Everything you need to know about CBG:
The Ultimate Expert's Guide.
What Is CBG and What are the Benefits of CBG (Cannabigerol). Effects, Benefits, Research, Science & More:
We take you through the benefits, options, important criteria you should consider when buying CBG products online.
Introduction to CBG
Medically reviewed by: Dr. Vance Green, PharmD.
Updated on July 11, 2021
CBG is a natural compound found in the hemp plant which research suggests could reduce inflammation, improve moods or offer other benefits. It’s quickly gaining in popularity, alongside better known cannabis & hemp based supplements like CBD.
What is CBG?
CBG is Cannabigerol. Referred to as the mother of all cannabinoids. CBGa is the acidic precursor to CBG & CBDa. Many ‘minor’ cannabinoids are created by the decomposition, decarboxylation or isomerization of CBG
If you’re here, you probably know about CBD, the very popular supplement made from hemp. CBD is just one of dozens of compounds found in the hemp plant called cannabinoids. To date, scientists have identified well over 100 cannabinoids in the hemp plant. Cannabigerol, or CBG, is one of the most unique.
CBG is a natural compound in the hemp plant with many potential benefits. Research shows it may help with pain relief, improved energy and focus, and improved mood, bladder and bowel health and more.
Researchers sometimes call CBG, “The Mother of All Cannabinoids.” That’s because of the special role CBG plays in the hemp plant. All the other compounds, including CBD, start their cycle in the plant as a form of CBG. Over time as the plant grows, ages and dries, they change from CBG into their CBD, THC, and so on.
What are the benefits of CBG?
CBG has shown to help fight inflammation, pain, nausea. Showing potential to slow the proliferation of cancer cells. Also showing potential for treating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, IBD, IBS, Crohn’s disease & improving our microbiome health.
That transformation is one reason that so many people are interested in CBG. In many ways, it’s the “root compound” that leads to all the others. More importantly, research into the possible benefits of this compound is extremely promising. Much like CBD, CBG will not make you feel stoned. Many consumers report it helps them feel better, and stay more focused throughout their day.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at CBG, its benefits, and how to take CBG.
Table of Contents
- What is CBG? Where does it come from?
- What are the possible benefits of CBG?
- How do I use CBG?
- CBD vs CBG
What is CBG? Where does CBG come from?
CBG is short for cannabigerol.
That’s a bit of a mouthful, so just remember that CBG is a natural compound from hemp, one of dozens of natural compounds found in the plant called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids work together, along with other compounds in the plant like terpenes, to create hemp’s amazing benefits.
Researchers think CBG works with the other cannabinoids through something often called the “entourage effect.” This is the idea that compounds like CBD and CBG work better together than apart, enhancing each others’ benefits.
That includes THC, the main compound found in “marijuana” (cannabis) that makes people feel high. Even though legal hemp flower and hemp extract supplements contain a tiny amount of THC, much too little to make you feel stoned, researchers think this small amount works through the entourage effect to enhance CBD, CBG and the other compounds. That’s why some consumers report feeling more benefits from hemp flower or a full spectrum CBD supplement than when they take CBD or even CBG by itself.
We explained above that CBG stands apart from the other cannabinoids because of how it transforms. The transformation from CBG into other compounds also meant that, until recently, CBG was very rare, hard to research and expensive.
Fortunately, all of that is changing. The best hemp growers now grow plants which are rich in CBG, and they’ve learned the best times and ways to harvest for high CBG content. As a result, it’s now possible to get high quality CBG supplements and CBG hemp flower from some of the same places where you get CBD.
Not only that, but CBG research is expanding fast and, with it, our knowledge of how CBG might help people.
What is CBG? The "Stem Cell" of all the Cannabinoids.
What does science say about CBG? What are the possible health benefits of CBG?
Like CBD, scientists think CBG works by activating natural receptors found throughout the body’s nervous system. These receptors are collectively called the “endocannabinoid system.” CBG and CBD mimic the chemical shape of compounds our body produces on its own, called endocannabinoids.
While CBG may not make you feel high, it still activates our body’s endocannabinoid system. Since the endocannabinoid system is active throughout our bodies, scientists think CBG may profoundly affect our nervous system, our brains, and other organs.
CBG interacts with a part of our body’s nervous system called the “endocannabinoid system,” in ways that researchers think could have numerous benefits.
One thing that’s important to note is that scientists are just starting to research the benefits of CBG. A lot of the scientific studies were either very small, or used animals as models instead of humans. We haven’t really proven scientifically, yet, how much or in what ways CBG can help.
Even with that in mind, it’s exciting to see there are so many possibilities for CBG. Here are just a few of the ways scientists think CBG might help:
- Potential for pain relief: While pain relief is generally attributed to THC, there some recent studies on CBGA and CBG that suggest both compounds may be helpful when it comes to pain relief and might even be more effective than either CBD or THC.
- Easing Anxiety and Depression: CBG has been reported to aid emotional regulation.
- Improved Brain Health -Could Improve moods. Researchers think CBG may help inhibit the GABA reuptake process, according to one study conducted in 1975, and some other preliminary research. Other GABA reuptake inhibitors are used to treat anxiety and other mood disorders, and can generally promote feelings of calm, and well-being
- Anti-inflammatory properties. According to a 2018 PubMed study, researchers found that CBG seems to activate similar receptors to CBD, the same ones which give CBD its pain reducing effects. Another study suggested it could help reduce inflammatory conditions in the skin.
- Could help treat glaucoma by reducing intraocular pressure, according to a 2008 study (though cannabis still hasn’t been proven to be better than pharmaceutical drugs at this).
- May improve bladder and bowel health. A study in mice suggested CBG reduces the inflammation associated with colitis and inflammatory bowel disease. And a preliminary study from highlighted CBG as a possible treatment for bladder dysfunctions, due to how it controls contraction of the bladder.
- Possible appetite stimulation & much more. We’re still learning so much about how CBG could help people, but some promising research points to appetite stimulation, reduction in the growth of certain kinds of tumors and much more.
- Psoriasis & Skin conditions: CBG may help by inhibiting these common effects on our skin, effectively preventing the symptoms. While more studies are still needed, it’s worth noting that CBG has shown the potential to be a useful tool in fighting skin conditions.
Of course, science is still learning how CBG helps, and the best ways to use it. That means regular people need to experiment a little to learn if it can help them.
How do I use CBG?
Since CBG turns into other compounds like CBD, it used to be hard to find good CBG supplements. All forms of the cannabis and hemp plants have some CBG, but usually very small amounts.
Happily, that’s begun to change as top quality hemp brands begin breeding hemp for CBG and creating CBG-specific tinctures. Nowadays, you can take it in many of the same ways you take CBD.
When it comes to CBG, just as with any supplement, you should start small and gradually increase how much you take over time.
The most common ways to take CBG are smoking it in CBG hemp flower form, or consuming it in a CBG oil “tincture”. Hemp flower that’s high in CBG is most commonly smoked in a pipe or CBG pre-rolled joints. CBG-rich hemp flower can also be used in other ways like baking. Just how you would use CBD hemp flower.
When it comes to CBG Oils, just as with all cannabinoid supplements, it’s best to start small and gradually increase how much you take over time. And, as always, check with your doctor before starting a new supplement. Cannabinoids can interfere with some medications.
CBD (Cannabidiol) vs CBG (Cannabigerol)
Throughout this article, we’ve compared CBD and CBG. That’s partially because more people are familiar with CBD, a natural supplement that millions of people have tried.
As a result, you might be wondering whether you can take CBD and CBG together. The good news is, thanks to the entourage effect, many consumers report they feel the most benefits from a combination of both. For example, since both CBD and CBG may have anti-inflammatory benefits, some scientists think those benefits could be even stronger when combined.
In hemp flower, you’ll find an increasing number of strains that feature relatively high levels of CBG alongside CBD. And rare strains, like Wedding Cake, are high CBG with almost no CBD at all.
In hemp extract supplements, one common formula is equal parts CBG to CBD, known as a 1:1 CBD + CBG Oil formula. This helps consumers maximize the potential benefits of both at once.
Many consumers experiment with both CBD and CBG, taken in a variety of ways, to find what works best for them. We hope you find a supplement regimen that helps you feel great!
CBG Benefits FAQ's
Some preliminary studies are suggesting that CBG can be extremely effective for anxiety.
A study back in 2006 showed that cannabigerol had antidepressant effects due to CBG highly potent a2-adrenoceptor agonist and moderately potent 5HT1A receptor antagonist. (1) While another found that CBG had an analgesic effect on certain receptors, leading to anxiety reduction.
Understanding the nature of side effects is important. Just like other medicines & natural compounds, CBG can have some side effects.
If consumed in huge doses, CBG has shown some minor side effects. It’s important to not take CBG in excessive amounts.
The FDA , NHS, USDA, WHO and many other health organisations around the world have deemed anything made from ‘Hemp’ extract is safe for consumption and pose no adverse health effects.
Some of the common reported side effects are: Tiredness, Dry mouth, Loss of Appetite, potential weight loss.
So, what are the main differences between CBG & CBD?
The most distinct difference between CBG & CBD is that CBD has a low affinity to endocannabinoid receptors. Whereas CBG acts in a similar way that THC does in regards to receptor interactions. CBG interacts directly with our CB1 & CB2 brain receptors.
Interestingly, CBGa synthases into CBDa, which in turn, decarboxylates into CBD.
Both CBD & CBG are non intoxicating Cannabinoids that are very potent anti-inflammatory compounds.
While many anecdotal reports suggest that CBG has helped with sleep, it’s more commonly reported that CBG is more stimulating and actually helps alertness and won’t help with sleep. CBN is widely reported and studies suggest CBN is better for sleep than CBG.
Many CBG consumers, including most of us here at Absolute Nature, report they feel more energized, have more clarity and feel generally physically and mentally uplifted. This would suggest CBG will give you an energetic boost.
Our newest Strain The White CBG Flower is reported to give energy and focus. Many people use it as a day time strain.
This is a very important, difficult & complex question. CBG (cannabigerol) itself is not likely to show up in typical drug screening tests. However, as CBG has the potential to convert to other cannabinoids that can show positive for metabolites screened for in testing. This would result from various consumption or usage methods. If you smoke CBG hemp flower, which will contain trace amounts of THCa & THC, then it’s very possible you could fail a test.
Caution and home testing is advised. If you plan to consume any cannabinoids and you’re subject to workplace testing, you should discuss this with your employer first.
Yes CBG is legal. As per the 2018 Hemp bill. All extracts derived from legally defined hemp are legal. With the caveat the products contain <0.3% THC.
No CBG – Cannabigerol is not a controlled substance. All cannabinoids derived from farmbill compliant cannabis, classified as hemp, are not controlled substances. CBD however does have some grey areas due to the FDA approving the cannabinoid as a prescription drug.
Writer: Kit O’Connell is a writer and journalist from Austin, Texas. His work has also appeared in Yes! Magazine, the Texas Observer, and elsewhere. He served as Editor in Chief of the Ministry of Hemp from 2017 until 2021.