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What Is Cannabigerol (CBG)?

A guide to CBG

Cannabigerol or CBG is said to be one of the major phytocannabinoids from the Cannabis sativa plant that has therapeutic benefits. The two most well-known cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Like CBD, CBG does not have psychotropic effects and will not cause you to feel high, whereas THC is the main psychoactive cannabinoid from cannabis plants. CBG can help relieve various health issues including stress, anxiety, pain, and inflammation, among others.

CBG can be found in smaller quantities than other major cannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa plant. Most strains of the plant contain only 1% CBG compared to the 20 to 25% of CBD, or 25 to 30% THC. This makes consumer products from this cannabinoid often expensive and rare. CBG is also often referred to as the mother of all cannabinoids as other cannabinoids are derived from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which is an acidic form of CBG, and naturally shift to its neutral form CBG, through the plant growth process.

How is CBG extracted?

CBG is derived from young cannabis plants as they contain higher amounts of CBG than fully-developed or older plants. In fully-developed plants with high concentrations of CBD and THC, there are very low amounts of CBG. This happens because CBD and THC start as CBGA, and most CBG has already been converted to CBD and THC as the plant developed.

One way to cultivate a crop with more CBG is by cross-breeding and genetic manipulation. This is to also help cannabis plants produce more CBG. CBG is extracted through a chromatography process that uses liquid solvents like CO2 or ethanol to extract the cannabinoid. During the extraction, the cannabinoid is dissolved in the solution which draws the cannabinoids and terpenes (aromatic compounds) out of the plant. The solution is then evaporated with heat under a vacuum to remove all the gas and leave the CBG concentrate behind. Once extracted, CBG products should be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight to maintain their potency.

How does CBG interact with your endocannabinoid system?

Like other cannabinoids, CBG interacts with the chemical receptors in the endocannabinoid system known to help regulate bodily functions such as sleep, mood, memory, and pain. The two primary receptors are called CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found in the nervous system and the brain while CB2 receptors are located in the immune system and other areas of the body. CBG works by binding to these receptors to strengthen the function of anandamide, a neurotransmitter that synthesizes areas in the brain where memory, motivation, superior cognitive processes, and movement control are managed.

Are there any potential benefits from CBG?

Yes. Like the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD and other cannabinoids, this phytocannabinoid is known to combat health problems without having the intoxicating effect of THC. CBG is believed to have neuroprotective effects, anti-inflammatory effects, and antioxidant properties demonstrated in macrophages, which are cells involved in the detection and destruction of bacteria and other harmful organisms. Here are some of the potential benefits CBG is known to help with:

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s Disease is a rare, inherited disease that causes the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. It has a broad impact on a person’s functional abilities and results in movement, thinking, and psychiatric disorders.

study was published in 2014 by the journal of Neurotherapeutics wherein researchers examined CBG’s potential neuroprotective effects and other cannabinoids in mice who had experimental Huntington’s disease. Results showed that CBG acts as a neuroprotectant, protecting cells in the brain from damage. CBG was also found to improve motor deficits and preserve striatal neurons against 3-nitroproprionic acid toxicity.

Antibacterial Properties

Antibacterials are anything that destroys bacteria or suppresses their growth or their ability to reproduce. 

study in 2020 by the ACS Infectious Diseases on the potential antibiotic potential of the C. Sativa plant found that CBG has antibacterial properties, especially against methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacteria which causes staph infections and is drug-resistant.

Another study was published in Frontiers in Microbiology wherein they found that CBG exhibits antibacterial activity against Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), which is a gram-positive facultatively anaerobic bacterium. CBG stops the proliferation of this planktonic growing S. mutans which is affected by cell density. The data provided also showed that the CBG-treated bacteria became swollen with altered membrane structures. CBG alters the membrane properties, induces membrane hyperpolarization, and decreases membrane fluidity. CBG treatment increases membrane permeability and reduces metabolic activity.

Managing Glaucoma

Like CBD, CBG has anti-inflammatory effects and can help reduce damaging eye pressure caused by glaucoma. 

An animal study published by the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics found that CBG has therapeutic potential for the treatment of glaucoma. CBG was administered to cats with glaucoma and they noticed a reduction in eye pressure and an increase in aqueous humour outflow, which is a fluid produced by the eye that maintains eye pressure and provides the eye with nutrition.

Can You find CBG in cannabidiol oil?

Yes. However, finding pure CBG products can be difficult as CBG is rare and can be expensive. The good thing is, you can get some of the benefits of CBG from using broad-spectrum CBD oils. Broad-spectrum CBD oils contain all the cannabinoids found in the C. Sativa plant including CBD but without THC.

How is CBG similar to CBD?

There are some similarities between CBG and CBD. Both CBD and CBG are non-intoxicating cannabinoids, meaning they won’t make you high. Both of them also interact with the same receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the endocannabinoid system to help regulate functions in the body.

However, the way CBG interacts with the endocannabinoid system is different from CBD as CBG directly binds to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors and might be more efficient in delivering the potential benefits into our systems. Also, the amount of research on CBG is very limited compared to CBD so its full benefits and effects are not fully known.

Can you easily buy CBG?

No. CBG is much harder to produce than other cannabinoids like THC and CBD and the difficulty in producing CBG makes it difficult to sell in the market. This is because CBG needs to be extracted from young cannabis plants while the two most popular compounds, CBD and THC are extracted from fully-grown plants.

Although CBG is still considered a minor cannabinoid, it has major potential. Since CBG shares many benefits and similarities with CBD, manufacturers would rather produce CBD. If you want to try a good alternative that provides the same effects as CBG, or even better, using CBD products is the way to go. CBD is advertised as providing relief for anxiety, stress, depression, among other health issues.

Additionally, CBD doesn’t have any psychotropic effects, and it is also the most regulated compound out of all cannabinoids in the market.

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