What is Cannabigerol (CBG)?

Nordic Oil CBG crystals

Cannabigerol or CBG is a non-psychoactive compound that is naturally present in the cannabis plant.

Several studies highlight the difficulty in the classification of the compounds present in the cannabis plant due to the genetic variability. This is the challenge that is progressively addressed.

Let me give you an example. Would you believe me if I said theobromine and theophylline is the most consumed beverage in the world?! Confused?

These are the two vital compounds found in Tea. Quite simple, is it not?!

Therefore, in this article, I am going to try and make it simple and easy to help you understand about CBG. I am happy to share this open-minded discussion on the different compounds of Cannabis plants. Because studies on cannabis are increasingly applied in a multitude of domains, including folk medicine, pharmaceuticals, construction, recreational use, forensic science, genetic engineering, and textile fiber, bioplastic, and more.

While we expand our awareness and knowledge in science, at the same time, we need to try and apply this in our day to day lives.

Genetics of CBG

Reports claim that CBG is the precursor to the more commonly known cannabinoids CBD and THC. In the post, what is CBN? We understood that it is the non-enzymatic oxidation by-product of THC that is derived after prolonged storage at high temperatures.

Conversely, CBG is the compound that is present in the cannabis plant. Moreover, it is accumulated in certain types of cannabis Sativa L. But what is cannabis Sativa L?

‘Cannabis’ is the name of the plant. ‘Sativa’ means ‘sown’ indicating the cultivated form of the plant, and ‘L’ refers to Carolus Linneaeus, the Swedish botanist who was the first to scientifically classify this herb in the year 1745.

A 2005 research that focussed on the study of CBG reports that plants that have a strong CBG potent have been found in different fiber hemp accessions. This is because cannabis research that focussed on evaluating its medicinal properties has classified them into several phenotypes.

Phenotype classifications are based on their height, color, and length of leaf, including their chemical constituency.

A 2016 study reports that in 1971, cannabis was first characterized into two phenotypes.

  • Drug Type
  • Fiber Type

Firstly, When the THC: CBD ratio is > 1, it was classified under the drug type.

Secondly, when the ratio is < 1, it got grouped in the fiber type category. Studies that succeeded, added that if THC: CBD was close to 1 was called an intermediate category.

In 1987, another finding contributed about one more chemical variation that had very low THC and CBD but with a predominant constituent, CBG.

Similarly, a 2018 study reported three Species:

  • a fiber-type, named C. Sativa L.,
  • a drug-type, characterized by high levels of the psychoactive compound THC (Δ9-THC), named C. indica Lam.,
  • and that had intermediate properties, named C. ruderalis Janisch.

Moreover, this study further added that the fiber type ( C.Sativa) is divided into five different chemotypes ( based on their cannabinoid composition).

The table below would aid assist in easy understanding.

Chemotype Characteristics Usage
I drug type plants with a predominance of Δ9-THC-type cannabinoids -Medicinal or recreational purposes,
-Most investigated
II plants with intermediate characteristics between drug-type and fiber-type plants -Textile or food purpose
fiber-type plants containing high levels of nonpsychoactive cannabinoids and very low amounts of psychoactive ones Textile or food purposes
– Contain cannabinoid acids, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), followed by their decarboxylated forms: cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG)
V fiber-type plants containing almost no cannabinoids – European countries have approved for commercial use.
-The Commercial value of hemp and a legal limit of 0.2-0.3% THC is usually applied.

Therefore, the different cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant possess distinct characteristics. Although the measurements of its most dominant cannabinoids THC and CBD play a prominent role, some of the other factors that contribute to this difference could be summarized as:

  • Environmental parameters, fertilization
  • Sex of the plant
  • Interaction of genes
  • Cross-breeding
  • Growth stage, harvest time
  • Storage conditions, etc

Uses of Cannabigerol

Firstly research on CBG and its potential health benefits is limited and prevailing studies that primarily discuss the genetics of CBG range from the year 2005- 2016. Hence, it is indispensable to mention that clinical studies or evidence-based research in this domain are rather slow compared to the speed at which technology is advancing. This is due to the complexity of pharmacological research.

However, studies reveal that:

  • CBG is the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid,
  • It may exert beneficial actions with therapeutic potential via cannabinoid receptors.

Therefore CBG’s potential to impact Inflammatory bowel diseases ( on animal models), Glaucoma, bladder dysfunctions, neuroprotective properties, bacterial infections, cancer conditions, appetite stimulation, are promising. But research is yet to prove CBG’s interaction in the body.

Wrap up points

  • CBG is a non-psychoactive compound and a precursor to the popular cannabinoids CBD and THC
  • Awareness about the fact that CBG is 100% THC free, is increasing and hence its applicability is getting widespread.
  • Commercial hemp varieties have CBG and CBGA as the predominant cannabinoids
  • It is considered to be used in the unregulated market for hemp oils and derivates
  • CBG Crystalls can be easily infused in drinks or foods as it does not alter the taste.
  • Large scale research and studies are essential to present the potential pharmacological benefits of phytocannabinoids that includes CBG, CBN, CBC, and CBDV.
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