The Mother Of All Cannabinoids: The Cannabis Nurse On the Health Benefits of CBG
PART I - Meredith Patterson RN
As I become better acquainted with cannabinoids, I find myself revisiting the marvels of homeostasis, the body’s self-regulatory automatic mechanism of running checks and balances to ensure equilibrium. Homeostasis is a tremendous thing – imagine having to think about initiating perspiration every time you exercise vigorously, or ask your blood to coagulate after a cut. The human endocannabinoid system helps regulate homeostasis—so when homeostasis goes haywire, adding plant-derived cannabinoids can help right the ship. Today, we’ll look at the grand matriarch of the cannabis family and its role in human health. Cannabinoids – we’ve met your mother, and her name is Cannabigerol.
All cannabinoids start off as CBG
Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that acts as a chemical precursor to other cannabinoids, including THC and CBD. CBG is considered to be the ‘mother’ of the other cannabinoids because it is the first cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant. CBG starts off as CBGA (the raw or “acidic” form version of the compound). CBGA then combines with enzymes to render THC, CBD or CBC (also from their acidic forms) later in the flowering cycle.
Let’s rewind just a bit to explain what is meant by acidic forms of cannabis compounds. In the young days of the plant’s growth cycle, cannabis compounds have a different molecular design. When heat is applied in processing the plant (as in drying, smoking or cooking), the end-result compounds we are so familiar with are produced. Such is the process known as decarboxylation, well known to growers and breeders.
But alas, as the conversion from CBG to THC and CBD takes place in the cycle of flower growth, CBG loses its influence and is present only in trace amounts in most cannabis strains (isn’t that just like kids to take over their mother’s lives?) Indeed, some breeders are looking to block the conversion to render higher percentages of CBG for its potential health benefits, which we’ll explore later in this article.
How CBG works on receptors
In a recent blog, https://gbsciences.com/2018/10/10/cbd-receptors/ , I described the various cell receptors throughout the brain and body as parts of a giant switchboard, switching various body processes on and off. Like other cannabinoids, CBG interacts with a few key receptors that modulate important body and brain responses.
One such receptor, found in the brain stem and the peripheral nerves, is called the alpha-2 receptor. On its own, this receptor is heavily involved with the regulation of the parasympathetic (calming) and sympathetic (excitable) nervous systems as well as blood vessel dilatation or constriction. Think of how the body and mind spring to action when faced with a “flight or fight” situation – jumping up excitedly, heart pounding and mind racing, followed by a quick return-to-normal state after the threat has passed. When CBG binds to alpha -2 it mimics the parasympathetic system, lowering blood pressure, decreasing stress and anxiety.
CBG also blocks a brain-based receptor called 5HT1A receptor which is involved with the regulation of serotonin. Serotonin is an especially important neurotransmitter in mental health because it is our “feel good” mood neurotransmitter, heavily associated with the chemistry underlying depression. Aside from being a stress-buster, blocking the 5HT1A receptor has been shown to improve learning and memory in animal studies.
And finally, CBG inhibits the reuptake of anandamide. In case you’ve forgotten, anandamide is one of our own endocannabinoids, known by its street moniker, the “bliss hormone”. CBG allows the effect of anandamide to last longer. And as far as I know there’s no such thing as too much bliss!
I’ll continue the conversation about cannabinoids in my next blog post. More to come!
About GB Sciences, Inc.
GB Sciences, Inc. (OTCQB: GBLX) is a diverse cannabis company, focused on biopharmaceutical research and development, as well as standardized cultivation and production methods. The Company’s goal is creating safe, standardized, pharmaceutical-grade, cannabinoid therapies that target a variety of medical conditions. To learn more about GB Sciences, Inc., go to: http://gbsciences.com.
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