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What is CBG (cannabigerol) & what does this cannabinoid do?

If you’ve spent time online or at your local dispensary, the most popular cannabinoids, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), their effects might seem like old news. But as the science and legislation around weed research improve, so does our access to the rest of the 100+ cannabinoids found in the plant, each with its unique properties and experiences. CBG, or cannabigerol, is a minor cannabinoid since it manifests in trace amounts in most strains, has been around for years, and makes a worthy addition to your encyclopedia.

The origins of CBG

While you may not have heard about CBG, humans have reaped its benefits for millennia in cannabis and hemp plants. It was first synthesized in 1964, alongside THC, and has been studied extensively for its medicinal potential. It’s often called the “mother of all cannabinoids” because cannabis would have no high without it.

You know the saying, all roads lead to Rome? Well, all cannabinoids lead back to CBG.

As young cannabis plants mature and begin budding, various enzymes and compounds combine to create the precursor to CBG – also called an “early phase” cannabinoid – called CBGA. CBGA is where all cannabinoids start; as the plant nears the end of its growth cycle and absorbs more and more UV light, CBGA breaks down and converts into CBDA, the acidic precursors to CBD. Unless bred to do so, in most cases, only a tiny amount will become CBG.

CBG in hemp plants

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp plants that contain less than 0.3% THC are federally legal. CBGA is present in both cannabis and hemp plants, and since it directly correlates to hemp plants’ CBG and CBD potency, farmers can derive CBG from hemp plants. Many hemp farmers now breed and grow CBG-rich strains that don’t require a trip to the dispensary or a medical marijuana card to access.

Because CBG isn’t abundant in most strains, breeders have crossbred plants to achieve higher levels of the cannabinoid.

Medical benefits of CBG

Despite its paltry numbers in mature weed buds, CBG shows several benefits to the human body when isolated.

CBG, like CBD, is non-intoxicating and does not impart a high, despite its connection to THC. Research shows it can bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors within the body’s endocannabinoid system, meaning it not only interacts directly with the body’s internal systems but can also counteract the effects of other cannabinoids, such as THC.

The human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) keeps the body in a balanced state of homeostasis via innumerable receptors throughout limbs, organs, nerves, and systems (e.g., digestive, immune, reproductive, and more).

A recent patient survey showed most patients found CBG-dominant products effective in treating their chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia, among other conditions.

While there are still gaps to fill in the research on CBG, early findings show it has many health benefits:

Anti-inflammatory properties, when tested on mice with induced colitis, could prove an effective and holistic treatment for various inflammatory bowel diseases.

Reducing intraocular pressure and working as a vasodilator neuroprotectant makes it a promising option for treating and managing symptoms of glaucoma.

An agonist to alpha-2 receptors, primarily found in the nervous system, regulates blood pressure, heart rate, and sympathetic nervous system activity.

Combating Huntington’s disease in mice causes nerve cell degeneration in the brain by protecting neurons and stymieing progression.

High potential as a cancer inhibitor and treatment, including for breast, gastric, and colorectal cancer cells, and even glioblastoma brain tumors.

By inhibiting them, CBG may address attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms.

They have only done stimulating appetite studies on rats. This may help induce appetite in chronically ill patients or those who have lost their appetite from cancer treatments.

An antibacterial agent, even against bacterial strains resistant to other drugs.

Since CBG is non-intoxicating and derived from federally legal hemp plants, it’s not a scheduled substance. This means scientists can now access funding to continue studying the full potential of this special cannabinoid. The best is yet to come!

Differences of effects in CBG and CBD

The recent influx of cannabinoids on the market means much more information to keep track of. Briefly, CBG may seem like a variation of CBD, as they are both non-intoxicating and exhibit similar anti-inflammatory properties. But there are key differences that may change how you consume each.

CBG and CBD don’t bind to the same receptors in the body and differ on a molecular level. Because CBG can bind to the same receptors as THC, it might address issues that pertain to the nervous system, including conditions mentioned above, such as glaucoma, migraines, muscle soreness, and inducing appetite.

CBD may be more effective for immunity-related conditions and for regulating mood disorders.

In research, both have promise for counteracting the effects of THC, and neither intoxicates the consumer even when taken at high doses.

CBG products are increasing in the adult-use, medical marijuana, and hemp markets as this cannabinoid repeatedly prove its worth a try.

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