What is CBG and What Are the Benefits?
Since hemp and its extracts became fully legal in late 2018, wellness experts have embraced cannabis in a big way. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been the star of the show so far, which has caused many consumers to ask, “What is CBD, and what can it do for me?”
CBD products made with hemp extracts provide consumers with a number of wellness support options. But cannabigerol, or CBG, recently started to receive significant attention for its potential wellness applications.
But what is CBG and how does it differ from CBD and other cannabis extracts?
Below, we’ll take a look at CBG’s origins, how it compares to CBD, possible CBG benefits, and where consumers can find it.
What Is CBG and Where Does it Come From?
CBG is a nonintoxicating substance found in plants of the Cannabis genus that may offer a variety of applications for humans. In other words, CBG comes from hemp, doesn’t get you high, and may provide wellness benefits.
Researchers describe CBG as a minor cannabinoid because cannabis plants produce smaller amounts of the substance compared to major cannabinoids like CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBG typically makes up less than one percent of the cannabis plant by weight.
But the acidic form of CBG, known as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), is an integral part of the plant’s production of CBD, and THC. Plant enzymes in maturing cannabis plants convert most of their CBGA into the acidic forms of CBD and THC – CBDA and THCA respectively.
A process called decarboxylation, which occurs when the plant matter is exposed to ultraviolet light or heat, converts those acids into CBD and THC. That same decarboxylation process can convert CBGA into CBG, but it happens on a much smaller scale compared to the major cannabinoids.
Ultimately, that means CBG is expensive and difficult to extract in meaningful amounts. That’s why wellness formulas with CBG as the primary ingredient are extremely rare. Some botanists have started work to create strains of hemp that will yield greater amounts of CBG. They’ve also determined that it’s possible to harvest plants earlier in the growing cycle to optimize CBG extraction. But there’s still a lot of work to do on this front.
CBG vs. CBD: What’s the Difference?
In understanding what is CBG, it’s important to understand how it contrasts with CBD. Slight molecular differences between the two substances result in significantly different CBD and CBG effects.
By contrast, CBD appears to have a lower affinity, but can still affect these receptors in another way. Instead of binding with the receptors, they may instead block them from interacting with other substances.
For an oversimplified example, think about a square-shaped hole and two differently shaped pegs – one square and another circle.
Sized correctly, both pegs fit snugly into the square-shaped hole. But research seems to suggest that the square peg acts more like CBG, interacting with all sides and corners of the space.
On the other hand, the circle shaped peg appears to work more like the CBD. It may fit the space and hold securely, but it doesn’t fully interact with all the edges. It also effectively blocks the insertion of any other pegs.
What Does the Research Say About CBG’s Benefits?
Medical scientists have completed a few studies to discover various CBG benefits. Those experiments focused on CBG and its effect on the human body. Their outcomes provide plenty of reasons to get excited about the possible benefits of CBG, but it’s important to understand that these are only preliminary results.
Since these studies used large doses of isolated CBG in non-human test subjects, they do not provide conclusive evidence that CBG can treat or prevent any disease in humans. Consumers can’t expect the same effects from the supplemental servings found in today’s wellness products.
Researchers still have a lot of work to do on the subject, but the early evidence certainly has many medical experts intrigued.
So what is CBG good for? It’s best to think of CBG’s benefits as a way to support good health practices such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and good sleep habits.
Where Can You Buy CBG?
Consumers can find small amounts of CBG alongside dozens of other cannabinoids in all full spectrum and broad spectrum hemp products.
The amount of CBG present in these products reflect what’s typically found in hemp plants. The hemp strains grown for wellness products presently contain high amounts of CBD, and very little CBG – generally less than 1 percent.
There are a few CBG-heavy hemp extract products on the market, but they are quite expensive. A hemp product’s label should accurately describe its contents, but that’s not always the case. Hemp companies frequently play fast and loose with ingredient lists.
If you want to know if a hemp product contains CBG, an independent lab test can help. On most lab reports, you can see a full list of which cannabinoids are present, and in what concentrations.
It’s also important to note cbdMD’s broad spectrum hemp extracts provide something other brands can’t – consistent cannabinoid levels across all product batches. Most full and broad spectrum extracts contain consistent amounts of CBD, but the levels of other cannabinoids, like CBG, fluctuate across different batches. This is a crucial distinction for anyone who wishes to experience any CBG’s benefits as a wellness tool.
What Else Should I Know About Minor Cannabinoids?
In this article, we addressed the question, “What is CBG?” But did you know there are over 100 cannabinoids found in help plants?