Cannabis plants contain more than a hundred cannabinoids along with a handful of terpenes. Among the cannabinoids are the well-known THC and CBD. That much you probably knew already. But what about CBG? Have you heard anything about it? And if so, what have you heard?
Interest in CBG is quickly growing. Researchers trying to understand how phyto-cannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids) come to be, have discovered some interesting things about CBG. We still don’t know a lot about its potential medical benefits, but researchers are looking into that too.
CBG has been referred to as the ‘mother of all cannabinoids’ due to its relationship with the other cannabinoids in a cannabis plant. To understand this, we need to go back and first discuss the difference between cannabinoids and cannabinoid acids.
Cannabinoids do not actually occur naturally in plants. Plants give us cannabinoid acids. Before you can have THC, you need to have THCA. Likewise, you start with CBDA to produce CBD. How do you get from cannabinoid acid to active cannabinoid? Through decarboxylation.
Decarboxylation is the process of separating the carboxyl group from a cannabinoid acid. The easiest way to do that is to apply heat. That’s why burning cannabis plant material produces THC. Heat from the combustion process decarboxylates the plant’s cannabinoid acids in real time.
That brings us back to CBG. It also doesn’t occur naturally in cannabis plants. Rather, plants produce CBGA. That’s good to know. But it still doesn’t explain why CBGA is the mother of all cannabinoids.
Now we get to the fun part. Cannabis plants normally produce tons of CBGA in their trichomes. It turns out that CBGA is the precursor to all other cannabinoid acids. In other words, a cannabis plant naturally produces CBGA. When enzymes are applied to that CBGA, it is transformed into other cannabinoid acids.
That means some of a plant’s CBGA gets converted into CBDA. Some of it could get transformed into THCA as well. All the cannabinoid acids you can extract from plant material were derived from CBGA.
Growing interest in the medical potential of CBG is causing quite a stir in the Medical Cannabis community. Here is the most important thing you need to know right now: the science is incomplete. In fact, you could say it is virtually nonexistent. It wasn’t until recently that we understood CBGA as the mother of all cannabinoid acids. No significant research has been done on the substance to date.
There have been a few small-scale studies conducted to try to understand a bit more about CBGA. For example, researchers in Oregon took a look at this substance and its potential ability to either block COVID infection or reduce the symptoms of the disease. The results were promising, but only mildly so.
The researchers did not conduct their study using either human or animal patients. Rather, they simply treated human cells with CBG in petri dishes. It was a tightly controlled study in a tightly controlled environment. While CBG did not show the ability to deal with coronavirus in that experiment, the data offers little more than a reason to conduct future studies. Results achieved with cells and a petri dish do not constitute scientifically valid data that can be used to draw conclusions.
At any rate, we now know that CBGA is the precursor for all other cannabinoid acids. That is exciting stuff. Now researchers are starting to look into whether CBGA or CBG has any medical benefits. We are betting they will discover something.