The cannabis plant contains over 85 cannabinoids that are the reason for the therapeutic benefits linked to medical marijuana. Each cannabinoid has its own unique properties that can be useful for many types of ailments. To fully understand how medical marijuana can be beneficial It is vital for researchers to look at as many cannabinoids as possible.
Cannabigerol (CBG) is a less popular cannabinoid that isn’t found in high levels and cannot be found in most strains. Despite this, it is still necessary to know about its important, useful qualities.
What You Need to Know About Cannabigerol (CBG)
Cannabigerol (CBG) is found in hemp and does not have the psychoactive effects of THC. It actually can hinder the psychoactive reaction and metabolic response you get from THC. CBG also effectively reduces insomnia, fights tumors, is antibacterial and activates brain cell growth (neurogenesis).
At this time researchers have not completed many studies on CBG, and the amount located in hemp strains is almost never measured. It seems that in hemp strains there is a concentration of about 0.2 to 2 percent. Just about every form of medical marijuana contains a small percentage of cannabigerol, which could range from 0.1 to 1 percent.
Cannabis plants with higher levels of CBG have slowly begun to show up in Europe so this variety of cannabinoid may be more available to the masses in the next year or two. Weed growers who want to create medical marijuana that is high in cannabigerol could likely get CBG from cannabis plants that are around 6 weeks old for testing purposes and potentially produce a quality strain with a significant amount of CBG.
Like the other cannabinoids, CBG has amazing uses that can help many people with certain health conditions around the world. It is especially helpful with illnesses pertaining to the central nervous system. Here are some examples:
- Chronic pain
- Skin disease
- Neurological illnesses
The psychoactive reaction that occurs from consuming THC is one of the main influencing factors in the government restricting marijuana use and distribution. Luckily, the push to delve deeper into the health benefits of cannabis has yielded information that makes their attempts against marijuana appear futile.
How Does CBG Function?
CBG will not make you high like THC, but it can effectively stabilize the reaction you have to THC. Because of how it creates harmony, it could also do the same for other cannabinoids. Like all cannabinoids, CBG works with cannabinoid receptors such as CB1 and CB2 as sort of an agonist. The difference is cannabigerol it has less of an influence on receptors, unlike its counterpart THC.
Anandamide is a cannabinoid that is naturally present in the body and CBG could enhance the amount of anandamide in the body. CBG is beneficial for managing several biological functions such as sleep, appetite, and memory.
Just like THC, anandamide interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors creating its impact. Cannabigerol stops the use of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is the chemical in the brain that controls neuron actions.
Cannabigerol’s impact on GABA use is greater than its counterpart’s THC and CBD. CBG effectively harmonizes the fight or flight reaction within your body. Its role in stabilizing specific receptors indicates these possibilities below.
- Slows down noradrenaline release
- Manages fight or flight
- Reduces vascular smooth muscle
- Mimics the reduction of high blood pressure
- Lessens smooth muscle mobility in the gastrointestinal tract
- Offers analgesia effects
- Stops the disintegration of lipids into fatty acids
Clearly, cannabigerol displays its ability to be very useful in treating certain medical conditions. The fact that it can also help alleviate symptoms of depression through its influence on the central nervous system without getting you high makes it, even more, attract too many scientist and patients worldwide.
How is cannabigerol made?
Because it is present in low levels (usually less than 1%) in most cannabis strains, CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid. Cannabis plants produce cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), the precursor to the three main cannabinoid lines: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA).
Specific enzymes in the plant break CBGA down and “direct” it toward one of the three lines. The acids are exposed to ultraviolet light or heat, and voila, they become the cannabinoids we know: THC and CBD. In most strains, CBGA is immediately converted to either THCA or CBDA. Thus, more THC means less CBG and CBD (and vice versa) by nature of how these compounds are synthesized.
Some strains of cannabis like White CBG, Super Glue CBG, and Jack Frost CBG also have higher CBG content than other strains. These strains are specifically cultivated to produce higher quantities of CBG.
Both CBD and THC start as CBGA, an acidic form of CBG. This is why younger cannabis plants contain higher concentrations of CBG.
In fully developed plants with high concentrations of THC and CBD, you’ll find very low concentrations of CBG. This happens because most of the CBG has already been converted to CBD and THC as the plant developed.
To obtain higher yields of CBG, breeders are experimenting with genetic manipulation and cross-breeding of plants. For example, Subcool Seeds is crossing strains to produce higher CBG contents. Scientists can also extract higher levels of CBG from budding plants by pinpointing the optimum extraction time, about six weeks into an eight week flowering cycle. A medicinal strain called Bediol is produced in this fashion by the Dutch company Bedrocan BV Medicinal Cannabis.
Benefits and Effect of CBG
It is possible that CBG may be helpful in alleviating pain. However, certain research implies that it could be more efficient when it comes to neuropathic pain in comparison to CBD. Additional studies concluded it may be a great antidepressant. According to scientific research here are some of the specific diseases affected by CBG:
- Inflammatory bowel conditions
- Crohn’s disease
Even though studies have only paid attention to the effects CBG has on animals, it is still quite exciting for the potential it may have on human health. So far research shows cannabigerol may enhance your overall wellbeing through fighting bacteria, guarding neurons, hindering cancer cell growth and stimulating appetite. It calms inflammation, reduces eye strain and helps with bladder issues.
Our body contains two types of cannabinoid receptors—CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found in the nervous system and brain, while CB2 receptors are located in the immune system and other areas of the body.
CBG works by binding to both receptors where it’s thought to strengthen the function of anandamide, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in enhancing pleasure and motivation, regulating appetite and sleep, and alleviating pain. Unlike THC, CBG has no psychotropic effects, so it will not give you a high.
How to Use CBG
The most common way CBG is produced for consumers is as an oil. You can get the benefits of CBG by using pure CBG oil. However, CBG oils are rare and expensive.
The good news is that you can also get some of the benefits of CBG from using broad-spectrum CBD oils. Broad-spectrum CBD oils contain all the cannabinoids found in a cannabis plant including CBG, but it doesn’t include THC.
In addition to its wide ranging benefits for internal use, CBG also has an array of benefits when applied topically. It protects against oxidative stress and inflammation, and when applied transdermally has been proven to reduce both inflammation and pain. What it’s formulated with matters, though: specific product thickeners enable CBG to be better absorbed into the skin. That means it isn’t just important to know the amount of CBG in a skin care or beauty product, but for the brand to also have transparency about what their methods are in making it. Terra/form’s Tariq is particularly proud of that last fact, as his brand adjusts the other ingredient ratios in each item they make individually, so as to ensure maximum CBD and CBG absorption.
Because I found the interaction and interconnectedness of CBD and CBG so surprising for internal use, with CBD being necessary for one to receive all the benefits of CBG, I asked Tariq about the relationship between the two in skin care. He told me that “While CBD is well known for its myriad benefits, CBG is coming up as another Cannabinoid which can help specifically with anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation, and extending cellular life,” and using them together “translates into healthier skin. We know that when both CBD and CBG are combined in high ratios, there is a multiplied effect and even stronger skin benefits.” No shock there: the relationship is similar for topical use.
Tariq also finds the distinction between how CBG and CBG are used in skin care different from how they’re used in body care. He said, “We formulate our skincare range with naturally occurring levels of Cannabinoids to provide balanced performance for skin types, however our body care wellness products are made with high ratios of CBD-CBG to reap the synergistic benefits for calmer, healthier, and youthful skin.”
When cannabinoids are used together, they can increase the effectiveness of each other by a phenomenon called the entourage effect.
CBG’s potential medical benefits
The human body’s built-in endocannabinoid system (ECS) works to keep the body in its balanced state of homeostasis. While there are specific details about how cannabinoids work, in general the endocannabinoid system performs different functions specific to each area of the body. For example, at an injury site, the ECS can help regulate immune cells to limit inflammation.
CBG has been found to act on very specific physiological systems and problems, and results for medicinal use are promising:
- Endocannabinoid receptors are prevalent in eye structures, and interestingly, CBG is thought to be particularly effective in treating glaucoma because it reduces intraocular pressure. It is a powerful vasodilator and has neuroprotective effects to boot.
- In animal experiments involving mice, CBG was found to be effective in decreasing the inflammation characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease.
- In a recent 2015 study, CBG was shown to protect neurons in mice with Huntington’s disease, which is characterized by nerve cell degeneration in the brain.
- CBG is showing great promise as a cancer fighter. Specifically, CBG was shown to block receptors that cause cancer cell growth. In one such study, it was shown to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells in mice, thereby slowing colon cancer growth. CBG inhibited tumors and chemically-induced colon carcinogenesis, therefore demonstrating a very exciting possibility for a cure for colorectal cancer.
- European research shows evidence that CBG is an effective antibacterial agent, particularly against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) microbial strains resistant to several classes of drugs. Since the 1950s, topical formulations of cannabis have been effective in skin infections, but researchers at the time were unaware of the plant’s chemical composition.
- In a very recent 2017 study, researchers showed that a form of CBG purified to remove delta-9 THC was a very effective appetite stimulant in rats. This may lead to a novel non-psychotropic therapeutic option for cachexia, the muscle wasting and severe weight loss seen in late stage cancer and other diseases.
- In a study that looked at the effects of five different cannabinoids on bladder contractions, CBG tested best at inhibiting muscle contractions, so it may be a future tool in preventing bladder dysfunction disorders.
Where to Find Strains with High Levels of CBG
Now that you know the potential benefits of CBG, the big question becomes how you can get your hands on this cannabinoid. The good news is some manufacturers are focusing on producing more marijuana with higher levels of CBG. The challenge comes in because there is the belief that cannabinoids and terpenes combined interact more effectively to create better results, therefore weed growers tend to use THC in their formulas.
Yes, it is challenging to find strains that are high in CBG, but below are some:
- Williams Wonder
A raw Indica strain, it is well-recognized as a CBG potent substance with about 30 percent cannabigerol. This variation does have 20 percent THC, so you are likely to not notice the CBG content. The most important part is you will still gain the positive benefits of this strain, which include help with nausea, pain relief, depression, and anxiety.
- Exodus Cheese
This formula is a nice option for anyone who is new to strains high in CBG. It is especially useful if you prefer less THC than some other strains and want more of the direct effects of CBG. And you will get faster results by inhaling it.
A Mexican, Thailand and Columbian mix, Destroyer is a pure Sativa strain that is uniquely its own. It is only 10-15 percent THC and works well for people who are seasoned weed lovers. You don’t have to worry about getting too high because the psychoactive effects are light enough that you can still think clearly.
The production difficulties of CBG makes it very scarce. It’s much harder to produce than other cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Since CBG shares many similarities with CBD, manufacturers would rather produce CBD.
When CBG is produced, products derived from it are very expensive. However, CBG has a host of promising potential benefits and more research is being done into easing the production and availability of the cannabinoid.
CBG isn’t exactly the new CBD. If anything, it’s technically the old CBD, since it’s a parent cannabinoid and CBD was CBG at an earlier stage of plant growth, prior to conversion. The benefits of CBG do equal, if not outweigh, the benefits of CBD; but CBD can be used alone, whereas CBG is most effective when used along with CBD. Knowing the relationship between the two is key to getting the most out of it, and there are certainly more than enough reasons, from improved mood to better skin, to give CBG a try.