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While there's no doubt that CBD has become a hot topic in health and wellness, there's a new cannabinoid making a notable impression in the scene—CBG. We're calling it a "new" cannabinoid, but it's not technically new. CBG is only now taking center stage in pharmacological studies and making a splash in cannabis produc Cannabigerol is a rare cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. Learn more about its effects and uses.

7 CBG Benefits That’ll Make It The Next Big Thing

While there’s no doubt that CBD has become a hot topic in health and wellness, there’s a new cannabinoid making a notable impression in the scene—CBG.

We’re calling it a “new” cannabinoid, but it’s not technically new. CBG is only now taking center stage in pharmacological studies and making a splash in cannabis product marketing, but CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid with major potential.

In this complete guide to the newest cannabinoid on the block, we’ll get into what researchers are saying about the effects of CBG, what CBG is suitable for, and how to use CBG oil for yourself.

What Does CBG Stand For?

CBG stands for cannabigerol.

Cannabis sativa plants are a natural source of over a hundred phytochemicals known collectively as cannabinoids. To date, most medicinal research focuses primarily on the most abundant cannabinoids, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), which have both shown incredible, natural health benefits in mammals.

The acidic form of cannabigerol, CBDa (cannabigerol acid), is the parent molecule to better-known cannabinoids —CBDa transforms into THCa and CBDa, essentially the raw, unprocessed forms of THC and CBD.

When dried and heated, a chemical reaction, called decarboxylation, removes the cannabinoid molecule’s carboxylic acids; transforming THCa, CBDa, and CBGa into, THC, CBD, and CBG.

Why Does Hemp Produce Cannabinoids?

It’s amazing how cannabis plants produce so many compounds that interact with the human endocannabinoid system—but why does it produce them in the first place?

It’s believed that cannabinoids protect the cannabis plant from the sun’s harmful UV radiation and harsh climate conditions. Another theory as to why cannabis plants produce cannabinoids is to defend against pests. Many cannabinoids have both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

A flowering hemp plant begins to produce crystal-like molecules, known as cannabinoids. CBGa emerges around the 3/4-week mark of the flowering phase. As the plant is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, the CBGa molecule transforms into either THCa, CBGa, or CBCa. This is where the CBG cannabinoid aptly gets its reputation as the parent molecule.

To yield more CBG from the hemp crops, farmers need to harvest their crops before the molecule transforms into other cannabinoids, or hyper-concentrate the small amounts of CBG in full grown hemp plants. However, this harvest will substantially lack THC and CBD levels produced in the later flowering phase.

What Is CBG Good For?

As a cannabinoid, CBG benefits our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the name “cannabinoid” in the ECS is no coincidence. Its discovery in 1992 came from research looking for how the active compounds in cannabis interact with our bodies.

It turns out these plant-made cannabinoids behave similarly to endogenous (internal) cannabinoids to relay messages within the ECS. The ECS behaves as a modulator for our immune system, nervous system, and nearly all the body’s organs [1].

This explains why THC, CBD, and CBG effects are so extensive. As we’ve briefly mentioned, CBG is the parent molecule to the most notable cannabinoids, THC and CBD. CBG’s importance was once tied strictly to its transformation into these compounds—however, researchers have highlighted CBG’s unique properties and interactions with the endocannabinoid system.

7 CBG Benefits According To Recent Studies

As research progresses in the cannabis space, more and more attention is placed on CBG. It’s important to note that research is still in its early phases, and there’s still a lot to uncover about the benefits of CBG and potential side effects.

We’ve rounded up the most interesting research to date on the mother of all phytocannabinoids. These findings give insight into what is CBG used for and opens up potential in future research into CBG oil benefits.

1. CBG May Help To Support Focus

Users often report a sense of alertness or focus related to CBG. One of the possible explanations for this effect is that CBG has shown great potential as a neuroprotectant. CBG helps to support healthy inflammatory function and has even been shown to possibly support neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells—possibly leading to greater capacity for focus and attention.

2. CBG May Help To Support A Healthy Appetite

Marijuana, the cannabis plant potent in the psychoactive compound THC, has been comedically associated with the munchies. CBG seems to share this appetite-stimulating trait with THC. Inducing appetite can help certain people get an adequate amount of nutrients into their bodies.

Overindulging in junk food is typically what comes to mind with the marijuana munchies. However, there are cases in which an increase in appetite is beneficial, such as for those experiencing a lack of appetite for various reasons.

In a study conducted with rats, CBG was found to increase the appetite in well-satiated rats without producing any dangerous side-effects [ 2].

3. CBG May Help To Support A Normal Stress Response

One of the many reasons people turn to hemp-derived CBD oil is to manage their emotional well-being. It turns out that CBG may be more beneficial to help support a normal stress response over its famous counterpart, CBD.

Both CBD and CBG help to inhibit the breakdown of the neurotransmitter, GABA. Increased concentrations of GABA may have potent relaxation effects that help to regulate the stress response [3].

However, there’s another mechanism at play in which CBG helps to support stress management. CBG happens to be a potent 5-HT1A serotonin receptor antagonist [4]. Studies suggest that CBG inhibits serotonin’s uptake, which means a higher concentration of this neurotransmitter may stay active in the brain, helping to support mood [5].

4. CBG May Help to Support Eye Health

There’s a high concentration of cannabinoid receptors in eye tissues. It turns out, the endocannabinoid system may play a vital role in maintaining eye health.

High levels of eye pressure ( ocular hypertension) can result in poor blood flow to the optic nerves, affecting vision. Research suggests that cannabinoids, and notably, CBG, may help to regulate a healthy level of intraocular eye pressure [6].

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5. CBG May Help to Support A Normal Inflammatory Response

While CBD is best known for its role in supporting a healthy immune response, CBG has shown effects on particular inflammatory channels in mice related to inflammatory response [7].

According to a recent study, CBG limited the actions of significant inflammatory markers, including IL-1, IL-10, iNOS, and interferon-γ.

The concluding observation in the study found that CBG helped to support a normal inflammatory response.

6. CBG Shows Promise To Support Healthy Metabolic Process

A study published in 2019 supports CBG’s potential in effecting fat storage. Specifically, adipocyte tissues closely related to obesity [8].

This study was conducted via computer simulation, but its positive findings help to progress this research into animal and human studies on CBG and fat metabolism needed to substantiate this benefit.

7. CBG May Help to Support Comfort

One of the more popular reasons people seek out hemp-based products is to help alleviate discomfort naturally.

CBG is found to exhibit more analgesic (comfort-inducing) effects than THC and is a much better GABA reuptake inhibitor than both THC and CBD [9]. Additionally, While we’ve briefly touched on GABA’s effects on the stress response, it’s also a muscle relaxant.

Does CBG Get You High?

A large concern people have when using a cannabis product is its potential for a high feeling. CBG is non-psychoactive and will not get you high. In fact, some research suggests that CBG may work to counteract the psychoactive effects of THC, making it a useful anti-psychotic compound [10].

THC produces a high mainly by activating the CB1 endocannabinoid receptor in the central nervous system. The activated CB1 receptors release a cascade of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, associated with high marijuana use.

THC may also interact with serotonin receptors, we mentioned one earlier, 5HT1A. Serotonin has many important jobs, but it plays a vital role in our perceived senses: mood, heart rate, and blood pressure in the central nervous system. CBG counteracts the effects of THC by binding to the CB1 receptors and the 5HT1A receptor.

Aside from producing a high, THC has its own set of health benefits. However, its psychoactive properties make it an undesirable compound for most people—and its legal status remains problematic in most parts of the world. Plant breeders are still looking for ways to include higher concentrations of CBG to high THC marijuana strains to help offset potent psychoactive effects.

Is CBG Legal?

Hemp-derived CBG oil is controlled under the same laws as CBD. As long as the CBG is derived from hemp crops that contain less than 0.3% THC, it’s legal in the United States and Canada. Yet, CBD regulations for sales and purchase may vary state by state and have the potential to change over time. We highly encourage you to always stay engaged and actively follow your local state laws to stay informed.

Because we’re only now beginning to understand CBG benefits, it can be hard to source CBG oil-focused products.

What Is CBG Oil?

The hemp plant is home to a lot of naturally occurring cannabinoids, including one we’re sure you’ve heard of, cannabidiol (CBD). However, the cannabis plant hosts many other minor cannabinoids: CBN, CBG, and Delta-8 THC.

CBG is unique in that it plays a very specific role in the chemistry of cannabis. CBG is the precursor to both THC and CBD. It’s for this reason that total amounts of CBG typically make up less than 1% of the total plant makeup, as it transforms to create other cannabinoids within the plant.

You’ve likely encountered CBG in small amounts in full spectrum CBD oils because the nature of full spectrum extracts is to maintain as much of the natural phytochemical profile of the hemp crops as to produce well-rounded benefits.

In the same way that full spectrum hemp products produce more potent effects over CBD isolate-based products, CBG in full spectrum form is the best form of CBG oil. This is because of a phenomenon called the entourage effect. Plant compounds will yield greater health effects in combination with complementary compounds. Remember, cannabis plants produce over a hundred different cannabinoids that all compound their effects in the ECS.

While you may see more and more CBG isolate products hitting the market, the best way to add cannabis products into your lifestyle is in a range of cannabinoids either in full spectrum extract or THC-free broad spectrum extracts.

What Are The Side Effects Of CBG?

Now that we have a better understanding of the question, “what does CBG do?” It’s important to look at potential side effects.

There currently aren’t enough clinical trials in humans to determine the potential side effects of CBG. However, CBG, like other cannabinoids, has very low toxicity and it is generally well tolerated. In the clinical trials with rats, where high doses of CBG was used, there were no significant adverse effects [2].

What Are The Main Differences Between CBG and CBD?

Because cannabigerol is the precursor molecule for cannabidiol, there’s no surprise that these cannabinoids have many similarities.

The main differences between the two compounds include:

  • Availability on the market-CBD products are much more abundant
  • CBG is produced in earlier flowering hemp crops
  • CBG is an appetite stimulator while CBD is an inhibitor

What To Look For In A Quality CBG Oil

Responsible Hemp Sourcing

There’s a reason why reputable cannabis brands take so much pride in their hemp sources—a quality product begins at the source.

Nutrient-rich soil, adequate sunlight, and water contribute to the hemp plant’s ability to produce high levels of cannabinoids. Because cannabis plants are so efficient at taking in the nutrients from their surroundings, they’re also susceptible to absorbing harmful contaminants from the environment such as pesticides, heavy metals, and radiation.

Only purchase CBD and CBG oil products from clean, industrial hemp sources.

Third-Party Testing

Unfortunately, trusting that a brand has a quality hemp source isn’t enough. The CBD industry is so new, there isn’t a lot of regulation in place for who can and can’t sell products online. This is where third-party testing comes in to shed some light on business practices.

While this isn’t a mandatory industry practice, third-party lab testing has become a standard. Companies will send a sample of their products to unbiased third-party labs to have it tested for cannabinoid potency and the presence of harmful contaminants.

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Checking with the lab testing is a good practice for buying a cannabis-based product.

Final Thoughts: CBG Benefits

Most of the research surrounding the cannabis plant has centered around THC and CBD, as they’re the most abundant compounds. However, there are over a hundred more minor cannabinoids that contribute to the many health benefits of hemp extracts that are worth looking into.

As the parent molecule to many different cannabinoids and its non-psychoactive effects, CBG stands out as the next big compound. You’ll likely be seeing more of it the health and wellness space as more selective breeding, early crop harvesting, and CBG isolation become more popular.

As for shopping for any health-related product, you should always do your due diligence when it comes to research as not all cannabis products are made equal. To make sure you’re getting safe and effective CBD and CBG oils, shop from reputable brands, check where the hemp is sourced, and reference third-party lab testing.

If you’ve tried CBG before, let us know what you think in the comment section below.

What is CBG?

CBG stands for cannabigerol. It’s one of the many non-psychoactive minor cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. CBG has the nickname “the parent molecule” because its raw form, cannabigerolic acid, is the precursor to CBD and THC.

What is CBG Good for?

CThe research on CBG is still new, but it shows a lot of promise for supporting brain health, normal inflammation, and relief from discomfort. It shares many of the same benefits as CBD, but with an emphasis on focus and alertness, making it ideal for daytime use.

Does CBG Get You High?

CBG is not considered a psychoactive cannabinoid and does not produce intoxicating effects like THC does—the main psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana.

How Does CBG Make You Feel?

CBG can affect individuals differently depending on their experience with cannabinoids, genetics, and lifestyle. Many people report feeling more focused, alert, and a sense of calm when taking CBG products, which is why it’s become a favorite tool for productivity.

Resources:
  1. Alger, B. E. (2013, November). Getting high on the endocannabinoid system. In Cerebrum: the Dana forum on brain science (Vol. 2013). Dana Foundation.
  2. Brierley, D. I., Samuels, J., Duncan, M., Whalley, B. J., & Williams, C. M. (2016). Cannabigerol is a novel, well-tolerated appetite stimulant in pre-satiated rats. Psychopharmacology, 233(19), 3603-3613.
  3. Banerjee, S. P., Snyder, S. H., & Mechoulam, R. A. P. H. A. E. L. (1975). Cannabinoids: influence on neurotransmitter uptake in rat brain synaptosomes. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 194(1), 74-81.
  4. Bantick, R. A., Rabiner, E. A., Hirani, E., de Vries, M. H., Hume, S. P., & Grasby, P. M. (2004). Occupancy of agonist drugs at the 5-HT1A receptor. Neuropsychopharmacology, 29(5), 847-859.
  5. Cascio, M. G., Gauson, L. A., Stevenson, L. A., Ross, R. A., & Pertwee, R. G. (2010). Evidence that the plant cannabinoid cannabigerol is a highly potent α2‐adrenoceptor agonist and moderately potent 5HT1A receptor antagonist. British journal of pharmacology, 159(1), 129-141.
  6. Nadolska, K., & Goś, R. (2008). Possibilities of applying cannabinoids’ in the treatment of glaucoma. Klinika Oczna, 110(7-9), 314-317.
  7. Borrelli, F., Fasolino, I., Romano, B., Capasso, R., Maiello, F., Coppola, D., . & Izzo, A. A. (2013). Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. Biochemical pharmacology, 85(9), 1306-1316.
  8. D’Aniello, E., Fellous, T., Iannotti, F. A., Gentile, A., Allarà, M., Balestrieri, F., . & Di Marzo, V. (2019). Identification and characterization of phytocannabinoids as novel dual PPARα/γ agonists by a computational and in vitro experimental approach. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-General Subjects, 1863(3), 586-597.
  9. International cannabinoid research society. (2004). 14th Annual Symposium on the Cannabinoids: Ariston Hotel, Paestum, Italy, June 22-27, 2004: Program and Abstracts. international cannabinoid research Society, Department of psychology, University of Vermont.
  10. Cascio, M. G., Gauson, L. A., Stevenson, L. A., Ross, R. A., & Pertwee, R. G. (2010). Evidence that the plant cannabinoid cannabigerol is a highly potent α2‐adrenoceptor agonist and moderately potent 5HT1A receptor antagonist. British journal of pharmacology, 159(1), 129-141.
Disclaimer

The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

What Is Cannabigerol (CBG)?

Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.

Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Verywell / Alex Dos Diaz

What Is Cannabigerol (CBG)?

Cannabigerol (CBG) is a type of cannabinoid obtained from the cannabis plant. It’s often referred to as the mother of all cannabinoids. This is because other cannabinoids are derived from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), an acidic form of CBG.

Other more common cannabinoids obtained from cannabis plants include cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

CBG is found in smaller quantities than other cannabinoids in cannabis plants. In most strains of the plant, only 1% of CBG can be found compared to 20 to 25% of CBD or 25 to 30% of THC.  

This makes consumer products derived from the cannabinoid rare and often expensive. However, CBG is growing in popularity as a result of the host of potential benefits the cannabinoid has to offer.

How CBG Is Made

CBG is derived from young cannabis plants because they contain higher amounts of CBG than fully developed plants.

Some strains of cannabis like White CBG, Super Glue CBG, and Jack Frost CBG also have higher CBG content than other strains. These strains are specifically cultivated to produce higher quantities of CBG.

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Both CBD and THC start as CBGA, an acidic form of CBG. This is why younger cannabis plants contain higher concentrations of CBG.

In fully developed plants with high concentrations of THC and CBD, you’ll find very low concentrations of CBG. This happens because most of the CBG has already been converted to CBD and THC as the plant developed.

Due to the difficulty of getting CBG, cannabis growers have been experimenting with cross-breeding and genetic manipulation to help cannabis plants produce more CBG.

How CBG Works

CBG is processed by the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is made up of molecules and receptors in our bodies that are responsible for keeping our bodies in an optimal state regardless of what’s going on in our external environment.

In our bodies, CBG imitates endocannabinoids , the natural compounds our body makes.

Cannabinoid Receptors in the Body

Our body contains two types of cannabinoid receptors—CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found in the nervous system and brain, while CB2 receptors are located in the immune system and other areas of the body.

CBG works by binding to both receptors where it’s thought to strengthen the function of anandamide, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in enhancing pleasure and motivation, regulating appetite and sleep, and alleviating pain. Unlike THC, CBG has no psychotropic effects, so it will not give you a high.

Potential Benefits of CBG

Like CBD, CBG has been used to combat pain without having the intoxicating effect of cannabinoids like THC.

Research shows that CBG can also have therapeutic effects. However, human studies on this are sparse and more research needs to be done in this area.

Some promising animal studies show that CBG might ultimately be found useful for the following therapeutic benefits listed below.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition that causes chronic inflammation in the bowel. It affects millions of people across the globe and is incurable.

An experimental animal study conducted in 2013 observed the beneficial effects of CBG on inflammatory bowel disease.

Researchers induced inflammations similar to IBD in the colons of mice and then administered CBG. CBG was found to reduce the inflammation and the production of nitric oxide. It also reduced the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the intestines. They concluded that CBG should be considered for clinical experimentation in IBD patients.

Glaucoma

In an animal study, researchers found that CBG has therapeutic potential for the treatment of glaucoma.

Reseachers administered CBG to cats with glaucoma and noticed a reduction in eye pressure and an increase in aqueous humor outflow, a fluid produced by the eye which maintains eye pressure and provides the eye with nutrition.  

Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s disease is a condition that causes a breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. In a 2015 study, researchers examined the potential neuroprotective properties of CBG and other cannabinoids in mice who had an experimental model of Huntington’s disease.

It was observed that CBG acted as a neuroprotectant, protecting the nerve cells in your brain from damage. It also improves motor deficits and preserves striatal neurons against 3-nitropropionic acid toxicity.

Antibacterial Properties

A 2020 study on the antibiotic potential of cannabis, found that CBG has antibacterial properties. Especially against methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacteria which causes staph infections and is drug-resistant.  

Fighting Cancer Cells

In a 2014 study, researchers observed the effects of CBG on rats with colon cancer. They observed that CBG showed some promise in blocking the receptors that cause cancer cell growth and inhibiting the growth of colorectal cancer cells.

They suggested that the use of CBG should be considered translationally in the cure and prevention of colon cancer.  

How to Use CBG

The most common way CBG is produced for consumers is as an oil. You can get the benefits of CBG by using pure CBG oil. However, CBG oils are rare and expensive.

The good news is that you can also get some of the benefits of CBG from using broad-spectrum CBD oils. Broad-spectrum CBD oils contain all the cannabinoids found in a cannabis plant including CBG, but it doesn’t include THC.

When cannabinoids are used together, they can increase the effectiveness of each other by a phenomenon called the entourage effect.

CBG vs. CBD

CBG is often compared to CBD because it shares many similarities and they both act on the endocannabinoid system.

Both CBG and CBD are non-psychoactive which means they will not alter your state of mind in the way THC will.

They can however reduce the psychotropic effect of THC if you consume a cannabis plant. One of the biggest differences between CBD and CBG is the quantity which is found in most cannabis plants. Most cannabis plants contain only 1% of CBG, but up to 25% of CBD.

The way CBG interacts with our endocannabinoid system is different from CBD. CBG binds directly to both CB1 and CB2 receptors and might be more efficient at delivering its benefits into our systems.

CBG Scarcity

The production difficulties of CBG makes it very scarce. It’s much harder to produce than other cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Since CBG shares many similarities with CBD, manufacturers would rather produce CBD.

When CBG is produced, products derived from it are very expensive. However, CBG has a host of promising potential benefits and more research is being done into easing the production and availability of the cannabinoid.

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

Orrego-González E, Londoño-Tobón L, Ardila-González J, Polania-Tovar D, Valencia-Cárdenas A, Velez-Van Meerbeke A. Cannabinoid effects on experimental colorectal cancer models reduce aberrant crypt foci (Acf) and tumor volume: a systematic review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2020;2020:1-13.

By Toketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.

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