What is CBG?
You may have heard of CBG, which is short for Cannabigerol. Like CBD, CBG is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids existing in the hemp plant. It was first isolated in research in 1964. Due to the rapid expansion of the hemp industry, CBG is growing in popularity and understanding.
CBG is also known as the mother of all cannabinoids. It earns this title by being the first cannabinoid created by growing hemp plants. Maturing hemp plants use a CBG base – CBGA or Cannabigerolic Acid – to then branch off into the creation of THC, CBD, and CBC. Decarboxylation is the name for the chemical process which converts CBG into these compounds. In short, you can’t have any other cannabinoids without CBG!
Since most of the CBGA exhausts itself creating other cannabinoids, it is present in low amounts in an adult plant. This leads many people to believe that CBG is a “minor” cannabinoid, since it appears to be less prevalent. In terms of importance, this is untrue – it couldn’t be any more major.
What Are the Effects of CBG?
Since the acceptance, extraction, and introduction of CBG are even more recent than CBD, there is comparatively less medical research available. Its potential benefits are of great interest to medical researchers, and many studies are currently ongoing.
Like CBD, studies focus on exploring whether CBG could have any clinical use as an anti-inflammatory or neuroprotectant.
- This June 2017 study explores the potential of CBG to stimulate appetite.
- From September 2020, this study shows how CBG acts on the body.
- Most recently, this February 2021 study explores potential neurological and anti-inflammatory uses for CBG
Like CBD, CBG is non-intoxicating, which means that it will not get you high. If its future is even close to as bright as CBD’s record so far, it will remain a promising supplement for many years to come.
Research shows that CBG acts on the body in a similar way to what CBD does. Primarily, it does this by influencing the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. This mechanism of action combined with existing research shows that CBG may be a worthwhile compound for helping support healthy inflammatory response.
How is CBG Made?
Through the 2010s, great effort went into breeding hemp plants specifically for high CBD concentrations – some as high as 21 or 22%. Comparatively, CBG may be present in amounts below 1%. Since it is this same hemp from which CBG is derived, it takes many times more hemp to produce a similar amount of CBG. This disparity in concentrations is what makes CBG so difficult to extract. As you might imagine, the difficult in concentrating CBG is also what leads to higher price points for CBG supplements.
Extracting CBG from hemp plants also forces another choice. The more the plant matures, the less CBGA – remember, that’s the precursor to CBG and other cannabinoids – remains. This leaves two choices: harvest the plant early and only get CBG from it, or harvest normally and get other cannabinoids like CBD, but less CBG.
Since CBG is present in such small amounts, the extraction process is similar to CBD yet more unforgiving. The extraction must be precise in order to identify and isolate the small amounts of CBG present in the hemp material. The cost of machinery capable of this precision, the difficulty of the process, and the cost of extraction ingredients all make CBG a premium cannabinoid.
There is ongoing work on breeding hemp plants specifically for high CBG content, just like the work that developed 20% CBD plants. As these cultivating programs continue to evolve, the creation of CBG will become faster, easier, and more affordable in a short time span.
What’s the Difference Between CBD and CBG?
Although they are both cannabinoids, CBD and CBG each have different chemical structures. These structures are different enough that they exert different influences on the body, but are still quite similar since they come from the same precursor.
CBD’s structure allows it to influence what is able to act on ECS receptors instead of interacting with them directly. As a result, CBD’s primary method of acting is actually by changing how other compounds are able to act. CBG, on the other hand, has a structure that allows it to directly interact with the ECS receptors.
Despite their different structures, they both interact with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system. This system is present in all mammals, meaning that the effects of these compounds will be the same whether in a human or a dog, for example. It’s important to remember their most important similarity: they will not get you high.
An interesting note: both compounds have the potential to counter the effects of THC, since it needs to bind to CB1 receptors in the ECS to be effective. Because of this similar method of action, both CBD and CBG could help with attaining a greater sense of relaxation. Combining them in this way may also lead to a different, better experience than using each on its own.
The name for the theory establishing this synergy between cannabinoids is the Entourage effect. Broadly, it suggests that cannabinoids work better when they are acting simultaneously together. This increased effectiveness speaks to the value of diverse hemp supplements. It is always important to tailor what cannabinoid products you use to your personal needs. However, you should keep in mind that you will likely find the most benefit from their combined use, like in full-spectrum products or isolates that combine multiple cannabinoids like CBD and CBG.
Have You Tried CBG Yet?
What’s your experience with CBG so far? Does it work better for you when you take it with CBD? We’re interested in your feedback and would love hear more about how it impacted you. Contact us directly, or share with us on social media. For a few lucky people, we’ll return the shout out and send some awesome new products your way to try!