The mother of all cannabinoids? Yes, quite literally. CBGA (which becomes CBG during combustion) is the precursor to every other phytocannabinoid that develops in cannabis.[i] CBG’s role as a parent does not fully underscore a fantastic importance in cannabis consumption, however. To more fully explore this cannabinoid’s potential we’ll explore the effects of cannabis on the human body, what mechanisms of interaction CBG employs, and what potential medical applications exist for this compound.
Before we can explore the importance of CBG in your experience with cannabis it is important to understand the basics of how cannabis interacts with the human body. The main vehicle of interaction in humans and animals with cannabis consumption is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
The ECS has two known receptor types - CB1 and CB2 - that are located on the surface of your body’s cells. The CB1 receptor sites are located throughout your nervous system (brain). Activation of these sites creates psychotropic effects - i.e. the feeling of being “high”. CB2 receptor sites are located in tissues and organs throughout your body. Activation of these sites has the capability to reduce pain and inflammation, along with other effects.
The body has a way to engage these receptor sites through two chemicals it produces entirely on its own - anandamide and 2-AG. These are endocannabinoids (endo = within). The body synthesizes these compounds on-demand to activate CB1 and CB2 receptor sites. The body does this to regulate cellular function, ultimately aiding the body to achieve a state of homeostasis.
The cannabis plant produces compounds that closely resemble endocannabinoids, called phytocannabinoids (phyto = plant). These cannabinoids behave similarly to the one’s the body produces, with some exceptions. Some people tout the overall benefits of cannabis consumption as a means of aiding the body in its quest for equilibrium. Achieving this, however, requires conscious consumption of cannabis products.
While we will skip a deep dive into the fascinating subject of the Entourage Effect and cannabis, it is critical to note this phenomena as it relates to the effects of the plant. It dictates that the compounds found in cannabis interact with each other, modulating the ways the chemicals of the plant interact with the body. This means it is futile to observe any one chemical in cannabis in isolation and expect to understand its operation in combination with thousands of other compounds found in the plant. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Entourage Effect can be a way to reduce risk and increase efficacy while consuming cannabis. This is achieved when using cannabis products that are close to the plant, containing ratios of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and more that would be found in the flower.
Ok, so we’ve covered the basics of cannabis chemistry and the system that governs the main interactions of cannabis with the human body, the endocannabinoid system. It’s time to understand what CBG does and why it matters if your cannabis or vape has a significant amount of cannabigerol.
Chemically speaking, a lot is going on. While CBG is non-intoxicating, it is performing a number of chemical interactions in your body. CBG may stimulate a range of receptors that regulate the sensation of pain and the prevalence of inflammation.[ii]
CBG exhibits the following mechanisms in the human body:
What is TRP? TRP (Transient receptor potential) are ion channels that are found in cell membranes and mediate sensations such as hotness, pain, warmth or coldness, tastes, pressure, and vision, as well as inflammation and cancer cell proliferation.[vii]
CBG has been cited in academic literature (and, of course, anecdotally) for numerous applications in humans. Most of the research on this cannabinoid has been done in isolation. There is a laundry list of potential applications for this compound, and the need for greater research, especially with respect to dosing and interactions with other cannabinoids, is critical.
The Endocannabinoid System is present throughout the entire human body, influencing cellular behavior throughout our nervous system, tissues, gastrointestinal tract and other organs. The ECS “comprises a set of molecular components, including enzymes, signalling lipids and G‐protein coupled receptors, which has an outstanding role in modulating eating behaviour and energy homeostasis".[xxiii] A current leading theory speculates that the ability of cannabis to treat so many conditions stems from its affinity to promote homeostasis in the body. When and where something is “out of whack”, cannabis may be key in bringing it back to normal.
While the potential applications of cannabigerol are immense, it is also exciting to consider how this compound works in interaction with other cannabinoids in cannabis. For instance, how can THC, CBD, and CBG all work together to provide relief, generate exceptional experiences, or promote overall wellness?
THC may be known as the recreational compound in cannabis, the one that gets you “high”, but it has the potential for many medical applications as well. For instance, treating depression, pain, cancer, and more.[xxiii]
On the flip side, THC is known to produce some unwanted side effects in users, including paranoia and social anxiety. CBG may act as a counterweight to these potential negative side effects, enhancing the pro-social elements of cannabis without the paranoia. This has been observed anecdotally among users of Heylo’s CBG Blend. More research is required to determine whether it is consistently supported among diverse populations.
Beyond the various potential medical applications of CBG and the way CBG interacts with THC, this compound is intriguing for its overall contributions to the Entourage Effect in cannabis products.
Heylo became interested in CBG after receiving feedback from customers regarding our “Where’s My Bike?” product. Customers loved the experience and so the company began investigating the product’s unique chemistry and how it might be consistently recreated. This led to the development of The CBG Blend, which has been consistently tweaked and refined since its launch in 2018 to provide the best possible experience to consumers. Users report a variety of benefits from the product that are far-reaching. Many people look to the strain for a good night out as a way to avoid the pitfalls of the many high-THC products available today. Others use it for symptom relief or to various treat conditions. Regardless of the reason, CBG has shown itself to be a potent ally in the race to optimize cannabis for wellness.
Heylo has aggressive plans to continue producing and improving upon The CBG Blend, thanks in part to tremendous outreach from consumers of the product in Washington State. The Heylo Team appreciates your feedback – it helps us deliver the best possible cannabis oils for anyone to get more out of life.