You know CBD... but what is CBG?
Everyone seems to be asking, what is CBG? Well, meet the other Phyto-cannabinoid that’s about to steal the spotlight in the medicinal world; Cannabigerol, or CBG. CBG is the precursor from which all other cannabinoids are synthesized, which is why it’s often referred to as the “mother” or “stem cell” of cannabinoids. This unique property imbues CBG with enormous therapeutic promise, making it a subject of great interest for researchers and consumers alike.
Table of Contents
What is CBG?
What is Cannabigerol (CBG)?
Cannabigerol is one of more than 120 identified cannabinoid compounds found in the plant genus Cannabis. Cannabigerol is the decarboxylated form of Cannabigerol acid, the parent molecule from which other cannabinoids are synthesized. Cannabigerol is a minor constituent of cannabis.
Cannabigerol, aka CBG, was first discovered in Israel in 1964 by researchers Yehiel Gaoni and Raphael Mechoulam, along with dozens of other cannabinoids. Shortly after this discovery, Gaoni and Mechoulam found a new neurobiological system, now known as the endocannabinoid system. While their later work mostly pertained to the effects of THC, their discovery has laid the groundwork for further research into this incredibly intricate plant and the corresponding functions within this system.
How Is CBG Made?
CBG is derived from young cannabis plants because they contain higher amounts of CBG than fully developed plants. Some strains of cannabis like White CBG, Super Glue CBG, and Jack Frost CBG also have higher CBG content than other strains. These strains are specifically cultivated to produce higher quantities of CBG.
Both CBD and THC start as CBGA, an acidic form of CBG. This is why younger cannabis plants contain higher concentrations of CBG. In fully developed plants with high concentrations of THC and CBD, you’ll find very low concentrations of CBG. This happens because most of the CBG has already been converted to CBD and THC as the plant developed.
Due to the difficulty of getting CBG, cannabis growers have been experimenting with cross-breeding and genetic manipulation to help cannabis plants produce more CBG.
How does CBG work?
CBG is processed by the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is made up of molecules and receptors in our bodies that are responsible for keeping our bodies in an optimal state regardless of what’s going on in our external environment.
CBG & the Endocannabinoid System
So, after all the genetic engineering, what exactly does CBG do? On the surface, CBG has many similar effects as CBD, having been observed to combat pain and mitigate the intoxicating effects of THC without any psychoactive qualities (as in, it won’t make you feel a “high”). However, unlike CBD, CBG interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors. It has also demonstrated an ability to increase anandamide, or “the bliss molecule,” which plays a critical role in the regulation of many functions within the body including memory, pain, appetite, mood, and sleep.
The production difficulties of CBG make it very scarce. It’s much harder to produce than other cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Since CBG shares many similarities with CBD, manufacturers would rather produce CBD. When CBG is produced, products derived from it are very expensive. However, CBG has a host of promising potential benefits and more research is being done into easing the production and availability of the cannabinoid.
CBG Studies – Potential Benefits
Like CBD, CBG has been used to combat pain without having the intoxicating effect of cannabinoids like THC. Research shows that CBG can also have therapeutic effects. However, human studies on this are sparse and more research needs to be done in this area. Some promising animal studies show that CBG might ultimately be found useful for the following therapeutic benefits listed below.
Research is relatively sparse regarding the therapeutic benefits of CBG when compared to the apparent wealth of information available on THC and CBD within the cannabis science community. But there are early studies linking the compound to a whole host of potential therapeutic uses, such as:
- , though its vasodilator and neuroprotective effects.
- , as seen in animal models of inflammatory bowel disease.
- , again through its neuroprotective effects.
- , in animal models of colorectal cancer.
- , such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
A 2020 study on the antibiotic potential of cannabis, found that CBG has antibacterial properties. Especially against methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterium that causes staph infections and is drug-resistant.5
A study published in the journal American Chemical Society Infectious Diseases found that CBG shows the potential to be an effective antibacterial agent against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterial responsible for drug-resistant staph infections.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or “MRSA” is a type of staph infection that is resistant to methicillin (a common type of antibiotic), rendering it a particularly threatening or even fatal bacterial infection.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
An experimental animal study conducted in 2013 observed the beneficial effects of CBG on inflammatory bowel disease.2
According to a 2013 study conducted on mice, CBG was found to be effective in decreasing the inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers induced inflammations similar to IBD in the colons of mice and then administered CBG. CBG was found to reduce inflammation and the production of nitric oxide. It also reduced the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the intestines. They concluded that CBG should be considered for clinical experimentation in IBD patients.
Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition that causes chronic inflammation in the bowel. It affects millions of people across the globe and is incurable.
Inflammation, including of the skin.
A 2007 study looked at CBG’s ability to treat eczema and psoriasis, and as mentioned, it may help reduce the inflammation caused by IBD.
In another animal study, researchers found that CBG greatly benefitted cats with glaucoma by reducing eye pressure, suggesting that this cannabinoid may have great therapeutic potential for the treatment of glaucoma. Researchers administered CBG to cats with glaucoma and noticed a reduction in eye pressure and an increase in aqueous humor outflow, a fluid produced by the eye which maintains eye pressure and provides the eye with nutrition.3
In a more recent study, CBG was shown to act as a neuroprotectant in mice with the neurodegenerative condition, Huntington’s disease. In addition, the study concluded that CBG may show potential in treating other neurodegenerative diseases.
Huntington’s disease is a condition that causes a breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. In a 2015 study, researchers examined the potential neuroprotective properties of CBG and other cannabinoids in mice who had an experimental model of Huntington’s disease.
It was observed that CBG acted as a neuroprotectant, protecting the nerve cells in your brain from damage. It also improves motor deficits and preserves striatal neurons against 3-nitropropionic acid toxicity.4
Fighting Cancer Cells
In studies involving mice with colon cancer, CBG showed promise as a cancer fighter, blocking the receptors that cause cancer cell growth and inhibiting the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
In a 2014 study, researchers observed the effects of CBG on rats with colon cancer. They observed that CBG showed promise in blocking the receptors that cause cancer cell growth and inhibiting the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
They suggested that the use of CBG should be considered translationally in the cure and prevention of colon cancer.6
Initial studies have found that CBG directly interacts with our endocannabinoid system to promote homeostasis, or balance, within our bodies. Researchers are encouraged by these results and are investigating how CBG works on its own, as well as when combined with other cannabinoids and therapies. While further research is needed to fully understand how exactly it works with our bodies to promote wellness, it’s clear that CBG offers exciting potential for treating a variety of conditions.
Contributes to GABA reuptake inhibition.
CBG inhibits GABA uptake, which could lead to muscle relaxation, tension relief, and sensation of calm and peace in the body and brain, according to Bonni Goldstein, M.D., a physician with a distinguished background in pediatrics and a current specialty in cannabis medicine, as she noted in a recent video. A 1975 study corroborated this. Pharmacologically, GABA uptake inhibitors are already used to treat anxiety. Dr. Solomon adds that because of this decreased “GABA uptake,” CBG could “potentially decrease anxiety.”
CBG side effects
The limited research on CBG also means that there is no reliable information about potential side effects. From what we know, and from previous research on CBD, Cannabigerol seems to be very easily tolerated, has very low toxicity, and there have not been any significant side effects observed as long as it is consumed in normal doses.
As always, it is advisable to consult with your physician before adding CBG to your regime, especially if you are taking prescribed medication.
Will CBG get me high?
No, CBG won’t get you high. Like CBD, Cannabigerol is mildly psychoactive but not psychotropic. CBG and CBD affect the brain very differently from THC, and they do not come with intoxicating effects. In high concentrations, CBG may induce effects of relaxation and euphoria, but the majority of the effects that this cannabinoid has on your system are not psychological.
The same rules apply to CBG. CBG isolate and broad-spectrum oil that contains CBG are generally safe to consume before a drug test. If your CBG oil contains THC, then there is a risk of a failed drug test—depending on the sensitivity of the assay and the THC content of your product.
Where to buy CBG?
Simple Leaf CBD uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. We fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
1. What is CBG? The minor cannabinoid with major potential explained. Journal of Cannabinoid Medicine.
2. Borrelli F, Fasolino I, Romano B, et al. Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid Cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. Biochemical Pharmacology. 2013;85(9):1306-1316.
3. Colasanti BK. A comparison of the ocular and central effects of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabigerol. Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 1990;6(4):259-269.
4. Valdeolivas S, Navarrete C, Cantarero I, Bellido ML, Muñoz E, Sagredo O. Neuroprotective properties of cannabigerol in huntington’s disease: studies in r6/2 mice and 3-nitropropionate-lesioned mice. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(1):185-199.
5. Farha MA, El-Halfawy OM, Gale RT, et al. Uncovering the hidden antibiotic potential of cannabis. ACS Infect Dis. 2020;6(3):338-346.
6. Orrego-González E, Londoño-Tobón L, Ardila-González J, Polania-Tovar D, Valencia-Cárdenas A, Velez-Van Meerbeke
A. Cannabinoid effects on experimental colorectal cancer models reduce aberrant crypt foci (Acf) and tumor volume: a systematic review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2020;2020:1-13.