April 5, 2022

What Is CBG? CBG Benefits & More: Everything You Need

CBG is a fast-up-and-coming compound in the cannabis world and is a close rival to pre-existing cannabis compounds like CBD and THC. Research into what is CBG has shown that CBG has several benefits that we're about, which we're only now learning. Benefits that other common cannabinoids don’t have. It is proving to be a safe substitute for cannabis — and a legal option for many without access to adult-use products.

Could CBG be the new ‘it’ drug? In this comprehensive article, we discuss “what is CBG?” CBG benefits, everything there is to know about CBG, and what you stand to gain from using it. 

What Does CBG Stand For? 

Recently, a new cannabinoid has taken center stage in the cannabis discussion. This cannabinoid is none other than CBG, known as Cannabigerol.

Plants naturally produce several chemical compounds called phytochemicals. The phytochemicals help them resist fungi, bacterial, and viral infections. The cannabis sativa plant naturally has over a hundred phytochemicals known as cannabinoids.

The most abundant cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Not only are they the most popular and well-known cannabinoids, but both are the subject of most research efforts to date. Cannabigerol (CBG) is a cannabinoid obtained from the cannabis sativa plant. Although recently discovered, it is now referred to as the mother of all cannabinoids. TO understand the question "what is CBG," you first have to understand how CBG fits into the pantheon of cannabinoids. In other words — how is it that this unknown compound sits atop the cannabis food chain, so to speak? 

Of course, cannabigerol is not technically new, even though they have only recently discovered its benefits and attributes.

What Does CBG Stand For?
Recently, a new cannabinoid has taken center stage in the cannabis discussion. This cannabinoid is none other than CBG, known as Cannabigerol.

The Mother of All Cannabinoids: How Is CBG Made?

To better understand the question "what is CBG," let’s look at the production process. A flowering cannabis plant will begin to produce its cannabinoids around the third or fourth week of its flowering phase. Some researchers have noted that this cannabinoid will not "come prepared for use," as some researchers have noted. Instead, it begins ‌in its acidic form as cannabigerolic acid (CBGa). 

CBGa gets converted to its neutral state, CBG, naturally as the plant grows. External heat from sources like a lighter flame, vaporizer, or oven can also help to convert it. The name for this process is decarboxylation, which is necessary to make CBG therapeutically active.

Now, this is where things get interesting. Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) is not the acidic precursor to CBG alone. 

With continuous exposure of the plant to UV rays from the sun, CBGa transforms to THCa, CBDa, or CBCa, the acidic precursors of THC, CBD, and CBC, respectively. Over time, these chemicals can react again and turn a cannabinoid like THC into other cannabinoids like CBN and delta 8 THC. CBGa is solely responsible for hemp’s full spectrum of cannabinoids and corresponding potency. So, let's all be thankful for CBG!

After all, this is why CBG is the mother of cannabinoids — all other cannabinoids come from this parent molecule. 

How Does CBG Work and Interact with Our Endocannabinoid System? 

Cannabis sativa plants produce many compounds that interact with the human body and cause varying effects. Human beings have used this plant for thousands of years, but no one knew how it worked.

In 1964, two scientists, Yechiel Gaoni and Raphael Mechoulam, reported that the main active component of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They discovered that the exogenous cannabinoid THC acted on the brain. It works by "muscling in on the intrinsic neuronal signaling system, mimicking a key natural player." 

We can’t answer the question "what is CBG: without understanding the ECS.

Mechoulam also discovered that the cell-to-cell signaling molecules, their receptors, and the building up and breaking down enzymes that allow the cannabis plants to have such a widespread effect on the body were already in existence. This system in the body was then called the endogenous cannabinoid system, or the endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

As was earlier said, the ECS comprises molecules, receptors, and enzymes tasked with keeping our bodies in an optimal state regardless of what is going on in the external environment. When CBG gets into the body, it mimics the natural working processes of the endocannabinoids in the body and relays messages within the ECS.

CBG can do this because of the cannabinoid receptors found naturally occurring in the body. Both CB1, and CB2 receptors are present in nearly every human body system. 

  • CB1 receptors are mainly in the brain and nervous system.
  • CB2 receptors are typical in the immune system. 

CBG interacts with these receptors to help regulate various functions, such as inflammation. This process ‌defines CBG's ability to promote healing. 

The Mother of All Cannabinoids: How Is CBG Made?
They call CBG the mother of cannabinoids–because all other cannabinoids come from this parent molecule.

CBG Benefits: What is CBG Good For? 

Many studies that have attempted to answer the question “what is CBG good for?” are still in their early stages. And it's essential to note that all of these studies are preliminary. None of them can be translated to current CBG products on the market today.

In other words, you can't purchase some CBD at the local vape shop and expect to cure or prevent any disease or ailment.

That being said, some animal studies suggest ‌CBG could aid in various ailments in the future. It works like its close relative, CBD, without any psychoactive effect.  

Various studies have examined the use of CBG in many ways with differing results. Still, researchers continue to look into its benefits. For example, one study examined whether or not CBG should be a clinical experiment option for treating inflammatory bowel disease. In contrast, another study conducted in 2021 tried to determine if derivatives of CBG can ‌treat inflammation, pain, and obesity.

As said before, we still need a lot of research in this area, but the good news is that even governments realize that now. In 2018, The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) announced plans to research less common cannabinoids such as CBG.

Current research is looking into many aspects of CBG (with results being many years away). Some topics include: 

  • Neuroprotectivity
  • Bone Health 
  • Pain Relief and Management 
  • Anti-Inflammatory and Antibacterial Properties 
  • Bladder and Skin Regulation
  • Therapeutic Potential
  • Healthy Appetite  

CBG vs. Other Cannabinoid Products

How does CBG stack up against other cannabinoids? As we look at the question "what is CBG," let’s look at these compounds side-by-side and find out.

What Is CBG?

CBG vs. CBD

CBG vs. CBN

CBG vs. Delta 8

CBG vs. Delta 10

Origin

Cannabidiol (CBD) is from the mature cannabis plant whereas CBG is from a young cannabis plant

Cannabinol (CBN) is primarily present in an old cannabis plant that is stored, and you can get it from the plant's main psychoactive chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Delta-8-THC is an analog of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) while CBG is the parent molecule of THC.

They process delta 10 from hemp-derived CBD

Concentration

CBD naturally occurs in high concentrations in the cannabis plant, where CBG does not.

CBG is present in young cannabis plants, but CBN production occurs after the plant has achieved full growth and with the help of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Delta 8 is present in trace amounts in the cannabis plant

Delta 10 is present in trace amounts in the cannabis plant

Market Availability

CBD is one of the most abundant cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant and is readily available as oils.

CBN, like CBG, is not readily available because there is little research done on it so far.

Delta 8 is readily available as oils or gummies and you can get it from stores that sell CBD. CBG is not yet readily available.

Delta 10, just like CBG, is naturally present in trace amounts and this makes it not readily available in the market.

Psychoactive properties

CBG is like CBD in that it is not psychoactive and so does not produce a 'high.'

CBN is ‘somewhat’ psychoactive whereas CBG is not.

CBG will not give a ‘high’, but Delta 8 will.

Delta 10 is psychoactive and may cause you to fail a drug test, whereas CBG will not.

Function in the ECS

CBG offers benefits like appetite stimulation, anti-cancer properties, antibiotic properties, and potential treatment for MRSA bacterial infections whereas CBD helps with pain relief, reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, and neuroprotective attributes.

Where CBG affects energy and helps to stimulate an improved mood, CBN is relaxing, helps promote sleep, and boosts appetite.

CBG gives energy and improves mood while Delta 8 stimulates appetite and reduces pain. Like CBG, Delta 8 also possesses neuroprotective properties.

CBG may suppress cytokine activity to lower both pain levels caused by inflammation and symptoms of inflammatory conditions in the body. Delta 10 also likely has anti-inflammatory properties based on its similarities to other forms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), such as Delta 8, which produces these effects.

Similarity to CBG

Cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidiol (CBD) are cannabinoids obtained from the Cannabis sativa plant

Most CBN users report feeling more awake similar to what you’d get with coffee but without the anxiety. This is similar to the ‘uplifting’ feeling that users of CBG report.

Cannabigerol (CBG) is similar to Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8-THC) in that they are two of the most recent cannabinoids to be identified by researchers in Cannabis sativa plants.

They both aid in fighting nausea.

CBG Effects: Does CBG Get You High? - No, It’s Not Psychoactive!

The 'high' feeling that comes from using cannabis products is due to THC binding to the CB1 receptor and activating the release of hormones that make you 'feel good.' Hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

Research and studies on CBG suggests ‌it has the potential to counteract the psychoactive effect of THC by binding to the CB1 receptors and the 5HT1A serotonin receptor. This would make it great for balancing out THC.

How Does CBG Make You Feel?

Some people who have used CBG report that the substance made them feel: 

  • Uplifted
  • Energized
  • Calm 
  • Soothed 
  • Euphoric   

All these feelings are come from a small, though very unnoticeable psychotropic nature of CBG. Studies looking into the question "what is CBG" show that it has the potential to activate cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system. 

CBG's psychoactivity doesn't induce psychotropic or intoxicating effects like THC or delta-8. Instead, it affects brain activity, ‌changing mood and perception, which would lead to a decrease in anxiety and stress, having no adverse effect on your mind or physical state.  

Is CBG Legal?
Like the CBD laws, CBG is legal to purchase, use, and produce, as outlined in the Agriculture Improvement Act (2018) Farm Bill.

Is CBG Legal? 

Yes. Like the CBD laws, CBG is legal to purchase, use, and produce, as outlined in the Agriculture Improvement Act (2018) Farm Bill. This bill legalizes all cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa, but only if the plants contain no more than 0.3% THC. If it's over 0.3%, they classify the plant as marijuana, a controlled substance under Schedule I of the CSA.

Internationally, CBG is likely legal. This is because they don’t spell it out as an illegal substance under the UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, nor is it included in the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 but just like with United States laws, only if it is from the Farm Bill compliant cannabis plants with the legal limit of 0.3% THC. 

Final Thoughts, Scarcity, and Verdict

Now that we know almost everything there is to know about what is CBG, what does the future hold for this unique cannabinoid? How can you use CBG as a part of your everyday life?

Scarcity 

We have discussed "what is CBG?" and established that it is the mother of all cannabinoids. Understand that as the cannabis plant grows, CBGa converts to other compounds, and there's not enough left to make CBG. Compared to the different cannabinoids in cannabis plants, CBG is present in smaller, almost trace quantities. In most plant strains, only 1% of CBG is current compared to 20 to 25% of CBD or 25 to 30% of THC. This makes the end products gotten from CBG scarce and very expensive.

To get more CBG from the cannabis plants, farmers could harvest the plant while it’s still young and before the CBGa molecule transforms into other compounds. However, this will drastically decrease the amount of THC and CBD produced. 

Another way to get a yield with more CBG is to change the crop genetically. You can do this by cross-breeding different cannabis varieties with known increased levels of CBG.

Verdict

Research focuses on THC and CBD because they are the most abundant compounds. However, over a hundred more minor cannabinoids contribute to the many benefits of other cannabis sativa compounds, all of which are worth investigating.

Since it is the precursor molecule of many cannabinoids and it has non-psychoactive effects, CBG is set to be the next big compound in our opinion. We will probably see and hear more about it from researchers and other experts. This is as cultivation processes like selective breeding, early crop harvesting, and CBG isolation become more popular.

When buying the product, you must do your due diligence, going over your options repeatedly. Ask for the advice of experts. Remember that all cannabis products have different chemical constituents. 

Final Thoughts 

Cannabis, derived from a plant, has remained a source of controversy. There are debates on its benefits. There has also been controversy over its legalization and issues too. 

As we have discussed in this article, CBG is one of the recently discovered cannabinoids obtained from cannabis. It might just be the missing link between the legal and ethical questions that cannabis poses and the medical benefits it can provide.