First-of-its-kind Survey on Patients Using CBG-predominant Cannabis

A survey on 127 CBG-predominant cannabis patients, shows very positive results in fighting depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia, with benign side effects and negligible withdrawal symptoms.

Cannabigerol (CBG) and its precursor cannabigerolic acid are sometimes called the ‘‘mother of all cannabinoids.’’ CBG was first isolated in 1964 by Raphael Mechoulam, the father of cannabinoids, and his colleagues Yechiel Gaoni and Yuval Shvo from the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. Five years later, an animal study showed no psychoactivity or intoxication using 7 mg/kg of CBG in dogs, up to 5 mg/kg in monkeys, or up to 20 mg/kg in mice or rats.

In nature, cannabinoids don’t exclusively appear in the cannabis plant or, like endocannabinoid anandamide (ANA), human and animal bodies. In 1979, cannabigerol was extracted from woolly umbrella helichrysum (Helichrysum umbraculigerum), an African plant traditionally used by healers for pain, wound dressings, and as an antifungal medication.

Research into the pharmacology of cannabigerol continued in the 21st century. Among other findings of recent preclinical studies, cannabigerol proved to be an appetite stimulant. In a 2016 study of rats, a 120–240 mg/kg dose of CBG more than doubled their total food intake and increased the number of meals consumed. CBG has also shown potential in the treatment of neuroinflammation, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A 2013 murine model study confirmed CBG’s potentially positive effect on IBS patients. Furthermore, there is evidence that cannabigerol fights gram-positive bacteria associated with tooth caries.

When it comes to cancer treatment, cannabigerol has demonstrated potential in epithelioid carcinoma and was second in potency to CBD in breast cancer cell lines. There are also suggestions of possible benefits in the treatment of prostate cancer, bladder pain, and overactive detrusor activity.

Further research has shown that CBG reduced the viability of glioblastoma tumors and stem cells comparable to THC, and its combination with CBD was more effective than THC in the induction of caspase-dependent programmed cell death.

Cannabigerol was also found to mildly lower blood pressure and intraocular pressure, suggesting a therapeutic use in the treatment of glaucoma. Its ability to reduce the proliferation of keratinocytes also suggests a utility in treating psoriasis.

A new survey on CBG-predominant cannabis users

The purpose of the abovementioned first-of-its-kind survey led by Dr. Ethan Russo, the Founder and CEO of CReDO Science, was to investigate reasons for the use and self-reported therapeutic effects in CBG-predominant cannabis, exploring usage patterns and adverse effects, including withdrawal symptoms. The study was published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research on 27 September 2021.

CBG-predominant cannabis (containing > 50% CBG) users were recruited online to complete an online survey. One hundred twenty-seven participants from the US, who reported using CBG-predominant cannabis in the past six months, completed the survey.

The survey found that 51.2% of patients reported use of CBG-predominant products solely for medical purposes, 36.2% reported use for medical and recreational purposes; 6.3% reported recreational use only, and eight patients didn’t complete the survey. The most common conditions that the CBG helped to treat or alleviate were anxiety (51.2%), chronic pain (40.9%), depression (33.1%), and insomnia/disturbed sleep (30.7%).

Great results with depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia

The efficacy was highly rated, with the majority reporting that their conditions were ‘‘very much improved’’ or ‘‘much improved’’ by the CBG. Furthermore, 73.9% claimed the superiority of CBG-predominant cannabis over conventional medicines for chronic pain, 80% for depression, 73% for insomnia, and 78.3% for anxiety.

When it comes to adverse effects, 44% reported none, 16.5% reported dry mouth, 15% sleepiness, 11.8% increased appetite, and 8.7% dry eyes. In 84.3% of participants, there were no withdrawal symptoms, and two participants reported sleep difficulties.

The authors underline that this is the first patient survey of CBG-predominant cannabis use to date and the first to document self-reported efficacy of CBG-predominant products, particularly for anxiety, chronic pain, depression, and insomnia. As most respondents reported a greater efficacy of CBG-predominant cannabis over conventional pharmacotherapy, with a benign adverse event profile and negligible withdrawal symptoms, the study suggests that CBG-predominant cannabis-based medicines should be studied in randomized controlled trials.

CBG is an approved cosmetic ingredient in the EU

In April 2021, the European Commission added CBG to its cosmetic ingredient database CosIng. Since then, European producers can now safely use it as an ingredient in cosmetic products. In cosmetics, the combined antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of cannabigerol are very attractive to the producers, so it is to be expected that cannabigerol will become increasingly popular as a cosmetics ingredient.

Across the Atlantic, the rising awareness of the health benefits of minor cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol, is driving the US market and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.4% from 2020 to 2027.

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.