Green Report: CBG, marijuana’s secret miracle

Dylan Simonson

a molecular model of CBG
Chemical makeup of CBG (Photo courtesy of Benrr101 Wikimedia)

The most commonly talked about chemicals in marijuana are THC, and CBD, but much less talked about is the cannabinoid CBG. CBG only makes up for about one percent at most of the cannabis plant normally, and is therefore considered a minor cannabinoid.

CBG, or cannabigerol, is non-psychoactive, just like CBD, so it will not produce a high like THC. Strange enough though, THC and CBD actually originally start as CBG molecules.

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The marijuana plant produces an acid called cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, which eventually becomes THCA, CBDA, or CBCA, which we will discuss in the weeks to come. Enzymes break down the CBGA and guide it to one of the three processes that create these other cannabinoids.

Since THC and CBD come from the same chemical initially, this normally means that a strain with more THC will have less CBD and the other way around.  Due to this, growers are attempting to cross breed strains to get more CBG, and then from there try and get a desired level of THC and CBD. Lately, high CBD strains like Harlequin and Charlotte’s Web have become more popular due to their medical benefit and growers are wanting these high CBD low THC strains, so they have been cross breeding these plants to try and get them where the CBG wants to convert to CBD at a much higher rate than normal.

Growers are even trying to produce high CBG strains, and harvest the plant before the CBG converts to THC and CBD, which is about two weeks sooner in the flowering cycle. Growers want to do this because CBG has been found to have a lot of its own medical benefits.

These benefits include things like helping to treat glaucoma. CBG helps to reduce pressure in the eye, which in turn can help increase fluid drainage from the eye. In a study performed with mice, CBG was found to help decrease the inflammation symptoms associated with irritable bowel disease, IBD. CBG can also help protect neurons in patients with Huntington’s disease. It has been shown in mice to block the receptors that cause cancer growth, specifically with colorectal cancer cells and is a great hope in treating and possibly curing colorectal cancer. A study done with five different cannabinoids found the CBG was the best at inhibiting bladder muscle contractions. It has also been found to be a great appetite stimulant.

All of these medical benefits, and plenty more, have been found and research on this particular cannabinoid hasn’t been going on long due to the criminalization of marijuana federally and the popularity and knowledge of THC and CBD.

Basically, what I am getting at is that CBG is a great cannabinoid that is underappreciated and requires more research, perhaps even more so than THC and CBD.  Europe is the first marijuana market that has a decent amount of high CBG strains available, and will hopefully be more common here in the United States soon.

 Collegian Blogger Dylan Simonson can be reached online at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @DylanSimonson0.