Cannabigerol (CBG) was discovered in 1964 and is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Most of the CBG produced by the plant eventually converts into other cannabinoids, like THC or CBD. Because of this, CBG is considered the “mother cannabinoid” and makes up only a small percentage of a fully-grown cannabis plant.
Unlike THC, CBG is known as a CB1 receptor antagonist. This means that when CBG and THC are both present in a single strain, CBG will actually interfere with the CB1 receptor and counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. This will make the high less powerful and mitigate any feelings of anxiety caused by THC. CBG is most abundant in industrial hemp as well as in high-CBD/low-THC cannabis strains. Relatively speaking, CBG has not been well-studied, but is likely to become a main focus of medical cannabis research in the near future.
CBG is not scheduled under the UN Convention of Psychotropic Substances, unlike THC. In the United States, CBG is legal as long as it is derived from hemp as opposed to marijuana (due to the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act’s descheduling of hemp-derived products.) Although CBG is ultimately legal, it is difficult to find CBG-rich strains and products due to lack of research and as well as its low percentage in the cannabis plant.
Because CBG is much less studied than THC or CBD, there is not an abundance of existing research regarding the medical benefits of the cannabinoid. However, some studies have shown that CBG is a neuroprotective chemical and may be considered for neurodegenerative diseases (such as Huntington’s Disease) and can reduce neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. As well, it has high potential as a treatment against MS and other neuroinflammatory diseases. The effects of CBG have also been studied in mice; though human studies may yield different results, these studies do suggest that CBG may be effective for patients with inflammatory bowel disease and may be an agent for immune diseases. One study even showed that CBG may inhibit the progression and growth of colorectal cancer cells. Because there are endocannabinoid receptors in certain parts of the eye, CBG can reduce ocular pressure and may also be effective in treating glaucoma. Again, due to limited research, these studies are not completely conclusive.
The adverse effects of CBG are not known. When taken in therapeutic doses, CBG is not known to be harmful, but because there is a lack of scientific research, it is possible that some adverse effects may exist. Because CBG is not a psychoactive cannabinoid, users will not feel the short-term adverse effects similar to those of THC.