Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for medicinal and recreational purposes, but only in recent years have we started to understand the full potential of the compounds found in the plant. One of the lesser-known cannabinoids is CBG (cannabigerol), a non-intoxicating compound that is gaining attention for its potential therapeutic benefits. In this article, we’ll explore what CBG is, how it differs from other cannabinoids, and some of the potential health benefits associated with it.
What is CBG?
CBG is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It is similar in structure to CBD and THC, but has its own unique properties and potential health benefits. Cannabis plants synthesize CBG in its acidic form as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). In the cannabis plant cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), is the parent molecule for the synthesis of all other cannabinoids in the plant. During the maturation process of the cannabis plant, CBGA is converted into other cannabinoids, leaving only small amounts of CBG. This means that even THC producing marijuana plants produce CBG first, which is converted into THC throughout the maturity of the plant. Existing mainly as a precursor molecule or the “Mother Cannabinoid”, most strains of cannabis contain only trace amounts of CBG. Many cannabis strains contain very small amounts of CBG, usually less than 1%, making it a relatively rare cannabinoid.
Difference between CBG and CBD
CBG and CBD are both non-intoxicating cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but they have different chemical structures and different potential therapeutic properties. CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the most well-known and widely studied cannabinoids, and is known for its potential therapeutic benefits such as seizure management, reducing anxiety, and easing inflammation. CBD does not have any psychoactive effects.
CBG (cannabigerol), on the other hand, is a lesser-known cannabinoid. Although it may be similar in structure to CBD, the structural uniqueness of CBG gives it its own unique properties. Studies have suggested that CBG has been shown to act as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and it has been found to have neuroprotective properties. Additionally, CBG has been shown to have potential as a treatment for a range of conditions, including glaucoma, inflammatory bowel disease, and anxiety.
CBG is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that can have mildly psychoactive effects. Psychoactive is defined as something that interacts with our brain. CBG has the ability to interact with and bind to the CB1 receptors dispersed throughout our brain and central nervous system. This makes CBG a psychoactive compound. We like to describe the effects as an aware, uplifting, focus type feeling, like a cup of coffee without any associated jitters or crash. Instead, with CBG, you get clean & clear energy. Due to its structural uniqueness, CBG also has the ability to bind to CB2 receptors located in peripheral organs & tissues. The malleability of CBG allows for it to bind to these structurally diverse receptors and fulfill a wide range of reactions within our endocannabinoid system, making it a very unique and powerful molecule with lots of potential.
Potential Health Benefits of CBG
While research on CBG is still in the early stages, studies suggest that it may have a number of potential health benefits. Some of the potential benefits associated with CBG include:
- Anti-inflammatory effects: CBG may have anti-inflammatory properties, which could make it useful in treating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Analgesic effects: CBG may have pain-relieving properties, which could make it useful in treating conditions such as chronic pain and migraines.
- Anti-tumor effects: CBG may have anti-tumor properties, which could make it useful in treating cancer.
- Antidepressant effects: CBG may have antidepressant properties, which could make it useful in treating conditions such as depression and anxiety.
- Glaucoma: CBG has been studied for its ability to lower intraocular pressure, a key symptom of glaucoma.
- Gut repair: CBG may have properties that could make it useful in treating symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel disease, acid reflux, menstrual cramps, or other gastrointestinal issues.
- Neuroprotective properties: CBG may have neuroprotective properties, which could make it useful in fighting against and slowing down neurodegeneration.
CBG is a lesser-known cannabinoid that is gaining attention for its potential therapeutic benefits. While research on CBG is still in the early stages, early studies are providing promising results demonstrating the potential of CBG as a therapeutic powerhouse. If you’re interested in trying CBG, be sure to speak with a qualified healthcare provider to determine if it is right for you. Keep in mind that more research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBG, the mechanisms of action it uses to interact with our bodies, and its plethora of potential therapeutic uses.
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- Kaigome, J., & Shoyama, Y. (2018). CBG, a minor phytocannabinoid, exerts potent neuroprotective effects in cerebral ischemia. Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 889. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/
- McPartland, J. M., Glass, M., & Russo, E. B. (2017). Meta-analysis of cannabis based treatments for neuropathic and multiple sclerosis-related pain. Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain, 16(2), 161-171. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6501152/