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Combining Cannabinoids – The Benefits of Using CBD with CBG

combining cannabinoids
Written by Dr. Leah Zachar
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Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) both have their own unique medical benefits, and when used together, you can get the best of both worlds as well as an interesting entourage effect.

Below I will discuss each of these cannabinoids separately, and then explain why taking them together is the best way to use them. Cannabigerol (CBG) is the first cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant and is referred to as the “parent” of CBD and THC.

So let’s take a look at CBG. This cannabinoid inhibits GABA uptake more effectively than THC or CBD. GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter of the brain. This explains why CBG may be more beneficial than both CBD and THC to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, chronic lower back pain, and sports injuries.

cbd and cbg

CBG is the “parent” cannabinoid to THC and CBD

CBG is also known to stimulate the alpha-2 receptor. Alpha-2 receptor stimulation has a relaxant effect on muscles and blood vessels. This explains why CBG decreases blood pressure, improves ischemia of the heart, and reduces the intensity of opioid and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. When CBG binds to the alpha-2 receptors in the prefrontal cortex, it helps to improve working memory and executive function. Other benefits of alpha-2 stimulation include treating inflammatory bowel disease and colitis.

Additionally, CBG blocks the 5HT1A receptor while stimulating the TRPV1 and TRPV2 receptors. Blocking the 5HT1A receptor has been shown to improve learning and memory in rodents. As a result, CBG is now being studied as a novel treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Activation of the TRPV1 receptor, which is also seen in capsaicin, makes CBG a viable option for reducing pain. Activation of the TRPV2 receptor can reduce pain, but it also regulates glucose levels (the goal of diabetic management), improves heart cell function, reduces seizure activity, and helps our cells fight and destroy bacteria. On that same coin, CBG blocks the TRPV8 receptor. Therefore, similar to menthol, it decreases sensitivity to cold and reduces cold-induced inflammation.

A few more notes about this cannabinoid, CBG stimulates PPARgamma resulting in a decrease of pulmonary inflammation caused by asthma. CBG also stimulate GPR55, and as a result, there is a reduction in inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain. Furthermore, there is improvement in bone strength and bone mass. And finally, CBG inhibits keratinocyte proliferation when used topically, CBG can successfully treat psoriasis.

CBG has similar activity to CBD

Just like CBD, CBD inhibits AEA uptake, consequently increasing the “feel good” or “bliss” hormone in the body. Also like CBD, CBG binds to the CB2 receptor. The benefits include stimulating the immune system to fight infection and helping the intestine to control inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It can also reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Unlike THC, CBG has minimal activity at the CB1 receptor.Therefore, CBG will not get you high and cannot lead to paranoia or anxiety if taken in excess, which is on par with CBD.

Now, let’s briefly review the benefits of cannabidiol which include (but are not limited to) the following: Reduces pain, controls symptoms of depression, decreases reperfusion ischemic injury – such as after a stroke, reduces symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, works as an anti-arrhythmic, reduces inflammatory diseases of the skin like psoriasis, and it reduces inflammation and pain related to rheumatoid arthritis.

It also protects the brain during a stroke, prevents osteoporosis, decreases swelling and pain after a sports injury, reduces the addiction caused by cigarettes, opioids, and alcohol, it acts as an antipsychotic, increases alertness and the ability to focus and concentrate, gives one a deeper and more restful sleep, controls acne, decreases the symptoms of schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder, and it can be used to treat epilepsy.

Take Home Point

Using CBD and CBG together makes more sense than using CBD alone as you benefit from the added benefits of both, no side effects, and no high. Combining cannabinoids to achieve different benefits is known as the “Entourage Effect” and is typically much better than using each compound on its own.

 

 

References:

“Cannabigerol Action at Cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 Receptors and at CB1–CB2 Heteroreceptor Complexes.”  Front Pharmacol. 2018; 9: 632.

“Effect of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma on proliferation of airway smooth muscle in mice with asthma.” Zhongguo Dang Dai Er Ke Za Zhi = Chinese Journal of Contemporary Pediatrics. 15 (7):583-7

“GPR55 is a cannabinoid receptor that increases intracellular calcium and inhibits M current.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Feb 19; 105(7): 2699–2704.   Neuroscience

“The putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55 affects osteoclast function in vitro and bone mass in vivo.”  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 106 (38): 16511-6

“The putative cannabinoid receptor GPR55 affects osteoclast function in vitro and bone mass in  vivo.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 106, 16511–16516.  2009

“The role of 5HT1A receptors in learning and memory.” Behavioral Brain Research (2008) 195 (1):54-77

“Neuroprotective properties of cannabigerol in Huntington’s disease: studies in R6/2 mice and 3-nitropropionate-lesioned mice.” Neurotherapeutics. 2015 Jan;12(1):185-99.

“Cannabinoids: influence on neurotransmitter uptake in rat brain synaptosomes.” J Pharmacol Exp Ther (1975). 194: 74–81.

“Effects of cannabinoids and cannabinoid-enriched Cannabis extracts on TRP channels and endocannabinoid metabolic enzymes.”  (2011) Br J Pharmacol

“A cannabigerol extract alters behavioral despair in an animal model of depression.”  Proceedings June 2006; Symposium on the Cannabinoids. International Cannabinoid Research Society: Tihany, p. 32.

“Evidence that the plant cannabinoid cannabigerol is a highly potent α2-adrenoceptor agonist and moderately potent 5HT1A receptor antagonist,”   Br J Pharmacol. 2010 Jan; 159(1): 129–141.

“The Use of Cannabinoids in Colitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (2018) 24 (4): 680-697

“Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease.” Biochemical Pharmacology (2013) 85 (9) 1306-16

“A cannabigerol quinone alleviates neuroinflammation in a chronic model of multiple sclerosis”. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology. (2012) 7 (4): 1002–16.

“Cannabinoids in Neurodegenerative Disorders and Stroke/Brain Trauma: From Preclinical Models to Clinical Applications” Neurotherapeutics (2015) 12(4) 793-806

 

 

 

About the author

Dr. Leah Zachar

Dr. Leah Zachar, M.D. is a physician who worked for nearly thirty years in Internal Medicine.
She currently is a scientific adviser to CBD Testers. Dr. Zachar believes that there is much that medical cannabis, and cannabidiol in particular can offer to traditional medicine.

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