What is CBG? – Cannabinoid Science

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Cannabigerol (CBG) is a lesser-known cannabinoid that doesn’t get you high but improves your well-being. You have surely heard of the medicinal effects of cannabis by now, and you most likely know that cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) have been linked to several health benefits, including anxiety relief, pain relief and more.

Related: The Effects of CBD on the Human Body

Well, CBD is not the only cannabinoid that can improve your health and well-being. Despite its lack of popularity, CBG can help with multiple health problems, as well.


CBG? Do you mean CBD?

There are more than 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. The most popular major cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol. Even though it’s less popular, CBG is also a major cannabinoid and it plays an important role in the cannabis plant.

THC is the psychoactive compound, the one responsible for the famous, or infamous, ‘high’ you get from smoking marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, does not get you high but produces a wide variety of health benefits, so many people are calling it the greatest discovery since sliced bread.

Now, THC and CBD are the most abundant compounds in the cannabis plant. But the amazing thing is that both of them start out as CBG. Well, sort of.

Thanks to millions of years of evolution and photosynthesis, cannabis plants produce cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). With the help of specific enzymes and a lot of chemical processes only scientists care about (which are explained here), CBGA is ultimately transformed into THC, CBD and CBG.

Most of the CBGA is transformed into CBD and THC, and only a small fraction of it ends up as CBG. But even though cannabigerol has a lower concentration than the other two compounds, it seems that it can provide a wealth of benefits on its own.


What are the benefits of CBG?

Thanks to the recent legalisation of medicinal cannabis in multiple European countries and the legalisation of recreational cannabis in other countries, such as the U.S. or Canada, scientists can now thoroughly examine the benefits of cannabinoids. Even though CBG has been overlooked in the past — mostly because of its small concentration — recent research shows that it has the potential to help with multiple diseases and health conditions.


1. It helps with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

A study published in 2013 by the University of Naples shows that thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBG can help with IBD. The study found that cannabigerol significantly reduced the inflammatory markers in mice with IBD and relieved colitis.

Based on these successful results, the researchers suggest that CBG should be used in human clinical trials as a treatment for IBD. If the anti-inflammatory effects of CBG can be confirmed in humans, it’s likely going to be used for the treatment of other diseases and health conditions as well.

2. Has antimicrobial effects

You might be wondering why someone would go through all the trouble of using cannabinoids to kill germs. Well, humanity is facing an increasing threat from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

 Superbugs, such as the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), resist conventional treatment and affect millions of people each year. A bacterial killer like CBG might be just what the world needs right now. A study presented in 2008 proved that cannabigerol has antimicrobial effects.

3. Helps with bladder problems

People on different online mediums claimed that cannabis infusions help with bladder dysfunctions. In 2015, a team of Italian scientists developed a study to put these claims to the test.

The scientists found that CBG reduces the contractions in the human bladder, so it can help with bladder problems.

4. Stimulates appetite

You might be aware that smoking marijuana gives you ‘munchies’. One minute you’re chilling on your couch, the next you’re eating chocolate-flavoured ice-cream straight from the carton.

Well, according to a 2016 study published by the University of Reading, CBG is the cannabinoid responsible for your appetite boost. In this study, rats that ate CBG increased the number of meals they ate and doubled their food intake.

It’s estimated that approximately 1 percent of American women suffer from anorexia in their lifetime. Out of those women, up to 50 percent suffer from a mood disorder such as anxiety or depression. CBG might help these women overcome their eating disorder and improve their mood.

5. Helps protect your brain

According to a 2015 study, CBG acts as an antioxidant in the brain, meaning it can protect the nervous system from damage. The study shows that cannabigerol is an extremely active neuroprotective drug in mice. The cannabinoid improved motor deficits and protected the neurons against toxicity.

And it gets better, the study also shows that CBG administration leads to a modest improvement of certain gene expressions that might help with Huntington Disease.

6. Supports the fight against cancer

Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cannabigerol supports your body’s fight against cancer. A study presented in 2014 found that CBG might be able to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. The administration of cannabigerol hampered the progression of colon cancer in mice.

In addition, the study shows that CBG could also have anti-tumoral properties, which means that the cannabinoid could be used both to cure and to prevent cancer in the future.

7. Helps treat glaucoma

Medical marijuana has been used for the treatment of glaucoma for decades now. According to a study, CBG improves the eye’s fluid drainage, reducing the intraocular pressure.

Moreover, the cannabinoid acts as a vasodilator in the eye, improving the eye’s blood circulation. Thanks to this effect, more oxygen-rich blood reaches the eye, which can be helpful in many eye-related medical conditions.


Is CBG legal? Can you buy it today?

Cannabigerol is not psychoactive so it will not get you high. In addition, CBG can be extracted from hemp, so most CBG-infused products do not contain traces of THC.

Related: The Legal Situation of Hemp, Marijuana and CBD in the EU in 2019

As far as the legal status of CBG is concerned, you can now legally purchase it across the United States.

In Europe, cannabigerol is currently legal in the UK and all of the EU countries as long as it’s extracted from hemp, not from marijuana. EU regulations stipulate that CBG products with THC values of over 0.2 percent are considered marijuana and are therefore illegal in countries that have not decriminalised cannabis.

The most popular cannabigerol products are CBG isolate, CBG oil and CBG crystals. Since cannabigerol does not get you high but offers multiple benefits, most consumers buy it to improve their health and well-being.


CBG – Final thoughts

CBG might lack the publicity of THC and CBD, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable. Even though most of the research on cannabigerol is still in its infancy, the things we know about this cannabinoid are very promising.

Thanks to the multiple benefits cannabigerol offers, scientists are bound to research it further, so only time will tell how this cannabinoid will impact our health and well-being.


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