We all see many CBD, or cannabidiol, products lining shelves and being pushed on websites. But if you’re exploring the world of cannabis products, you’re probably also seeing something called CBG listed as an ingredient in many of these products. More and more, it seems that CBG, or cannabigerol, is on labels for tinctures, edibles, and other cannabis-derived products.
But what exactly is CBG, how is it different from CBD, and why should you bother putting it in your body? I’m here to discuss where CBG came from, why it matters, and why you should keep your eye on it!
The Cannabinoid Family Tree
Let’s start at the beginning. Firstly, CBG stands for cannabigerol [ka-nuh-bi-jer-uhl] and is a cannabinoid found in marijuana and hemp plants. CBG is not the same as CBD, CBN, or THC. Still, all three of those chemicals are also cannabinoids produced by marijuana and hemp plants.
This is just a sidenote to clarify details about cannabis plants. I feel this information is helpful and vital to know. The difference between hemp and marijuana plants is the THC or tetrahydrocannabinol content. If there is 0.3% or more THC content, the plant is categorized as marijuana. Hemp is federally legal under the farm bill of 2018, but marijuana is still illegal in many states. If you’re unsure about the legality of marijuana in your state, here is a helpful and recent article.
Back to CBG! The big difference between CBG and other cannabinoids like CBD and THC is that CBG is actually the base molecule that the other cannabinoids stem from. Think of it as the most prominent root of the cannabinoid family tree.
All cannabinoids (more than 100) begin their little chemical lives as Cannabigerolic Acid or CBGA. Because of this fact, you will often hear CBG being referred to it as a ‘stem cell,’ or even ‘the mother cell.’ From CBGA, other cannabinoids become other variations of chemicals like CBD or CBN (or cannabinol). CBG itself is a step after CBGA in cannabinoid evolution.
But why haven’t we seen or heard about CBG up until recently? A big reason for this could be that in nature, cannabigerol is not produced by plants in as large quantities as its relatives CBD or THC. Another big reason is that our government railed against studying cannabis’s medicinal properties for so long. It really stunted our movement forward in this sense. Fortunately, we seem to be (finally) progressing.
As far as the small amounts of CBG naturally produced, this is where science is stepping in. Due to promising research on the medicinal potential of CBG, researchers are engineering cannabis plants that are geared to produce CBG in larger quantities. This makes the products using CBG less expensive and easier to make. Right now, you will find that CBG is more expensive than CBD products, but hopefully, that will change with time.
CBG and Our Bodies
CBG is similar to CBD in that it interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system or ECS is a series of receptors, either CB1 or CB2, connecting to cannabinoids in the body. Cannabinoids produced by the body are called endocannabinoids, with ‘endo’ meaning ‘within’ in Latin. Cannabinoids produced by plants, on the other hand, are referred to as phytocannabinoids, with ‘phyto’ meaning ‘plant’ in Latin.
The existence of the endocannabinoid system, which was discovered in the early 90s, is the proof we need to defend introducing phytocannabinoids into our bodies. Because we know the ECS exists, our bodies are primed to respond to cannabinoids and use them to achieve and maintain homeostasis.
So we have the CB1 receptor and CB2 receptor, which are waiting for either endocannabinoids or phytocannabinoids to bind to them and help the body achieve better balance. Research shows that cannabinoids can help reduce inflammation of muscles, tendons, and joints, sleep aids, pain, anxiety, depression, and even libido.
That was your very rudimentary breakdown of the ECS, so let’s talk more about CBG studies, CBG’s potential, and it’s future.
The Effects of CBG
You’ve now learned a little about CBG, where it comes from, and why our bodies respond to it and other phytocannabinoids. But the question remains, why we should introduce this cannabinoid into our body first, especially considering our body is already producing endocannabinoids. Do we really need more?
I like to explain this compared to the many people in this world who take anti-depressants. Our bodies produce dopamine which is supposed to keep us from getting depressed. Still, sometimes the dopamine we produce just plain isn’t enough.
The fact is that our bodies are great, and they do a lot. But in the end, our bodies are hardly ever in a perfect balance. Whether it’s a chemical imbalance with genetic predispositions, diet, exercise, or just a tough time to exist on the planet, there is no shame in asking for and receiving help. CBG could be helpful for many different imbalances in our bodies and lives, just like anti-depressants are.
In short, CBG is a natural aid for your body that may help achieve homeostasis. And who doesn’t want that?
CBG Research and Studies
Let’s talk a little bit more about where CBG is being studied.
Thus far, CBG is being studied in connection with many medicinal benefits. Like CBD, it has strong links to reducing inflammation, which is great for active people and inactive people who suffer from joint and muscle inflammation and the pain it causes.
Something that really intrigues me about CBG is what it may be able to do for our brains. We know that CBG is a psychoactive drug that affects our brains. This means that CBG has the potential to affect our neurological activity. Specifically, CBG has been connected to impacting dopamine levels in the brain. Increased dopamine levels decrease depression and anxiety. This all means that it is highly likely that CBG may help be a natural way to fight depression and anxiety. It also means that CBG shows promise in treating disorders like ADHD as well.
The other thing about CBG is that unlike many anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, it doesn’t have the adverse side effects of many of these drugs. (Many people on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications report a decrease of libido along with nausea, dizziness, and feeling agitated, to name a few.) This makes it a more appealing option when dealing with these issues.
CBG and Sleep
CBG’s effects on our brains are also being studied in helping people achieve REM sleep sooner and therefore receive better rest. And what’s more, is that CBG appears to do so more effectively than CBD does. Poor sleep affects our ability to focus, decreases libido, and even impacts our muscles’ ability to repair and regenerate when we are at rest. So if you introduce CBG to your sleep routine, you may see positive results. Your mind may feel less cloudy from lack of sleep, and your muscles will recover quickly.
But it doesn’t stop there. Unlike CBD, CBG is being studied as a chemical to help with energy levels. Move over coffee! CBD has been linked to sedation and lethargy, assisting people to achieve sleep faster. CBG, while it can help with sleep for some, has also been reported to increase energy levels by other test subjects. It will be exciting to see how this development pans out with further studies. I like this research because you could use CBG for energy and avoid the jitters, digestive problems, and routine of getting or making coffee in the morning.
The future is bright for more research into both the short and long-term medicinal properties of CBG. It has been substituted for traditional antibiotics in animal studies and has worked effectively in some cases. But something that I’m particularly excited about is CBG being studied as a chemical to help prevent cancer. You heard me!
CBG just keeps getting interesting, though! While it has a lot of properties and potential, something really cool about CBG is that it works well with others. You probably are seeing a lot of CBD products that include CBG and vice versa. This is because studies show that while these two chemicals have many positive impacts solo, they also work really well together.
CBD, for example, also has anti-inflammatory properties. When used with CBG, those anti-inflammatory properties are greater. CBD also targets the body, not the mind, while CBG does the opposite. That means that by ingesting a product with both CBD and CBG, you’re giving your body two different chemicals to help maintain homeostasis within your muscles, joints, and mind. Pretty cool stuff!
CBN or cannabinol is another chemical that works well with CBG. Having similar impacts on inflammation, reduced anxiety, and reduced depression, you’re going to see a lot of products that have both CBN and CBG in them.
Pros and Cons of CBG
- May help with dopamine levels and therefore decrease anxiety and depression.
- Does not have the side effects of many anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.
- Our bodies respond to CBG because of our CB1 and CB2 receptors.
- May help prevent cancer.
- May be a substitute for antibiotics.
- It may help with boosts of energy.
- May help with sleeping.
- Works well with other cannabinoids.
- CBG is not FDA-approved, so there are a lot of poorly made products out there.
- The research results are mainly positive but still inconclusive.
- CBG is expensive due to the small amounts produced naturally by plants. (Hopefully, this will change with time.)
Where Should You Buy CBG?
I always start by recommending readers to speak to their doctors before introducing any new chemical into their system. While CBG is natural, it is a chemical. Your doctor knows your medical history best and will know if CBG reacts poorly with any other drugs you may be taking.
Unfortunately, CBG is not yet FDA-approved. This means many garbage products are being produced and sold today. When looking for the right CBG product for you, try to find a Certificate of Analysis or COA on the website or label. A COA will tell you if an outside laboratory has tested the product beforehand to ensure it is precisely what it claims to be. If a product doesn’t have a COA, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t try it, but it is a red flag.
Remember that any product that isn’t transparent about ingredients is also usually a red flag. Trust your gut when doing your research and definitely read reviews, ask friends, and just overall see what other people’s experiences have been.
CBG Products You Should Try
Lazarus Natural CBG
Lazarus Natural CBG Isolate Tincture is an excellent CBG product to try. Not only does it get great reviews, but it has also been inspected by a third party. You know I love when a third party is involved in double-checking quality and ingredients!
I like this tincture because it’s flavorless, so you can put it in your coffee, tea, water, or even yogurt and not know the difference. This tincture is explicitly aimed at pain management and calls itself ‘high potency.’
What’s more, is that the Lazarus Natural CBG Isolate Tincture is not particularly expensive compared to other tinctures out there. This THC-free tincture can be found online for $24 for one fluid ounce or $40 for two fluid ounces.
High Peaks has a recent release of tinctures that utilize CBD and CBG. They have three different options for flavors, a mint option, a rotating seasonal option (they’ve had pumpkin spice in the past and now have Snickerdoodle!), and finally, like the Lazarus Natural CBG Isolate Tincture, a flavorless option.
High Peaks is magnificent about being transparent, which is one of the reasons why I love this company. They have a COA for each product.
You can order these one bottle at a time or all three flavors. One fluid ounce is $54.99, but you can get all three for an amazing discount at $109.99.
Extract Labs makes an excellent CBG Softgel Capsule. Like the High Peaks tinctures, this blends CBD and CBG. The Extract Labs capsules are equal parts ratio of CBD to CBG. I like these because they aren’t tinctures, and I love tinctures; I just like options. Capsules break up the monotony of the tincture world we’re all living in.
Like High Peaks, Extract Labs has a COA to verify ingredients, so I am 100% on board for these products. The biggest thing is that these capsules are expensive; for only thirty soft gels (33 mg each), they charge $99. This means that if you only need one pill a day, $99 only buys you a month of capsules. CBG is an expensive routine to fall into!
FAQs About CBG
Question: What is the Difference Between CBG and CBD?
Answer: CBG is a different type of cannabinoid. There are over 100 varieties (that we know about!) CBG is often called a ‘stem cell’ or ‘the mother cell’ because all cannabinoids begin as CBGA before evolving to their final form.
Question: Why is CBG so Expensive?
Answer: CBG is produced in lower quantities by cannabis plants naturally. Researchers are working to remedy this issue by engineering plants that have more CBG than natural plants.
Question: Is CBG Stronger than CBD?
Answer: I don’t believe that question has been answered by science. Right now, we know that CBG works well with CBD and is a psychoactive drug, which means it impacts the brain. CBD does not affect the brain.
Question: Is CBG the Same as THC?
Answer: No, CBG is its own chemical. THC is just a relative. However, both are psychoactive drugs.
Question: Why isn’t CBG FDA-approved?
Answer: The research simply needs to catch up to what the FDA wants. More studies are better as they prove that CBG is not harmful and instead the opposite.
Question: Is CBG Legal?
Answer: CBG from hemp plants is federally legal under the farm bill of 2018. However, marijuana is still illegal in many states. Some states don’t bother differentiating between hemp-derived cannabinoids and marijuana-derived cannabinoids. I recommend you check the legality yourself per the state you are in.
Final Thoughts On CBG
The cannabinoid world is vast and exciting, and I am personally very devoted to checking up on new studies and research into how these little chemicals can make significant changes. CBG is just one step in our journey towards utilizing cannabis products for better, healthier lives.
I hope this article has clarified CBG and why it’s essential to keep an eye on it. Let’s hope the research continues and more exciting possibilities come to fruition!