CBG: The Benefits of This Cannabinoid
Cannabigerol, a substance commonly known as CBG, is one of the cannabinoids commonly found in the cannabis plant. Unlike CBD and THC which are major constituents of the plant, CBG is a minor one and amounts to less than 1 percent of the cannabinoids in medical marijuana strains. Even though it’s a minor compound, CBG can be very valuable for those who want to experience the health benefits of cannabinoids.
What is CBG?
To understand what CBG is, we must have a basic understanding of plant biology. Plants grow thanks to a biological process called biosynthesis. This process basically allows the combination of different chemicals in the plant to create new, more useful, chemicals. When it comes down to the cannabis plant, the two chemicals we have to mention are olivetolic acid (OLA) and Geranyl pyrophosphate (GDP or GPP, depending on the scientific source).
These substances are worth mentioning because they’re the building blocks of all the cannabinoids in the plant. Just like the cells in the human body, all the cannabinoids can be traced back to one single type of substance.
When we’re talking about humans, we call these primordial supreme cells stem cells. You might have heard of them. They’ve been hailed as cancer-curing, youth-preserving, and all-treating-cells. Scientists around the world are trying to treat everything from bad eyesight to cancer using stem cells.
Now, let’s get back to the cannabinoids in marijuana and industrial hemp. These cannabinoids belong to a larger group called phytocannabinoids. This type of cannabinoids has a similar structure to the cannabinoids produced in the human body called endocannabinoids. Thanks to their similarities, the phytocannabinoids can bind with the endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies, which enables them to produce similar effects.
You might be wondering why knowing this is important. Well, it’s important because it allows us to understand how CBG is made.
How Is CBG Made?
The first thing you should know about the phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant (besides the fact that they’re related to human endocannabinoids, which we just explained) is that they can be divided into separate lines: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). Each of these acids loses a CO2 molecule and transform into their non-acidic forms THC, CBC, and CBD when they’re heated.
Do these sound familiar? Well, if you’re familiar with the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids, they should.
Another thing you should know about phytocannabinoids is that all the three lines (THCA, CBCA, and CBDA) can be traced back to a single compound – cannabigerolic acid or CBGA.
Now, remember when we mentioned that we have to mention something about OLA and GDP? Through a complicated chemical process, these substances combine and manage to synthesize cannabigerolic acid, which is basically the stem cell of the cannabis plant.
The cannabigerolic acid then goes through some chemical processes which allow it to transform into THCA, CBCA, and CBDA. Since most of the CBGA goes through the transformation, only small traces of the substance remain intact. You might have heard that industrial hemp has higher concentrations of CBD than THC. Well, that’s because farmers bred the cannabis plant specifically for this purpose.
But when scientists discovered that CBG can produce medical benefits, farmers started to grow cannabis strains specifically for their high CBGA content. They found that thanks to a recessive gene, some strains of industrial hemp are genetically predisposed to inhibit the synthesis of CBGA. While this could be disastrous for a farmer who grew his crop for its CBD content, it proved beneficial for those who grew it for its CBG.
Some of the current studies are trying to pinpoint the optimum extraction time for CBG. Since most of the CBGA transforms into other substances, it would be helpful to find out when farmers could harvest the cannabis plant to avoid the transformation altogether.
Can You Get High From CBG?
Out of all the cannabinoids, THC is the one that surely produces psychoactive effects. Up until now, researchers agree that CBG is not a psychoactive cannabinoid, but the compound is still under scrutiny, so it might be too early to tell for sure.
Recent studies show that CBG might actually be an antagonist for THC. This means that the substance will actually interfere with the effects of THC. While this might seem like a downer for some users, it might actually help others recover from the effects produced by consuming too much THC.
The Medical Research On CBG
The current research on CBG is somewhat limited. Since the medical testing of cannabis is illegal in many countries, not many Universities are currently studying it. However, the recent legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana has opened new opportunities for researchers around the world. More and more companies are funding studies on cannabis, so the results will undoubtedly appear soon enough.
That being said, let’s take a look at what we know about CBG so far.
CBG is currently classified as a CB1 receptor antagonist. The CB receptors are part of the central nervous system. This is the same CB receptor that’s activated by the THC and produces psychoactive effects. By interfering with the activity of the CB1 receptor, CBG is believed to counter paranoia.
Some studies have proven that CBG could also interact with the CB2 receptor. The CB2 receptor can influence a lot of bodily functions, but it’s currently unclear whether the cannabigerol inhibits or promotes the activity of the CB2 receptor, so it’s too early to determine its effects.
CBG has strong anti-inflammatory effects. Pre-clinical studies observed that its anti-inflammatory properties can be helpful to those suffering from Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases.
Other studies claim that CBG could be useful in the treatment of glaucoma and cancer. Preliminary studies have shown that the substance could inhibit tumor growth. Furthermore, some studies have shown that this cannabinoid could be helpful in the treatment of both Huntington’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The Potential Benefits Of CBG
Our bodies use the endocannabinoid system to coordinate a lot of bodily processes. While the endocannabinoid system is implicated in maintaining the body’s homeostasis, one of its obvious roles is to help us manage pain.
CBG has been proven to interact with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but further research is needed to determine exactly what it does. However, some studies have clearly identified the following benefits of using CBG:
- Helps Treat Glaucoma – CBG seems to improve the eye’s fluid drainage, which can reduce the intraocular pressure. Moreover, the cannabinoid is a powerful vasodilator which allows more oxygen-rich blood to reach the eye.
- Helps Treat Inflammatory Bowel Diseases – CBG is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and it seems to be very effective at reducing the inflammation characteristic of Crohn’s disease or other diseases that determine the inflammation of the bowels.
- Helps Fight Cancer – It seems that CBG is an effective inhibitor of the cancer cell’s growth. A study showed that the cannabinoid is effective at reducing the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
- Helps Protect Neurons – Recent studies showed that CBG can protect the neurons of mice suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and Huntington’s.
- Helps Stimulate Appetite – CBG can improve the appetite. This could be an effective way to treat cachexia, an illness that affects late-stage cancer sufferers.
What Disorders Can CBG Treat?
Thanks to its effects, CBG can help treat the following disorders:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Some forms of cancer
- Chronic pain
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Inflammatory disorders
- Bladder dysfunctions
The CBG Side Effects
Just like all the other cannabinoids that produce medical benefits, CBG does not produce any side effects as long as it’s taken in therapeutic doses. Thankfully, you would have to consume a lot of CBG to notice significant side effects. Researchers consider that taking 300 mg per kilogram of body weight would lead to severe side effects. This means that a person who weighs 160 pounds would have to consume 24,000 mg of CBG to experience side effects when the recommended therapeutic dose is 25 – 50 mg of CBG.
The difference between the therapeutic and the dangerous doses are so significant it’s safe to say that CBG does not produce side effects.
The Future Of CBG
Thanks to the recent legalization of medical and recreational cannabis use, research on CBG is progressing better than ever. We’re certain that the future will see an increase in customers’ interest in cannabinoids, and that farmers will effectively breed CBG-specific hemp strains similar to the CBD or THC strains they use now.
Where To Buy CBG?
Since CBG is a minor cannabinoid, you can’t find it everywhere. At the moment, there aren’t any CBG-specialized hemp strains. However, there are multiple industrial hemp strains that contain good doses of CBG, so you could try those instead.
CBG Under The Spotlight
We’re certain that researchers will continue to study the helpful effects of CBG. Cannabinoids have been proven to be more helpful than we previously thought, so it’s only a matter of time until more doctors and physicians will start prescribing them for medical conditions.
We look forward to seeing what the future holds in store for CBG, but whatever it is, we’re certain that it will prove to be helpful for the future generations.