The Top 10 Health Benefits of CBG: What You Need To Know
Now that cannabis-based treatments have been getting widespread attention for years, seemingly everyone has heard of CBD and its vast potential. But have you met the ‘parent’ compound of CBD?
It’s called CBG, and early research hints at an array of incredible uses. We’re still awaiting more conclusive medical research, but CBG may be a key to many health and wellness benefits.
So, what is CBG, and how does it differ from CBD? What are the potential health benefits of the CBG cannabinoid? Could it be more beneficial than CBD?
What Is CBG (Cannabigerol)?
Cannabis contains hundreds of natural compounds called cannabinoids. CBG, short for cannabigerol, is the minor cannabinoid that creates all the other cannabinoids in the plant, including the major cannabinoids CBD and THC.
That’s why some refer to CBG and its acidic form, CBGA, as the ‘stem cell’ of cannabis or the ‘mother’ of all cannabinoids.
As a cannabis plant develops and its CBG produces roughly 120 other compounds, eventually, only one percent of CBG is left.
The Difference Between CBG And CBD
CBD is the widely popular cannabinoid that is famous for delivering a host of health and wellness benefits without the traditional cannabis high that comes from THC.
Similar to CBD, CBG is non-psychoactive, and researchers are gradually discovering promising health implications.
But these two aren’t the same. Let’s explore some of the key differences that set CBG apart.
The most obvious difference is that CBG is the lesser-known, less commonly used compound. But why?
To summarize, CBG has less recognition and use because it exists in lower levels, is harder to make, and is more expensive. But one exciting upside is that CBG may work better at some of the most sought-after effects of CBD.
Lower Concentrations Mean Higher Costs
We’ve already discussed how CBG is the precursor to CBD and other cannabinoids. And since cannabigerol transforms itself as the cannabis plant matures, leaving just one percent behind, it’s harder to produce.
So, to attain enough CBG, cannabis breeders have several options.
- First, they can produce much more cannabis to get the quantity of CBG they need compared to attaining CBD.
- Alternately, breeders can harvest the cannabis plant early when there’s higher CBG content.
- Finally, they can genetically alter cannabis plants to produce more CBG through selective breeding.
Therefore, CBG tends to cost significantly more than CBD. Hopefully, CBG will become more affordable as production methods advance.
Now for the most exciting distinction.
Research has shown that CBG outperforms CBD at GABA uptake inhibition because it connects better to specific cannabinoid receptors.
GABA is a neurotransmitter, and GABA uptake inhibitors have anti-seizure uses. More research is necessary, but CBG could someday be an effective muscle relaxant for treating muscle spasms or cramps.
The Top Ten Potential Medical Benefits of the CBG Cannabinoid
So far, we’ve only scratched the surface of CBG’s therapeutic potential. This ‘stem cell’ of cannabis has many unique properties with exciting impacts on the mind and body.
Most notably, CBG has potent anti-inflammatory effects, and its interaction with a nuclear hormone receptor called PPARγ has wide-ranging implications for treating metabolic and neurological diseases.
Of course, medical opinions, diagnoses, decisions, and treatments are between patients and their doctors. But here are ten possible medical benefits of CBG:
- Anxiety and Depression
One survey of patients using cannabigerol showed that 33.1% of the patients used CBG-predominant cannabis to help with depression, with the majority experiencing improvements. 80% rated cannabigerol superior to conventional medical depression treatments. In the same survey, managing anxiety was the most popular aim among patients. 51.2% were using CBG to treat anxiety, and 78.3% felt it worked better than traditional medical options. Additionally, as part of a preliminary trial of a nano-processed CBD/CBG combination, 63.2% of respondents to a different survey said they felt calmer. 58.6% experienced improvements in anxiety levels.
- Insomnia and Fatigue
30.7% of respondents in the first survey used cannabigerol for insomnia or disturbed sleep, with 73% preferring CBG over traditional medicines. Looking at that second CBD/CBG combination survey, 44.1% of all the participants had improved sleep, and more than 70% had better energy levels. Meanwhile, 83.3% of participants experiencing chronic fatigue saw their condition improve.
- Pain Management
The first CBG survey had 40.9% of patients using the CBG-predominant cannabis for chronic pain, and 73.9% of them self-reported better results from CBG than traditional medicine. Returning to the nano-processed CBD/CBG trial responses, 56.7% of those dealing with pain claimed to notice improvements. Impressively, 51.2% of them were able to decrease or stop their use of pain medication.In other research, CBG has exhibited therapeutic potential as a general pain reliever, demonstrating more potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects than THC, the major cannabinoid with psychoactive effects.
The nano-processed CBD/CBG combination survey also looked at people’s self-reported attention, thinking, and ADHD improvements. More than 70% of participants felt that their thinking and attention levels had improved, and 70.8% of those with ADHD reported progress with their condition.
When this survey asked how people’s IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) responded to the combination of CBD and CBG, 62.1% said it helped with their IBS. A 2013 animal experiment lends some validation to these claims. Researchers have used mice to measure CBG’s possible effects on IBD (irritable bowel disease) by looking at colon inflammation levels. Since CBG relieves colon inflammation and other elements of IBD, researchers suggested conducting clinical experiments.
- Cardiovascular Disease Risk, Metabolic Disorders, and Appetite
Another study has investigated whether cannabigerol and its acidic form, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), may help treat metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia by activating the PPARγ receptor. Dyslipidemia is when the blood contains abnormal lipid (fat) levels. This is a risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, the study showed that CBG and CBGA might be helpful in treating type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia by helping the body control how it metabolizes fat. Also, one of the fast-emerging areas of research in metabolic disorders is appetite regulation. And there are early indications that CBG could help stimulate appetite, too.
- Autoimmune and Neurodegenerative Diseases
MS (multiple sclerosis) is an autoimmune disease with debilitating neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative effects. Scientists have identified cannabigerol quinone (VCE-003) as a potent anti-inflammatory agent that helps activate PPARγ transcription. This implies that CBG may be effective at fighting MS and other neuroinflammatory diseases. Additional research has demonstrated that another cannabigerol quinone derivative, VCE-003.2, has neuroprotective properties that help counteract inflammation-driven neuronal damage in Parkinson’s disease (PD) models. According to other experimental models, CBG’s neuroprotective properties could also be good news for treating Huntington’s neurodegenerative disease (HD).
Glioblastoma is a highly aggressive form of cancer that originates in the brain. Cannabigerol may slow down glioblastoma progression and even kill the cancer cells. Incredibly, CBG can destroy the glioblastoma stem cells that fuel cancer development and usually are quite resistant to treatment. CBG has also inhibited the cellular growth of other cancers, including oral epitheloid carcinoma, colon cancer, and breast cancer.
- Antibacterial Properties
Researchers have observed the effects of cannabigerol on bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant and otherwise stubborn strains. For example, CBG has an anti-bacterial effect on Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), bacteria that contribute to tooth decay.
Animal studies have compared the effects of CBG to those of CBN (cannabinol) on intraocular pressure. This pressure level of eye fluids is closely related to glaucoma. CBN is mildly psychoactive and requires regular use to alter ocular tension, significantly causing eye redness and discharge. Comparatively, non-psychoactive CBG can significantly affect ocular tension without causing eye redness or discharge.
Does CBG Have Any Side Effects?
Experiments and anecdotal reports both reveal a few side effects of CBG:
We already covered CBG’s ability to stimulate the appetite. Namely, it increases the number and frequency of meals, doubling overall food intake in rats. So for those who don’t wish to improve their appetite, this would be an unwanted side effect.
Back to that very first survey that focused on anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain, 44% of the CBG-predominant cannabis users had no adverse events. 84.3% did not report any withdrawal symptoms, either.
But among those who suffered side effects, 16.5% indicated dry mouth, 15% complained of sleepiness, 11.8% had an increased appetite, and 8.7% dealt with dry eyes. Sleep difficulties accounted for most of the withdrawal symptoms.
CBG has no psychoactive effects; its side effects are limited and mild. This means that CBG could be much more helpful because it could treat many conditions with minimal interference in patients’ daily lives and general functioning.
Is CBG legal to obtain and use?
CBG is federally legal in the United States but is regulated similarly to CBD and hemp plants.
Is CBG stronger than CBD?
Yes. CBG can have more potent therapeutic effects in some areas, which researchers attribute to how readily it binds to specific cannabinoid receptors.
Does CBG help with anxiety?
Possibly. Though CBG is not yet officially approved to treat any medical or mental health conditions, users frequently report anxiety relief. If you struggle with anxiety, it’s important to talk to your doctor.
Does CBG make you feel anything?
Yes. Many people who take CBG report improvements in anxiety, depression, sleep, energy, focus, and pain.
Is CBG good for your brain?
Probably. Scientists are still studying how CBG works within the brain, but it may have profound neuroprotective properties and impacts on mental health, sleep, energy, ADHD, and focus.
Will CBG make me tired?
Potentially. While it’s more common to have improved energy with CBG, some people report sleepiness as a side effect and sleep disruptions as a withdrawal symptom.
Is CBG good for depression?
It can be. There’s still no official approval of CBG as a treatment for any condition, and anyone experiencing depression should seek professional help. But some patients with depression have claimed that CBG has improved their condition.