What Is CBG?

What Is CBG: Hemp leaves on white background

Posted on August 12th, 2020

So, you may be wondering – what is this CBG that everyone is talking about? Is it just like CBD and THC: a cannabis extract (cannabinoid) with enormous potential and numerous potential health benefits? Well, before we jump the gun, it is important that we first understand exactly what CBG is and how it interacts with the human body. That’s the only way we can get a clear and accurate picture of this cannabis extract’s potential benefits, uses, side effects, and more.

What Is CBG?

CBG is short for Cannabigerol. It is often referred to as the ultimate cannabinoid because it plays a role in forming other cannabinoids, like CBD and THC. But this wasn’t always the case. For years, scientists thought that CBG was an insignificant cannabinoid because cannabis extracts only contained tiny amounts of this cannabinoid. However, CBG is gradually entering the spotlight because of its newly discovered potential health benefits and uses. Now, more and more companies are looking into maximizing CBG extraction and production.

Remember, cannabigerol is just one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. To clarify, cannabinoids are highly-potent organic compounds found in the cannabis plant. Each cannabinoid has its own range of potential healing and health-boosting properties. CBG is considered a ‘minor-league’ cannabinoid when compared to ‘major-league’ cannabinoids like THC and CBD because of its lower concentration. In fact, CBG only constitutes about 1% of a typical cannabis extract.

Cannabis plant in natureWhat Is CBGA and Why Is It Important?

CBGA stands for cannabigerol acid. This acid, present inside cannabis plants, is involved in forming other cannabinoids like CBD, THC, and CBC. So, we can confidently say that without CBGA, we would not have any of those cannabinoids. CBGA is a direct precursor of CBG.

As the cannabis plant grows, various enzymes (also referred to as synthases) convert CBGA into CBCA, CBDA, and THCA. In turn, these convert into CBC, CBD, and THC through a process known as decarboxylation. This is simply a heating process that eradicates carboxyls heating. The tiny quantities of CBGA that are left behind in the plant after decarboxylation are used to form other cannabinoids.

The most crucial thing to note here is that cannabigerol plays a significant role in the formation of other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. CBG, and in turn CBGA, is usually found in low concentrations because it is already used up while forming other major cannabinoids. Because of this, the best way to get a CBG-rich extract is to harvest a plant in its early stages of growth, before CBGA converts to THC or CBD.

By doing so, you will get a plant with little or no CBD or THC. But you can expect much higher CBG concentrations. Alternatively, you could try crossbreeding plants. You would start by identifying cannabis species with high CBG production. But this is a highly technical process that not many people can afford.

Exploring the Differences of CBG vs. CBD

CBG and CBD are both cannabinoids, extracted from the cannabis plant. And they share a lot of similarities. For instance, both cannabinoids appear to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Moreover, both CBD and CBG seem to counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. This means that they could neutralize the ‘high’ caused by THC. They also both possess the entourage effect, which means that they complement each other’s health benefits when used together.

But they also have their differences and unique characteristics. Cannabigerol has a particular advantage over CBD in the way it interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS). While CBD is not able to directly interact with its cannabinoid receptors in your brain, CBG directly links with both kinds of ECS receptors, known as CB1 and CB2. 

Cannabigerol is also very rare, while CBD is prevalent. And CBG is much harder to extract from the cannabis plant. Its extractions are a cost and time-intensive affair that requires a lot of skill and dedication. Extraction requires specialized equipment that is often very expensive. And, because of its low concentrations, it would take larger amounts of cannabis to retrieve the same amount of CBG as it would CBD from the cannabis plant. Because of this, very few individuals and companies can successfully undertake this task.

The Potential Benefits and Uses of CBG

Over the course of several decades, studies suggest that cannabigerol may effectively address various health conditions. It appears to help manage symptoms include constipation, stomach bloating, and diarrhea. CBG may help manage certain symptoms by targeting inflammation, pain, and even nausea. It may also provide relief to intraocular eye pressure. Intraocular eye pressure is often seen in those with glaucoma

A 2020 study exploring the benefits and uses of cannabigerol found that it may be useful as a natural antibiotic. CBG is also reported to be effective in addressing bacterial infections, especially those that are resistant to synthetic drugs and medication. Scientists are still exploring why CBG appears to act as an antibiotic, as well as its long term effects on the body.

Cannabigerol also seems to have powerful antimicrobial properties. This means that it may be useful when addressing symptoms of pain and inflammation

But keep in mind: although cannabigerol might be associated with numerous health benefits, its effectiveness as a natural or homeopathic treatment is still relatively unknown. Extensive research is still needed on the cannabinoid and its effects. And because people are built differently, CBG may affect them differently. So it is important to exercise caution and always talk to your doctor before using CBG for therapeutic purposes.

CBG tincture and dropperWhat Are the Possible Side Effects?

As we already mentioned, we do not have a lot of available research on cannabigerol. So we don’t know a ton about its nature, potential, benefits, or side effects. In fact, the cannabinoid cannabigerol is not known by most. The critical role that CBG plays in the support and formation of other cannabinoids could encourage further research into all this cannabinoid has to offer. 

However, the few studies and limited information on cannabigerol that does exist shows that this cannabinoid has very few side effects. In fact, to date, there are no significant side effects cited in any CBG studies. This means that as long as you’re cleared by your doctor, and you use cannabigerol with the recommended doses, it should not cause you any side effects.

Does CBG have Psychoactive Effects?

Unlike THC, CBG is non-psychoactive. This means that cannabigerol extracts will never get you high. In that respect, CBG is very similar to CBD. CBG and CBD interact differently with the brain when compared to THC. 

But, as we mentioned, CBD and CBG also interact differently from one another with your endocannabinoid system. So, when taken in large doses, cannabigerol may affect your mood. 

It is also important to note that pure cannabigerol extracts will not make you fail a drug test. And using CBG should not interfere with your day-to-day activities.

Where Can You Buy CBG Products?

For years, legal regulations made it challenging for Americans to buy cannabis extracts. Thankfully, however, this is quickly changing, as restrictions relax and more suppliers enter the market. Already, many states in the U.S. have legalized the use of medical marijuana and hemp extracts. This means that consumers can purchase and use these cannabis extracts without fear of legal repercussions. While many states in the U.S. have legalized the use of hemp products, be sure to check with your state and local laws surrounding the use of hemp products.

Still, you need to find a reputable supplier for cannabigerol extract products such as oils, tinctures, and waxes. Because of the increasing demand for these products, many unreliable suppliers flood the market with counterfeit products. So, as a consumer, you should only purchase CBG and other cannabis extracts from reputable suppliers, who supply proof of their products’ safety and efficacy with third-party lab tests. You can often find a certificate of analysis as a result of third-party lab tests. After all, you can only derive benefits from CBG and other cannabinoids if you use high-quality, properly manufactured products. 

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