A study finding a cannabis plant compound causes a drop in the blood pressure of healthy mice could have important applications in human health.
Cannabinoids are chemicals that bind with cannabinoid receptors of the body and brain. As the name suggests, cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant. Probably the best known and studied cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for marijuana’s “high”, and cannabidiol (CBD), which is non-intoxicating and has anti-inflammatory properties among its attributes.
But these are just two of more than a hundred cannabinoids in cannabis. Among them is cannabigerol (CBG), which is the decarboxylated form of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). CBGA is sometimes referred to as the “mother of all cannabinoids” as it is the precursor of other cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
CBG usually only occurs in very small quantities naturally, but cannabis strains have been developed producing higher levels.
In some countries, CBG is already available over the counter as a dietary supplement, for chronic pain, and inflammation. But CBG’s safety profile and potential therapeutic benefits are still being debated as more scientific research is needed.
Among recent CBG research was an investigation by Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine researchers, which found repeated use of cannabigerol resulted in a drop in the blood pressure of healthy mice.
The researchers administered cannabigerol to healthy male mice for 14 days, with vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate and locomotor activity recorded 24 hours a day over the period. The results indicated a “small, but significant drop” in blood pressure over the two-weeks.
The findings indicate two very important points:
“Our research suggests that cannabigerol could lower blood pressure, which could be dangerous for people with normal blood pressure,” said Victoria Vernail, lead author of the study and PhD candidate at Penn State. “On the other hand, cannabigerol could also be studied as a new way to treat high blood pressure.”
The researcher’s work was presented at the recent American Physiology Summit. Their study was published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology last year – an abstract from which can be found here.