The marijuana plant has more than 85 compounds called cannabinoids that provide the health benefits we associate with medicinal cannabis. Studying each one lets us understand how we can use medical marijuana to help patients. One of these cannabinoids is called cannabigerol (CBG).
CBG has the molecular formula C21H32O2, which is similar to THC, but with a different structure. As a phytocannabinoid, it appears naturally in cannabis plants, so you don’t have to look for it in the human body or artificially synthesize it. Marijuana plants with high levels of CBG tend to have small amounts of THC and grow in higher altitudes.
We categorize CBG in the CBG group of cannabinoids, which includes six other compounds: CBGA, CBGV, CBNA, CBNVA, CBGM and CBGAM. These cannabinoids have similar molecular structures. Since we don’t have much research on any of these compounds, we can’t say how similar their effects are to each other.
Although marijuana makes the person using it feel “high,” certain cannabinoids don’t cause that feeling when used on their own. CBG and its relatives don’t have psychoactive properties, so you don’t have to worry about impairment when you take medicine based on it.
While we don’t talk about CBG as much as major cannabinoids like THC and CBD, it’s still important. In fact, it serves as the parent compound of THC, CBD and CBC. Enzymes in a young cannabis plant break down CBGA, or cannabigerolic acid. It then turns into either THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) or CBCA (cannabichromenic acid). Once one of the acids is exposed to light or ultraviolet heat, it turns into THC, CBD or CBC.
You can find more CBG in hemp plants and younger marijuana plants. Cultivation companies are currently working on developing strains with higher amounts of CBG. Since medication producers extract CBG from budding marijuana plants during their flowering stage, it’s more difficult to get substantial amounts of CBG compared to major cannabinoids.
Research on CBG’s medicinal properties is still in its preliminary stages and only focuses on animal trials, but the results we’ve found so far are promising. Studies indicate CBG could improve your health by:
If we still see research results that line up with what we’ve found so far, CBG could help patients with a wide variety of conditions we already treat with medical marijuana, including:
Interested in getting concentrated CBG medicine when it becomes more common? New patients should visit a marijuana-certified doctor to get an evaluation and ask for their opinion. Patients who already have a medical marijuana card can talk to their dispensary staff about CBG medicine.