Sometimes the smallest of molecules are the ones that have the biggest impact. This is the case with CBG – the “first” cannabinoid that develops in CBD. This seemingly insignificant cannabinoid is actually responsible for the creation of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids that attract the attention of scientists and consumers worldwide.
Typically found in concentrations lower than 1% in most hemp varieties, it’s no wonder this compound has so far not attracted as much interest as others. However, that is changing, as more information is revealed about this once-neglected cannabinoid.
Here we will take a closer look at CBG and the role it plays in the production of other cannabinoids. We will also explore its unique effect on the body and how it differs from other cannabinoids derived from hemp.
What is CBG?
CBG, or cannabigerol, is a phytocannabinoid. Unlike endocannabinoids, which are produced by the body, phytocannabinoids are derived from plants, like CBD.
CBG is known as a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, in fact it is, unlike other active ingredients, psycho-inactive. When CBD has been harvested, dried and processed, it usually contains only trace amounts of CBG (below 1%). It is therefore considered a “minor” cannabinoid.
However, CBG – or rather its acid form, CBGA – is actually the first cannabinoid acid to develop in the CBD plant. This is why it is sometimes called the “stem cell” of CBD. It is present at its highest concentration in flowering CBD plants. The acid form is simply CBG with an extra carboxyl group – the “A”.
After harvest, the plants are usually dried and processed. The heat or UV light used in these scenarios breaks down these acidic cannabinoids into their non-acidic versions, such as THC, CBD oil and CBC. This phenomenon is known as decarboxylation.
Decarboxylation also produces many other cannabinoids (at least 100), all of which originate from CBGA. Most CBD strains on the market today are bred to be high in THC and/or CBD. The more THC or CBD a plant contains, the less CBG it contains. So strains usually contain very low amounts of CBG.
However, some breeders are experimenting with crosses, genetic manipulation and even unique harvesting patterns to create strains with higher levels of this cannabinoid.
Bedrocan BV Medical CBD in the Netherlands, for example, has begun harvesting some of these plants earlier, to create a finished product with higher levels of CBG. Find out more info on the best cbd oil in this link.
What are the effects of CBG?
As mentioned above, CBG is a psycho-inactive cannabinoid.
It therefore does not interact with the endocannabinoid system in a way that disrupts mental faculties. However, like any other cannabinoid, CBG does interact with the endocannabinoid system in different ways.
CBG has been shown to increase appetite in two rat-based studies conducted by researchers in Reading, UK, between 2016 and 2017. Some studies also suggest that CBG may prevent the growth of certain tumors, while others show that it may have neuroprotective effects.
A 2014 study published in the medical journal PLoS One also claims that some CBG-derived products may suppress the body’s immune response. Bonni Goldstein, M.D., a medical doctor specializing in medicinal CBD, claims that CBG can inhibit GABA neurotransmission in the brain, while affecting pain, inflammation and more.