IS CBG?
Israeli organic chemist and cannabinoid “godfather” Raphael Mechoulam first isolated CBG, alongside THC, in 1964. Shortly after, research published in the journal Psychopharmacologia assessed no behavioral changes in rhesus monkeys who were administered with the molecule. It was ruled non-psychoactive. CBG is classed as a minor cannabinoid, occurring in low concentrations in landrace and selectively bred strains. However, breeders have developed chemovars with CBG profiles of 100% by eliminating certain enzymes. These strains are destined to draw significant attention as CBG research advances.
THE MOTHER MOLECULE
Researchers have labeled CBG the “parent” or “stem cell” cannabinoid as it’s the central chemical precursor to many other cannabinoids. Specific enzymes convert CBG into corresponding molecules. This is known as cannabinoid biosynthesis. All cannabinoids first exist as cannabinoid acids in the raw plant. High temperatures initiate a reaction known as decarboxylation, which removes a carboxyl group from each molecule. This reaction, for example, transforms THCA into THC and CBDA in CBD. By this logic, CBG exists as CBGA in the raw plant.
The enzyme CBGA synthase converts several organic compounds into CBGA. Additional enzymes then break down the mother molecule into major cannabinoids, depending on the reaction. THCA synthase, CBDA synthase, and CBCA synthase use CBGA as a substrate to produce the respective cannabinoid acids. Nonenzymatic processes create more than 60 other cannabinoids from CBGA.
MECHANISM OF CBG
Aside from its key role in cannabinoid biosynthesis, CBG has been probed scientifically for its therapeutic potential. The molecule exerts multiple mechanisms of action, partially activating CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system and stimulating the vanilloid receptor-1—a site involved in pain signaling. The cannabinoid also works to block serotonin and CB1 receptors.
Let’s explore what science has to say about CBG. How do these mechanisms impact the body? And what is the quality of the existing data?
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF CBG?
CBG has demonstrated a range of promising qualities in animal and cell studies. Unfortunately, high-quality human trials are lacking, but existing research serves as an indicator of what future studies might reveal.
CBG INHIBITS KERATINOCYTE HYPERPROLIFERATION ASSOCIATED WITH PSORIASIS
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition characterised by excessive production of skin cells. This state is called keratinocyte hyperproliferation. These cells build up, form scale-like patterns on the skin’s surface, and become red and inflamed. The exact cause of the condition isn’t understood, but immune and genetic factors play a role. White blood cells perceive the skin cells as foreign invaders and attack—inflammation ensues.
A 2007 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science documents the effects of multiple cannabinoids on keratinocyte proliferation. THC, CBN, CBD, and CBG all inhibited excess cell production. CBG was able to achieve maximum inhibition at the lowest dose: 2.5–3μM.
Cannabinoid receptors located in the skin play a role in modulation of skin cell proliferation. However, CBG has a low affinity for these receptors. Researchers suggest that the cannabinoid achieves its results via other means. The authors of the paper suggest that the tested cannabinoids present a “potential role for cannabinoids in the treatment of psoriasis”.
CBG REDUCES INTRAOCULAR PRESSURE IN ANIMAL MODELS
Caused by a buildup of fluid in the eye, intraocular pressure is the underlying factor behind most cases of glaucoma. This increase in pressure eventually inflicts damage to the optic nerve, resulting in eye pain and blurred vision. A 1990 study in the Journal of Occular Pharmacology investigated the pressure-reducing effects of CBG and THC in animals, finding both cannabinoids to produce a modest effect when applied topically to the eyes of cats. Researchers observed a significant reduction in pressure after delivering cannabinoids directly to the cornea. A large increase in the fluid release was noted. The researchers state that CBG may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of glaucoma.
CBG REDUCES COLITIS IN MOUSE MODEL OF IBD
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affects millions of people around the world. The incurable condition produces symptoms of diarrhoea, bleeding ulcers, and stomach pain. A 2013 study explored the effects of CBG on a mouse model of colitis, a form of IBD characterised by inflammation of the lining of the colon. The administration of CBG reduced the colon weight/length ratio, boosted antioxidant activity, and decreased levels of nitric oxide—all indicators of an anti-inflammatory effect. Overall, researchers stated that the cannabinoid could be considered for clinical experimentation in IBD patients.
CBG IS NEUROPROTECTIVE IN ANIMAL MODELS OF HUNTINGTON’S DISEASE
A 2015 study published in the journal Neurotherapeutics documents the effects of CBG when administered to rodent models of Huntington’s disease. The researchers describe the cannabinoid as an “extremely active” neuroprotectant. CBG appeared to improve motor deficits and preserve neurons against toxicity. Researchers also observed a slight improvement in the gene expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that promotes the survival of neurons.
CBD VS CBG: SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
CBD and CBG bear several similarities and differences. However, comparing the two at this stage is relatively futile. Much more high-quality research has been poured into CBD. Other likenesses and distinctions could exist that we’re simply not aware of yet. But let’s take a look at what we do know.
- BOTH CBD AND CBG ARE NON-PSYCHOACTIVE
CBD and CBG have a low binding affinity for the CB1 receptor, whereas THC achieves its psychotropic effects by stimulating this site in the central nervous system. CBG acts as a partial agonist to this receptor, stimulating it to a degree wherein no psychotropic effect occurs. However, both CBD and CBG work as antagonists to the CB1 receptor as well, temporarily inhibiting the uptake of the endocannabinoid anandamide.
The non-psychotropic nature of CBG and CBD makes them appealing candidates for clinical study, as many consider the “high” caused by THC to be an undesirable side effect.
- BOTH CANNABINOIDS SHOW POTENTIAL AGAINST INFLAMMATION
We know from the aforementioned 2013 study that CBG exerted an anti-inflammatory action in a mouse model of colitis. Similarly, CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation in mouse models of Alzheimer-related neuroinflammation, retinal inflammation, and kidney tissue injury.
- CBG’S ANTI-SEIZURE EFFECTS REMAIN UNEXPLORED
CBD has gained serious traction as the active ingredient in an FDA-approved treatment for rare forms of childhood epilepsy—namely, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. A 2017 trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine administered CBD to children diagnosed with Dravet syndrome. The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found a significant decrease in seizure frequency compared to placebo. CBG’s anti-convulsant effect has yet to be studied. Whether the cannabinoid produces similar outcomes remains unknown.
- CBG MAY IMPROVE APPETITE
Cannabis is known to increase appetite. This mechanism manifests as “the munchies”, a state of intense hunger and cravings. THC has long been associated with this phenomenon. However, a 2016 study published in the journal Psychopharmacology states that cannabis extracts void of THC still induce hunger.
The authors explain that CBG could be the cause of appetite enhancement. In rats, CBG more than doubled total food intake and increased the number of meals. In contrast, CBD was shown to reduce hunger during an epilepsy study. Decreased appetite occurred in 19% of participants as an adverse event.
A FRUITLESS COMPARISON?
It’s helpful to compare cannabinoids to explore the possible applications of each. However, the research is too limited to draw concrete conclusions. Future high-quality research is the only way to accurately compare the properties of these fascinating molecules.
Original post information: https://www.zamnesia.com/blog-is-cbg-the-new-cbd-n1643