Since antiquity, humankind has exploited cannabis for its medicinal and recreational attributes. Only in recent years have we begun to understand the range of health benefits it can offer. Of course, we cannot fail to mention the cannabis-friendly atmosphere that has allowed cannabis research to blossom.
As the cannabinoid industry continues its upward growth, more people are taking note of its immense potential. As a result, the pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids has become quite an interesting field of study.
One of the common reasons cited for cannabis use is stress relief. So, we take a deep dive into cannabis to learn more about the compounds responsible for this effect.
- CBG is the "mother of all cannabinoids" – its acidic form is the precursor for many other cannabinoids.
- CBN is an oxidized form of ∆9-THC, which explains why it is found in aged cannabis matter.
- Both cannabinoids are non-psychoactive.
- Research on these cannabinoids is ongoing, but existing findings on their pharmacological profiles are exciting.
- Taking cannabinoids together enhances their effectiveness due to the "entourage effect."
What is CBG
Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of the "big four" cannabinoids in cannabis. It is a decarboxylated form of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), regarded as the "mother of all cannabinoids."
CBG is a major cannabinoid though it constitutes roughly 1% of the total cannabinoid content in cannabis. That's because, during plant growth, CBGA predominantly converts to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) – the two major cannabinoids.
However, strains with lower ∆9-THC and CBD content typically have other cannabinoids in slightly higher concentrations. Such strains are likely to be rich in CBG.
Research on CBG is ongoing, so there are no concrete conclusions regarding its pharmacological properties and potential health benefits. That said, it is thought to have a weak affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors in vitro. However, its interaction with CB1 receptors resembles CBD, so it has no psychoactive effects.
Also, it appears to be unique among other cannabinoids due to its affinity for adrenergic and serotonin receptors.
Where does CBG come from
CBG comes from cannabigerolic acid – the precursor compound for other cannabinoids like CBD and THC in cannabis. It may also interest you that besides cannabis, CBG has also been extracted from Helichrysum umbraculigerum. This plant is considered a richer source of CBG than most cannabis strains.
What are the benefits of CBG
Because CBG interacts with CB1 receptors in a similar fashion to CBD, researchers contend it might have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Such findings support the possibility of developing cannabinoid drugs with no psychoactive properties.
CBG might also possess antibiotic effects and reduce intraocular pressure, making it potentially helpful in managing glaucoma.
A study that evaluated CBG's effect on tumors showed it demonstrated "significant antitumor efficacy against mouse skin melanoma cells in vitro." This makes CBG a potential candidate for developing novel drugs to prevent, treat or control conditions where abnormal cell growth represents a threat.
Compared to other cannabinoids, CBG exhibits the most potent ability to prevent platelet aggregation. This property makes it a potential candidate for treating cardiovascular diseases.
Finally, a 2011 experiment showed that CBG might help reduce nausea. The opposing effects of CBG and CBD at the 5HT1A receptors underpin the ability of CBG to reverse the emetic and nauseous effects of CBD.
Even though such research findings highlight the vast therapeutic potential of CBG, extensive work is still needed before its clinical benefits can be conclusive. This is reinforced by the fact that there is minimal material on CBG's pharmacodynamics/pharmacokinetics in humans.
What are the effects of CBG
CBG's pharmacological profile continues to stimulate interest in its potential as a foundational molecular structure for developing effective novel drugs. Growing knowledge of its multifaceted pharmacology suggests that this phytocannabinoid might have help with:
CBG may possess pain-relief properties more potent than THC or CBD. Its affinity for the CB1 receptor, though weak, may explain this effect.
Treatment for anxiety and depression
It is widely accepted in science that cannabinoids can affect our emotions and behavior. THC is probably an excellent example of such a cannabinoid.
However, CBG may also be anxiolytic due to its antagonistic interaction with the 5HT1A receptor. As a result, researchers contend that it could be responsible for cannabis' anti-anxiety effects.
Reducing pressure caused by glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition that affects eye fluid pressure. In a healthy eye, the outward flow of the aqueous humor is reciprocated by an equal inward flow. This helps maintain stable pressure. The fluid pressure of a normal eye ranges between 10 and 20 millimeters of mercury.
Smoking cannabis can contribute to lower intraocular pressure (IOP). Similarly, experiments with CBN and CBG have shown that they have a moderate effect on IOP in lower doses. However, unlike THC, these cannabinoids do not cause side effects like hyperemia and conjunctival erythema. These findings suggest that CBN and CBG can reduce ocular tension.
But unlike THC and CBN which can cause neurotoxicity and ocular toxicity, CBG does not produce this effect. A large percentage of medicines used to treat glaucoma work by suppressing the release of the aqueous humor. For this reason, CBG may be a suitable anti-glaucoma agent, especially when used with drugs that enhance aqueous outflow.
Due to its non-psychoactivity, CBG is an interesting agent in developing drugs for diseases of the central nervous system.
The neuroprotective effects of CBD and CBG have been studied in rat models with simulated neurotoxicity and oxidative stress. Both cannabinoids were shown to exert antioxidant activity in cells lining the CNS. They also restored serotonin content in the cortex.
A similar experiment on humans showed that CBG reduced the proliferation of pro-inflammatory proteins and DNA damage protein levels in astrocytes.
More research on the neuroprotective effects of CBG undertaken in rats with Huntington's disease showed it aided significant recovery by, among other things, improving motor function, preserving striatal neurons, attenuating microgliosis, and reducing inflammatory markers.
Moreover, a synthetic version of CBG called cannabigerol quinone VCE-003 has also been shown to reduce neuron cell excitability and the release of pro-inflammatory agents. It also improved symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis.
VCE-003 has also been investigated in pathological models of Parkinson's (in vivo) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (in vivo). In both cases, it exhibited varying pharmacological effects that underlined its neuroprotective properties.
Antibacterial properties that could fight antibiotic-resistant strains
Like other major cannabinoids (THC, CBC, CBD, and CBN), CBG shows potent antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant strains of bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus. This has led to suggestions that it could potentially be valuable in addressing drug-resistant bacteria.
Other studies also highlight its antibacterial activity against Streptococcus mutans. Moreover, healthcare personnel will undoubtedly take note of the finding that CBG may prevent bacterial biofilm. This is a key contributor to the contamination of medical devices leading to chronic infections.
Reduction of inflammation
A recent study showed that three CBG derivatives, i.e., HUM-223, HUM-233, and HUM-234, display analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. HUM-234 also demonstrates the capability to suppress the development of obesity in mice on a high-fat diet.
The "munchies" has always been attributed to ∆9-THC. However, it also appears CBG may be an appetite stimulant. Two separate rat studies1 2 showed that CBG doses of 30 and 240mg/kg increased feeding behavior without affecting motor activity.
Because metabolic dysfunction, anorexia, and muscle loss are common side effects of cytotoxic drugs, cannabinoids present new possibilities for treating oncologic patients without such side effects. Moreover, CBG may reduce anorexia, metabolic dysfunction, and weight loss associated with cisplatin – a drug used in chemotherapy.
What is CBN
CBN stands for cannabinol – a cannabinoid derivative of ∆9-THC. It forms when ∆9-THC undergoes oxidation, so it is found chiefly in aging cannabis.
Like THC, CBN shows a partial affinity for the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It also exhibits activity at the TRP ion channels and can inhibit the reuptake of monoamine transmitters like norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.
Despite its little-known status, CBN is the first cannabinoid isolated and identified from cannabis. This was likely due to the poor storage conditions that characterized cannabis transportation in the early days.
Since it is an oxidized form of ∆9-THC, CBN is slightly psychoactive. Researchers contend its potency is roughly 25% of ∆9-THC.
Where does CBN come from
Like most cannabinoids, CBN comes from cannabis, but it is not synthesized directly by the plant. Instead, it is the result of an oxidation process involving ∆9-THC.
Naturally, CBN exists in extremely low concentrations in live/raw cannabis material. So, modern methods like the Soxhlet extraction method are used to synthesize CBN. To date, the cheapest and most effective way to synthesize CBN is ∆9-THC aromatization.
Of all known cannabinoids, CBN is probably the most chemically stable. The discovery of plant material dating back to 750 BC in a tomb containing high levels of the cannabinoid highlights its extraordinary stability.
What are the benefits of CBN
The potential health benefits of CBN are easier to understand by elucidating its pharmacological profile. Though it comes from ∆9-THC, CBN demonstrates a weak affinity for the CB1 receptor. Instead, it preferentially binds to the CB2 receptor predominantly expressed in the immune system.
Due to its low affinity for the CB1 receptor, CBN has a weak effect on the central nervous system. Still, its pharmacological attributes reveal promising insights into its biological profile.
Analgesic and anti-inflammatory
CBN displays analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be valuable in pain management. Research studies suggest that CBN may mitigate various pain disorders by reducing mechanical sensitivity when co-administered with CBD.
Other experiments suggest this cannabinoid could suppress the production of pro-inflammatory agents, e.g., interleukins 2 to 13, and prevent mucus production. This classifies CBN as a potential agent in developing remedies for respiratory allergies.
Similar to other cannabinoids that display efficacy against several drug-resistant bacteria, CBN also seems to possess antibacterial properties.
Research shows that CBN is "highly effective" against a number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
Besides stimulating hyperphagia, CBN demonstrates the ability to increase food consumption and feeding time in murine models. Since it is not a narcotic, this phytocannabinoid may have potential value in medical cases where appetite stimulation is beneficial.
An ongoing study has shown CBN to be effective in treating epidermolysis bullosa – a rare medical condition defined by easy blistering of the mucus membrane and skin. Currently in phase II, this study shows that the CBN-based formulation is well-tolerated on open skin wounds, with no systemic side effects.
For unclear reasons, CBN induces sleep hence its "sleepy cannabinoid in old weed" nickname. However, there are no scientific explanations for this claim despite a study showing that doses of less than 5mg/kg may cause drowsiness.
However, a combination of ∆9-THC and CBN was shown to "increase sedation synergistically," – an observation replicated in another small-sample clinical trial. Though the side effects of ∆9-THC, e.g., increased heart rate and low body temperature, were not altered, there were "modest" increases in dizziness and drowsiness.
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However, CBN's sleep-inducing properties remain unsubstantiated at this time.
What are the effects of CBN
CBN may be closely related to ∆9-THC, but it does not have the psychotomimetic effects of the latter. So, it is unlikely to induce a noticeable "high” much in the same way as THCV.
Difference between CBG and CBN
It is much easier to highlight the similarities between CBN and CBD rather than their differences. Nonetheless, a significant difference between these cannabinoids relates to how they are synthesized in cannabis.
CBG is what remains when cannabigerolic acid converts to other cannabinoids, e.g., THC, CBD, and CBC, etc. On the other hand, CBN is a by-product of the oxidation of ∆9-THC, which happens when ∆9-THC is exposed to light.
Is CBN stronger than CBG
No, CBN and CBG have unique properties that set them apart. However, neither is stronger, even though CBN may be mildly psychoactive considering its interaction with the CB1 receptor.
CBG Vs. CBN: Do They Get You High?
CBN and CBG are non-psychoactive, so they are unlikely to induce a "high." But people experience cannabinoids differently, and some might feel mild effects with CBN.
CBG vs CBN for Anxiety
CBG may be suitable for anxiety thanks to its anxiolytic properties. However, it is generally accepted that cannabinoids work better together than alone due to the "entourage effect." The bringing together of different pharmacological effects of cannabinoids underlines the idea that "the whole is more than the sum of its parts."
Can you take CBN and CBG together
Sure, why not? CBN and CBG are natural cannabinoids in cannabis. So if you have smoked a joint or consumed a full-spectrum cannabis product, you've probably taken these two together!
Where to buy CBN for a great night's sleep online
Hemp products are available in most states today, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. However, ready availability does not mean they are high-quality, effective, and safe. The fledgling hemp industry is marred with lots of malpractices, meaning online companies like Dragon Hemp are your best bet.Dragon Hemp produces an array of effective, clean, safe hemp products, which you can check out via this link. Our ingredients are organically grown, vegan and low-sugar to mirror our commitment to creating products that really work!