Medical Research

What We Need to Learn About CBG

Written by Lydia Kariuki

Medical cannabis is now legal in 36 states and with South Dakota set to join in July, the number will be 37 and counting. Consequently, cannabinoids are receiving growing attention as the underpinnings of cannabis as medicine. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have for a long time taken center stage. However, scientists are now paying closer attention to less prominent cannabinoids and cannabigerol (CBG) is now being spotlighted.

A recent study that was published in Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics highlighted a few important things that we need to learn about CBG as related to therapeutic potential. [1]

Below is a breakdown of the same.


How Does CBG Come About?

CBGA, which is the acidic form of CBG, is a precursor molecule to most cannabinoids. Consequently, it is found in minute amounts in raw cannabis.

Olivetolic acid and geranyl-pyrophosphate usually combine to form cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Through decarboxylation (when subjected to heat) CBGA is converted into CBG.


How Does CBG Work?

From the study, it was evident that CBG has close similarities to both THC and CBD in its interaction with the endocannabinoid receptors. However, it has unique interactions with serotonin and adrenergic receptors. [1]

CBG acts similar to Δ9-THC at the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2). However, it exhibits a lower affinity at both receptors by a factor of 5-27. However, a human cell culture study showed negligible activity at both receptors. [2] Hence further in vivo research is needed to elucidate the true interaction of CBG with these receptors.

CBG’s activity at TRP channels compares to that of CBD but with a slight difference in affinity. [3] That is TRPA1, TRPV1, and TRPV2. TRPV3, TRPV4, and TRPM8.


What is the Therapeutic Significance of CBG?

This is the crux if the matter and it appears that CBG is very promising in this area. The researchers highlighted four potential benefits of CBG which need further investigation.

  1. Neuroprotection and neuromodulation which can be applied in the reducing the severity of neurological diseases including Parkinson and Huntington diseases.
  2. A therapeutic for GI conditions such as colorectal cancer and colitis. This was demonstrated in mouse models.
  3. Play a potential role in multifactorial pharmacotherapy for the components of metabolic syndrome
  4. Antibacterial action against antibiotic resistant strains such as staph aureus

CBG is promising as a therapeutic molecule and further research is needed to determine safety and efficacy.


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1.    Rahul Nachnani, et al. (2021). Potential Clinical Uses of CBG. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 376 (2), pp 204-212

2.    Granja, A. G., et al. (2012). A cannabigerol quinone alleviates neuroinflammation in a chronic model of multiple sclerosis. Journal of neuroimmune pharmacology: the official journal of the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology, 7(4), 1002–1016.

3.    Muller C, et al. (2019. Cannabinoid ligands targeting TRP channels. Front Mol Neurosci 11:48.

About the author

Lydia Kariuki