Bioactive compounds such as CBG, are ingredients that are produced in small amounts in nature and offer benefits to human health and wellness. While consumers currently desire them for their skincare benefits, they may have further potential.
A simple Google search will turn up websites touting the benefits of a wide range of bioactive compounds for nearly any ailment you can imagine. Yet there may be little truth to support these claims.
When it comes to sorting out the biological activities of compounds, scientific literature is the gold standard for validation. Journals that publish scientific papers uphold rigorous standards, facilitate review of data by experts from the broader community, and provide a valuable “gatekeeping” function from trusted editors.
To separate fact from fiction, we searched through the peer-reviewed scientific literature and dug into some of the published data behind cannabigerol (CBG). In doing so, we uncovered some key papers and claims about CBG beyond skincare.
A paper published in 2020 by Maya Farha et al. at McMaster University in Ontario, demonstrates that CBG has anti-microbial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). For those in cannabinoid circles, this paper is famous, as it uses trusted methods, is logically constructed, and clearly verifies the anti-microbial activity by testing CBG against 96 different MRSA strains.
Beyond this laboratory, many others have also demonstrated CBG activity against Gram-positive strains of bacteria (MRSA and many other clinically relevant bacteria are classified as Gram-positive).
However, Farha et al. showed that CBG could exert an effect on Gram-negative bacteria whose outer membranes are compromised. This opens the door to adding cannabigerol to existing antimicrobial compounds for more effective treatment.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Francesca Borelli et al. published their findings on the effect of CBG on a mouse model of IBS in May 2013. The researchers looked at CBG’s ability to affect several known biomarkers for IBS.
Many of the symptoms experienced in people with IBS are caused by inflammation and increased nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species in the intestines.
Borelli et al. demonstrated that treatment with cannabigerol influenced these three biomarkers. Animals treated with CBG showed reduced inflammation, nitric oxide production, and reactive oxygen species.
Ester Pagano et al. from the University of Naples Federico II researched the effects of several cannabinoids, including CBG, on bladder contractility.
Their studies demonstrated that CBG was able to decrease bladder contractions. It had the strongest result of any of the other cannabinoids tested, save Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
Of particular interest was their finding that CBG decreased bladder contractions initiated by acetylcholine but not contractions initiated with electrical stimulation. Acetylcholine is known to activate contraction of the detrusor muscle which helps empty the bladder.
Brenda Colasanti from West Virginia University Health Sciences Center North conducted a well-designed glaucoma study in 1990 demonstrating CBG can reduce intraocular pressure (IOP).
While her research showed a clear correlation between cannabigerol and reduction in IOP and is highly referenced, it has not been repeated and published. Hopefully, as researchers continue to investigate the biological activities of CBG and other cannabinoids, this data will be revisited and repeated.
Additional Studies on CBG
CBG is being studied further for other diseases. Currently, there is evidence it may affect certain pathways related to cancer, including glioblastomas. While this is preliminary data and has only been shown at the molecular level, it appears promising.
There is also hope that CBG may help with motor function and prevention of neural degeneration in diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
It’s still too early to tell if it will work in humans, but it’s exciting to see the continued and rapidly expanding scope of cannabinoid research.