What is CBG? Cannabigerol
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been getting lots of attention lately thanks to its growing popularity as a versatile, holistic and therapeutic remedy for many common ailments. But lately, there’s a new kid on the block ― cannabigerol (CBG), which likewise has been gaining momentum in popularity as researchers and consumers alike discover its potential to provide multiple health benefits.
CBG was first identified by researchers in the 1960s, who at the time were studying the properties of THC, the psychoactive compound found in some varieties of the cannabis plant. At the time, scientists were still trying to discover the mechanisms by which cannabinoids, including CBD and CBG, work with endocannabinoid receptors in the body to relieve pain and improve mood.
Today, researchers are taking a much closer look at CBG, and cannabinoids in general, as a safer, non-psychoactive alternative to opioids and over-the-counter analgesics for long-term management of chronic pain and other ailments, such as anxiety, high blood pressure and more.
CBG has even caught the eye of government researchers at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) who recently announced nine new research awards totaling approximately $3 million to investigate the potential pain-relieving properties and mechanisms of actions of minor cannabinoids like CBG.
Where Does CBG Come From?
The hemp plant contains more than 110 known cannabinoids and about 120 terpenes ― many of which haven’t been closely studied until recently as is the case with CBD and CBG.
CBG is unique in that it plays a pivotal role in the biology of the hemp plant. That’s because it is a precursor from which other cannabinoids are synthesized by the hemp plant. It’s for this reason that CBG is often referred to as the “mother” of cannabinoids.
Even though cannabinoids all have similar sounding names, they do not have identical properties. CBG is not on most people’s radar yet for the potential benefits it may provide that go beyond what is known about it’s more famous sibling, CBD.
For example, CBG has been identified as having antibacterial and antifungal properties. In one recent study, researchers found that CBG could be a potential treatment for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a type of staph infection that is notoriously resistant to antibiotics and responsible for 20,000 U.S. deaths in 2017 alone.
CBG is also thought to have anti-tumor properties due to the involvement of the CB2 cannabinoid receptor, although further studies of CBG extracts are needed to make a conclusion as to its potential effectiveness as a therapeutic agent.
On the other hand, the wellness benefits of CBD are much better understood and studied. Both bind similarly to endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, however slight nuances in binding properties can produce different health benefits in CBD that may not be present in CBG, such as:
- Inflammation reduction
- Relief from inflammatory bowel disease
- Relief from anxiety
What Health Benefits Can I Expect From CBG?
Research on CBG, and its potential to provide health benefits, is still in its infancy. However, what is known about CBG appears very promising.
- Mood. Like CBD, CBG is though to indirectly boost a molecule called anandamide, which interacts with endocannabinoid receptors to lower stress levels and help regulate mood.
- Metabolism. Although more research needs to be done, there are some studies indicating that CBG may help boost metabolism, leading to better weight control.
- Pain response. Government studies are underway to study CBG and its potential to relieve chronic pain and offer patients an alternative to opioids and OTC pain killers.
- Appetite. A recent study involving animals suggests CBG, along with other compounds, could stimulate the appetite and help those with conditions whereby standard therapies suppress appetite.
- Antibacterial. A 2008 study identified CBG as a strong antibacterial agent against some dangerous drug-resistant bacterial infections.
What Hemp Oil Products Should I Choose to Benefit From CBG?
Although consumer demand for CBG products is on the rise, don’t expect the variety and selection of products to be as widespread as is the case with CBD products.
For one, most varieties of cannabis and hemp contain as little as 2 percent CBG by volume, making it very expensive to extract CBG isolate products for sale on the marketplace. The good news is that several farms are racing to develop hemp strains with as much as 22 percent CBG by volume, but stable strains are still years in the making for them to provide cost-effective products.
Want your CBG now? No need to fret because CBG can be found in full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products, albeit in small quantities for the time being. Because there are so many CBD products on the market, and the industry is largely unregulated, the advice to consumers is “caveat emptor”.
How Can I Tell the Hemp Oil Products I Buy Actually Contain CBG?
Currently, the cost to extract CBG from hemp remains high but you can still find it in full or broad-spectrum CBD products but the burden of verification lies with the consumer.
CBD companies like Earthy are fully transparent and compliant with industry regulations regarding the source from which the CBD oil is extracted, its purity and the existence of other cannabinoids like CBG.
So how do you sort the good from the bad? You can’t rely on labeling because many products out on the market are mislabeled or not transparent as to the exact contents they contain. The key to knowing if the products you buy have any CBG in them is to have access to independent, third-party lab reports. These lab reports will clearly indicate whether CBG is present in the product and in what quantities.
Even though there are not a lot of studies on the hundreds of different cannabinoids—such as CBG—present in hemp, progress is being made and researchers and consumers alike are realizing the safety and efficacy of these products for managing chronic pain, anxiety, stress and more.
Nine new research studies are being funded with approximately $3 million to investigate the potential pain-relieving properties and mechanisms of actions of both cannabinoids and terpenes. While CBG may not have the star power to match the mainstream appeal of CBD, this cannabinoid may soon play a major role in everyday consumer products once the wide array of highly intriguing medicinal benefits is realized.
For sure, more research needs to be done in order to fully understand what CBG has to offer from a wellness standpoint, but the few existing studies, and ones currently in progress, are highlighting several reasons for consumers to be on the lookout about the therapeutic potential of CBG.