14 Feb Have You Heard About CBG Benefits?
Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of the 100+ cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp plants. The most well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), but there is growing interest in the potential benefits of CBG. While a quick internet search reveals a lot of information, it is important to keep in mind that a lot of what you read about CBG is based on cell and animal studies with unknown implications for human use. After a thorough review of the literature, renowned cannabis physician, Dr. Dustin Sulak provides information about what you need to know to be a smart cannabinoid consumer and decide if a trial of CBG is right for you.
The Quick Rundown
Early research and Dr. Sulak’s customer feedback suggest that CBG can promote a sense of calm and relaxation, help with occasional sleeplessness, relieve occasional nerve discomfort, and support digestive health and brain function. Also, early trials indicate CBG’s effectiveness as a topical for reducing aches, discomfort, and inflammation for the face and body.
CBG SUPPORTS WELLNESS*
- Relieves occasional sleeplessness
- Helps reduce nervousness
- Relieves occasional nerve discomfort such as shooting, stabbing and stinging aches not addressed by CBD and CBDA
- Improves mood, promotes resilience to stress, and relieves irritability
YOU CAN TRY CBG IF you:
- want to promote relaxation and sleep
- have not experienced satisfactory relief of aches and discomfort using CBD and/or CBDA
- find CBD and/or CBDA too mentally stimulating
- experience gastrointestinal side effects from CBD and/or CBDA
- would like to enhance the benefits of THC
CBG vs. CBD
Compared to CBD, early indicators suggest CBG is:
- More calming and relaxing
- Effective for aches and discomfort not addressed by CBD
- More potent at lower doses
- Unlikely to diminish the effects of THC
The Nitty Gritty
What is CBG?
Some refer to CBG as the ‘mother of cannabinoids’, because its raw, unheated form, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), is the precursor cannabinoid for THCA, CBDA, and CBCA.
Like the other cannabinoids, time and heat decarboxylate CBGA into CBG. Few cannabis varieties, however, have any significant amount of CBGA in the mature flowers. In the past, some growers used early harvesting techniques to increase the yield of CBGA from common medical varieties. More recently, breeders have developed varieties of cannabis that lack the enzymes responsible for converting CBGA into the other cannabinoids, resulting in fully mature flowers dominant in CBGA and low in THC and other cannabinoids. We can extract these flowers to produce products with high levels of CBG that offer distinct medicinal benefits.
CBG may help with:*
- Trouble sleeping
- Attention deficit and hyperactivity
Who Should Try CBG vs CBD?
- want a hemp product to promote relaxation and sleep
- have not experienced satisfactory pain relief using CBD and/or CBDA
- find CBD and/or CBDA too mentally stimulating
- experience nausea or other gastrointestinal side effects from CBD and/or CBDA
- want to enhance the benefits of THC
- have health conditions for which early research into CBG is showing favorable results, with support and direction from their healthcare providers
SHOULD YOU COMBINE CBG WITH CBD/ CBDA?
Dr. Sulak recommends trying a CBG formula at least 4 hours apart from CBD or CBDA to learn how you respond to CBG. As you discover what works best for you, he encourages you to use CBG, CBD and CBDA in the daily regimen that works best for you. Here is what we know to date:
Some evidence suggests that large amounts of CBG may inhibit some of the benefits of CBD and CBDA, via their opposite effects on the serotonin system. Dr. Sulak has not yet observed this clinically, but it is possible for some people that adding high doses of CBG to an effective CBD/CBDA regimen might decrease some of the benefits of CBD/CBDA.
Conversely, CBDA is not likely to inhibit the effects of CBG, and even small amounts of CBDA may enhance the benefits of CBG.
One preclinical model showed that small amounts of CBG can enhance the absorption of CBDA. This model showed that small amounts of CBG can enhance the absorption of CBDA by up to 14-fold. This means that CBDA products that contain even very small amounts of CBG are likely to be much more effective.
MORE ABOUT THE SCIENCE OF CBG
Cannabigerol (CBG) shares some overlapping features with THC, CBD, and CBDA. Like CBD and CBDA, CBG is non-impairing and can help relieve both physical and mental symptoms.
Several of the ways CBG interacts with the body, however, are very distinct from CBD and CBDA. These properties might make it especially useful for those who have not been satisfied with the effects of CBD or CBDA.
Differences Between CBG and CBD and other Cannabinoids
- While CBD and CBDA stimulate the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, their likely mechanism of reducing anxiety and improving stress response, CBG appears to have the opposite effect on these receptors. This means that while all three compounds can decrease anxiety, some people are likely to respond better to CBD/CBDA and others to CBG, depending on one’s unique neurochemistry.
- CBG inhibits the activity of the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system by directly stimulating the ɑ-2 adrenoceptor in the central nervous system, a mechanism of action common to drugs that treat anxiety, ADD/ADHD, and hypertension.
- The relaxing neurotransmitter GABA is important in the mechanisms involved in regulating anxiety, sleep, and pain signaling. CBG’s mechanism for influencing nervousness, sleep, and pain signaling are likely related to its ability to inhibit the uptake of GABA, and its direct stimulation of the ɑ-2 adrenoceptor, a target that relaxes the activity of the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system.
- CBG has demonstrated more potent antibacterial properties than other cannabinoids in preclinical models. As research grows, we will learn more about the therapeutic potential of CBG in infectious conditions.
- Unlike THC and CBD, research has not shown CBG to reduce nausea.
Similarities Between CBD and other Cannabinoids
CBG does have some similarities with its siblings THC and CBD. For example, CBG has potential to improve metabolism and reduce inflammation because, like CBD and THC, it stimulates the PPAR𝛾 nuclear receptor, a target that controls the expression of genes that control metabolism and inflammation. Though several cannabinoids are active at the PPAR𝛾 nuclear receptor, CBG is more potent than THC or CBD.
CBD and CBG are very comparable in their activity at six ion channels (TRPA1, TRPV1, TRPV2. TRPV3, TRPV4, and TRPM8) which likely account for some of their similarities in treating pain, inflammation, and other conditions. These ion channels are responsible for some sensations with which many people are familiar – for example, TRPV1 is the target of capsaicin, the active constituent of chili pepper, and TRPM8 is the target of menthol. Beyond creating a unique sensation, research has shown both capsaicin and menthol to reduce pain and inflammation, and we commonly use them for these purposes. It is likely that these ion channels also account for some of the therapeutic activity of both CBD and CBG.
Research has also shown CBG to relieve pain, to reduce redness associated with inflammation, and to inhibit lipoxygenases, enzymes that produce inflammatory molecules. THC also shares these same properties, but research showed CBG to be more potent.
CBG Health Benefits
While human research on CBG is limited, preclinical studies show promise in improving inflammatory bowel disease, other inflammatory conditions, glaucoma, mood disorders, and in fighting cancer cells. As mentioned above, CBG has been shown to be an impressive broad-spectrum antibiotic with an ability to fight antibiotic-resistant superbugs like MRSA.
CBG and Pain
In one rodent study of peripheral inflammatory pain, the research showed CBG to be much more potent than THC and aspirin. CBG was effective at 1.26 mg/kg; aspirin reduced pain at 15 mg/kg; and THC worked at 25 mg/kg. While THC’s maximal pain reduction was better (THC had the potential for stronger relief at much higher doses), this data suggests CBG could be a cost-effective agent for pain, effective at low doses without the impairment possibility related to THC.
CBG and Inflammatory Bowel Disease
One mouse model of ulcerative colitis found that CBG was protective and curative based on the overall reduction of the ratio between colon weight to length, a measure of disease severity. This model of colitis is known to increase several inflammatory cytokines and decrease anti-inflammatory IL-10 levels, and CBG was shown to restore these to normal levels in the study. Through another method of action, CBG provided antioxidant protection of the cells in the intestines. Based on these early findings, there could be a lot of promise for CBG helping with inflammatory bowel disease.
CBG and Glaucoma
Repetitive administration of CBG, and to a lesser extent, single doses reduced eye pressure in cats. The intraocular pressure (IOP) of CBG-treated eyes was 4-8 mmHg lower than the untreated eye on the other side. That is a significant reduction that could be important in the treatment for glaucoma. Also, CBG was shown to be non-toxic to the eye or optic nerve. This is especially important for patients with glaucoma who want to use a hemp product, because CBD has the potential to raise IOP, something that should be avoided. For those with this condition, CBG, THC, and CBDA are better choices than CBD.
CBG for Fighting Cancer Cells
Like other phytocannabinoids, researchers reported CBG to reduce cell proliferation in several cancer cell lines including human breast, prostate, colorectal carcinoma, gastric adenocarcinoma, c-6 rat glioma, rat basophilic leukemia, and transformed thyroid cells. Several findings suggest it may be more relevant for prostate cancer than other phytocannabinoids.
In an Israeli study that tested many different types of cannabis against many different types of cancer cells, researchers found that products that had the same amount of CBD and THC could have differing effects on the viability of cancer cells. Two of the most common reasons found for those varying effects were the presence or absence of CBG or THCA; CBG-containing cannabis products demonstrated greater anti-cancer effects.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Nachnani, R., Raup-Konsavage, W. M., & Vrana, K. E. (2021). The pharmacological case for cannabigerol. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 376(2), 204-212.