Health & Wellness

Cannabigerol (CBG): What to Know

By Josh Hall

While byproducts of the cannabis plant like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have had reasonably widespread exposure in our country, there are other compounds—other cannabinoids—that have yet to receive the same level of fanfare. With cannabis producing over 100 cannabinoids, it’s no surprise that not every compound is a household name.

However, cannabigerol (CBG) is one of those that should be on your radar. Why? CBG offers many of the same benefits of CBD, and when used in tandem with its fellow cannabinoid, can provide a heightened level of benefit.

What is Cannabigerol (CBG)?

Though it gets overshadowed by CBD, the truth is that there wouldn’t be CBD without CBG. That’s because CBG is essentially the stem cell or “chemical parent” that produces CBD, among other cannabinoids.

The process is somewhat complicated, and without getting too deep into the science behind it, here’s a brief bulleted summary:

  • The cannabis plant produces what’s known as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).
  • Enzymes held within the plant take that CBGA and break it down into other cannabinoid acids, specifically cannabidiolic acid and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid.
  • As a result of aging or a heating process called decarboxylation, those acids convert to CBD and THC.

It’s important to add that one trait CBG shares with CBD is that it is non-psychoactive. Unlike THC, those who use CBG (or CBD, for that matter) won’t receive a mind-altering high—in fact, it’s one of the benefits that users most appreciate about the experience.

What is CBG Used For?

Because it’s not as prevalent within cannabis plants or as widely used commercially as CBD, the full breadth of CBG’s benefits is still a bit of a mystery. However, there have been studies that illustrate the good it provides users closely mimics that of CBD.

For instance, there are indications that CBG can fight inflammation in the body. Though one particular clinical study used mice as part of its experiment, research related to CBG’s impact on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) found the non-psychotropic compound diminished inflammatory markers in the test subjects. Authors of the study even suggested that further testing on humans who suffer from IBD would be a worthwhile exercise.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, conservative estimates peg the number of adults with a doctor-diagnosed case of arthritis at 54 million. In most cases, chronic inflammation is what causes arthritis, so you can imagine the impact CBG could have on one of the most rampant conditions in the country.

For daily use, CBG can regulate normal functions like appetite, sleep, and memory, and aid in clearing up skin conditions like psoriasis. Like other cannabinoids, CBG is also antibacterial and antifungal and may relieve pain and anxiety.

Products that contain CBG

How is CBG Administered?

When shopping for CBG, you’ll see that the products come in delivery mechanisms that are very similar to that of CBD. Consumers can commonly find oil tinctures and crystals that are pure CBG online or in specialty shops, along with isolate that can be used as a dab. The effects of CBG get enhanced when used in concert with CBD or other cannabinoids, a sensation known as the “entourage effect.”

Is Cannabigerol Safe?

CBG is safe for people of all ages—and pets—to use. As mentioned, one of the most significant benefits is that it does not include THC, which means there’s no risk of getting high from using CBG-infused products. Research into its use is still relatively nascent, but what researchers have produced has all been positive. Some have even suggested that it might be more effective at treating pain than both CBD and THC.

That said, usage should be in moderation and always within safe limits. You would need to ingest an extraordinary amount of CBG to reach an unsafe level, but it’s certainly possible. Similar to the guideline we provide for CBD dosage, we suggest you start slowly and see how your body reacts before increasing the amount.

How Does Cannabigerol Work?

If you’ve done any research on cannabis, you’re likely familiar with how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) works. As a brief recap, the purpose of our ECS is to regulate how all the other systems in our body perform so that we remain in homeostasis, or the state of stability and optimal functioning.

CBG works by interacting with the cannabinoid receptors (also known as CB1 and CB2), endocannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes that form the ECS. Our cannabinoid receptors play a pivotal role in normalizing physiological processes like our mood, response to pain, and how hungry we are. The intense reaction that occurs when CBG meets these receptors is what produces improvements in our pain levels and disposition.

CBG also increases a naturally occurring cannabinoid in our system called anandamide that helps to regulate functions critical to survival, including sleep and memory.

Is CBG Legal?

Like CBD, CBG that falls under the 0.3% threshold for THC is legal to buy and ship in all 50 states and in many countries across the world. While the legality is not in question, you should always be cautious about who you buy your CBG products from.

Always shop with a reputable vendor who can produce lab testing that verifies the safety of the product. Legitimate products should also include a label that details the strength of the included CBG.

The Bottom Line

CBG has yet to achieve the critical acclaim or star power of CBD, but that’s not to say it doesn’t pack a punch—or that its time isn’t coming. As mentioned, CBG products actually supply much of the same benefits that CBD offers, and they allow you to stack the two cannabinoids together for a more potent concoction.

Though it’s been around since the 1960s, there is still much to learn about this powerful compound. As time goes on, waiting consumers should anticipate more research on the wonders of CBG and the areas where it may provide medicinal value.

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