What is CBG and what benefits does it offer?
Is CBG better than CBD or THC for pain and inflammation? Some studies say yes – at least for certain conditions.
Many people are turning to CBD and cannabis for help with physical and mental wellness, but there’s another cannabinoid that may be even more beneficial for specific ailments. That rare cannabinoid is CBG (cannabigerol).
CBG appears to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and anti-bacterial properties, according to the latest research. It shows potential promise for use in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases as well as for other dementias, muscular sclerosis, certain cancers, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) and against “superbug” MRSA. It may even have greater analgesic, pain relieving effects than THC. Read on to learn more about CBG, the scientific studies exalting its potential uses and how to take CBG.
What is CBG?
CBG is a rare cannabinoid which means that it naturally occurs in very small quantities (usually less than 1%) in hemp and cannabis plants. Interestingly, it’s often called the “mother of all cannabinoids” because CBGA, the acidic precursor to CBG, starts off in greater abundance but then transforms into the better-known, more prevalent cannabinoids: CBD and THC.
All of these cannabinoids work with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a complex signaling system that regulates bodily functions. Each cannabinoid has a unique effect on our ECS.
So, how is CBG isolated and offered in greater quantities now? Breeders have worked with hemp plant genetics to get them to produce more CBG and extractors have found the optimal time to extract CBG before it turns into CBD or THC. This combination of advances has resulted in pure CBG for sale and also CBG and CBD blends.
Dementia, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis
People in the developed world are living longer and an ever-increasing number are afflicted with neurodegenerative diseases. These conditions result from the death of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, which leads to problems with movement and/or mental function.
Neurodegeneration is one of the major causes of disability and death and sadly there is no cure for these debilitating, progressive conditions. There are more than 600 neurologic disorders, with approximately 50 million Americans affected each year, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Some of the most prevalent neurodegenerative diseases are Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
We know that inflammation and oxidative stress (the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body) are leading causes of neurodegeneration and neurodegenerative disease.
Positive effects of CBD, cannabis
While there is no cure currently for neurodegeneration, scientists are finding that cannabinoids appear to have protective effects against inflammation and oxidative stress. Many studies have been carried out and showed the positive effects of CBD (cannabidiol) when used alone or in combination with THC. For example, this 2018 study shows the benefits of CBD on the conditions listed above and on malignant tumors, neuropathic pain and other ailments.
Many patients are turning to cannabis and hemp products to cope with their illnesses. A September 2020 survey found that more than 40% of American patients with multiple sclerosis had used cannabis, CBD or other hemp/cannabis products in the last year.
Meanwhile, the Michael J. Fox Foundation launched a survey on cannabis use in people with Parkinson’s disease through their online clinical study, Fox Insight. The foundation reported this October 2020 that nearly 2,000 people had responded, with some reporting mild improvements in sleep, anxiety, pain and tremor, but side effects were common. One-third of people who responded did not know the dosage they were taking. Given THC’s psychoactive effects, it would be beneficial for patients to be able to know if other non-psychoactive cannabinoids (such as CBD and CBG) could offer benefits without (or with fewer) side effects.
CBD vs. CBG for neuroprotection
Interestingly, scientists have found that CBG offers unique neuroprotective effects. While all cannabinoids effect our ECS, basically turning on or off different receptors and signals within our bodies, each cannabinoid acts slightly differently.
A recent study (May 2020) compared the antioxidant and neuroprotective effects of CBD and CBG. This was done by mimicking the effects of neurological diseases on rat tissue. Both compounds proved effective but, when brain and spinal cord cells were exposed to hydrogen peroxide-induced toxicity, “CBG was here more potent than CBD in blunting neurotransmitter depletion,” the study concluded. CBG was also more potent than CBD in counteracting toxicity in experiments done on rat cortexes.
The recent study comparing CBD and CBG is one of the few instances of a direct comparison. However, there are multiple studies showing the effectiveness of CBG as a neuroprotectant.
- A 2018 study conducted on mice, found a CBG derivative to be neuroprotective against inflammation-driven neuronal damage in Parkinson’s disease.
- A 2015 study on the neuroprotective properties of CBG in Huntington’s diseases in mice found “CBG was extremely active as neuroprotectant.” It improved motor deficits, preserved striatal neurons and improved antioxidant defenses.”
“In conclusion, our results open new research avenues for the use of CBG, alone or in combination with other phytocannabinoids or therapies, for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as HD,” the study concluded.
- A 2014 study, showed that a CBG derivative “has been shown to alleviate symptoms in a viral model of multiple sclerosis.”
- A 2018 in vitro model of neuroinflammation found CBG to be effective at reducing neuronal death, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. “In particular, CBG restored cell anti-oxidant defense.”
- A 2017 study examining the anti-oxidant ability of CBG concluded that “Based on its antioxidant activities, CBG may hold great promise as an anti-oxidant agent and therefore used in clinical practice as a new approach in oxidative-stress related disorders.”
Interestingly, it goes on to say that “CBG has more potent analgesic, anti-erythema and lipooxygenase blocking activity than THC.”
In layman’s terms: CBG may work to relax stiff, tight, rigid muscles. CBG is also a stronger pain killer, better at treating erythema (a type of skin rash caused by injury, infection or inflammation) and a better neuroprotectant and preventer of strokes than THC.
Can CBG offer more pain relief than THC?
Similar to neurodegenerative diseases, chronic pain is also being experienced by more and more people, especially in view of aging populations in the industrialized world. In fact, an estimated 20.4% of American adults had chronic pain, according to a 2016 report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
In light of the problems with prescription drug abuse and opioid addiction, physicians and patients are increasingly looking for new approaches to deal with pain conditions.
A National Center for Biotechnology Information article sheds light on CBG’s potential as a pain reliever, potentially even greater than THC.
THC is probably the best known cannabinoid for pain relief. THC also has twenty times the anti-inflammatory strength of aspirin and twice that of hydrocortizone, according to the article. However, its psychoactive effects can make it difficult for cannabis patients to deal with the side effects.
The scientific article states that non-psychoactive CBG “exhibits GABA uptake inhibition to a greater extent than THC or CBD, suggesting possible utilization as a muscle relaxant in spaticity.”
That’s a pretty amazing endorsement of CBG! Of course, cannabinoids may also work better in combination with each other rather than in isolation. This is where the term “entourage effect” comes from as it seeks to explain that in concert, each cannabinoid is greater than the sum of its individual parts. It is therefore recommended that single extracts of rare cannabinoids (CBG, CBN, CBC, or THCV) be used to enhance full spectrum CBD or broad spectrum CBD oils. They can be taken alone, but will likely work better when combined.
Antibacterial properties, possible uses for IBS, cancer
CBG has even more likely benefits! In fact, CBG is well known for its antibacterial properties. It was even found effective against “superbug” MRSA in a 2020 study. The findings on CBG and MRSA were published in the journal American Chemical Society Infectious Diseases.
CBG has also been shown to reduce inflammation in other parts of the body. A 2013 study on mice found that CBG reduced inflammation related to inflammatory bowel disease
CBG is showing promise in fighting cancer. In a 2014 study CBG was shown to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells in mice.
CBG also proved itself the most effective of five different cannabinoids on bladder contractions in a 2015 study. CBG was the best at inhibiting muscle contractions.
Cannabinoids are believed to be especially effective against glaucoma due to the large number of endocannabinoid receptors in the eye. CBG may be especially effective in treating glaucoma by reducing intraocular eye pressure.
There are many anecdotal reports of people using CBG for anxiety and feeling more relaxed and less stressed when using it. There is more research into CBD than CBG for anti-anxiety effects, but given promising CBG’s muscle-relaxing properties, it seems possible that would also correlate to easing tension within the nervous system.
How to take CBG
If you are interested in adding CBG to your wellness routine, there are a few ways that you can try it.
Most cannabis flowers and full spectrum CBD or THC oils will contain trace amounts of CBG. However, these are usually very small amounts that will boost the efficacy of your CBD or THC, but not show the full benefit of the specific cannabinoid.
Some cannabis flowers have been bred to contain a higher ratio of CBG to THC, but THC is psychoactive and this method involves smoking.
Therefore, the easiest way to take CBG and know the exact amount you are taking is to use a CBG oil tincture or measured blend of CBG with CBD.
Rare Cannabinoid Company offers a 500mg CBG oil tincture. This single extract is naturally flavorless and contains just purified CBG and certified organic MCT coconut oil. You shake the bottle and spray it one to two times under your tongue, hold for 30 seconds, then swallow. This sublingual method absorbs quickly into your body. While this single extract of CBG can be taken on its own, it is recommended that you mix and match it with Rare Cannabinoid Company’s Hawaiian CBD oil or another full spectrum or broad spectrum oil to receive the benefits of the entourage effect. Otherwise, it can be used in combination with other single extracts of THCV, CBN or CBC.
For a ready blended mix, Rare Cannabinoid Company also sells a tincture containing 250mg CBG with 250mg full spectrum Hawaiian CBD. The cannabinoids are mixed with certified organic MCT coconut oil and gently flavored with certified organic food grade Italian lemon and wild orange oils. This blend offers the targeted benefits of CBG along with those of CBD and will promote the entourage effect. It’s a complete daily hemp supplement.
If you’re interested in other rare cannabinoids, you can read more about CBN for sleep and THCV for energy and appetite control. CBC also shows great promise for mood regulation, clear skin and other health and wellness benefits.