The more we learn about the incredible wellness benefits of CBD, the more intrigued we become about the potential benefits of the diverse range of cannabis-derived compounds. CBG is one such compound, often referred to as the parent or ‘mother’ cannabinoid, but is relatively uncommon in the UK (although some wellbeing shops are now beginning to stock CBG-infused products).
Keen to learn more? In this article, we are going to explore what CBG is, how it compares to CBD, the compound’s potential well-being benefits and how it works in the body.
What is CBG?
CBG, short for cannabigerol, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid of the cannabis plant. More commonly known cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
CBG occurs in much smaller quantities within the plant than its sister compounds. For example, many strains of the plant contain just 1% CBG in comparison with up to 25% CBD and 30% THC. CBG, however, is classed as the ‘mother’ of all cannabinoids, since all cannabinoids derive from CBGA (cannabigerolic acid – a form of CBG).
There is a growing demand for CBG thanks to a host of potential wellness benefits that the compound has to offer. However, consumer products are usually quite rare and expensive, since CBG is found in such small quantities in the cannabis plant.
What are the Key Differences Between CBG and CBD?
CBG has comparable properties to other phytocannabinoids including CBD. There are, however, a few significant differences between compounds CBG and CBD. Three key distinctions are:
- CBD and CBG are both natural cannabinoids of the cannabis plant. However, CBG only occurs for a brief period during the plant’s life cycle, during its early growth stage.
- CBG interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to produce similar effects to CBD, but it can bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors, whereas CBD simply stimulates them. This is a result of different chemical structures.
- CBG is an appetite stimulant (in rats) according to one study. CBD does not appear to trigger changes in appetite.
Benefits of CBG
Initial research into the benefits of CBG is promising. To date, science has discovered a multitude of potential benefits, including:
- Pain relief
- Therapeutic benefits for several conditions including glaucoma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and Huntington’s disease
- Antibacterial properties
- Stress and anxiety reduction
- Anti-inflammatory properties
Like CBD, CBG has been shown to offer wellness benefits without psychoactive effects. However, further research, specifically human studies, are required to fully understand the extent of the benefits that CBG can provide.
How Does CBG Work?
CBG interacts closely with the body’s endocannabinoid system in a comparable manner to CBD. However, CBG directly binds with ECS receptors CB1 and CB2. Simply put, CBG closely mimics the activity of our body’s natural endocannabinoids which help to maintain homeostasis of the body for optimum wellness, despite influences from our external environment. By providing the body with CBG, we are essentially providing this regulatory system with a boost.
CB1 receptors are located within the nervous system and the brain, while CB2 receptors can be found within the rest of the body and the immune system. As CBG binds to both receptors, it works to strengthen neurotransmitters which promote motivation and feelings of happiness. They also regulate sleep, appetite and reduce pain. CBG can therefore provide a number of benefits to improve general sense of wellbeing, without giving you a high.
How Is CBG Made?
Hemp produces CBG naturally during its growth process, but CBG also occurs by heat (and possibly light and UV rays) breaking down the acidic form of CBGA to become a neutral form (CBG). The compound is rare and valuable as a result, so breeders attempt to obtain higher CBG contents through crossing strains of plants and genetic manipulation.
Is CBG Legal?
CBG is not a controlled substance in the UK and is therefore legal. The principal factor that determines whether a CBG-based product is legal is its quantity of THC. Like CBD products in the UK and most European countries, CBG products must not exceed the legal allowance of THC (0.2%) since THC is a controlled substance.
When purchasing a CBG or CBD product, always check that the company you are buying from provides third-party lab reports; these highlight how much THC their products contain.
CBG Product Types
CBG products in the UK are quite rare and expensive. Like CBD, there are ranges of oils and tinctures infused with CBG (and sometimes additional cannabinoids including CBD, to encourage the “entourage effect” - a process by which the effects of a cannabinoid are heightened thanks to neighbouring cannabinoids, akin to its natural state in the hemp plant).
Flavoured CBG gummies, CBG capsules, topical CBG salves and CBG-infused bath bombs are also available to buy in the UK.
How to Use CBG
Oil droppers are the most common way to enjoy CBG since they are easy to administer and control. Start with a small dose and work up slowly but surely, to assess your tolerance levels. It is also worthwhile contacting your GP before using CBG, especially if you are using prescription medication.
If you experience any side effects, be sure to lower the dose. Always read product labels and follow instructions. You may find it handy to record your experience in a journal.
Some users opt for full-spectrum CBD as a starting point. The full spectrum form of CBD oil contains smaller concentrations of other cannabinoids including CBG and may be a useful tool to see how your body tolerates the effects before moving on to pure CBG isolate.
CBG is one of the lesser-known cannabinoids, but it certainly has the potential to become just as famous - if not more famous - than THC and CBD. Time will tell whether CBG provides true well-being benefits, but so far, preliminary studies are encouraging. However, not much is known about the side effects of CBG or how it may interact with medication, so if you’re curious about trying it, a sensible starting point may be to try a high-quality full-spectrum CBD oil first.