The non-psychoactive compound cannabigerol (CBG) is one of many lesser-known cannabinoids found in cannabis that has come under the spotlight in recent years. It was discovered along with many other cannabinoids during the 1960s, but so far there has been little conducted on CBG alone.
We don't find large quantities of CBG in most commercial cannabis strains (most test at levels of 1% CBG or less) because you can only collect it during the earliest stages of the plant's flowering cycle. To understand why this is the case is to understand the importance of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), the acidic form and precursor of CBG.
CBGA is the first cannabinoid produced in the trichomes that coat cannabis flowers, and as the buds mature this compound naturally converts into three new acidic forms of cannabinoids: cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). By the time flowers are ready for harvest, very little CBGA remains to become CBG through decarboxylation.
We know CBG provides relief from a range of ailments such as pain, dry skin conditions, glaucoma, as well as feelings of depression and anxiety. It is also known to have anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties. However, CBG has recently garnered much attention for the promise it shows in treating complicated, chronic conditions such as Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, and several cancers.
For example, in 2014 a team of Italian scientists studying colon cancer found CBG “promoted apoptosis...and reduced cell growth in CRC (colorectal cancer) cells” and recommended that “CBG should be considered translationally in CRC prevention and cure.” We also know it is effective against bladder, lung, liver, ovarian, pancreatic, skin, and breast cancers.
Another exciting discovery came in 2015 when a research team at the Complutense University of Madrid studying CBG's effect on mice with Huntington's Disease found the compound “was extremely active as neuroprotectant in mice intoxicated with 3-nitropropionate (3NP)...and improved the levels of antioxidant defenses that were also significantly reduced by 3NP.” As research continues we learn more about how to use CBG to our benefit and develop strains that produce larger quantities of the compound.