Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in the Cannabis genus of plants, as well as certain other plants including Helichrysum umbraculigerum. CBG is the non-acidic form of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), the parent molecule (“mother cannabinoid”) from which many other cannabinoids are made. By the time most strains of cannabis reach maturity, most of the CBG has been converted into other cannabinoids, primarily tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), usually leaving somewhere below 1% CBG in the plant.
CBG has been found to act as a high affinity α2-adrenergic receptor agonist, moderate affinity 5-HT1A receptor antagonist, and low affinity CB1 receptor antagonist. It also binds to the CB2 receptor as an antagonist. CBG does not trigger THC-like activity in mice, rats, gerbils and non-human primates, consistent with it being non-intoxicating.  Moreover, CBG was without effect up to 80 mg/kg in the mouse tetrad test of cannabimimetic activity (locomotor suppression, catalepsy, hypothermia and analgesia).
CBG has potential for alleviating pain, especially neuropathic pain where tests suggest a higher efficacy than CBD. CBG can also inhibit the uptake of GABA in the brain, which can decrease anxiety and muscle tension with tests on mice showing that CBG induces antidepressant effects similar to imipramine.
Inflammation, digestive conditions
CBG induces production of the body’s natural skin moisturizers, holding promise for dry-skin syndromes and with the potential to treat other skin conditions.
CBG is showing promising properties in vitro for the potential treatment of a broad range of cancers including breast, liver, lung, pancreatic, skin, ovarian, renal, bladder and colon cancer.
CBG is not scheduled by the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
CBG is not scheduled at the federal level in the United States unless it is produced from those parts of the Marijuana plant that are scheduled.
THC is the only naturally-occurring cannabinoid which is scheduled in its own right at the federal level in the United States (the state scheduling laws closely follow the federal ones, with exceptions carved out in those states where medical or recreational cannabis are legal). All other naturally-occurring cannabinoids are not scheduled in their own right.
In addition, the Marijuana plant (genus Cannabis sativa L.) is scheduled (although certain parts, such as the seeds and mature stalks, are excluded). Any compound or extract, to the extent that it originated from the scheduled parts of the Marijuana plant, is also scheduled (including for example everyday substances such as sucrose, if derived from Marijuana). On the other hand, other than THC, all naturally-occurring cannabinoids, including CBG, are not scheduled if they were not produced from the scheduled parts of the Marijuana plant. Similarly, synthetic or biosynthesized CBG is not scheduled.
The DEA has made certain public statements that help clarify the status of cannabinoids, including:
- “if a product, such as oil from cannabis seeds, consisted solely of parts of the cannabis plant excluded from the CSA definition of marijuana, such product would not be included in the new drug code [Marijuana Extract] (7350) or in the drug code for marijuana (7360), even if it contained trace amounts of cannabinoids… Nor would such a product be included under drug code 7370 (tetrahydrocannabinols).”
- “cannabinoids are controlled [only] to the extent that they are found in non-exempt parts of the cannabis plant” and “DEA is not seeking to schedule cannabinoids.”
The biosynthesis of CBG begins by loading hexanoyl-CoA onto a polyketide synthase assembly protein and subsequent condensation with three molecules of malonyl-CoA. This polyketide is cyclized to olivetolic acid via olivetolic acid cyclase, and then prenylated with a ten carbon isoprenoid precursor, geranyl pyrophosphate (GPP), using an aromatic prenyltransferase enzyme, geranyl-pyrophosphate—olivetolic acid geranyltransferase, to biosynthesize cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which can then be decarboxylated to yield cannabigerol.