By Rena McCain
Happy Weedsday to all of you beautiful people!
Did you know that the cannabis plant has more than 85 compounds called cannabinoids? They all collectively provide the health benefits we associate with cannabis. Studying each one lets us understand how we can use cannabis to help people. Cannabis activists and advocates alike praise cannabis as being a miracle remedy while prohibitionists claim it is dangerous.
In actuality, many cannabinoids are present in cannabis, which provide people with therapeutic relief and adapt seamlessly into the endocannabinoid receptors of your organs, brain, and nervous system. One of these cannabinoids is called cannabigerol (CBG).
So what makes CBG so special?
While we don’t often talk about CBG, it as well is known as other major cannabinoids like THC and CBD, and it is still a very essential cannabinoid. You wouldn’t have the high you get from cannabis without CBG. Did you know that it serves as the parent compound of THC, CBD, and CBC? I didn’t until I started researching this. There really is so much to learn!
The enzymes in a young cannabis plant break down the CBGA (cannabigerol acid) and turn it into CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), CBCA (cannabichromene acid), or THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), respectively. Once one of these acids becomes light exposed it turns into the THC, CBD or CBC. This works out the same way when it is exposed to ultraviolet light, as well.
Generally, there is more CBG in hemp plants and younger marijuana plants than older ones.
CBG and its relatives also do not have psychoactive properties, so you don’t have to worry about getting high when you take medicine based on it. The reason is that CBG doesn’t produce the high associated with cannabis is because CBG is said to block the psychoactive effects and the metabolic action of THC. So far, CBG has the potential of helping with numerous conditions.
It curtails anxiety and depression. Many people already know the power THC has in helping patients suffering from anxiety and depression. CBG also produces similar effects — however, it does so without creating the high you get from THC. According to a 2016 report, non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBG make excellent potential alternatives for treating depression and anxiety.
It stimulates bone healing and formation. A study in 2007 investigated CBG and other cannabinoid effects on bone marrow cultures. The results of the study showed they worked through the CB2 receptor indirectly to stimulate bone marrow cells, suggesting CBG could help promote new bone formation and growth to help heal bone fractures.
It relieves pain. CBG has analgesic effects in numerous ailments, like pain caused by cancer and multiple sclerosis. A review article in 2008 shows individuals tolerate synthetic cannabinoids well, and they’re effective. Plus, when you combine them with other pharmaceuticals, they provide an analgesic effect to relieve pain.
It provides neuroprotective effects: Researchers studied animal models in a 2015 study with Huntington’s disease. They found CBG to be very active as a neuroprotectant and CBG treatment improved movement in the mice with Huntington’s and recovery. It also showed potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and protected neurons from degeneration, suggesting CBG could be used to treat neurodegenerative disorders. However, researchers need to study this potential further.
It slows tumor growth. Another review article in 2009 showed CBG, CBD, CBC, and several other cannabinoids slowed the growth and progression of numerous cancer cells and tumors. As they slowed tumor growth, they also extended the lives of people who were fighting cancer.
It reduces inflammation. CBG can also reduce inflammation. It targets specific molecules causing inflammation in different disease states, including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and pain syndromes. In fact, studies indicate CBG may work as a COX-2 inhibitor, comparable to the widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
It treats overactive bladder. Cannabis medication can treat numerous bladder dysfunctions. Researchers tested CBG’s effects in a 2015 study on experimentally induced bladder contractions and found the cannabinoids most able to reduce bladder contractions were CBG and THCV.
It treats psoriasis and other skin conditions. CBG, along with other cannabinoids, may help treat numerous skin conditions because cannabinoid receptors exist in the skin. According to a 2007 study, CBG hindered keratinocyte proliferation, suggesting CBG treatment is a potential psoriasis treatment.
It acts as an antibacterial and antifungal agent. Researchers are investigating the antimicrobial and antifungal properties of a variety of cannabinoids, including CBG. In a study in 2008, researchers found CBG is remarkably effective in treating Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria strain high in prevalence.
It decreases intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients. CBG and THC treatment increased aqueous flow in animal models with glaucoma by two to three times. In glaucoma cases, increased aqueous flow helps decrease intraocular pressure.
It helps treat cachexia. Researchers found a type of CBG that cultivators purified to eliminate THC to be a highly effective appetite stimulant in rat models. This could mean CBG will be a potential treatment for cachexia, the severe weight loss and muscle wasting experienced by people who are in the late stages of cancer and other diseases.
So all cannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors found inside your body. CBG acts on both your CB1 and CB2 receptors as a partial agonist. But CBG’s effect on these receptors is relatively weak when you compare it with THC’s. CBG may also increase your body’s anandamide levels. Your body’s anandamide is a cannabinoid occurring naturally in your body that helps to regulate various biological functions like memory, sleep, and appetite.
Anandamide, like THC, also acts on your CB1 and CB2 receptors, which produce its effects. Pretty cool! When it says it acts on CB1 andCB2 receptors, it is referring to breaking the blood-brain barrier.
Because CBG is showing so much promise, some seed companies are growing cannabis strains purposefully high in CBG. But because of the entourage effect — the notion that terpenes and cannabinoids work better together to produce medical efficacy — a lot of marijuana growers also include THC purposefully in the mix.
Doctors and researchers are becoming more aware of how cannabinoids interact synergistically, despite cannabinoid functionality ignorance. Even though isolating certain cannabinoids can help prevent undesirable side effects to some patients, doing so could be a weak strategy overall for patients.
There is so much more to tell, so don’t forget to read your next issue of MONTROSE STAR!