You’ve likely heard about this compound in all the latest trends and hottest gossip. What is CBG? And why has it been making waves on the market over the last couple of years?
You’re probably no stranger to the therapeutic potential of CBD, which comes in different forms such as CBD oils, capsules, gummies, topicals, and so much more. Though it continues to be all the rage in eliciting relaxation and healing, there is another cannabinoid gradually gaining traction. Say hello to CBG!
CBG has been slowly climbing the ladder over the years—which renders an important question: what’s with all the hype? Aside from its substantial potential benefits, there has also been a growing understanding of cannabinoids for some time now.
As a result, these explorations and discoveries have led to more extensive research on the characteristics of some lesser-known cannabinoids.
Let’s get started. It’s time to dive into what CBG is and what it can potentially do for you. Keep in mind that conclusive research on CBG is still ongoing, so let’s tackle everything we know now and take it with a grain of salt.
In 1964, Israeli scientists Ralph Mechoulam and Yehiel Gaoni discovered and isolated CBG. A couple of years later, Japanese researchers realized that CBG begins as CBGa (cannabigerolic acid), and when exposed to heat it synthesizes into the active cannabinoid—CBG.
CBG, also known as cannabigerol, can be found in minimal amounts in the hemp and marijuana plants. Because it’s present in small levels, usually less than 1%, CBG is considered to be a minor cannabinoid (but that may be set to change in the coming years).
The most well-known cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but there has been a growing interest in CBG’s prowess. Though it comes in smaller quantities, its potential benefits are definitely comparable to the popularly known cannabinoids.
What makes it especially special is that CBGa is regarded as the mother of all cannabinoids. This is because CBGa, the acidic form of CBG, is the precursor to not only CBG but also THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), CBDa (cannabidiolic acid), and CBCa (cannabichromenic acid) when it is heated.
Essentially, CBGa is the origin of THC, CBD, and CBC (cannabichromene). If CBD and THC boast highly reputable therapeutic effects, you can only imagine what CBG, their indirect parent, could provide.
Like CBD, CBG is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, meaning it does not elicit a high that THC does. In fact, there is research that suggests that CBG could potentially suppress THC’s impairment.
Because it comes in minimal concentrations, breeders are diving and experimenting with genetic manipulation to receive higher yields. Scientists have also been trying to extract higher levels of CBG from budding plants by determining their optimal extraction time, which is about six to eight weeks in the flowering cycle.
There’s undoubtedly a reason for this high demand, and you’re about to learn what makes it so distinctive.
The endocannabinoid system has two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1, which is found in the nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and CB2, which is found in the immune system and located throughout the body.
THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid, is known to bind with CB1 receptors, leading to its intoxicating effects. CBD interacts with CB2 receptors, explaining its calming and sedating effect on the body. Interestingly enough, CBG is reported to bind with both CB1 and CB2 receptors. Talk about the best of both worlds.
CBG has also been found to act as a CB1 antagonist, meaning it can diminish the receptor’s response by partially blocking it. This is precisely the explanation for CBG buffering THC’s psychoactivity.
CBG is shown to increase levels of anandamide, which is one of the body’s endocannabinoids (naturally occurring) that ensures the efficiency of the endocannabinoid system.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The endocannabinoid system isn’t the only base of influence that CBG holds. The cannabinoid has been reported to act as an agonist for 5-HT1A receptors, which manage serotonin levels. Essentially, CBG activates the receptors that influence the release of epinephrine (adrenaline), which regulates visceral bodily functions.
The current research on the effects of CBG is limited and ongoing, but existing studies suggest that it offers many therapeutic benefits. Below are some health conditions wherein CBG may hold some promise in alleviating.
According to a 2013 animal study, CBG is shown to have reduced the inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease. CBG also attenuated murine colitis and reduced ROS formation in intestinal epithelial cells, which would have harmed cell homeostasis, leading to oxidative stress.
A 2015 animal study observed how five different cannabinoids, namely CBD, CBG, CBDV, THCV, and CVC, impact the bladder. The research concluded that CBG showed the most promise in potentially treating bladder dysfunctions. The cannabinoid also reduced acetylcholine-induced contractions in human bladders.
A 2008 study showed that CBG is potentially capable of fighting bacteria, specifically methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which results in staph infections that are resistant to antibiotics. This is a complex condition to treat due to its high drug resistance and contagion risks.
According to a 2015 animal study, CBG is shown to have neuroprotective properties. The study looked at mice with Huntington’s Disease, a genetic neurodegenerative condition that hinders parts of the brain from functioning correctly.
Researchers found that CBG produced a lower but significant recovery with the mice and concluded the cannabinoid to be promising at relieving other neurodegenerative conditions.
A 2008 study suggests that CBG may effectively treat glaucoma due to its ability to reduce intraocular pressure. Medical cannabis is renowned for its efficacy in treating and alleviating glaucoma, and CBG may be partly responsible for this impressive reputation.
A 2016 animal study showed that CBG has the potential to be an appetite stimulant. The cannabinoid produced no side effects while inducing more than double of total food intake and an increase of meals consumed. Researchers concluded that CBG may help treat cachexia and weight disorders.
A 2014 animal study looked at rats with colorectal cancer and found that CBG showed promise in reducing the growth of tumors and cancer cells. CBG hindered colon cancer progression and inhibited the growth of colorectal cancer cells. Researchers noted that CBG should be considered in the prevention and cure of colorectal cancer.
Hard-to-treat infections, cancer, genetic disorders—the potential that CBG holds is astounding. However, while these studies are promising, it’s important to note that more conclusive research is needed before confirming these beneficial effects.
Fortunately, scientists are pleased with the results of the existing research and they are promoting future studies and discoveries in the treatment of several health conditions, with CBG alone and its combined effect with other cannabinoids.
CBG and CBD do pose some similarities. They are both non-intoxicating cannabinoids, meaning they do not produce a high. They bind with similar receptors (though CBG may have a larger reach in this respect). Both cannabinoids also appear to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
However, CBG and CBD seem to possess astoundingly different functions and health benefits.
One of the main differences between them is the level of research that is available. CBD has a decent amount of evidence of its medicinal effects and chemical components. On the other hand, CBG research is yet to be as extensive. With the increasing popularity of CBG in the market, there may likely be more studies coming soon.
But we can dive into what we know! Based on research, the focal disparity between CBG and CBD is that they appear to influence and affect the endocannabinoid system in different ways. Both cannabinoids are known to suppress CB1 receptors. However, there are differences in other interactions.
Unlike CBD, CBG binds directly with CB2 receptors, which regulate the immune system and bodily equilibrium. Though CBD also has an affinity with the same receptors, it mainly helps produce and regulate endocannabinoids. CBG’s direct contact with CB2 receptors paves the way to a different response and function.
Because of this interaction with the receptors, CBG produces an energetic yet calming feeling, balancing each attribute seamlessly. According to a Reddit forum regarding CBG’s effects, one user had this to say:
“I would describe CBG as mood-enhancing and energizing, and, at the same time, calming. It is perfect for lack of motivation. It gives you motivation without getting you high, so the motivation feels like it’s all from yourself without the help of something consumed.“
CBD is famously known for its calming, soothing, and sedative effect, making it a popular supplement for pre-bedtime relaxation. People also opt for CBD due to its altogether different set of therapeutic benefits.
The same user had this to say:
“CBG is good if you have to get things done. CBD is good if you want to come down and relax, meditate or sleep.“
It would be a mistake to mesh the two together as similar cannabinoids (as some parts of the internet somehow claim). Many cannabinoids hold similarities, but they also produce significantly different functions and bodily responses.
Another difference between CBG and CBD is the physiological response. CBD has a more intensified sensation in the body, relieving concerns like pain and inflammation. However, CBG is shown to be the most effective with neurological issues. Keep in mind that this is based on current yet lacking research and anecdotal evidence.
People have noted that both cannabinoids seem to balance each other out beautifully. In fact, people may opt to take CBD products at night to act as a sedative and CBG products during the day to improve focus and energy. This may potentially improve sleep cycles and overall productivity.
Another user from the Reddit forum had this to say about taking both CBG and CBG:
“I use CBG and CBD. CBG for the morning and CBD for the night! CBG has more of a stimulant effect on me, and it’s a great tool to help me through the mornings. At night, I usually vape CBD and use a tincture, and it gets me adequately tired and ready for some sleep.“
If you want to take both cannabinoids together, you may opt for full-spectrum products which contain all the cannabinoids within the plant, including CBG and CBD. This route may prove to be more beneficial than taking CBG or CBD in isolation due to the entourage effect theory.
The entourage effect is a theory that explains a potentially enhancing effect when different cannabinoids or terpenes work together. No matter your choice, it appears that CBG and CBD make a strong, balanced, and powerhouse duo when incorporated into your daily routine.
CBG is federally legal in the United States, provided that it comes from the hemp plant. The 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for the legal distribution of hemp and its derivatives. The federal rule specifically announced the legality of hemp-derived products, which includes different forms of hemp-derived CBG.
While CBG is not as circulative as some other cannabinoids (looking at you, CBD!) due to its availability in low concentrations, CBG is growing to be more accessible, coming in forms like CBG oil and full-spectrum hemp-derived oils.
CBG has vast potential to impact society in terms of alleviating and treating various unfavorable conditions and habits. Though it’s a shame that more conclusive research is needed before making any claims, the existing studies are incredibly promising.
Fortunately, CBG is expected to be the next cannabis product to be extensively researched and developed and to, of course, be incorporated into today’s mainstream products.
Who knows? CBG might be the next best thing, making headlines in every crevice of the internet and modern society.