Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) is known as the mother of cannabinoids because it is the starting molecule for many cannabinoids including cannabigerol (CBG), delta9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabidiol (CBD). While most cannabinoids are only found in cannabis, CBG has also been found in Helichrysum umbraculigerum, a botanical source used by South African healers to alleviate headaches and pain, and for dressing wounds . CBG-dominant cannabis has gained popularity for similar uses.
The study “Survey of Patients Employing Cannabigerol-Predominant Cannabis Preparations: Perceived Medical Effects, Adverse Events, and Withdrawal Symptoms” conducted a patient survey to document the self-reported efficacy, benefits, and adverse effects of CBG-dominant cannabis use.
Why are Patients Using CBG?
In this study, patients reported to researchers that they felt CBG worked better than conventional pharmaceuticals for a variety of conditions. The four main conditions they cited for using CBG were :
- Chronic Pain
In addition, migraines, inflammation, nausea, and many other conditions were reported reasons why participants used CBG. Many of these conditions have some research to attribute benefits to CBG, however, some of the conditions listed have little or no supporting evidence. This phenomenon demonstrates how important it is for research into CBG to continue and how important patient education is for doctors. As the authors note, “firm conclusions about the effects of CBG in humans cannot yet be drawn.”
How CBG Works
On a biochemical level, CBG activates the CB1 cannabinoid receptor . Its presumed antidepressant effects and anxiolytic effects can be attributed to its activity on the 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)1A receptor that controls serotonin. However, high doses may have the opposite effect on the 5-HT1A receptor and result in increased feelings of anxiety. When it comes to CBG’s analgesic effects, this is likely possible through interactions with transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, and its inhibition of N-arachidonylethanolamine (AEA) reuptake. These complex biochemical processes are actually just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how cannabinoids interact with the body, but they do demonstrate a basis for some of CBG’s potential health benefits.
What are the Adverse Effects of CBG?
Little to no withdrawal symptoms or adverse effects have been reported with respect to CBG. However, a few of the patients in this study (1.6%) did report sleep difficulties upon CBG cessation . While 44% of participants did not report any adverse effects of using CBG dominant cannabis, there were some reports of CBG side effects such as dry mouth, sleepiness, increased appetite, and dry eyes.
Future Prospects of CBG
Further study is needed to establish safety, accurate dosing, and establish efficacy for specific therapeutic indications in order for CBG to gain traditional medicinal status. It is also important to evaluate the combined effects of CBG with other cannabinoids and terpenes. Though patients in this study attributed effects to CBG, many were using cannabis products that contained other cannabinoids and terpenes that can work in synergy and produce combined effects.
1- Russo EB, Cuttler C, Cooper ZD, Stueber A, Whiteley VL, Sexton M. Survey of Patients Employing Cannabigerol-Predominant Cannabis Preparations: Perceived Medical Effects, Adverse Events, and Withdrawal Symptoms [published online ahead of print, 2021 Sep 27]. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2021;10.1089/can.2021.0058. doi:10.1089/can.2021.0058
2- Pollastro F, De Petrocellis L, Schiano-Moriello A, et al. Amorfrutin-type phytocannabinoids from Helichrysum umbraculigerum. Fitoterapia. 2017;123:13-17. doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2017.09.010
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