Exploring the Potential of Cannabigerol (CBG): A Comprehensive Overview


Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. As one of the lesser-known cannabinoids, CBG has recently garnered attention due to its potential therapeutic benefits.

Unlike its more famous counterparts, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), CBG is present in relatively small quantities in most cannabis strains.

This post aims to provide an overview of the current understanding of CBG, its potential medical applications, and the scientific research supporting its use.

CBG in aged Cannabis

As cannabis ages, the cannabinoid acids present in the plant, such as THCA and CBDA, can undergo decarboxylation. Decarboxylation is a process in which the acidic cannabinoids lose a carboxyl group (COOH) and are converted into their neutral forms.

This can be triggered by factors such as heat, light exposure, and extended storage time. When THCA and CBDA undergo decarboxylation, they are transformed into THC and CBD, respectively[6].

During this process, the enzymes responsible for converting CBGA into other cannabinoid acids may degrade, allowing CBGA to accumulate. Since CBG is formed through the decarboxylation of CBGA, aged cannabis with higher levels of CBGA may consequently have higher concentrations of CBG[6].

Moreover, as cannabis ages, the THC present in the plant can also degrade and convert into other cannabinoids, including CBG. The oxidation of THC leads to the formation of cannabinol (CBN), and it has been reported that further degradation of CBN can result in the formation of CBG[5].

This process contributes to the increased presence of CBG in cannabis that has been aged for an extended period.

The Biosynthesis of CBG

CBG is often referred to as the “mother” or “stem cell” of cannabinoids, as it serves as a precursor for the synthesis of other cannabinoids, including THC and CBD[5].

The formation of CBG begins with the production of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which is synthesized from two precursor molecules, geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid, through the action of an enzyme called geranyl pyrophosphate:olivetolate geranyltransferase (GOT)[7]. CBGA then undergoes further enzymatic reactions to form THCA, CBDA, and other cannabinoids.

The decarboxylation of these acids, either through heat or extended exposure to light, results in the formation of their respective neutral cannabinoids, including CBG[6].

Potential Therapeutic Applications

Although research on CBG is still in its infancy, several studies have suggested that it may offer potential therapeutic benefits for various medical conditions.

  1. Neuroprotective effects: A study by Carrillo-Salinas et al. (2017) found that CBG demonstrated neuroprotective effects in a murine model of Huntington’s disease[3]. The authors attributed these effects to CBG’s ability to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and the aggregation of mutant huntingtin protein.
  2. Anti-inflammatory properties: CBG has been shown to modulate the production of inflammatory mediators in vitro, suggesting that it may have potential as an anti-inflammatory agent[2]. In a murine model of inflammatory bowel disease, CBG reduced inflammation, improved gastrointestinal motility, and ameliorated the disease symptoms[2].
  3. Antimicrobial properties: A study by Appendino et al. (2008) demonstrated that CBG exhibits antimicrobial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterial strain that is resistant to many common antibiotics[1].
  4. Anticancer potential: CBG has shown promise as a potential anticancer agent in preclinical studies. In a study by Ligresti et al. (2006), CBG demonstrated potent antitumor effects in human cancer cell lines, including breast, prostate, and colon cancer cells[4]. The authors suggested that CBG may inhibit cancer cell growth by targeting specific cellular pathways involved in tumor progression.


Despite the growing interest in CBG and its potential therapeutic applications, research on this cannabinoid is still in its early stages.

Further studies are necessary to fully understand its mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, and safety profile.

As the body of scientific evidence surrounding CBG continues to expand, it may soon join the ranks of well-known cannabinoids like THC and CBD in terms of therapeutic significance.


[1] Appendino, G., Gibbons, S., Giana, A., Pagani, A., Grassi, G., Stavri, M., … & Rahman, M. M. (2008). Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. Journal of Natural Products, 71(8), 1427-1430.

[2] Borrelli, F., Fasolino, I., Romano, B., Capasso, R., Maiello, F., Coppola, D., … & Izzo, A. A. (2013). Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. Biochemical Pharmacology, 85(9), 1306-1316.

[3] Carrillo-Salinas, F. J., Navarrete, C., Mecha, M., Feliú, A., Collado, J. A., Cantarero, I., … & Guaza, C. (2017). A cannabigerol quinone alleviates neuroinflammation in a chronic model of multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 12(4), 655-668.

[4] Ligresti, A., Moriello, A. S., Starowicz, K., Matias, I., Pisanti, S., De Petrocellis, L., … & Di Marzo, V. (2006). Antitumor activity of plant cannabinoids with emphasis on the effect of cannabigerol on human breast carcinoma. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 318(3), 1375-1387.

[5] Piomelli, D., & Russo, E. B. (2016). The Cannabis sativa versus Cannabis indica debate: An interview with Ethan Russo, MD. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 1(1), 44-46.

[6] Russo, E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7), 1344-1364.

[7] Taura, F., Sirikantaramas, S., Shoyama, Y., Yoshikai, K., Shoyama, Y., & Morimoto, S. (2009). Cannabidiolic-acid synthase, the chemotype-determining enzyme in the fiber-type Cannabis sativa. FEBS Letters, 583(16), 2698-2704.

With these references, you can find the full-text articles on academic search engines like Google Scholar.

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