Get To Know Cannabigerol (CBG)
Minor phytocannabinoid Cannabigerol (CBG) is moving from obscurity to household name. Although it appears in small amounts in most cultivars, typically under 1% of total phytocannabinoid content, its role in the development of other phytocannabinoids cannot be understated. Read on to learn more about CBG, why it is sometimes referred to as the “mother of all cannabinoids,” and how it could influence your cannabis experience.
What is Cannabigerol (CBG)?
CBG is the very first cannabinoid to form in a young cannabis plant. Technically, it is the compound’s acidic form, CBGA, that emerges first. As the plant grows, enzymes form in the cannabis plant which convert the vast majority of CBGA into various acidic cannabinoids, like THCA and CBDA. For this reason, CBG is often referred to as the “mother of all cannabinoids.” By the time CBGA has converted into all the other cannabinoids in a mature plant, it typically makes up less than 1% of the total cannabinoid content.
On its own, CBG is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid first identified by researchers in 1964, the same year as THC. It largely took a back seat to that more renowned cannabinoid. Now, as researchers uncover more information about the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) and how all phytocannabinoids interact with that system and with each other, it’s clearer that CBG could play a key role in helping consumers feel better.
How does CBG work?
When introduced to heat, like when using a lighter or heating the chamber of a vaporizer, these acidic cannabinoids break down into their active forms that most cannabis consumers are familiar with: THC, CBD, CBN, and so on. In their active forms, these cannabinoids interact with the human body’s ECS to regulate a wide range of processes associated with the central nervous system and immune system. If you consider the source of every cannabinoid, we have CBGA to thank for all the therapeutic benefits that cannabis has to offer.
Like other cannabinoids, CBG works by interacting with the body’s ECS, a series of receptors and chemicals that influence a wide range of bodily processes related to the central nervous system and immune system. Phytocannabinoids are believed to fit into or modulate the shape of these receptors.
When it comes to CBG, researchers believe it interacts with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, though they aren’t sure exactly how. What they have observed is that CBG offers some therapeutic potential, but these findings are largely based on findings from studies using laboratory mice. Human trials often result in different findings, so future research will be aimed at examining these initial observations more closely to determine their relevance to human health and wellness.
These potential effects include:
- Anti-inflammatory: CBG is thought to reduce internal and external swelling and inflammation, which is a key symptom of many common health conditions. A 2013 study on laboratory mice found that CBG is effective at reducing the type of gastrointestinal inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease1.
- Neuroprotective: CBG could offer neuroprotective benefits, serving to protect nerve cells against degeneration or damage. For example, one 2015 study on laboratory mice found that CBG slowed the neurodegeneration in mice with Huntington’s Disease2, indicating that CBG might offer some neuroprotective properties.
- Anti-tumor: There is some promise that CBG could be effective at combating tumor growth. A 2014 study of rats with colon cancer found that CBG could arrest the growth of cancer cells and other tumors3, suggesting that CBG exhibits some anti-cancer properties.
- Anti-bacterial: CBG is thought to kill bacteria, including varieties of bacteria that are resistant to drug-based treatments. One 2008 study determined that CBG excels at killing drug-resistant bacteria linked to staph infections4.
- Appetite stimulation: Further laboratory mice studies suggest that CBG could be effective at stimulating appetite5.
Due to the limited nature of research – nearly all studies covering CBG are animal studies – more work is needed to learn how CBG could impact human health and wellness.
Which cultivars are high in CBG?
If you’re interested in cannabis flower with relatively high levels of CBG, the following are among the best options. Cultivars (strains) with 1% CBG or higher are generally considered high in CBG.
- Jack Frost: Jack Frost is a hybrid cultivar that generally contains about 17% THC and 1% CBG. Jack Frost, a cross between White Widow and Northern Lights #5, is often lauded for its energetic and euphoric consumption experience. Many consumers report feeling creative after consuming Jack Frost. Its dominant terpene is terpinolene, and it gives off sweet, woody aromas and flavors.
- Super Glue: Super Glue is a high-THC indica-dominant hybrid that also contains significant levels of CBG. It is a cross between Afghani and Northern Lights, offering a predictably relaxing consumption experience that won’t cloud your mind. The dominant terpene in Super Glue is beta Caryophyllene, though its aroma is often likened to a sweet pine.
- Lemon Diesel: Lemon Diesel is aptly named for its peppery, citrusy, sweet flavors and fuel-like aroma. On average, Lemon Diesel contains about 19% THC and, though it reportedly relaxes mind and body, won’t leave you couch-locked. Lemon Diesel is a cross between California Sour and Lost Coast OG, and its primary terpene is myrcene.
Where to buy CBG products
When buying CBG products, you should always purchase from a licensed dispensary. Licensed cannabis dispensaries abide by state regulations and maintain strict quality assurance standards for themselves and for their suppliers. Additionally, licensed dispensaries typically make available any third-party lab testing results demonstrating the quality of their menu items.
The most common CBG product you will find is a distillate, a concentrated extract of almost-pure CBG. Extractors create distillate by isolating a cannabinoid using various temperatures and pressures. Distillate can then be consumed on its own or used as an ingredient in other products. You can also find concentrates, vape products, and tinctures with high levels of CBG added in.
The mother of all cannabinoids
CBG is well known as the mother of all cannabinoids, but thanks to further study and its inclusion in other products, it’s becoming a star phytocannabinoid in its own right. With several potential benefits for researchers to continue investigating and anecdotal evidence from consumers mounting, it’s no wonder CBG is starting to be mentioned in the same breath as renowned cannabinoids like THC and CBD. If you are interested in adding CBG to your regimen, talk to an Ethos associate about the best option for you.
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