There’s a hot new buzzword in the cannabis industry: CBG. Short for cannabigerol, CBG is the latest non-psychoactive cannabinoid to gain attention for its myriad of potential wellness benefits. But what exactly is CBG and why is it so popular all of a sudden?
Cannabigerol - a Brief Breakdown
CBG is one of hundreds of cannabinoids present in cannabis. As a lesser known cannabinoid, it typically makes up less than 1% of most cultivars. However, due to increased interest, marijuana genetics breeders began to hone in on strains with a higher percentage of CBG. At the recent MJBizCon, the largest business to business trade show for the cannabis industry, several companies showed off buds with up to 13% CBG.
Another way to produce CBG is through extraction. Pulling fresh buds at week six of an eight week flowering cycle has been found to be the optimal time for extracting CBG. Any longer and naturally-occurring enzymes convert CBG into other cannabinoids during the curing process, hence its nickname as “the mother of all cannabinoids.”
As noted above, CBG is non-psychoactive but it appears to have several uses including as a treatment for pain, anxiety, inflammation, and nausea. It has been touted as a potential treatment for glaucoma; researchers in Poland found CBG to be effective at reducing intraocular pressure. An Italian study conducted in 2013 concluded CBG could help treat inflammatory bowel disease. Further research in 2015 by Spanish scientists found CBG protected neurons in mice with Huntington’s Disease, a disorder that causes nerve cells to die in the brain.
CBG may also help improve mood by boosting anandamide (the body’s “bliss” molecule) and acting as a GABA reuptake inhibitor - which may make it a fantastic alternative to prescription antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
CBG and Cancer
Cannabigerol is also gaining a lot of attention due to its perceived ability to reduce tumor growth. In a 2014 study, CBG was shown to inhibit colorectal cancer cells in mice. The fact that it was effective with both tumors and chemically-induced colon carcinogenesis proved to be very exciting for researchers. However, further human studies must be conducted in order to learn more about the cannabinoid’s future role in cancer treatment.
Other Uses for CBG
In addition to having anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and neuroprotectant capabilities, CBG may also be an effective antibacterial tool. Yet another Italian study published in 2008 found CBG - along with several other cannabinoids, including CBD, THC, and CBN - has the power to fight methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a vicious bacteria that several classes of drugs have been unable to treat.
Is CBG the Next Big Thing?
As the cannabis industry continues to grow (no pun intended), so will interest in lesser known cannabinoids such as CBG. While CBD seemed to dominate 2019, 2020 promises to be the Year of CBG. More cannabis companies are introducing CBG-dominant products than ever before, indicating a consumer demand.
But with the high cost associated with the production of the cannabinoid, it may take time for the masses to catch up. Regardless, research into the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids including CBG is certain to increase, especially as an alternative to powerful medications that currently dominate the market.