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Is Cannabigerol (CBG) The Ultimate Cannabinoid?

By on August 10, 2013
Cannabigerol is the "stem cell" for many of the chemicals in marijuana, including THC and CBD.

Cannabigerol (CBG) is the “stem cell” for many chemicals in marijuana, including THC and CBD. CBG also has a number of medical properties of its own. – Cannabigerol happens to be responsible for most of marijuana’s medical effects, but many aren’t aware that this chemical even exists. That’s because CBG works behind the scenes, which scientists have only recently started to investigate.

cbg-ultimate-cannabinoid-2-08-10As it turns out, THC and CBD – the two most common chemicals in marijuana – and other minor cannabinoids all begin as CBG.

CBG is non-psychoactive and can be thought of as the “stem cell” of these chemicals. CBG is quickly converted to other cannabinoids by enzymes in the cannabis plant, which explains the low concentration of CBG in most strains.

Besides its role in forming other cannabinoids, CBG has a number of important medical effects of its own.

As Dr. Bonni Goldstein, Medical Director of Canna-Centers, explained in a video for WeedMaps TV, CBG inhibits the uptake of a chemical in our brain called GABA – something CBD also does.

“When GABA [uptake] is inhibited, you actually have muscle relaxation and you have anti-anxiety effects, so it appears to promote similar effects that CBD has. It also appears to have anti-depressant and some modest anti-fungal properties.”

cbg-ultimate-cannabinoid-3-08-10Although CBG hasn’t been studied nearly as much as CBD, a small body of evidence suggests it has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects as well.

Earlier this year, researchers from Italy observed both of these properties in an experimental model of inflammatory bowel disease, concluding that “CBG may represent a new therapeutic opportunity” for patients with the disorder.

Other pre-clinical studies suggest more diverse uses for CBG as a COX-2 inhibitor, similar to the popular group of pharmaceuticals known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

In one study, CBG, THC and CBD all appeared to inhibit COX-2 enzymes, although higher concentrations were required compared to traditional NSAIDs. Still, NSAIDs come with a number of side effects that cannabis-based medicines do not.

More research is definitely necessary to determine CBG’s true medical potential – as well as how to utilize it effectively – but it’s good to hear that other chemicals in marijuana besides THC and CBD could be helping patients, even without their knowledge.

Not to mention – without CBG – most of these cannabinoids wouldn’t be around to begin with.

  • Kordian O Wieczorek


  • burtcohen

    Maybe the pleasant effects are nature’s way of getting us to ingest this beneficial compound.

  • Matt Matt

    There is actually a lot of incorrect stuff in this article. Apart from the fact that it neglects to speak about these cannabinoids in their acidic form which is actually how they are produced. The diagram that accompanies it depicts CBG convert to CBD and then to THC. But this is not what happens. For one this it is generally CBGA converting into CBDA. But also CBGA/CBG converts into either THCA, CBDA or CBCA. It doesn’t convert into CBD and then into THC. It converts into one or the other, or CBC.
    So this article should actually be referring to CBG as CBGA when it speaks about it being produced by the plant as the “stem cell”, it should be referring to them in their proper acidic terms as the “A” is only lost when decarboxylation takes place which generally does not occur prior to cropping.
    CBGA will convert to either CBDA, THCA or CBCA. It doesn’t convert to CBDA and then convert to THCA. If it converts to CBDA then it will remain on the CBDA path. It can be decarbed to CBD. Just as if CBGA converts to THCA it can only be decarbed to THC, or oxidised to CBN (or CBNA if direct from THCA). But it will only be on the THCA branch, it cannot then be converted to CBDA/CBD.
    The acidic aspect is important to differentiate as acidic cannabinoids and their neutral counter parts are not interchangeable with regards to their effects, they are very different. And CBDA or CBD does not and cannot convert to THCA or THC. Once CBGA has converted to either THCA, CBDA, or CBCA it will remain on that branch and only convert to cannabinoids that are part of that branch. So if CBGA converts to THCA it can then decarb to THC or degrade to CBNA or CBN. If it converts to the CBCA branch then it can only convert to cannabinoids that are part of that branch. So CBCA can convert to CBC through decarb or degrade to CBL, but it won’t convert to a separate branch.
    CBGA/CBG is the stem cell of all cannabinoids but once it branches off it stays on that path. So if it converts to THCA it can only then convert to cannabinoids that are part of the THCA branch, it cannot convert to CBD or CBC as they are part of different branches

    • Bongstar420

      I don’t believe CBC is an “end product” necessarily. I wager people still haven’t got the biosynthetic relationships accurate.

      My high CBD cuts all have a high CBC/CBG ratio while my high THC cuts have low CBC/CBG ratio’s or CBC is absent.

      Also, CBC/CBG declines with maturity and so does THC and CBD without producing CBN. Its highly unlikely “natural” material will have CBNA in it.

      But yes, CBGA is more correctly to be considered the precursor for THCA or CBDA.

      I don’t believe differentiating the acidic components is important because most people want to get high and those components either yield no high or antagonize it.

      • Matt Matt

        I think it is important to differentiate the neutral cannabinoids from their acidic precursors because the medicinal effects are very different. While the high is only relevant to THCA vs THC, the differences between cannabinoids in their neutral or acidic state is important enough for them to be differentiated, in my opinion, because their medicinal applications are not interchangeable.

        For example decarboxylation is important to understand not just for the purpose of getting high, when dealing with THC, but also with the medicinal effects. For example the medicinal application of THC that involve the activation of CB receptors does not apply to THCA as THCA is not able to activate these receptors and actually acts through totally different pathways.

        I am not actually aware of the lab process that allows THC to be made from CBD, but I was only referring to natural processes and pathways, including decarboxylation and oxidisation

        • Bongstar420

          My point is that consumers don’t actually care about that and therefore there is no point to investing time and resources into developing such materials or quantifying them at all.

          No one is paying me a premium for 100% more CBG or CBC then the stuff they have on the shelf.

          I don’t make more money nor to I get more volume selling CBDA tincture vs CBD tincture..