- What is CBG?
What is CBG?
CBG, short for cannabigerol, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. Unlike popular cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, CBG does not cause any intoxicating effects. CBG is actually the precursor molecule from which THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids are synthesized. It starts out as CBG in the early stages of the plant's growth and is then converted into other cannabinoids through enzymatic processes.
Unleashing the Potential of CBG: An Exhaustive Guide to Cannabigerol
CBG is considered the "parent" cannabinoid and is abundant in hemp plants, which typically contain higher levels of CBG than marijuana strains. As research into the potential therapeutic uses of cannabis compounds continues, scientists are taking a closer look at CBG and its unique effects within the human body's endocannabinoid system.
CBG vs CBD vs THC
Despite having a similar molecular structure, CBG, CBD, and THC have distinct differences:
- THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that generates the "high" feeling. CBG and CBD are not intoxicating.
- CBG is the precursor from which THC and CBD are synthesized during plant growth.
- CBD is the second most abundant cannabinoid after THC. CBG levels are typically much lower.
- CBG and CBD are both non-psychoactive and may have therapeutic benefits.
- CBG, THC, and CBD all interact with the body's endocannabinoid system but affect receptors differently.
While CBD is widely available and thoroughly researched, the therapeutic potential of CBG is now gaining more interest. CBG is not scheduled as an illegal substance like THC and can be shipped across state lines. Research is ongoing into the entourage effect of combining CBG with other cannabinoids like CBD.
CBG Benefits and Uses
Potential therapeutic benefits of CBG
Early research indicates CBG may offer a variety of therapeutic effects. Here are some of the potential medical benefits being investigated:
- Pain relief - Studies on rats found CBG may act as an analgesic and help block pain receptors.
- Anti-inflammatory - CBG was shown to reduce inflammation in mice with inflammatory bowel disease.
- Neuroprotection - In mice, CBG prevented the breakdown of neurons seen in Huntington's disease.
- Antibacterial - CBG has demonstrated antibacterial effects against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Other possible benefits being researched include treating glaucoma, cancer, bladder dysfunction, psoriasis, and skin infections. More clinical trials are needed to confirm these preliminary findings in humans.
Applications for various conditions
Based on the potential therapeutic effects, some key applications of CBG being explored include:
- Chronic pain - CBG oils, topicals, or edibles may help relieve difficult to treat pain.
- Inflammatory bowel disease - CBG may reduce inflammation associated with Crohn's and colitis.
- Huntington's disease - Research indicates CBG may slow neurodegeneration in early stages.
- MRSA - Antibacterial properties may help treat or prevent difficult infections.
- Glaucoma - Vasodilating effects may reduce intraocular pressure and damage to optic nerve.
- Skin conditions - Topical CBG shows promise for treating skin infections, eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer.
Availability of CBG products
While CBG is found in hemp and cannabis plants, most strains do not contain high enough levels for effective extraction. However, CBG-dominant strains are gaining interest, along with new extraction methods. CBG oils, isolates, distillates, and extracts are becoming more widely available as research expands.
CBG can also be consumed through smoking or vaping CBG-rich hemp flower. CBG topicals, edibles, capsules, and other products are also hitting the market. Dosing is very individualized and depends on the ailment being treated. Starting low and increasing slowly allows you to find the optimal dose.
Compared to the ubiquity of CBD products, CBG is still quite expensive and difficult to find. But as CBG-dominant strains become more prevalent and extraction techniques improve, prices should gradually come down and availability will increase to meet demand.
CBG Research and Clinical Trials
Overview of current research on CBG
Most research on CBG so far has been preclinical, conducted on cell cultures and animal models. But promising results from these early studies have paved the way for further investigation into CBG's therapeutic potential.
A few small human trials have also been conducted, including a Phase 2 clinical trial looking at CBG for glaucoma. Larger scale, more robust human studies are still needed to confirm the benefits and safety profile of CBG.
While research is still in the early stages, scientists are intrigued by CBG's unique interactions with receptors in the endocannabinoid system. The combination of preclinical results and anecdotal patient reports will continue driving interest in human trials.
Limitations and need for further trials
Despite exciting potential, there are some limitations to the existing CBG research:
- Small sample sizes in animal and human studies so far
- Lack of randomized controlled trials, which are considered the gold standard
- Minimal data on long-term effects of CBG usage in humans
- No FDA-approved CBG medications or recommended dosing guidelines
Further large-scale, placebo-controlled human trials are critical to demonstrate CBG's safety and efficacy. More research is also needed to elucidate mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetics, and optimal delivery methods.
Promising results for therapeutic potential
While current research is still in early stages, initial results indicate CBG may have therapeutic properties that could be used to develop treatments for:
- Chronic, neuropathic, and inflammatory pain
- Nausea and appetite loss
- Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and colitis
- Bacterial infections including MRSA
- Neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington's and Parkinson's
- Glaucoma and ocular hypertension
- Some types of cancer
- Skin diseases including eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer
The diverse range of potential medical uses make CBG an intriguing area for further research. Larger clinical trials will help unlock the full therapeutic potential of this promising cannabinoid.
How is CBG Produced and Consumed?
Extraction methods for CBG
To produce CBG, extraction techniques are used to isolate it from hemp or cannabis plants. Some common CBG extraction methods include:
- CO2 extraction - Using pressurized carbon dioxide to selectively extract cannabinoids.
- Hydrocarbon extraction - Using solvents like butane or ethanol to extract oils.
- Olive oil extraction - Infusing plant material into olive oil to leach out cannabinoids.
- Distillation - Separating cannabinoids through temperature and vacuum distillation.
CO2 extraction is the most common method used by commercial CBG producers to obtain highly pure compounds. Hydrocarbon extraction can also isolate CBG efficiently but may leave behind residual solvents if not done properly.
Different consumption methods and dosing
Once extracted, there are many ways CBG can be consumed:
- Oils/tinctures - CBG concentrates that can be taken sublingually or added to food/drinks.
- Edibles - CBG infused into food products like gummies or chocolates.
- Capsules - Allow for standardized CBG doses in pill form.
- Topicals - Lotions, balms, or creams infused with CBG for skin application.
- Vaping/smoking - Inhaling vaporized CBG concentrate or CBG-rich flower.
Dosing is very individualized and depends on the delivery method. Many people start around 5-25 mg of CBG per day and increase slowly from there looking for the optimal dose. Consistency is important as effects may take several weeks to become apparent.
Comparison with CBD
There are some key differences between CBG and the better-known CBD:
- CBG is less abundant in plants and more expensive to produce.
- CBG has been less extensively researched than CBD so far.
- CBG may have greater affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors than CBD.
- CBG is thought to have stronger anti-inflammatory effects.
- CBD is more widely available and found in more products.
The entourage theory suggests combining cannabinoids like CBG and CBD may offer greater benefits together than individually. More research is still needed on using CBG versus CBD or together.
CBG Legality and Availability
Legal status of CBG
The legality of CBG products is complicated by changing cannabis laws. In general, CBG derived from hemp containing less than 0.3% THC is legal at the federal level, but some states have additional restrictions.
In many places, CBG falls into a legal gray area. Law enforcement tends to focus on psychoactive THC, so non-intoxicating CBG is generally considered low priority for enforcement. But there remains some legal risk depending on your location.
Countries where CBG is legal and available
Some countries where production and sale of CBG products is generally allowed include:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Most European Union countries
- New Zealand
Local laws may still restrict CBG in certain areas, so check regulations in your jurisdiction. With cannabis laws rapidly evolving worldwide, the legal status of CBG is expected to improve in more countries.
Is CBG Safe? Side Effects and Precautions
Safety profile of CBG
Overall, CBG appears to have a good safety profile and is well tolerated by most people, with relatively mild side effects reported. Some key points on CBG safety:
- No evidence of toxicity or overdose risk in studies so far.
- Few side effects observed, mostly mild GI issues like diarrhea, appetite changes, fatigue.
- Little to no impairment of motor skills, cognition, or psychomotor performance.
- Non-intoxicating; does not cause the "high" feeling from THC.
- Not known to be addictive or have abuse potential.
However, research is still limited, so the long-term effects of regular CBG usage have not been extensively studied yet in humans. More data is needed to confirm the safety profile across larger populations.
Potential drug interactions
There is the potential for CBG to interact with certain medications through effects on metabolizing enzymes in the liver. Known or possible drug interactions include:
- Blood thinners - CBG may increase bleeding risk.
- Immunosuppressants - CBG could decrease effectiveness.
- Benzodiazepines like Xanax or Ativan - Sedative effects may be amplified.
- Chemotherapy drugs - CBG could interfere with metabolism.
- Blood pressure medications - CBG may amplify blood pressure lowering.
CBG could also potentially interact with other drugs broken down by the cytochrome P450 enzymes. Anyone on medication should consult their doctor before trying CBG.
Considerations for different groups
While generally well tolerated, CBG does require some safety considerations for certain groups including:
- Pregnant/nursing women - Lack of data, best to avoid until more research is conducted.
- Children - Effects in pediatric populations are unknown, not recommended.
- Elderly - Start with lower doses due to increased sensitivity.
- Those with medical conditions - Consult your doctor to check for drug interactions.
It's also best for people struggling with substance abuse to avoid CBG until more research can demonstrate it's not habit forming.
The Future of CBG
Projected growth of the CBG market
The CBG market is projected to grow significantly as awareness and demand increases. One report predicts the global CBG market will expand at a CAGR of 30% from 2022 to 2028, reaching around $498 million by 2028.
Increased cultivation of CBG-dominant hemp strains and advancements in extraction technology will drive supply. Continuing research into medical benefits combined with loosening regulations is expected to further accelerate CBG market growth.
Ongoing research and evolving laws
With over $50 million spent on cannabinoid research in 2022 alone, scientists continue investigating the therapeutic potential of CBG. Larger-scale human clinical trials are underway looking at benefits for IBD, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions.
As public perception around cannabis changes, laws are rapidly evolving worldwide. The legal status of CBG is improving in many regions, opening doors for research and commercialization. This will likely encourage additional investment into CBG-focused companies and products.
Expected wider availability of CBG
Driven by consumer demand and a growing body of research, CBG is expected to become more widely available in coming years. CBG-dominant cannabis strains will ramp up production capacities for extraction.
We'll see CBG integrated into more delivery methods - topicals, edibles, nanoemulsions, cosmetics, vape cartridges, pharmaceuticals and more. Prices will likely decrease as economies of scale kick in. Major retailers may begin stocking CBG products as legal barriers are removed.
Key Takeaways on CBG
Summary of main points
To summarize key points on CBG:
- CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and precursor to THC, CBD and others
- Early research shows promising therapeutic potential for pain, inflammation, bacteria, neurodegeneration
- Despite limitations, initial studies indicate benefits for IBD, Huntington's, glaucoma, skin conditions
- CBG can be extracted from hemp/cannabis and consumed in oils, topicals, edibles, more
- Legal status is evolving, availability still limited but expected to grow significantly
- Appears relatively safe so far but more data needed on long-term human studies
- Projected to be a high growth market as research expands and laws change
Reiteration of key benefits and applications
Some of the most promising therapeutic applications of CBG based on initial research include:
- Relieving pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, injuries, IBD, and other conditions
- Protecting brain cells and neural pathways from degradation in neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington's and Parkinson's
- Reducing intraocular pressure and nerve damage in glaucoma patients
- Treating challenging bacterial infections like MRSA due to natural antibacterial properties
- Soothing skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer when applied topically
The unique mechanisms of action and safety profile make CBG an intriguing prospect for developing future treatments.
Closing thoughts on the promise of CBG
While CBG research is still in early stages, initial results demonstrate the promising therapeutic potential of this intriguing cannabinoid. As research methods improve and clinical trials expand, we are likely to discover even more medical applications for CBG.
With a massive projected growth trajectory and changing public attitudes, CBG appears positioned to follow a similar path as CBD toward mainstream acceptance and availability. Continued research and loosening regulations will help bring this promising natural compound to those who can benefit from its therapeutic effects.
CBG's diversity of benefits, safety profile, and non-intoxicating nature make it an exciting prospect in the world of cannabinoid therapeutics. Further research will uncover the full potential of CBG to naturally treat a wide range of human ailments and improve health.