As I've covered in a previous post there are a myriad of phytocompounds present in cannabis, way beyond THC and CBD! In this post we'll be going into a bit more depth on other minor cannabinoids, their potential health supporting benefits, and how these substances are created.
All cannabinoids interact with a system in the body called the Endocannabinoid System ore ECS, it's a system of chemical receptors throughout the body meant to help maintain homeostasis. These receptors are what Gove cannabis its wide range of health supporting benefits from regulating the nervous system to preventing cancer cell growth. Your body already produces certain cannabinoids on its own, but the ones we take in from consuming edibles, smoke, etc will still interact with this system in the body in a similar fashion.
Without further ado, this week's cannabinoid spotlight features CBN and CBG!
Cannabinol is created as a byproduct of THC aging, meaning older, more oxidized cannabis is going to have higher concentrations of this cannabinoid. While it may take time to be made by natural means, you can now find CBN in many edible products, and strains are specifically being bred to contain higher concentrations of CBN. But with all this hype, what exactly is this cannabinoid capable of?
In studies of CBN's medical benefits, it's Shown significant potential in fighting MRSA (staphylococcus bacteria), meaning there could be future possibilities of using it against a broader range of bacterial infections. So diseases such as syphilis, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, meningitis, cholera, etc could stand a chance at being treated with therapies created by CBN. Many might think that these diseases are less of an issue in the modern day, however there are many developing nations, even areas in developed nations where these infections are still rampant and life-threatening.
In addition to anti-bacterial properties, this cananbinoid has shown to be effective as an anti-inflammatory. As it aided treatment in arthritis, it could be a key in treating other chronic illnesses such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Cholitis, heart disease, and even types of cancer. Inflammation being a larger symptom, or root cause for many illnesses means the medical applications could actually save lives, or greatly improve them with further research!
The largest part of CBN's reputation is likely its sedative affects, but those are still largely debated on if they're unique to Cannabinol or if these effects are caused by the synergistic capabilities of the terpenes, THC, and CBN all present in cannabis. Coined as the "Entourage Effect," the compounds in the plant work alongside one another to form greater health benefits than they could on their own. Anyone who's ever seen the show Captain Planet has a good idea of what I'm talking about!
Considering the effectiveness of CBN as an anti-bacterial agent, it allows for the reasoning that it could also be used to treat dermatitis and acne if used as a topical remedy. But of course, this does require the nature of the skin condition to be caused by bacterial infection, as little to no research has been done on its potential to treat fungal or viral infections specifically.
Glaucoma has been treated with cannabis for decades, one reason being that its ability to relieve intraocular pressure has been researched and tested since the 1980s. CBN is notedly one of the cannabinoids with potential to help aid those suffering from the condition, which is known to lead to complete blindness if left untreated or undiagnosed.
CBG is the OG cannabinoid, as it is produced much earlier on in the life cycle of the cannabis plant, through which all other cannabinoids are created via different chemical processes. Because of this, higher levels of CBD or THC mean inherently lower levels of CBG, as that cannabigerol is used as a resource to be synthesized into other cannabinoids.
In studies comparing various cannabinoids and how they interacted with the process of involuntary muscle contractions, CBG was found to inhibit them more than any other. This could mean promise in treating things like bladder and sphincter dysfunction.
Cannabigerol has shown promises as an effective cancer battling cannabinoid, and tested the best in inhibiting growth of colorectal cancer cells. This could be a promising cure for this deadly form of cancer, and even be adapted to other specific cancers to at least prolong quality of life or prevent the need for more invasive cancer treatments.
Another good bit of hopeful news for those struggling with cancer treatment, CBG has shown to increase appetite! This could mean help for those struggling with specific types of eating disorders, those needing help gaining weight, and those with chronic nausea. Note that this is without being intoxicating, like its usual munchy-inducing cousin THC, so no worries about greening out!
As a key component in circulatory and heart health is maintaining blood pressure levels, this particular cannabinoid has shown results on being able to lower blood pressure. Having potential as a vasodialator means chances of reducing heart attack, stroke, chest pain, even reducing pressure in the eyes. With cardiovascular disease being a common cause of death across the globe due to genetics or diet, it could be very helpful to those with family medical history predisposing them to any of these conditions.
This plethora of health supporting benefits from just two compounds alone is proof that cannabis has a powerful future in medicinal applications, but only if we let it. Because it's still very much stigmatized socially, legalization and decriminalization are a long road ahead. But just thinking that a plant could not only stimulate the economy, improve the physical and emotional health of billions, and allow for further medical research to improve the future.
There is a LOT of overlap with specific medical applications of these cannabinoids, because they still belong to the same family of compounds and come from the same plant. The purpose of this article was to highlight the more unique or most powerful attributes of each cannabinoid rather than dwell on the same four subjects. Further more, this article is not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any medical conditions, nor is it specifically prescribing cannabis to anyone reading it. This is simply meant to be informative and advocate for legalization.
Resources for your reviewing pleasure:
- Appendino G, Gibbons S, Giana A, Pagani A, Grassi G, Stavri M, Smith E, Rahman MM. Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. J Nat Prod. 2008 Aug;71(8):1427-30. doi: 10.1021/np8002673. Epub 2008 Aug 6.
- Russo EB, Marcu J. Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Few Promising Leads. Adv Pharmacol. 2017;80:67-134. doi: 10.1016/bs.apha.2017.03.004. Epub 2017 Jun 5.
- Borrelli F, Pagano E, Romano B, Panzera S, Maiello F, Coppola D, De Petrocellis L, Buono L, Orlando P, Izzo AA. Colon carcinogenesis is inhibited by the TRPM8 antagonist cannabigerol, a Cannabis-derived non-psychotropic cannabinoid. Carcinogenesis. 2014 Dec;35(12):2787-97. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgu205. Epub 2014 Sep 30.