- What is CBG (cannabigerol) & what does this cannabinoid do?
- How is CBG (cannabigerol) made?
- CBG’s potential medical benefits
- What is CBG (cannabigerol) and what benefits does it offer?
- CBG — WHERE CANNABINOIDS BEGIN
- WHAT IS CANNABIGEROL (CBG)?
- HOW DOES CBG WORK?
- WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF CBG?
- CBG AND PAIN
- CBG AND GLAUCOMA
- CBG AND INFLAMMATION
- CBG AND NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES
- IS CBG BETTER THAN CBD?
- IS CBG LEGAL?
- WHERE CAN YOU FIND CBG PRODUCTS?
- What is Cannabigerol (CBG)?
- How CBG is Made
- CBG & the Endocannabinoid System
- CBG Studies
- The Future of CBG
- The Ultimate Guide to CBG: Benefits and Uses
- What Is Cannabigerol (CBG)?
- How CBG Works
- CBG vs CBD
- Potential Benefits of CBG
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Bacterial Infections
- Huntington’s Disease
- Colon Cancer
- Appetite Stimulant
- Bladder Dysfunction
- Cannabigerol-Rich Cannabis Strains
- How to Use CBG
- Cannabis Plant Production and Extraction
- Beyond CBD and THC: How Other Cannabinoids Can Help
What is CBG (cannabigerol) & what does this cannabinoid do?
By now, most people familiar with cannabis have heard of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) and their effects, but did you know there are many similar compounds in cannabis? A lesser-known cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG), while not present in large quantities in most strains, is nonetheless worth learning about for a number of reasons.
How is CBG (cannabigerol) made?
Because it is present in low levels (usually less than 1%) in most cannabis strains, CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid. Cannabis plants produce cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), the precursor to the three main cannabinoid lines: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA).
Figure 1: CBG-A is the chemical precursor of THCA, CBDA, and CBCA (not shown). Enzymes within cannabis turn CBGA into either THCA or CBDA, which can be subsequently decarboxylated (“activated”) by light or heat energy to create THC or CBD. (Amy Phung/Leafly)
Specific enzymes in the plant break CBGA down and “direct” it toward one of the three lines. The acids are exposed to ultraviolet light or heat, and voila, they become the cannabinoids we know: THC and CBD. In most strains, CBGA is immediately converted to either THCA or CBDA. Thus, more THC means less CBG and CBD (and vice versa) by nature of how these compounds are synthesized.
To obtain higher yields of CBG, breeders are experimenting with genetic manipulation and cross-breeding of plants. For example, Subcool Seeds is crossing strains to produce higher CBG contents.
Scientists can also extract higher levels of CBG from budding plants by pinpointing the optimum extraction time, about six weeks into an eight week flowering cycle.
A medicinal strain called Bediol is produced in this fashion by the Dutch company Bedrocan BV Medicinal Cannabis.
CBG’s potential medical benefits
The human body’s built-in endocannabinoid system (ECS) works to keep the body in its balanced state of homeostasis. While there are specific details about how cannabinoids work, in general the endocannabinoid system performs different functions specific to each area of the body. For example, at an injury site, the ECS can help regulate immune cells to limit inflammation.
CBG has been found to act on very specific physiological systems and problems, and results for medicinal use are promising:
- Endocannabinoid receptors are prevalent in eye structures, and interestingly, CBG is thought to be particularly effective in treating glaucoma because it reduces intraocular pressure. It is a powerful vasodilator and has neuroprotective effects to boot.
- In animal experiments involving mice, CBG was found to be effective in decreasing the inflammation characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease.
- In a recent 2015 study, CBG was shown to protect neurons in mice with Huntington’s disease, which is characterized by nerve cell degeneration in the brain.
- CBG is showing great promise as a cancer fighter. Specifically, CBG was shown to block receptors that cause cancer cell growth. In one such study, it was shown to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells in mice, thereby slowing colon cancer growth. CBG inhibited tumors and chemically-induced colon carcinogenesis, therefore demonstrating a very exciting possibility for a cure for colorectal cancer.
- European research shows evidence that CBG is an effective antibacterial agent, particularly against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) microbial strains resistant to several classes of drugs. Since the 1950s, topical formulations of cannabis have been effective in skin infections, but researchers at the time were unaware of the plant’s chemical composition.
- In a very recent 2017 study, researchers showed that a form of CBG purified to remove delta-9 THC was a very effective appetite stimulant in rats. This may lead to a novel non-psychotropic therapeutic option for cachexia, the muscle wasting and severe weight loss seen in late stage cancer and other diseases.
- In a study that looked at the effects of five different cannabinoids on bladder contractions, CBG tested best at inhibiting muscle contractions, so it may be a future tool in preventing bladder dysfunction disorders.
Scientists are excited about these initial CBG results and are promoting future research with CBG alone or CBG in combination with other cannabinoids and therapies for the treatment of multiple maladies.
Because it is non-psychotropic, CBG has a promising wide range of potential applications not only for the problems mentioned above, but also as an analgesic, therapy for psoriasis, and as an antidepressant.
What is CBG (cannabigerol) and what benefits does it offer?
CBD is a multifaceted cannabinoid, but it's not the only one worth paying attention to. In recent years, cannabigerol (CBG) has been shown to potentially aid with all sorts of health issues, from inflammation and glaucoma to neurodegenerative diseases.
Over the past few years, CBD has developed a reputation as a versatile aid for all sorts of people. Given the encouraging results of numerous preliminary studies, it has certainly earned its growing fan base.
What many in that fan base don't know, though, is that there's another cannabinoid perhaps just as worthy of their attention. No, we're not talking about THC. There are well over 100 cannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa.
One of these, CBG, will be our focus today; and by the end of this article, you’ll see exactly why it deserves to be recognised.
CBG — WHERE CANNABINOIDS BEGIN
Although there are hundreds of cannabinoids in cannabis, they're all linked in a family tree-type manner, with all the main cannabinoids we know rooting from one substance: CBGA.
Once CBGA undergoes synthesis with one of four different dehydrogenase enzymes during plant growth, CBDA, THCA, CBCA, and CBG all form. These, in turn, become CBD, THC, CBC, and CBG (no change) respectively after undergoing decarboxylation.
Don't get tripped up, though: decarboxylation simply means they get heated up.
WHAT IS CANNABIGEROL (CBG)?
CBG is one of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp, and stems from CBGA. CBGA is just the acidic version of CBG. As cannabis grows, almost all of the CBGA in a plant converts to either THCA or CBDA. By harvest time, CBG content is around 1% or less in most strains.
That, however, will be changing soon, as growers are working on making CBG-heavy strains. With research showing some significant potential benefits associated with CBG, the pace of experimental breeding in this area is expected to boom.
Much THC or CBD, CBG impacts our bodies with a number of effects, making it more and more desirable as we learn what it does.
HOW DOES CBG WORK?
Before we talk about the potential benefits of CBG, we should go over how cannabinoids CBG are able to affect people.
Whether it's THC, CBD, CBG, or any other cannabinoid, it's processed via the body's endocannabinoid system, and serves to imitate compounds our body makes naturally—endocannabinoids. There is, however, a difference in how each individual cannabinoid is processed.
THC, for instance, binds to CB1 receptors, which are found in the brain. CBG, binds to CB2 receptors found in the gut, connective tissue, and nervous system. This distinction is best explained via a discussion of the effects.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF CBG?
The first thing to know about CBG is that it has no psychotropic properties, so consuming it won't get you high. However, as many of you also know, getting high isn't the only thing cannabinoids are good for. In fact, there is a fair share of conditions that research is suggesting can be tackled or eased with cannabigerol.
CBG AND PAIN
Even with the sparse amount of research out there, science points in a clear direction as far as CBG and pain relief. Back in 2010, a study performed on mouse brain membranes found cannabigerol to act as a potent alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist.
This places it in a class of drugs known to, amongst other things, handle various forms of pain. A 2008 scientific review came upon a similar conclusion.
During the review, they discuss a 1991 study where researchers found CBG to be an even stronger analgesic than THC.
CBG AND GLAUCOMA
Research on the potential role of CBG in fighting glaucoma goes even further back. The Department of Ophthalmology at West Virginia University looked into the matter back in 1990, testing both THC and CBG.
In their study, they wanted to determine if either cannabinoid would decrease intraocular pressure in cats. Fascinatingly, when administered to their corneas via osmotic minipumps, they found both cannabigerol and its psychoactive counterpart to successfully drop intraocular pressure.
The fact that CBG was able to accomplish this, researchers explain, is a sign that it could be used to treat glaucoma.
CBG AND INFLAMMATION
Inflammatory bowel disease affects millions of people around the world, and treatments are always in demand. In an effort to investigate how CBG might be able to fight inflammation, the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Naples conducted a study on mice.
Published in 2013, their study concluded that CBG was able to debilitate murine colitis, along with «…reducing the nitric oxide production in [their] macrophages».
Reflecting on the findings, the researchers suggest that CBG should be considered as an experimental inflammatory bowel disease treatment.
CBG AND NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES
Last, but far from least, scientists have discovered a link between CBG and neurodegenerative disease treatment. Published in the Neurotherapeutics journal in 2015, this study on mice suffering from Huntington's disease found cannabigerol to protect subjects from several symptoms of the illness.
This was mainly shown in how it normalised the expression of various genes linked to the disease. It also improved the gene expression of insulin- growth factor, brain-derived neuropathic factor, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ.
New research avenues have been opened, and the path for CBG as a Huntington's treatment is clear.
IS CBG BETTER THAN CBD?
It has a lot of potential benefits, sure, but is CBG better than CBD? Well, that might not be the right question to start with, since they're two completely different cannabinoids. However, research suggests that both effect similar ailments pain, glaucoma, and inflammation.
Along with that, CBG appears more capable than other cannabinoids of handling issues muscle contractions. Overall, one isn't necessarily better than the other, and your personal preference will depend on why you’re taking it.
The research on CBD is much more extensive, and products are far more accessible, so we'd recommend that for the time being.
IS CBG LEGAL?
Outside of availability, we're sure you're also wondering whether CBG is even legal to sell or possess.
Fortunately, it's not even listed by the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, nor is it prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act in the United States.
Basically, while it's not easy to find, CBG is not considered illegal in most nations. However, you should always check the law where you live.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND CBG PRODUCTS?
As of now, CBG products aren't too common on the average dispensary shelf. However, some specialised companies have the know-how to isolate and produce natural CBG oils. CBG oils are a relatively new concept—with CBD oils taking the limelight. But as more light is shed of CBG and it grows in popularity, expect to see more and more CBG oils appearing on the market.
What is Cannabigerol (CBG)?
Cannabigerol, aka CBG, was first discovered in Israel in 1964 by researchers Yehiel Gaoni and Raphael Mechoulam, along with dozens of other cannabinoids.
Shortly after this discovery, Gaoni and Mechoulam found a new neurobiological system, now known as the endocannabinoid system.
While their later work mostly pertained to the effects of THC, their discovery has laid the groundwork for further research into this incredibly intricate plant and the corresponding functions within this system.
Up until the past few years, subsequent research on cannabinoids has been considerably slow, with the legality of cannabis impeding critical advancements in this field. However, with breakthroughs in the regulated production of cannabis, phytocannabinoids such as CBD and THC have become more familiar to the public as a part of everyday life.
Current studies have shown that, in addition to CBD and THC, cannabis plants contain over 100 other cannabinoids, each offering incredible therapeutic promise. CBG, (aka the “mother” or “stem cell” of cannabinoids) specifically has been shown to offer amazing potential as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-bacterial agent.
How CBG is Made
As a cannabis plant grows, cannabigerolic acid (the acidic form of CBG), is converted by enzymes into one of the three major cannabinoid precursors: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA). Once activated by light and heat, these molecules are then directed in one of three lines to become THC, CBD, and CBC. Any CBGA that is not converted into one of these three precursors becomes CBG.
Because of this conversion, CBG is generally found in very small amounts in mature cannabis plants and CBG-dominant strains have been historically very difficult to produce.
However, as research has developed, breeders have been able to experiment with cross-breeding cultivars.
This genetic manipulation, along with the correct use of heat and light and a precise extraction window allows the plants to produce much higher yields of CBG.
CBG & the Endocannabinoid System
So, after all the genetic engineering, what exactly does CBG do? On the surface, CBG has many similar effects as CBD, having been observed to combat pain and mitigate the intoxicating effects of THC without any psychoactive qualities (as in, it won’t make you feel a “high”).
However, un CBD, CBG interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors. It has also demonstrated an ability to increase anandamide, or “the bliss molecule,” which plays a critical role in the regulation of many functions within the body including memory, pain, appetite, mood and sleep.
While CBG offers a great deal of promise, clinical research on actual humans is still developing. However, in the past few years, experiments involving animals have shown that CBG offers incredible potential for a variety of applications including anti-bacterial, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
A study published in the journal American Chemical Society Infectious Diseases found that CBG shows the potential to be an effective antibacterial agent against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterial responsible for drug-resistant staph infections.
In another animal study, researchers found that CBG greatly benefitted cats with glaucoma by reducing eye pressure, suggesting that this cannabinoid may have great therapeutic potential for the treatment of glaucoma.
According to a 2013 study conducted on mice, CBG was found to be effective in decreasing the inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
In a more recent study, CBG was shown to act as a neuroprotectant in mice with the neurodegenerative condition, Huntington’s disease. In addition, the study concluded that CBG may show potential in treating other neurodegenerative diseases.
In studies involving mice with colon cancer, CBG showed promise as a cancer fighter, blocking the receptors that cause cancer cell growth and inhibiting the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
The Future of CBG
Initial studies have found that CBG directly interacts with our endocannabinoid system to promote homeostasis, or balance, within our bodies.
Researchers are encouraged by these results and are investigating how CBG works on its own, as well as when combined with other cannabinoids and therapies.
While further research is needed to fully understand how exactly it works with our bodies to promote wellness, it’s clear that CBG offers exciting potential for treating a variety of conditions.
No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your doctor or other qualified clinician. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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The Ultimate Guide to CBG: Benefits and Uses
After the massive popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) among mainstream consumers, cannabigerol (CBG) presents itself as a worthy alternative, or better yet, supplement to CBD- and THC-based products for medicinal and recreational use.
As a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, cannabigerol is seeing increased attention from researchers, producers, and consumers. In light of the spotlight it is under, our comprehensive cannabigerol guide answers all your questions about this new cannabinoid on the block.
What Is Cannabigerol (CBG)?
First discovered in 1964, cannabigerol (CBG), known as the “mother of all cannabinoids, is an incredible compound with tons of therapeutic potential. It is just one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis. Its acidic form, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), is the foundation of many other major and minor cannabinoids.
CBGA is the acidic chemical precursor of three primary compounds:
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)
- Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA)
- Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA)
As the cannabis plant matures, a group of enzymes break down CBGA to produce these three main cannabinoids. By the end of the harvest, most of the CBGA has fully converted into THCA, CBDA, and CBCA. Any leftover CBGA can become decarboxylated and turn into CBG. Cannabigerol has a boiling point of 125.6º F (52º C).
CBD and its intoxicating counterpart, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are found in high concentrations in a mature cannabis plant. CBG, on the other hand, is found in trace quantities (less than 1% by dry weight). CBD-rich strains can have CBD levels between 20 and 25%. THC-rich strains can have THC levels between 25 and 30%.
Because it is found in very low concentrations in most cannabis plants, CBG-based natural products are not commonly sold compared to THC and CBD products. However, as interest in this remarkable cannabinoid grows, research is ramping up into its therapeutic effects.
How CBG Works
CBG interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining internal homeostasis of many important biological processes related to mood, sleep, memory, appetite, reproduction, and immune responses.
The ECS is composed of a system of cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body: CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are usually found in the nervous system and brain. CB2 receptors are mainly found in the immune system.
Cannabigerol, in particular, binds to both receptors and amplifies the effects of anandamide, a neurotransmitter known as the “bliss molecule,” which is responsible for affecting motivation, appetite, sleep, pleasure, and pain.
CBG is a CB1 receptor agonist, meaning it interacts with the receptor and causes an increase in anandamide (AEA) levels in the nervous system. CBG can also interact with CB2 receptors in the gastrointestinal and immune system. Research is not clear whether it is a CB2 antagonist or agonist.
Research has shown that CBGA can influence 5HT1A-receptors. This receptor is responsible for regulating serotonin levels. CBG can be a moderate block of the receptor, which can affect the serotonin signaling in the central nervous system.
In addition, CBG has been shown to be an adrenoceptor agonist. This helps it control the expression of noradrenaline and adrenaline in the central nervous system. Adrenaline and noradrenaline are major neurotransmitters in the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).
CBG has the following therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive effects of THC.
CBG vs CBD
Many new users may confuse CBD and CBG. CBG shares many of CBD’s medicinal properties. Both CBG and CBD have enormous potential to treat a variety of conditions and symptoms without getting you high. Un THC, CBG and CBD do not have intoxicating effects. They may also reduce the negative side effects of THC.
CBD and CBG differ in concentration. In the early growth stages, CBGA will be the main cannabinoid present, but gradually converts to CBDA, THCA, and CBCA. CBD-rich flower buds can have up to 25% CBD, while CBG levels tend to stay below 1%.
Potential Benefits of CBG
Cannabigerol has proven to be a worthy complementary cannabinoid to the non-intoxicating cannabidiol. Early studies into this cannabinoid are very promising but there is still more need for human, peer-reviewed studies to show its effectiveness. Future research can begin to uncover the true potential of the compound.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) involves chronic inflammation of the digestive tract and includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. A 2013 study on animals found that CBG was able to reduce inflammation and nitric oxide production in the colons of mice. It also reduced the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the intestines.
A 2020 study discovered that CBG has strong antibacterial properties. In particular, CBG was effective against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains. MRSA is known for causing drug-resistant staph infections that are difficult to treat.
In a 2008 study on animals, research found that cannabigerol was effective in treating glaucoma. Research showed that cannabigerol reduced eye pressure and increased aqueous humor outflow, a fluid that helps maintain eye pressure and provides nutrition to the eye.
Huntington disease is a rare and inherited condition that results in the destruction of nerve cells in the brain. In a 2015 study, researchers tested the effects of CBG and other cannabinoids in mice with an experimental model of Huntington's disease.
In the study, CBG functioned as a neuroprotective compound by protecting the nerve cells in the brain from damage. In addition to its neuroprotective effects, it also improved motor deficits and protected striatal neurons against 3-nitropropionic acid toxicity.
In a 2014 study, researchers found that CBGA reduced tumor growth in mouse models of colon cancer. CBG inhibits colon carcinogenesis by blocking TRPM8 channels that promote cancer cell growth. It also inhibited the production of colorectal cancer cells.
A 2016 study on rats found that CBG had appetite stimulating effects. Rats that were dosed with CBG were able to eat twice the amount of food compared to the control group. Appetite stimulation can be helpful for chemo-induced appetite loss and appetite issues in HIV patients.
A 2015 study tested the effects of many cannabinoids on bladder contractions. Researchers found all the cannabinoids, CBG was the best at treating bladder dysfunctions, followed by THCV, CBD, and CBDV.
Cannabigerol-Rich Cannabis Strains
Nowadays, you can get more than THC- and CBD-rich flower buds. While not as common as THC buds, CBG strains are becoming more widely available at dispensaries. Hemp has higher concentrations of CBG than high-THC cannabis strains.
Popular CBG strains include:
- White CBG
- Super Glue CBG
- Jack Frost CBG
- Plain Jane CBG
- Stem Cell
- Sour G
- Desert Snow CBG
- CBG Shiatsu
How to Use CBG
CBG products are becoming more prevalent than ever, especially in oil form. Still, CBG oils are relatively expensive and rare compared to other cannabinoid oils.
Common CBG-derived products include:
- CBG Flower
- CBG Gummies
- CBG Isolate
- CBG Tincture
- CBG Chewing Gum
- CBG Sublingual Tablets
- CBG Salve
- CBG Softgels
If you want to have the benefits of every cannabinoid and terpene found in cannabis plants, go for full-spectrum or broad-spectrum products.
- Broad spectrum CBD products feature the entire lineup of cannabinoids without THC.
- Full-spectrum cannabis products contain the entire chemical profile of the strain including THC.
The synergistic interaction between cannabinoids that works to amplify the positive benefits of cannabis while minimizing the adverse side effects is known as the entourage effect.
Cannabis Plant Production and Extraction
After the 2018 Farm Bill passed, hemp production became legal, which includes production of hemp derivatives such as cannabigerol. However, the plant and its derivative products must contain less than 0.3% THC.
Cannabigerol oil is extracted using hydrocarbon, ethanol, or CO2 extraction methods from CBG-rich biomass.
Since CBGA is the first cannabinoid to develop in young cannabis plants, growers must take advantage of the short time window to harvest hemp plants. Ideally, growers will wait to harvest six weeks into the eight week flowering cycle. CBGA levels will be the highest before it converts into a variety of other cannabinoids.
Because cannabigerol is a minor cannabinoid found in trace amounts in harvested cannabis, CBGA levels will be frustratingly low, even if you harvest at peak cannabigerol concentrations. To make matters worse, harvesting early also reduces the total cannabinoids by weight compared to harvesting mature cannabis plants.
Essentially, a higher volume of biomass will be needed to produce enough cannabigerol for commercial production. The difficulty in producing cannabigerol-based products puts its products at a higher price point compared to other cannabinoid-based products.
In an attempt to obtain higher yields, breeders have embraced genetic manipulation and crossbreeding to develop cannabis strains that have higher concentrations of this cannabinoid.
This is making extraction more cost-efficient for producers and consumers a. Right now, some hemp can contain well over 90% CBG.
Researchers believe that a malfunctioning gene prevents the conversion from CBG to THC, which produces higher concentrations.
Beyond CBD and THC: How Other Cannabinoids Can Help
As well known cannabinoids, CBD and THC have earned their place among common alternative treatment methods that have minimal side effects. As research continues to uncover the medicinal benefits of minor compounds in the plant, producers can create more effective products that can elevate the plant’s healing power.