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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About CBG But Were Afraid to Ask

Cannabigerol (CBG) is considered by many to be one of the next big things in cannabis medicine. It is often marketed as “the mother of all cannabinoids” because its acidic form, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), is the precursor to cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A (THCA-A), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid B (THCA-B), cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), and many other cannabinoids. Note that one should not assume the idiom “mother of all…” is here being used to mean something of immense magnitude; it is merely the parent compound from which other cannabinoids are produced.

Not all of the marketing for CBG is bluster. It does appear to have a unique pharmacological profile that is only just beginning to be understood. It may also play a key role in the entourage effect by interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, as well as a host of other receptors, including six transient receptor potential cation channels (TRPA1, TRPV1, TRPV2, TRPV3, TRPV4, and TRPM8), at the alpha-2 adrenoceptor and 5-HT1A receptors.

A new paper published by Rahul Nachnani, Wesley M. Raup-Konsavage, and Kent E. Vrana from the Department of Pharmacology of the Penn State College of Medicine does an excellent job of highlighting the properties of CBG and exploring some of the potential areas where it could be used therapeutically.


· As an α2-adrenoceptor agonist. Alpha-2 agonists, including clonidine, guanfacine, and dexmedetomidine, have been shown to have anti-hypertensive, sedative, and analgesic properties. Alpha-2 agonists may also be beneficial in the treatment of a range of psychiatric disorders ranging from attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) to tic disorders. It may also be an effective add-on therapy in the treatment of schizophrenia.

· As a potent (50 nM) 5-HT1A antagonist and PPARγ agonist, thereby making it a potential neuroprotective agent that could reduce the severity of neurological illnesses like:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

  • Huntington’s disease

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Parkinson’s disease

· As part of a multifactorial pharmacotherapy for metabolic syndrome (which includes hypertension, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, obesity, and unhealth cholesterol levels) due to its action at the PPAR family of receptors and alpha-2 receptors.

Rodent models also show that CBG may help fight gastrointestinal disease like colorectal cancer and colitis, and that CBG increases feeding behavior but does not have the same antiemetic effects as THC and CBD. The authors also note that CBG does have antibacterial properties.

More research is encouraged on all these fronts.

Finally, the authors note that there are potential risks associated with the use of CBG. Its activity at alpha-2 receptors may lead to adverse cardiovascular effects like bradycardia, hypotension, and, in some cases, hypertension.

To read the full paper, click here.

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