Cannabigerol (CBG) is a cannabinoid, which means it is one of several chemicals found in cannabis plants. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most well-known cannabinoids, but there has recently been increased interest in the potential benefits of CBG.
Everyone and their grandmother (especially their grandmother, to be honest) has heard of CBD and its alleged miraculous healing properties. While research is slowly validating these claims, anecdotes about CBD’s power have been pouring in. Your neighbor’s dog is no longer arthritic, and your best friend’s insomnia and anxiety have vanished.
But there’s a dark horse in the corner: CBG. That’s right, there’s a new cannabis compound on the market, and it’s high time you learned about it. We understand that it’s a lot to take in, so let’s break it down.
The cannabis plant, like all plants, contains a variety of chemical compounds. These compounds are known as cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. (There are also terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds, but for the purposes of this lesson, let’s focus on cannabinoids). The human body has an endocannabinoid system that receives these compounds and uses them to maintain a healthy balance.
Historically, most people have been familiar with the cannabinoid THC: the compound notorious for inducing euphoria. (In other words, it gets you high.) Despite the fact that THC, like CBD, has profound healing properties, it is still stigmatised as the “bad” part of cannabis. THC, however, is the only intoxicating compound among the 120+ cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. (Continue reading: The CBD, THC, Cannabis, Hemp, and Marijuana Difference)
What Exactly Is CBG?
CBG is an abbreviation for cannabigerol, which is currently being researched for its potential pharmacological properties but has not yet been tested in clinical trials. The plant itself is thousands of years old, and one study dates back to the 1960s, but it is still relatively unknown.
In-vitro and rat studies have revealed some evidence that CBG may help with colitis, neurodegeneration, and cancer.
“We don’t know a lot about CBG,” says Perry Solomon, M.D., a board-certified anesthesiologist and expert on medical cannabis. “It’s not a common cannabinoid,” he explained, noting that it’s not found in large quantities within the cannabis plant, “and you have to get enough to be able to test it and study it.
What Is the Distinction Between CBD and CBG?
As previously stated, CBG contributes to the production of CBD, so while they are both cannabinoids, they are distinct compounds within the cannabis plant. Furthermore, despite some potential pharmacological overlap, they serve different purposes and may aid in the treatment of different ailments.
Both CBG and CBD are currently classified as non-psychotropic, which means they will not alter your mental state in such a way that it interferes with your daily function and mental clarity. They can, however, alter your mind in ways that may alleviate anxiety and depression. So perhaps a better description would be “non-intoxicating”—it won’t get you high like THC does.
Dr. Solomon adds that, like CBD, CBG may counteract the intoxicating effects of THC. “CBG studies appear to show that it activates the CB1 receptor just like CBD, which essentially decreases psycho-activation,” he says.