What Is CBG?

What Is CBG?

Nicole Sifers
May 21, 2020

For decades, researchers have been investigating specific elements in cannabis plants to determine how they affect our overall health and wellbeing. Thanks to the combined contributions of numerous cannabis researchers around the globe, we have a much better understanding of the therapeutic potential of hemp and its individual plant components.

Although much of the research investigating the effects of marijuana and hemp have focused on the potential impact of THC and CBD (cannabidiol), there has also been considerable interest in some of the other cannabinoids commonly found in hemp plant extracts in lower concentrations. Of those minor cannabinoids, CBG is attracting a considerable amount of attention.

What Is CBG?

CBG is the scientific abbreviation for cannabigerol, one of more than 100 non-intoxicating cannabinoids found in hemp plants. CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid because mature plants generally contain only trace amounts. Like CBD, CBG is shown to have considerable health benefits because of its ability to interact with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, without any psychoactive effects or side effects. Most products sold in retail shops, specialty stores, and online that contain CBG are sourced from industrial hemp.

CBG vs CBD  

CBD and CBG have similar effects on the body, but they achieve those effects differently. Although CBD is the more abundant of the two cannabinoids, research suggests that the effects of CBG are stronger.1 That observation is likely explained by the way the two cannabinoids interact with the receptors of the largest regulatory system in your body, the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Those receptors are CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.

CBD has a low affinity with CB1 and CB2, meaning it interacts with these receptors indirectly without binding. CBG binds with the ECS receptors and interacts directly, so the therapeutic potential is more potent. CBG also enhances the therapeutic potential of CBD through a phenomenon known as the entourage effect, a theory that explains how the many phytocannabinoids, plant terpenes, and other components in cannabis plants interact to magnify and multiply the effects of the others.2

Where Does CBG Come From?

The acidic form of CBG, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), is the first cannabinoid to develop in cannabis plants. As crops mature, natural plant enzymes convert CBGA to the acidic forms of CBD and THC. CBGA, CBDA, and THCA are converted to CBG, THC, and CBD as the acidic components break down from heat and UV exposure. As the CBD content of the plant increases, the CBG content declines. By the time most hemp crops are harvested, there is little CBG left to extract, most often less than one percent. Although the CBG content is considerably higher when crops are harvested before reaching full maturity, harvesting crops before they reach their peak significantly reduces the CBD content. Growers interested in elevating CBG levels of their CBD products have been investigating natural methods of cultivating plants with higher CBG content.

How CBG is Extracted  

Before CBD and CBG can be utilized by consumers, the cannabinoid-rich oil must be extracted from the plant. The food-safe extraction method selected depends on how the extracted oil will be used.

For full-spectrum hemp extract, a product that contains small amounts of CBG and high levels of CBD, CO2 extraction is the best option. This extraction method relies on a series of pressure and temperature-controlled chambers that separate the oil from the plant matter. As the pressure is released and temperatures normalize, the CO2 converts back to its gaseous state and is released from the crude extract. Once extracted, the crude oil is ready for chromatography, a process that allows individual plant components to be collected separately.3

CBG can also be purified, much in the same manner as CBD isolate, to obtain a crystalline powder that is nearly 100 percent pure cannabigerol. But since hemp crops generally contain little CBG, it takes nearly 20 times more plant matter to obtain the same amount of CBG isolate than CBD isolate, a reality many CBD companies and consumers find counter-productive or cost-prohibitive.4

Is CBG the Next CBD?

Although CBG has considerable therapeutic potential, it’s unlikely that CBG will replace CBD as the premier cannabinoid any time soon. Most often, CBD users interested in the health and wellness potential of minor cannabinoids like CBG find considerable benefit selecting full-spectrum (and broad-spectrum) hemp-derived CBD products that contain all the plant-based cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in the same ratio as the original plant source.

But not all CBD or CBG products are created equally. The best quality products are sourced from non-GMO hemp seeds, cultivated using natural farming practices, and tested for purity and potency. To ensure you are purchasing the highest quality products, it’s important to shop with a reputable CBD company that provides access to third-party test results. You can use third-party test results to verify the CBD content, CBG content, and that the products you select are free from heavy metals, microbial contamination, and solvent residue from the extraction process.

What Are the Benefits of CBG?

Like CBD, CBG interacts with one of the largest regulatory systems in the human body. Although the research investigating the therapeutic potential of CBG is still in its early stages, preliminary studies suggest CBG could be used to considerably support your overall health and wellness.

Like CBD, CBG mimics the effects of the two main cannabinoids produced in your body (endocannabinoids) to relay urgent messages to their corresponding cannabinoid receptors. Since your endocannabinoid system regulates everything from moods and emotions to the perception of pleasure and pain, supporting ECS function with plant-based cannabinoids could help keep essential processes working as they should. That’s important. Under the influences of illness, injury, and stress, your body may need more ECS messengers than it can produce on its own. ECS support could help restore essential balance to numerous processes throughout your body including:

Memory and learning

Stress responses

Immune system function and inflammation

Moods and emotions

Perception of pleasure and pain

Metabolism and thermoregulation

Digestion and digestive processes

Sleep and sleep cycles

Cardiovascular function

Skin cell formation

Endocrine system function

Reproductive processes

Where to Buy CBG Oil?

Although hemp extract contains considerably more CBD than CBG, that fact in no way diminishes the therapeutic potential of the cannabinoid. With growing interest in the potential health and wellness benefits of individual cannabinoids, you’ll likely notice an increasing interest in the amount of CBG found in full-spectrum CBD products. CBG and the many other potentially beneficial cannabinoids, plant terpenes, and flavonoids in hemp extract contribute to the overall potency of full-spectrum CBD products.

To learn more about plant-based cannabinoids and your endocannabinoid system, visit CBDistillery™ to download The Ultimate CBD User Guide. While you’re there, take a moment to view our high-quality assortment of CBD tinctures, CBN tinctures, softgels, topicals, and CBD vape products. You can use the third-party test results to verify the purity and potency of CBDistillery™ products by clicking on the test results located within the product images or scanning the QR code on your product label.

Additional Sources:

  1. Hello MD. (2020) CBG: Is This Cannabinoid More Powerful Than CBD?
  2. Project CBD. Cannabis Conversations. (2019 January 07) CBD, The Entourage Effect & The Microbiome.
  3. ACS Laboratory. E Schmidt. (2020 January 24) A Guide to CBG: Extraction, Storage, Price, Consumption, and More.
  4. Forbes. J Lassalle. (2019 September 11) Why CBG (Cannabigerol) is One of the Most Expensive Cannabinoids to Produce.
  5. Healthline. A Santos-Longhurst. (2018 July 27) Understanding and Managing Chronic Inflammation.
  6. Biochemical Pharmacology. F Borrelli et al. (2013 May 01) Beneficial Effect of the Non-Psychotropic Plant Cannabinoid Cannabigerol on Experimental Inflammatory Disease.
  7. Therapeutics and Critical Risk Management. E Russo. Cannabinoids in the Management of Difficult to Treat Pain.
  8. Neurotherapeutics. (2015 January 12) Neuroprotective properties of Cannabigerol in Huntington’s Disease: Studies in R6/2 Mice and 3-Nitropropionate-lesioned Mice.
  9. In Vitro Model of Neuroinflammation: Efficacy of Cannabigerol, a Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoid.
  10. MIT Technology Review. N Schultz. (20018 September 12) A New MRSA Defense.
  11. Science Daily. T Depko. (2020 February 26) Researchers Uncover Hidden Antibiotic Potential of Cannabis.
  12. Journal of Ocular Pharmacology. BK Colasanti. (1990) A Comparison of the Ocular and Central Effects of Delta 9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabigerol.
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