Published: December 14th, 2017
The world is well aware of the cannabinoids THC and CBD. However, there are many other cannabinoids contained within cannabis, most of which people know nothing about.
One of these is CBG. Usually found in concentrations of 1% or less in most strains, it’s no wonder this compound hasn’t received as much attention as others. However, that is quickly changing, and interest in CBG among health-conscious consumers and the medical community is beginning to rise.
In this article, we take a closer look at CBG. We’ll explore the role it plays in the production of other cannabinoids (like CBD and THC), its effects on the body, and how it differs from some other compounds found in cannabis/hemp.
CBG, or cannabigerol, is a phytocannabinoid. Unlike endocannabinoids, which are produced by the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), phytocannabinoids are sourced from plants like cannabis. CBG is what's known as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
By the time cannabis is harvested, dried, and processed, it usually contains only minor concentrations of CBG (below 1%). Hence, it is generally labelled a “minor” cannabinoid.
However, CBG is actually one of the first cannabinoids to be formed in the cannabis plant as it develops.
CBG is sometimes referred to as the “stem cell” of cannabis. It is found in higher concentrations in developing cannabis plants, usually in an acidic form known as CBGA or cannabigerolic acid.
As plants continue to grow, enzymes break down CBGA into either THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), or CBCA (cannabichromenic acid).
Following harvest, plants are usually dried and cured. The heat or UV light used in these processes breaks down these acidic cannabinoids to their non-acidic counterparts, such as THC, CBD, and CBC.
The drying and curing process also produces many other cannabinoids (at least 100), all of which originally stem from CBGA.
Most of the cannabis strains on today’s market are bred to be high in THC and/or CBD. Hence, these strains usually contain only small amounts of CBG.
However, some breeders are experimenting with cross-breeding, genetic manipulation, and even unique harvesting patterns to create strains that contain higher levels of this cannabinoid.
Bedrocan BV Medical Cannabis in The Netherlands, for example, has began harvesting some of its plants earlier to create a final product with higher levels of CBG.
As we mentioned earlier, CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Therefore, it does not interact with the endocannabinoid system in a way that interrupts mental faculties. However, just like any other cannabinoid, CBG does interact with the endocannabinoid system in a variety of ways.
Some studies also suggest that CBG may inhibit the growth of some tumours, while others show it may have neuroprotective effects. A 2014 study published in the PLoS One medical journal also claims that some CBG-derived products could suppress the body’s immune response.
Dr Bonni Goldstein, a medical doctor specialising in medicinal cannabis, claims that CBG can inhibit GABA neurotransmission in the brain, as well as affect pain, inflammation, and more.
“When GABA [uptake] is inhibited, you actually have muscle relaxation and you have anti-anxiety effects, so it [CBG] appears to promote similar effects that CBD has. It also appears to have antidepressant and some modest antifungal properties” said Goldstein in a video for WeedMaps.
In 2013, researchers from the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Naples Federico II (Italy) tested the effects of CBG on an experimental model of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The researchers found that CBG has potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Unfortunately, because CBG has been overshadowed by cannabinoids like THC and CBD, not a lot of research has gone into understanding this cannabinoid and its effects. However, that is slowly changing as people begin to realise the potential and importance of this compound.
CBD and CBG are two completely different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. They both have different chemical structures and are found in different concentrations.
Unlike CBD, CBG hasn’t received much attention, most likely because it is only found in trace amounts. Nonetheless, CBG remains one of the most important cannabinoids, providing the foundation for other compounds later formed in the plant.
All Cibdol products are made using the full spectrum of compounds found in non-psychoactive hemp plants. That means our oils, creams, and supplements all contain a balanced mix of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, terpenes, and more; this includes CBG.
However, remember that as CBD levels in a plant increase, CBG levels automatically drop. Seeing as our products are made using CBD-rich hemp extracts, CBG concentrations in our products are low, at least for the time being.