8 Surprising Benefits of CBG
Updated: Nov 25, 2021
The active compounds derived from hemp include an impressive list of cannabinoids, with many familiar three-letter acronyms such as CBD, THC and CBN. The lesser-known cannabinoid, cannabigerol (CBG) is receiving growing interest as research uncovers its immense therapeutic potential.
I have delved into the scientific literature and summarized the most fascinating findings related to CBG. Offering a list of CBG benefits is interesting. However, as a registered nurse I am compelled to provide more information than just what a specific cannabinoid can do. Instead, explaining how CBG interacts with the body provides greater knowledge for the consumer and therefore the potential for greater results.
What is CBG and How Does it Work in the Body?
When CBG interacts at the cellular level, a fascinating cascade of events occur. Let’s get down to the cellular level to understand how CBG works.
The human body is made up of an estimated 37 trillion cells. Although cells carry out specialized functions, they cannot operate in isolation. For survival, we rely on cellular communication. This occurs when one cell speaks to another through a language of chemical messengers. Once the chemical message is spoken, the receiving cell hears the message through a cell receptor. A cellular response occurs.
Through the study of Cannabis (hemp), we have learned how the active compounds in the plant impact cellular communication to improve physical and psychological well-being. CBG mimics naturally occurring chemical messengers produced by the body. This means that CBG directly speaks to cell receptors. As evidenced by research, the body is listening.
Much like all plant-based cannabinoids, CBG is an active compound that produces effects through interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is best described as a cell-signaling communication network within the body. Scientists believe that many people live with a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. This means that communication within the ECS is suboptimal and a loss of homeostasis, or balance results. CBG could help to provide the gentle nudge that the body needs to regain necessary cellular communication.
While CBG exerts action at cannabinoid receptors belonging to the ECS, it also crosses over to interact with other receptor families outside of the ECS. This is how CBG offers a unique interaction with the body with distinct therapeutic targets from those of CBD, THC and CBN.
CBG is non-intoxicating, and it will not make you feel high. All you should feel is results! Let’s learn more about the surprising benefits of CBG.
1. CBG May Provide Support for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, impacts 1.6 million Americans. These conditions are considered chronic and incurable, however symptom management can be achieved (1).
In an experimental model of colitis, CBG was found to increase tissue recovery while reducing inflammation in the colon. Notably, the researchers found that CBG was effective at preventing colitis-associated damage, concluding that CBG could be considered for further exploration as a therapeutic option for those with IBD (2).
These findings were reinforced by a recent systematic review that compared the efficacy of different cannabinoids as therapeutics for intestinal inflammation. The researchers found that CBG is the most effective of all the cannabinoids at reducing MPO, a pro-inflammatory enzyme released as part of the inflammatory response and a viable biomarker for assessing IBD disease status (3). When measuring treatment efficacy, MPO scores directly correlate to the quality of response. These are significant results as MPO is always elevated in the presence of active or severe IBD, indicating that CBG offers targeted anti-inflammatory relief (4).
2. CBG Could Support Healthy Metabolic Processes
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that predispose a person to developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. A combination of insulin resistance, hypertension, obesity, elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) will form a diagnosis.
CBG could help to modestly reduce hypertension through its action at alpha-2 adrenergic receptors. Through binding to and activating these receptors, CBG may help to reduce vasoconstriction, leading to improved blood pressure.
CBG and CBD/CBG combinations also act on the PPAR receptors to increase insulin sensitivity, while redirecting the genes responsible for regulating the production of adipose, or fatty tissue.
With the ability to help balance blood pressure, insulin resistance and healthy fat storage, CBG could be a potential therapeutic to manage metabolic syndrome and prevent the onset of chronic preventable disease (5). CBG could be used in addition to typically prescribed medication to help address this multifaceted syndrome.
3. CBG May Provide Neuroprotective Properties
The prefrontal cortex lies at the very front of the brain and it dictates decision making, problem solving, goal setting, emotional reactions, and social behavior. These higher-level cognitive processes help to determine who we are as individuals.
Aging, chronic stress, trauma or disease can lead to impairment of this brain region, which can in turn lead to subtle or profound personality changes. Impaired prefrontal cortex function forms the common link between general aging, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), tic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and dementia.
Research indicates that CBG could help with the management of neuropsychiatric disorders through binding to and activating alpha-2 adrenergic receptors. When these receptors are activated, downstream effects lead to an improvement in impaired prefrontal cortex function.
Notably, CBG is the only known cannabinoid that activates alpha-2 receptors. Compounds that interact with these receptors are used to improve memory and planning ability in those with ADHD, offering an alternative or adjunct therapy to commonly prescribed stimulant medications (5).
CBG offers neuroprotective properties that could delay neurological disease progression. In an animal simulation of Huntington’s Disease, CBG was found to prevent neuron cell death in the forebrain region called the striatum, while reducing inflammatory markers, and improving motor function (6).
4. CBG Could Offer Antibacterial Benefits
Antibiotics are a true marvel of modern medicine, and they are attributed to saving millions of lives. However, through over prescription and misuse, some bacteria have developed resistance to antibiotics. According to the World Health Organization, antibacterial resistance poses one of the greatest risks to global health. As antibiotics become less effective, the treatment of infection becomes a greater challenge within healthcare systems (7).
The development of new therapies is important to address the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. Although research is in its infancy, hemp derived compounds could offer therapeutic potential as antibiotic agents, alone or in combination with existing medications.