What is CBG? What are the potential Benefits?
- CBG (cannabigerol) is a cannabinoid present in the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa).
- Like CBD (cannabidiol), it is non-intoxicating, which means it does not get the user “high”.
- While it is less abundant in hemp than CBD, it has similar therapeutic properties.
- CBG has been shown to improve the symptoms of various medical conditions, including inflammation, pain, anxiety, glaucoma, bladder dysfunction, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s disease.
The New Cannabinoid
The hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) is made up of many different chemical compounds. Among these compounds are cannabinoids, which are renowned for their various therapeutic properties.
The main active cannabinoids in the hemp plant are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). While THC is an intoxicating compound which gets marijuana users “high”, CBD has no intoxicating properties and can be used to manage a variety of medicinal conditions.
Wellness products containing CBD have become increasingly popular in recent years, largely due to their anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-oxidant effects. As CBD is one of the hemp plant’s most abundant compounds, it is easy to isolate and extract, and can therefore be efficiently scaled to manufacture a variety of commercial products.
More recently, scientists have discovered another non-intoxicating cannabinoid in the hemp plant with similar therapeutic potential: CBG, or cannabigerol. Although it is less abundant than CBD, CBG has the potential to treat a range of health problems, including inflammation, pain, and anxiety.
To learn more about CBG and its uses, read on. In the rest of this article, we’ll be exploring the following questions:
- What is CBG?
- How is it extracted?
- What potential therapeutic benefits does it have?
- What’s the difference between CBG and CBD?
- Why is CBG more expensive than CBD?
- How can I choose the best CBG product?
- How is CBG tested?
What is CBG?
CBG, or cannabigerol, is a cannabinoid present in small quantities in the hemp plant. It is the precursor molecule for other cannabinoids, which means that when CBG-A (acidic and inactive form) is heated, it breaks down to form compounds such as CBD, CBG, CBC and THC.
Since CBG constitutes roughly 1% of the hemp plant, it is difficult to obtain sufficient quantities of it for comprehensive investigation. Indeed, while researchers believe that CBG may be thousands of years old, our knowledge of its composition and medicinal uses is still very limited.
Nevertheless, in-vitro studies conducted with rats, for example, have demonstrated that CBG may improve the symptoms of medical conditions such as colitis, glaucoma and neurodegeneration.
Discovering CBG: Extraction Process and Difficulties
CBG is extracted from the hemp plant via chromatography. This process involves three key steps:
1. Hemp is dissolved in a superfluid liquid solvent (such as CO2 or ethanol), which draws out the cannabinoids from the plant.
2. This solution is then evaporated under a vacuum to remove all gases, leaving behind a highly pure CBG concentrate.
3. The concentrate (along with finished CBG products) is stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight to preserve their potency.
Given the apparent simplicity of this extraction process, and considering the fact that CBG has many medicinal uses and no intoxicating effects, one might ask: why hasn’t CBG gained the same popularity as CBD?
There are several answers to this question, but the main reason is probably the cost of its extraction.
CBG is the most expensive cannabinoid to isolate, often dubbed the “Rolls-Royce of cannabinoids”. Why? Since hemp contains only minute proportions of CBG, it requires thousands of pounds of biomass to produce a relatively small amount of CBG.
Moreover, CBG extraction also uses specialised production equipment. Since the levels extracted are relatively low, the high-performance chromatography apparatus used to isolate and purify the cannabinoid’s extract needs to be extremely precise to use limited raw plant material as efficiently as possible.
Apart from its costs, CBG also poses difficulties for cultivators. This is because the longer a hemp plant takes to mature, the greater the chances are of CBG-A and CBG breaking down into CBD and other cannabinoids. So, cultivators can either grow cannabis solely for the production of CBG, or they can allow the crop to fully mature and sell it for other purposes with a lower CBG content.
As mentioned earlier, research on CBG is fairly limited. However, some studies do suggest that the cannabinoid has several medicinal benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the health conditions that may be managed by CBG:
· Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Colitis
IBS and colitis are conditions which cause inflammation and ulcers along the inner lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
According to a study performed in 2013 on mice, CBG may help to ease the painful symptoms of colitis. In another study, IBD patients experienced an improvement in the following conditions after using CBG: abdominal pain, cramping, poor appetite, diarrhoea, weight loss, and nausea. However, the isolated effect of CBG on these symptoms needs to be explored further.
· Glaucoma and Intraocular Pressure
Glaucoma is an eye condition that can damage the optic nerve, often caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure).
According to two studies performed in 1990 and 2008 respectively, CBG and other related cannabinoids may be partially responsible for reducing the intensity of glaucoma and intraocular pressure. This could have extremely positive implications, because while patients are currently using THC to manage glaucoma, CBG offers a solution that is free from any intoxicating effects.
· Bladder Dysfunction
After a comparative study of five cannabinoids in 2015, researchers concluded that CBG showed promise in improving bladder dysfunction and contractions in mice.
· Bacterial Infections
MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) is a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection that is resistant to methicillin, a common antibiotic. A study conducted in 2008 showed that CBG could serve as a promising antibacterial agent capable of rendering the drug-resistant bacterium ineffective.
· Huntington’s disease and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases
Huntington’s disease is an advanced brain disorder. It is caused by a defective gene that stimulates changes in the central region of the brain, adversely affecting movement, mood, and cognitive skills.
In 2015, a study conducted on mice established that CBG, either alone or combined with other phytocannabinoids and medicinal therapies, could help with neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s disease. Researchers found that CBG normalised the expression of abnormal genes associated with brain degeneration, highlighting its potential as a neuroprotective compound.
· Appetite Loss and Pain Relief
A 2016 study involving rats showed that CBG may help to stimulate and improve appetite, and could be of potential use to those suffering from conditions such as HIV or post-chemotherapy complications.
In addition, a 2017 study found that CBG may act as an anti-oxidant and be effective at relieving pain and inflammation.
· Inhibition of GABA Re-uptake
GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a naturally occurring amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter (or chemical messenger) in the brain. GABA uptake inhibitors decrease the amount of GABA that is absorbed, and are often used medicinally to reduce anxiety.
A study performed in 1975 concluded that CBG inhibits GABA uptake, promotes muscle relaxation and relief from tension, and creates sensations of peace and calm in the brain.
· Skin Inflammation and Disease
A 2007 study investigated CBG’s ability to improve skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. The researchers discovered that the cannabinoid has the potential to reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling in these conditions.
While all the studies mentioned above demonstrate the therapeutic potential of CBG in the pharmacological realm, it is important to note that they do prove that CBG directly and invariably causes certain health benefits. More research is still required to fully understand how CBG works in the human body.
CBG vs. CBD
As CBG is the precursor compound for CBD, both cannabinoids differ from each other in terms of their properties and composition. However, there are some similarities between the two.
Firstly, both have the potential to relieve a range of medical conditions. Secondly, CBG and CBD are both non-intoxicating, meaning that they don’t adversely affect one’s state of mind or inhibit one’s cognitive functioning. Simply put, both compounds will not get you “high”, but they may help to ease symptoms of anxiety, pain, and depression.
One particularly important thing about CBG is that, like CBD, it can help to counteract the mind-altering effects of THC. Studies have shown that CBG activates the nervous system’s CB1 receptor in a way similar to CBD, which essentially reduces psycho-activity. This means that when you consume cannabis with a high concentration of both CBD and CBG, or if you consume an isolate of CBG while smoking or eating cannabis, you may be able to significantly counterbalance any intoxication.
When it comes to addressing the differences between CBD and CBG, one of the main distinguishing features is that CBD has a fairly low affinity for cannabinoid receptors present within our body, and it mostly interacts with our inherent endocannabinoid system indirectly. CBG, on the other hand, is thought to interact directly with our brain’s CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.
Why is CBG more expensive than CBD?
As CBG only constitutes 1% of the entire cannabis plant, it is more difficult to extract than CBD and other cannabinoids. It also means that CBG crops also have to be harvested earlier in order to generate high yields. As a result, CBG is the most expensive cannabinoid to produce.
Choosing a CBG product
Finding a reputable CBG oil can be much more difficult than finding a good CBD oil. Moreover, as neither CBD nor CBG are currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it may be tricky to ensure that your chosen product is authentic and of high-quality.
Here are a few important questions to consider when looking for a reliable CBG product:
- Are you looking to buy a product with a high concentration of CBG?
- Are you looking for pure CBG?
- Are you looking for a mixture of CBG and THC?
- Are you looking for CBG products that can be used in various ways or only for oral consumption?
Other important questions are:
- Has the product has undergone stringent testing for quality and purity?
- Is the company selling the product reliable?
- Is the CBG non-GMO, pesticide-free, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly?
Another key thing to consider before choosing any cannabis product is whether it has been tested by an independent, third-party lab. Many companies display their lab reports on their websites in order to assure customers that their products have been tested for contaminants and any other harmful substances.
Why choose Naturecan?
Naturecan offers an extensive and exclusive range of quality CBD products and supplements. With websites live in over 30 countries worldwide, we use our global reach to deliver the health benefits of CBD to a growing customer base.
All of Naturecan’s products are created using industry-leading technology, and undergo rigorous testing practices with third parties in order to ensure product quality, customer safety and supply chain transparency.
Our CBD oil is a broad-spectrum distillate, with non-detectable levels of THC and high bioavailability, making it the safest and purest oil on the market. It is derived exclusively from US-grown hemp plants, which means that we never use isolates or any man-made synthetic material, and only ever use natural, plant-based CBD.
While the research on CBG’s uses and side-effects is still limited, the few studies that have been performed indicate that it offers various medicinal and pharmacological benefits. It is therefore considered to be a major upcoming contender in the cannabis industry.
If you’re interested in trying CBG, it might be a good idea to start by trying high-quality CBD oils which contain relatively small amounts of CBG. And if you’re opting for pure CBG-only products, remember to consult your doctor about specific usage and dosage.
Reviewed by our qualified expert, Moyra Cosgrove, Head of Nutrition at Naturecan, SENR Registered Nutritionist and DProf candidate at LJMU