CBG: Is This Cannabinoid More Powerful Than CBD?

Cannabis plant to illustrate CBG cannabinoid

Most people think about THC and CBD when they think about cannabis, but there are other minor cannabinoids to consider. Cannabigerol, or CBG, is one of the lesser-known compounds that deserve your attention. Read on for more about CBG and whether or not it’s more powerful than CBD.

Cannabigerol accounts for one percent or less of the many compounds found in cannabis, but it may be the most important: It’s the chemical precursor for creating the better-known cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Note: This is why it’s often called “the mother of all cannabinoids.”

It wasn’t always possible but these days it’s pretty easy to purchase this relatively rare cannabinoid in various forms, for use alone or with other cannabis products. CBG has a number of potent health benefits on its own, and folks turn to CBG to relieve the symptoms of conditions including the following:

  • Irritable bowel disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Glaucoma

What is CBG?

The familiar Cannabis sativa plant contains hundreds of separate compounds. Many of these occur in small amounts and haven’t been well studied, so their effects aren’t well known. But researchers have identified a number of cannabinoids that have documented effects on the human body and brain.

Topping the list of these is THC, technically known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol; it’s the compound that causes marijuana’s well-known high. You’ve probably also heard of CBD, an abundant cannabinoid that doesn’t cause a high like THC does but does have considerable benefits:

  • Relieving pain
  • Easing inflammation
  • Protecting the nervous system and brain

These compounds exist because of CBG. Cannabis plants produce cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Enzymes break this acid down and convert it into other acids, including the following:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), a precursor of THC
  • Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), the path to CBD
  • Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), a precursor to cannabichromene (CBCA), a lesser-known member of the major cannabinoid family

As the plant matures, ultraviolet light converts these acids into the cannabinoids THC, CBD and CBC.

CBG also exists as a cannabinoid. It’s considered one of the four major cannabinoids—a group that also includes its “children:” THC, CBD and CBC.

But not many cannabis strains contain the cannabinoid CBG in significant amounts. Because CBGA is the starting point for the development of other substances in the cannabis plant, harvesting large amounts of it has been problematic.

Some growers are able to extract the highest possible yield of CBG by harvesting cannabis plants early in the flowering cycle, before their CBG content diverts into the building blocks of other cannabis compounds.

Now, too, some marijuana farmers are cultivating cannabis strains to produce higher amounts of CBG. These strains include Bleu Berries, Magic Jordan and Allen Wrench

Some hemp farmers are also specifically cultivating hemp strains to contain larger amounts of this cannabinoid.

How Can CBG Help Improve Your Health?

Like other cannabinoids, CBG works with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors in organs, tissues and neural networks found throughout the body. This system responds to cannabinoid-like chemicals produced by the body itself, called endocannabinoids, and also to cannabinoids from outside sources, including cannabis and some other plants.

Cannabinoids from both sources trigger responses in these receptors and also activate other kinds of processes involving:

  • The immune system
  • Central nervous system
  • Other networks that promote balance, or homeostasis, within all of the body’s interconnected systems

CBG activates both of the known endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. CBG also appears to boost production of the natural endocannabinoid anandamide, a chemical that can increase dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sleep and appetite.

CBG is similar to CBD in terms of its health effects, but some research indicates that it may be more potent.

Like CBD, CBG is also a neuroprotectant. It can support the integrity of the protective sheath around neurons and encourage the development of healthy neural pathways.

How to Take This Cannabinoid

Like CBD, you can legally purchase a variety of CBG products, because it’s largely sourced from hemp and doesn’t have the psychoactive effects that THC does. So, this means you can eat, dab or vape CBG. You can even apply it to your skin as a topical. It’s also possible to buy CBD products, such as oils, which contain added CBG.

Taken in therapeutic doses, CBG is safe and generally causes no side effects. Large doses—in excess of 300 or so milligrams per kilogram of body weight—can trigger some unpleasant but temporary side effects such as these:

  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Other digestive upset

As with other cannabinoids, it’s wise to start with small doses and work up to a dose that delivers the effects you’re looking for.

Photo credit: WeedPornDaily

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