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Data on Cannabigerol Needs to Keep Pace with Consumer Demand

Cannabis cultivars that contain significant levels of cannabigerol (CBG) are becoming more common in consumer markets. CBG or rather its precursor before decarboxylation, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), has been marketed as “the mother of all cannabinoids” because CBGA is a biosynthetic precursor to cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, as “the mother of all” is used colloquially to describe the superlative form of the noun it qualifies, the marketing language suggests a greater magnitude of some form of cannabinoid-ness that is left to consumers’ imagination. For patients who are struggling with anxiety, insomnia, or chronic pain, this kind of language may imply greater efficacy in treating their condition and may encourage the purchase of CBG-predominate products.

Russo and colleagues recently conducted a survey of 127 individuals who reportedly use CBD-predominate cannabis and have used CBG-predominate cannabis in the last 6 months and found that a majority of participants (n=65; 51.2%) used the latter solely for medical purposes, while 46 (36.2%) used it for medical and recreational purposes. Only 8 (6.3%) participants reported recreational use only (8 failed to respond). According to participants, CBG’s efficacy was highly rated and the most common conditions it was used to treat were anxiety (51.2%), chronic pain (40.9%), depression (33.1%), and sleep difficulties (30.7%). Adverse events were mild when reported, and included dry mouth (16.5%), sleepiness (15%), increased appetite (11.8%), and dry eyes (8.7%). Forty-four percent of participants reported no adverse events, while 84.3% reported no withdrawal symptoms.

While emerging evidence seems to back up these findings (that CBG is effective at treating several symptoms, has a relatively benign adverse event profile, and may cause only mild withdrawal symptoms) clinical research into its potential utility is lacking. If clinicians are to help guide their patients, they need more data on CBG, especially randomized controlled trials.

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research has more.

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