After the massive popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) among mainstream consumers, cannabigerol (CBG) presents itself as a worthy alternative, or better yet, supplement to CBD-based products.
As a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, cannabigerol is seeing increased attention from researchers, producers, and consumers. In light of the spotlight it is under, our comprehensive cannabigerol guide answers all your questions about this new cannabinoid on the block.
What Is Cannabigerol (CBG)?
First discovered in 1964, cannabigerol (CBG), known as the “mother of all cannabinoids, is an incredible compound with tons of therapeutic potential. It is just one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis. Its acidic form, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), is the foundation of many other major and minor cannabinoids.
CBGA is the acidic chemical precursor of three primary compounds:
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)
- Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA)
- Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA)
As the cannabis plant matures, a group of enzymes break down CBGA to produce these three main cannabinoids. By the end of the harvest, most of the CBGA has fully converted into THCA, CBDA, and CBCA. Any leftover CBGA can become decarboxylated and turn into CBG. Cannabigerol has a boiling point of 125.6º F (52º C).
CBD and its intoxicating counterpart, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are found in high concentrations in a mature cannabis plant. CBG, on the other hand, is found in trace quantities (less than 1% by dry weight). CBD-rich strains can have CBD levels between 20 and 25%. THC-rich strains can have THC levels between 25 and 30%.
Because it is found in very low concentrations in most cannabis plants, CBG-based products are not commonly sold compared to THC and CBD products. However, as interest in this remarkable cannabinoid grows, research is ramping up.
How CBG Works
CBG interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining internal homeostasis of many important biological processes related to mood, sleep, memory, appetite, reproduction, and immune responses.
The ECS is composed of a system of cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body: CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are usually found in the nervous system and brain. CB2 receptors are mainly found in the immune system.
Cannabigerol, in particular, binds to both receptors and amplifies the effects of anandamide, a neurotransmitter known as the “bliss molecule,” which is responsible for affecting motivation, appetite, sleep, pleasure, and pain.
CBG is a CB1 receptor agonist, meaning it interacts with the receptor and causes an increase in anandamide (AEA) levels in the nervous system. CBG can also interact with CB2 receptors in the gastrointestinal and immune system. Research is not clear whether it is a CB2 antagonist or agonist.
Research has shown that CBGA can influence 5HT1A-receptors. This receptor is responsible for regulating serotonin levels. CBG can be a moderate block of the receptor, which can affect the serotonin signaling in the central nervous system.
In addition, CBG has been shown to be an adrenoceptor agonist. This helps it control the expression of noradrenaline and adrenaline in the central nervous system. Adrenaline and noradrenaline are major neurotransmitters in the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).
CBG vs CBD
Many new users may confuse CBD and CBG. CBG shares many of CBD’s properties. Both CBG and CBD have enormous potential to treat a variety of conditions and symptoms without getting you high. Unlike THC, CBG and CBD do not have intoxicating effects. They may also reduce the negative side effects of THC.
CBD and CBG differ in concentration. In the early growth stages, CBGA will be the main cannabinoid present, but gradually converts to CBDA, THCA, and CBCA. CBD-rich flower buds can have up to 25% CBD, while CBG levels tend to stay below 1%.
Beyond CBD and THC: How Other Cannabinoids Can Help
As well known cannabinoids, CBD and THC have earned their place among common alternative treatment methods that have minimal side effects. As research continues to uncover the medicinal benefits of minor compounds in the plant, producers can create more effective products.