Learn Everything About Cannabigerol (CBG)

What is CBG and what does it do? Short for cannabigerol, this cannabinoid makes up less than 1% of the cannabinoids found in most cannabis plants, and it’s attracting a lot of attention due to some promising clinical research. CBG oil products are already on the market.

Cannabis is composed of no fewer than 113 known cannabinoids. Though tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the compounds that receive the most attention, researchers are spending more time investigating the effects and medicinal potential of other smaller cannabinoids. Cannabigerol is the one generating the most attention in 2019.

What Is CBG?

Cannabigerol is a parent compound of CBD and THC. Like all cannabinoids, it begins in an acidic form (CBGA). Early in the flowering cycle, CBGA is metabolized by enzymes and converted to either tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), or another primary cannabinoid called cannabichromenic acid (CBCA). That’s why cannabigerol is often referred to as the stem cell of other cannabinoids. It makes these cannabinoids possible.

Because CBG is instrumental in the creation of CBD and THC, it’s not the easiest cannabinoid to extract. According to Rahul Khare, MD, “CBG is typically only found in small amounts, as most cannabis strains quickly convert it to either THC or CBD as the plant matures. Breeders are looking for ways to produce more CBG, as the body’s endocannabinoid system is believed to respond to different cannabinoids in different ways.”

Specifically, some cultivators are experimenting with genetically modified strengths that yield a higher percentage of cannabigerol. Cultivators can also produce greater amounts of cannabigerol by timing their extraction to a precise point during the growth cycle.

CBG vs CBD

Given the enormous popularity of CBD oil and the growing attention given to CBG oil, there’s some marketplace confusion that needs to be cleared up.

Similarities between CBG & CBD:

  • As cannabigerol is a chemical parent of cannabidiol, the two compounds share similarities in their chemical composition.
  • Both CBD and CBG are non-psychotropic, meaning that they won’t get you high.
  • Both CBD and CBG are available as oils, edibles, vape products, topicals, and other preparations (though only oils are widely available for CBG as of this writing).
  • Both are available in isolate, full-spectrum, or broad-spectrum forms.
  • Both contain less than .3% THC when extracted from hemp.
  • Both compounds appear to activate the body’s CB1 receptor, thereby reducing the psychoactive effects of THC.
  • Though both compounds show tremendous promise, clinical trials are still in their infancy.

Differences between CBG & CBD:

  • CBD products are widely available while CBG options are still limited and harder to come by—though this is slowly changing.
  • CBG oil typically costs more due to its comparative scarcity and the difficulty of extraction.
  • Though much more research is still needed, CBG and CBD appear to have different effects on the body. For instance, some research shows that CBG may increase appetite whereas CBD has been shown to suppress appetite. Also, while much of the clinical research into CBD has been focused on seizure prevention and anxiety, cannabigerol is being researched as a possible treatment for conditions like Huntington’s disease and ulcerative colitis (more on that below).

Potential Health Benefits of Cannabigerol

Though there is little research into the effects of cannabigerol, a handful of clinical studies have shown tremendous promise. As previously mentioned, at least one clinical study has shown potential benefits for people suffering from Huntington’s disease, an incurable brain disease. In a 2015 animal study, researchers found CBG to have neuroprotective properties that may help to preserve brain function when combined with other phytocannabinoids.

Additionally, Dr. Khare notes that “scientists are examining whether or not CBG may help reduce inflammation related to inflammatory bowel disease, lower eye pressure in glaucoma patients and even inhibit cell growth in cancer, among other things.”

To elaborate, a 2013 Italian study concluded that cannabigerol might be effective for inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and colitis. Researchers monitored inflammation markers in mice treated with CBG and found that the compound helped to reduce nitric oxide production and reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in intestinal cells.

More impressively, a 2014 study identified cannabigerol as a potential cancer-fighting compound, specifically for colon cancer. According to researchers at the University of Naples, “CBG hampers colon cancer progression in vivo and selectively inhibits the growth of CRC cells.”

For glaucoma sufferers, cannabigerol is one of several cannabinoids noted for its ability to decrease intraocular pressure and promote the dilation of blood vessels. Research indicates that CBG may even be more effective than CBD for this condition.

CBG oil has also been identified in various small-scale studies as a possible treatment for:

  • Bacterial infection: Cannabigerol and other compounds demonstrated effectiveness against several methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains.
  • Psoriasis and eczema: In a 2016 study, cannabigerol was one of four cannabinoids tested as a potential treatment for psoriasis. All four cannabinoids helped to reduce the associated inflammation by inhibiting keratinocyte proliferation.
  • Appetite loss: Research indicates that CBG may stimulate the appetite much in the same way THC does, but without the psychoactive effects.
  • Bladder disorders: In a 2017 study, cannabigerol was found to be more effective than other cannabinoids for the treatment of bladder disorders.

More research into these areas is still needed, but the preliminary findings are generating a lot of excitement.

How to Take CBG

If you struggle with one of the aforementioned conditions or would like to try cannabigerol for another reason, you’ll need to find the right product. As previously noted, CBG oil tinctures are the most widely available formulas. These can be taken under the tongue or mixed into food or beverages. One to two droppers a day is the typical recommended dosage. Edibles, vape oils, and other formulations may also be available.

Like cannabidiol, CBG is available in three concentrations: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate.

  • Full Spectrum products contain the active ingredient plus all other cannabinoids and terpenes found in hemp, including CBD and up to .3% THC. These products are believed to be the most potent as the combined compounds contribute to the entourage effect.
  • Broad Spectrum products are identical to Full Spectrum products except that the THC is removed. These are often taken by users who want the full range of benefits but don’t want any THC in their system.
  • Isolate products contain only the extracted cannabigerol, with no other cannabinoids or terpenes. These are considered the purest CBG products.

Does CBG Show Up On Drug Tests?

If you’re subject to drug testing, you might want to avoid full-spectrum products and stick with broad-spectrum and isolates. Due to the trace amounts of THC found in full-spectrum CBG, there’s a slight chance you might trigger a false positive on a drug test.

Is Cannabigerol Right for You?

Now that you have a basic understanding of cannabigerol, all that’s left is to decide whether it’s actually worth the investment. CBG oil may be worthwhile if:

  • you already take CBD and are looking to derive additional cannabinoid benefits without taking marijuana.
  • you’re seeking natural immune system supplements with minimal side effects.
  • you suffer from a condition like Huntington’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, glaucoma, or psoriasis.
  • you’re looking for an effective appetite stimulant, whether for fitness or general health reasons.
  • your doctor recommends it as an alternative antioxidant or supplement.

If any of the above reasons are compelling to you, give cannabigerol a try and see how it impacts your overall well-being.

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