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CBG: everything you need to know

Buds from the cannabis plant

CBD products are rapidly rising in popularity as individuals and the scientific community simultaneously agree on its safe and natural health benefits. Both CBD and the more well-known THC are compounds from the cannabis plant—but there are many other compounds that you may not be so familiar with. CBG is one of them. It is a lesser-known cannabinoid, but one that also has multiple health and wellness benefits.

What is CBG? 

CBG stands for cannabigerol. It’s a cannabinoid compound of the cannabis plant. Like CBD, it is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t produce a ‘high’ feeling. CBG is less present in strains of cannabis because it’s a precursor to other cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. The conversation of CBG to a different compound usually happens during weeks 6-8 of the flowering cycle. Therefore, there are often only low traces of CBG in most cannabis plants.

You probably haven’t heard much about CBG because it is a minor cannabinoid. It comes in much lower amounts than THC or CBD—usually less than 1%. But, as the potential of CBG is further realized, some hemp strains are being cultivated to produce higher yields of CBG and it’s growing in popularity. 

The differences between CBG and CBD 

A key difference between CBG and CBD is the level of its content in the cannabis plant. The CBG content of cannabis is often less than 1%, whereas the CBD content of cannabis is usually up to 4%. CBD is also a fully formed compound of cannabis, while CBG is a basis for other compounds made during the growth of the plant. 

Although there are some important differences between CBG and CBD, there are also multiple similarities. For example, its interaction with the endocannabinoid system and consequent health benefits.

How CBG works

CBG works by interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It also influences other elements of the endocannabinoid system, such as endocannabinoids and enzymes. By doing so, CBG can help regulate the internal balance of your body and psychological functions. It interacts with receptors in both the brain and throughout the body to affect mood and cognitive functioning. By influencing other endocannabinoids, it can have an anti-inflammatory effect like CBD.

The relationship between the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and the endocannabinoid system of the body is complex. But scientific research about how CBG works and what effect it has on health and mood is growing quickly.

Potential applications of CBG

There are multiple health benefits of CBG, which means it has various potential applications, all of which are backed by scientific studies.

Antibacterial and antifungal

Some research has shown CBG to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Because of this, CBG may be useful for managing conditions like glaucoma. It can also be used as an antibacterial agent to help relieve skin infections. Often, this is in the form of topical products, like salves or creams.

Neuroprotective

Other research has focused on the neuroprotective elements of CBG. This means it has properties that may be able to help preserve neuronal function and structure. 

Appetite stimulation

CBG might be useful for those suffering from health problems like cachexia, which is common in the late stages of certain diseases. Recent studies showed CBG to be an effective appetite stimulant in rats. It may, therefore, be used as a psychotropic therapeutic option for those experiencing muscle wasting and extreme weight loss.

Inflammation reduction

Like CBD, CBG has anti-inflammatory properties. The applications of this can have many health benefits, including pain reduction from inflamed areas and the soothing of skin conditions like psoriasis. One study found that CBG may be effective for relieving symptoms of inflamed bowels. It may also be a useful complement to the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders.

Pain relief

CBG and CBD are quite similar in terms of their pain-relieving properties. Both treat inflammation, which is a common cause of pain in joints, bones, and muscles. By acting as an anti-inflammatory, CBG may help ease pain, soreness, and tension in the body.

Anxiety and stress relief

Similar to CBD, people often use CBG products to ease stress and anxiety. It relaxes the body and mind in the same way, influencing dopamine levels and easing bodily tension. This makes it a great product to help manage daily anxiety. CBG may also be helpful for combating insomnia by encouraging a state of relaxation in the mind and body.

Inhibiting muscle contractions

In one study, CBG tested as the best of five different cannabinoids for inhibiting muscle contractions,  specifically bladder contractions. While more research is necessary, CBG may have future applications as a preventative tool for bladder dysfunction disorders.

Final thoughts

CBG has many of the same properties and health benefits as CBD—but they are two different compounds from the cannabis plant. CBG occurs during the growth of the cannabis plant and is the source of all other cannabinoids. This is why such low levels of it remain once the plant is fully grown. This also makes it expensive and difficult to produce, which is why CBG products are less readily available than CBD.

Scientific research into CBG is growing and shows promising results. Like CBD, CBG is non-psychotropic and is a safe and healthy alternative or complementary treatment. CBG products come in a range of forms and can help manage medical problems like skin conditions, anxiety, and inflammatory issues, as well as others.