Metabolites of Cannabigerol (CBG) Generated by Human Cytochrome P450s are Bioactive


The phytocannabinoid cannabigerol (CBG) is the central biosynthetic precursor to many cannabinoids, including Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Though the use of CBG has recently witnessed a widespread surge because of its beneficial health effects and lack of psychoactivity, its metabolism by human cytochrome P450s is largely unknown. Herein, we describe comprehensive in vitro and in vivo cytochrome P450 (CYP)-mediated metabolic studies of CBG, ranging from LC-MS/MS-based primary metabolic site determination, synthetic validation, and kinetic behavior using targeted mass spectrometry. These investigations revealed that cyclo-CBG, a recently isolated phytocannabinoid, is the major metabolite that is rapidly formed by selected human cytochrome P450s (CYP2J2, CYP3A4, CYP2D6, CYP2C8, and CYP2C9). Additionally, in vivo studies with mice administered with CBG, supported these studies, where cyclo-CBG is the major metabolite as well. Spectroscopic binding studies along with docking and modeling of CBG molecule near the heme in the active site of P450s confirmed these observations, pointing at the preferred site-selectivity of CBG metabolism at the prenyl chain over other positions. Importantly, we found out that CBG and its oxidized CBG metabolites reduced inflammation in BV2 microglial cells stimulated with LPS. Overall, combining enzymological studies, mass spectrometry, and chemical synthesis, we showcase that CBG is rapidly metabolized by human P450s to form oxidized metabolites that are bioactive. The study reveals the structure-activity relationship of CBG metabolites and analogs to their anti-inflammatory activity.


Supplementary material

Metabolites of Cannabigerol (CBG) Generated by Human Cytochrome P450s are Bioactive
Additional information on the synthesis of standard compounds and characterization, mass fragmentation of CBG and its metabolites, Binding plots, docking, and enzymatic as well as biological studies along with detailed discussions. It also contains methods and materials section