Cannabigerol CBG: The main precursor to all cannabinoids

What is CBG?

  • Name: Cannabigerol
  • Formula: C21H32O2
  • IUPAC name: 2-[(2E)-3,7-dimethylocta-2,6-dienyl]-5-pentylbenzene-1,3-diol
  • Molecular mass: 316,48 g/mol
  • Boiling point: Not available
  • Appearance: White powder/crystals

Discovered by Gaoni and Mechoulam in 1964, CBG, or cannabigerol is one of the cannabinoids exclusively produced by the cannabis plant, which is stored in the trichome heads with the rest of the cannabinoids and terpenes. While the CBG content in most plants is often low or very low - in most cases lower than 1% - this particular compound is crucial for cannabinoid synthesis, as we have known for the past 4 decades ( (Shoyama, Yagi and Nishioka, Phytochemistry Journal, October 1975). As a general rule, hemp contains higher amounts of CBG than commercial, narcotic cannabis strains.

CBG is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid, which means it is produced by plants and does not "get you high". It is believed that it has multiple medicinal properties that can be used to treat different conditions, and is also a precursor - its acid form, to be exact - to the main cannabinoids (THCA, CBDA, CBCA) secreted in the trichome heads, which in turn explains the low percentage of CBG found in mature plants when compared to their THC or CBD content.

CBG (cannabigerol) molecule
CBG (cannabigerol) molecule

CBG and the synthesis of cannabinoids

Cannabinoid synthesis in marijuana plants starts with the production of cannabigerolic acid or CBGA - the acid form of CBG, whose formula is C22H32O4 - in the trichome heads from the combination of olivetolic acid (and/or divarinic acid) and geranyl pyrophosphate (the combination with divarinic acid produces cannabigevarolic acid or CBGVA). After a series of reactions caused by the production of specific synthases (enzymes)- which are named depending on the cannabinoid they produce - CBGA is transformed into the acid form of the three main cannabinoids:

  • THCA or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, which is produced from the enzyme THCA-synthase
  • CBDA or cannabidiolic acid, produced by the action of the enzyme CBDA-synthase
  • CBCA or cannabichromenic acid, which is produced by the enzyme CBCA-synthase

As we mentioned, this rapid transformation explains the low CBG content found in cannabis strains, while the THC and CBD content is normally much higher. If cannabinoids produced from CBGA (THCA, CBDA, CBCA) are heated or aged (UV light), they'll lose a CO2 molecule and will turn into their active, decarbed form, THC, CBD, and CBC, a process called decarboxylation.

Normally, hemp strains contain more CBG than narcotic cannabis varieties. According to studies, this could be caused by a recessive gene that inhibits the production of some of the aforementioned synthases, so that most CBG produced will not be transformed into other cannabinoids by these enzymes.

Cannabinoid synthesis from CBGA
Cannabinoid synthesis from CBGA

In this way, and by using this recessive gene, some cannabis breeders are developing CBG-rich strains just in the same way they first produced THC hybrids and then CBD strains. Thus, breeders are already developing new genetics with high CBG content, as is the case with Pure CBG by Philosopher Seeds or CBG-Force by Dutch Passion. Moreover, and if you're interested in getting higher CBG ratios, recent studies show that CBG content is higher a few weeks prior to what we understand as optimal harvest point, around week 6 in strains that we'd normally harvest by week 8.

Properties and effects of cannabigerol (CBG)

Until today, the therapeutic properties of CBG have not been studied as thoroughly as those of other compounds produced by the cannabis plant, like THC or CBD. Despite that fact, and as happens with cannabinol (CBN), there is a growing interest in these secondary molecules, with an increasing number of scientific studies about them. Next, we highlight the most important and well-documented medicinal effects of CBG:

  • Reduction of intraocular pressure (Glaucoma)
  • Antibiotic and antibacterial effect (probably, the most efficient cannabinoid in this regard)
  • Prevention of colon carcinogenesis
  • Inhibits growth of cancer cells
  • Inflammations of the digestive system (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, bowel inflammation)
  • Relief of pain and anxiety
  • Neuroprotective properties (multiple sclerosis, Huntington's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions)
  • Antiseptic properties (treatment of MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
  • Inhibits the uptake of GABA (anxiety, muscle tension)
  • Stimulates appetite (cachexia)
  • Stimulates bone formation and healing
  • Antispasmodic effect (Dravet syndrome, epilepsy)

As often happens, the effects of CBG are enhanced when used along with other cannabinoids and terpenes, in what is called entourage effect. CBG is classified as an antagonist of the CB-1 receptor, which affects the central nervous system. That's why it is believed that it could counter the effects of THC. Furthermore, it has been proved that CBG also affects the CB-2 receptor, although more studies are needed in order to determine whether it promotes or inhibits the activity of this receptor.

Cannabigerol (CBG) has neuroprotective properties
Cannabigerol (CBG) has neuroprotective properties

The future of CBG

As we mentioned before, cannabis breeders are already developing strains rich in CBG. While it is hard to believe that they'll reach the THC or CBD content of existing varieties, the appearance of these genetics will surely facilitate the production of CBG extracts, also the creation of strains with wider cannabinoid content. It is believed that CBG produces a more balanced effect in narcotic cannabis strains, reducing both anxiety and the feeling of "being high". Varieties like CBG Zerodue, Eboshi CBG, or Sologerol CBG Auto have very high CBG content.

Scientific research also glimpses a very interesting future for CBG as an insecticide and fungicide. Indeed, it efficiently repels insects when combined with limonene, and is a great fungicide when combined with caryophyllene, a sesquiterpene commonly found in different plants.

Without a doubt, we're facing a very special moment in regard to cannabinoid research. More and more data is being collected from the scientific community, which demonstrates the high therapeutic potential of these molecules and grants them a very promising future in preventing and treating a large number of medical conditions and symptoms.

CBG products, extracts, and concentrates

Today, and as happens with CBD products, you can find several CBG extracts and concentrates, something unimaginable just a few years ago. We hope this knowledge flow about these interesting compounds will not cease!

Studies and publications on CBG consulted for the writing of this article:

The articles published by Alchimiaweb, S.L. are reserved for adult clients only. We would like to remind our customers that cannabis seeds are not listed in the European Community catalogue. They are products intended for genetic conservation and collecting, in no case for cultivation. In some countries it is strictly forbidden to germinate cannabis seeds, other than those authorised by the European Union. We recommend our customers not to infringe the law in any way, we are not responsible for their use.

Comments in “Cannabigerol CBG: The main precursor to all cannabinoids” (4)


Ken 2021-10-01
Do we know when the CBGa cannabinoid first appears in the plant? Do we know when the plant begins to synthesize the other cannabinoids?


moustress 2020-08-18
As a user of CBD high hemp flower with great results in reducing daily symptoms of anxiety depression, and osteoarthritis. I was very interested in trying high CBG hemp flower. So far I think it helps me get to sleep quicker. I also think it gives me the munchies. I noticed five years ago that, while the marijuana was high in THC, it was missing some components of the wacky, hungry high folks got from weed that had maybe 5% THC. Where did the laughter, the joy of having the perfect snackage on hand, go? One can smoke a mixture of all three kinds of weed and get a lovely high without anxiety, or any other problem. The non marijuana gives me most of what folks remember. It's a good thing.


Joe Martinez 2019-04-10
My daughter is 18 yrs old. She had been suffering with Depression, Anxiety and was a "Cutter" . She started taking Prime My Body - "RECEPT" CBD/CBG Oil and within a period of 4 Months she has had a Total 180 !! Her before & after EVOC Brain Scans are Night & Day !! My doctor thought that it would take at least 2 years to see results, but 4 months was MIRACLE. My wife & I started to noticed the changes after 2-weeks. We now have our Baby Girl back. I highly recommend this product. All Natural with No Side Affects. Can't say that about any Pharmaceutical Drug. Do your "DUE DILIGENCE" and please share with friends and family.

Alchimia Staff

Tim Alchimia 2019-04-11
Hi Joe, thanks for sharing your story, we're really happy to hear about your daughter's improvement, this really is a wonderful plant!


James Reynolds 2018-10-06
As at trained feminized Cannabis Seed Breeder I would be thrilled to take my 30+ years experience and focus on developing a industrial scale CBG breeding program! Multiple professional references always available. James Reynolds Master Breeder Phytonyx Co. Ashland, OR

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