Cannabigerol (CBG) – Mother of Cannabinoids

CBG was first discovered in 1964 by Israeli scientists Raphael Mechoulam, Yechiel Gaoni and Yuval Shvo from the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. The scientists were researching the active ingredient of hashish and became the first ones to isolate numerous compounds from the cannabis plant. Among other compounds, their research resulted in the discovery of CBG.

CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and it’s chemical acidic precursor CBGA is a cannabinoid from which all other cannabinoids are biosynthesized, so it’s sometimes referred to as the “mother” or “stem cell” of cannabinoids. It is the first cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant. It begins as CBGA, the raw or “acidic” form version of the compound, and then combines with enzymes to become THCA, CBDA or CBCA. CBG itself is not created by a biosynthesis mechanism, it is created (even in the plant tissue, but mostly after harvesting and drying) in the decarboxylation process, in which CBGA releases CO2 and CBG is created. The decarboxylation process is a function of time and temperature.

Research into Potential Therapeutic Benefits of CBG

CBG has the intraocular pressure-lowering effect, and has therapeutic potential for the treatment of glaucoma, found a 1990 research from the Department of Ophthalmology of West Virginia University Health Sciences Center North in Morgantown. 

In 2009, a research conducted by the Institute of Medical Sciences of the University of Aberdeen found that CBG blocks a brain-based 5HT1A receptor, involved in the regulation of serotonin levels, improving learning and memory. 

A research paper published in the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2010 by a group of Italian scientists gives an excellent insight into comparative research of CBG and other cannabinoids. It shows that CBG might be used to inhibit chronic and inflammatory pain, and could serve in cancer treatments. The reason behind CBG’s potential is that it affects the Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), an enzyme involved in tumor progression through the energy supply of fatty acid oxidation and enhancement of cancer cell malignancy. Also, CBG prolongs the effect of anandamide, the only cannabinoid produced by the human body. Because of its emotional and mood benefits, anandamide is popularly called a hormone of bliss.

In 2016, research conducted by a group of British scientists from the University of Reading found that CBG drives a desire for food. For that reason, CBG is extremely beneficial in conditions like weakness and wasting of the body due to severe chronic illness or other disorders of eating and body weight. 

This was confirmed by further research of British scientists on the loss of body weight due to chemotherapy, published in 2019. The study found that CBG reduced weight loss by approximately half and effectively prevented any further decrease.

The combined antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of CBG are particularly interesting to the scientist, taking into account that both inflammation and oxidative stress play major roles in neurodegeneration.

Huntington’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive dementia and repetitive involuntary movements. In scientific research, the administration of 3-nitropropionic acid (3NP) in mice resulted in a locomotor deterioration resembling that of Huntington’s disease. In-vivo research published in 2015 by the group of scientists from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Complutense University of Madrid found that CBG was extremely active as a neuroprotectant, improving motor deficits and preserving neurons that control involuntary movements against 3NP toxicity. CBG reduced brain cells damage and inflammation induced by 3NP, as well as improved the levels of antioxidant defense. The mice who received CBG significantly recovered their rotarod performance and the series of genes linked to the disease got partially normalized by the treatment. 

Not only CBG alone but its compounds as well represent a major interest in scientific research, especially for the treatments of multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons’ disease.

Research conducted by a group of Spanish scientists in 2014, who were researching cannabigerol quinone (VCE-003), a compound of CBG and its efficacy in an autoimmune model of multiple sclerosis, found that VCE-003 is an immunosuppressive compound and a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of human diseases with both inflammatory and autoimmune components. 

According to research published by a group of Spanish scientists in 2018, a quinone derivative of the CBG VCE-003.2, that has no activity at the cannabinoid receptors, acts as a neuroprotective against inflammation-driven neuronal damage in an in vivo model of Parkinsons’ disease. 

Another study from 2019 confirmed the neuroprotective potential of a higher dosage of the oral formulation of VCE-003.2 against inflammation-driven neuronal damage in an in vivo model of neuroinflammation reminiscent of Parkinsons’ disease. 

CBG and Skin Conditions

These are not the only areas where CBG could prove to be useful in future studies. A study conducted by Italian scientists in 2013 found that CBG down-regulates the expression of K10 keratin and enzyme TGase5 in human skin. In 2016, a group of Hungarian and German scientists published a study that found that CBG and CBGV may have potential in the treatment of the dry‐skin syndrome. This was confirmed by a recent study conducted by a group of Romanian scientists who found that, unlike CBD, which inhibits sebum secretion, CBG triggers sebum production, which gives skin its oily quality.

CBG is being produced from plants that belong to CBG chemotype. On the EU database of registered plant varieties, for now, that’s only Santhica. There are many CBG chemotype plant species being globally developed during last years, especially in the USA.

Ilesol provides our clients with a CBG product line identical to the CBD line, which includes oils, extracts, and isolates, as well as custom made products. We can provide any combination of products containing CBG and CBD in any proportions.

Reviewed by Sasha Bajilo, founder of ILESOL Pharmaceuticals, an industrial scale producer of CBD products and formulations. Expert on Hemp/Cannabis policy, member of the Croatian Ministry of Health regulatory commission for medical cannabis.