Since 2018’s Farm Bill made hemp-derived CBD products federally legal, CBD has become a hugely popular health and wellbeing product thanks to the wide range of potential health benefits it offers. As the industry grows, and as research into CBD oil and other cannabinoids expands, new trends have begun to appear on the CBD scene.
One such trend is the rising popularity of CBG, a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis plants alongside the more well-known compounds like CBD and THC.
CBG has shown a lot of promise in providing a number of potential health benefits; many of these are similar to those provided by CBD, but CBG enacts these benefits in different ways and even has some unique positive effects of its own.
CBG is shaping up to be one of the next big things in the smokable hemp industry, with more and more hemp users beginning to try it out. But what exactly is CBG, and how is it different from other cannabinoids like CBD and THC? This guide has everything you need to know – what CBG is, how it differs from other hemp products, its potential benefits, and its other effects.
What is CBG?
CBG, also known by its full scientific name cannabigerol, is one of over a hundred different cannabinoids present in hemp and cannabis plants. Generally, it’s only found in very low quantities – hemp flowers normally only have about 2% CBG content, meaning CBG is classed as a secondary or minor cannabinoid.
When consumed, CBG interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of neurotransmitters and receptors which helps to regulate various physiological and cognitive functions such as sleep patterns, pain response, mood, and stress.
CBG starts out in an acidic form known as CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) which, when exposed to heat, breaks down into CBG. Depending on the conditions, however, it can also transform into other cannabinoid acids, such as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).
For this reason, CBG is often called the mother cannabinoid or stem cell cannabinoid, as the acid, it is derived from is a precursor to all other cannabinoid compounds, including major cannabinoids like CBD and THC.
The CBG flower
Since CBG is normally found in very low concentrations in hemp plants, due to the CBGA it is derived from converting mainly into CBD and THC instead, it can be hard to extract in high quantities.
However, many hemp suppliers have now begun breeding and growing hemp flower strains designed to produce CBG-rich products. As these hemp strains grow more refined, it’s becoming easier and cheaper to produce CBG products like CBG oil, CBG vapes, smokable CBG buds, and CBG tinctures.
Most often, CBG is harvested from these plants through their flowers. This produces the CBG flower, a smokeable hemp bud with high CBG content. CBG hemp flower is also commonly referred to as white flower due to its distinctive color.
Compared to other hemp and cannabis products, CBG flowers have a notably softer flavor and scent. This can make CBG flower an attractive alternative to people who don’t enjoy the strong taste or smell of CBD hemp flower and THC cannabis bud. The unique terpene content of the CBG flower also affects its flavor, further distinguishing it from other hemp products.
CBG vs. CBD: What’s the difference?
While CBD flower and CBG flower are similar in many respects, they also have some key differences. Primarily, this comes down to how the two cannabinoids interact with your ECS. Two of the key cannabinoid receptors in the ECS are the CB1 And CB2 receptors, and both CBD and CBG have important interactions with them that shape the way they affect the body.
CBD acts as an antagonist at these receptors, blocking other compounds and hormones from binding to them and increasing the buildup of these compounds within the body. CBD’s effects, therefore, stem from blocking other hormones, rather than causing a reaction within the receptor on its own.
Unlike CBD, CBG acts as a CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist, meaning it binds to these receptors and creates a reaction in its own right, rather than just blocking other receptor agonists from binding to them.
Because CBG delivers its effects more directly, it’s theorized that it also delivers these effects more efficiently. CBG may therefore prove more effective than CBD in providing its potential health benefits. CBG may last just as long as CBD, but there is not enough research on the matter.
Another benefit of CBG in comparison to CBD is that by binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it can act as a buffer against THC’s psychoactive effects. THC is the cannabinoid found in cannabis products that gets you high, and it operates through its interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. By blocking these interactions, CBG can reduce the psychoactive effects of THC and stop you from getting high.
Image Source: https://completehemp.com/cannabinoid-biosynthesis/
Benefits of CBG
One of the main draws of CBG is the wide range of potential health benefits it offers. Research into CBG’s health benefits is still fairly limited, as more attention has been paid to the effects of CBD and THC due to their higher concentrations in the cannabis plant, but certain studies have shown promising results that CBG may be helpful to treat, cure or prevent certain conditions.
As with other cannabinoids, CBG has been noted to have potential as an anti-inflammatory; for example, a 2013 study found that CBG alleviated the inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease when used on mice.
CBG can help to lift your mood due to its interaction with the ECS. This is because it inhibits the uptake of anandamide by CB1 and CB2 receptors. Anandamide is sometimes known as the “bliss chemical”, as it helps to create feelings of calm and happiness. By blocking receptors’ uptake of anandamide, CBG helps to prolong its effects on the brain, boosting the user’s mood.
The anandamide-related effects of CBG also help to combat anxiety. One study found that blocking anandamide inhibitors leads to anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects; as a result, CBG may offer anxiety relief by blocking these inhibitors.
CBG has notable pain-relieving properties, partly in relation to its potential as an anti-inflammatory. In fact, CBG maybe even more effective as an analgesic (pain-reliever) than other cannabinoids – one study found that “CBG has more potent analgesic, anti-erythema and lipoxygenase blocking activity than THC.”
Antibacterial and Antifungal
CBG has been demonstrated to have potent antibacterial and antifungal effects; in particular, one study found that CBG is effective in treating strains of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This is significant because, as the name suggests, MRSA strains are known for their resistance to conventional medications, so other avenues of treatment are highly sought after.
May inhibit the growth of cancer cells
CBG may have benefits when it comes to preventing and treating cancer. PArt of this is due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, as inflammation and oxidative stress can be one of the causes of cancer cell development.
It also results from CBG’s ability to prevent carcinogenesis (the transformation of normal cells into cancer cells) through its interactions with certain receptors that can be involved in the process of carcinogenesis.
May treat skin conditions
CBG may have benefits for treating certain skin conditions, particularly those which may be linked to oxidative stress damaging skin cells since CBG has anti-oxidative properties. One study notes that while it is unclear how effective CBG is in treating conditions, it “might have therapeutic value in dryness- and inflammation-accompanied skin diseases”.
Useful for glaucoma
CBG has been noted to reduce intraocular eye pressure, meaning it may have the potential to treat glaucoma, a complex eye disease that often involves high levels of intraocular eye pressure.
Will CBG get me high?
The short answer to this is no – CBG alone cannot get you high, as it is completely non-psychoactive. What might get you high is the accompanying THC content of the CBG products you use.
This is unlikely, however, as most CBG products are derived from hemp, which has very low concentrations of THC and thus is highly unlikely to produce any psychoactive or intoxicating effects. Bear in mind, however, that CBG may have other unwanted side effects even though it can’t get you high.
This is especially true if you take prescription medications, as CBG may cause adverse interactions when taken alongside other medications. If you take other medicines, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional before trying CBG.
Is CBG legal?
The 2018 Farm Bill introduced federal legislation which made hemp and hemp-derived products legal in all 50 states in the US. The Bill defines hemp as:
“All derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent.”
This means that as a hemp plant derivative, CBG is perfectly legal as long as it contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations of less than 0.3 percent. If you’re interested in trying CBG, there’s no reason to be afraid of getting in trouble with the law.
The drawback of CBG’s legal status is that it is currently unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means that CBG products aren’t tested or controlled by the FDA, so quality and contents may differ greatly between suppliers.
Because of this, you should always try to source your CBG products from a trustworthy supplier, and if possible, check the contents of your CBG using the lab report that should be made for each batch. That way, you know exactly what you’re using and what’s in it.
CBG may be less well-known than its sister compounds CBD and THC, but that by no means makes it less effective. The unique way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system means that it produces a variety of potential health benefits and therapeutic effects.
Many of these are similar to the benefits of THC and CBD, but CBG delivers them in a unique way and with a different flavor and aroma which may make the smoking experience more enjoyable for some users. If you think CBG sounds interesting, it’s more than worth giving it a try.