by Erica Garza
While CBD gets a lot of fanfare these days, there’s another cannabinoid in the hemp plant that is growing in popularity due to optimism about its potential benefits and increased accessibility: cannabigerol, or CBG. While it may be tempting to think of CBG as the backup singer of a really cool band, CBG’s role is actually more crucial than that. Often referred to as the “mother cannabinoid,” CBG is the precursor to all other cannabinoids, CBD and THC included. Explore how CBG interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, how it works in in concert with CBD, and the potential benefits of this noteworthy cannabinoid.
How CBG Interacts With the Endocannabinoid System
Like CBD, CBG interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a biological system that is crucial for homeostasis and responsible for regulating physiological processes such as mood and appetite. The ECS contains CB1 receptors that are found in the central nervous system, and CB2 receptors found in the immune system, which respond to different cannabinoids like CBD, THC and CBG. While CBD interacts indirectly with receptors, CBG binds directly to CB1 and CB2 receptors. You could say it takes a more hands-on approach.
CBG and CBD: A Power Duo With Potential
Although CBG acts on both CB1 and CB2 receptors, like CBD it does not produce psychoactive effects: it’s another non-psychotropic cannabinoid. However, it’s important to remember that CBG is the source of CBD, more like its parent than its twin. CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) is transformed into CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) by cannabidiolic-acid synthase, an enzyme in the hemp plant, and CBGA and CBDA are simply the acidic versions of CBG and CBD. While research is still emerging on the benefits of CBG, some studies show that the therapeutic effects may include the following*.
- Anti-inflammatory potential: A 2013 study showed that CBG has a strong potential in controlling inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by reducing nitric oxide production in macrophages and reducing ROS formation in intestinal epithelial cells in a mouse animal model of colitis;
- Antibacterial properties: In a study of CBG’s antibacterial properties, the phytocannabinoid exhibited antibacterial activities against Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), the most common pathogen associated with tooth decay. CBG also prevented the drop in pH caused by the bacteria;
- May stimulate appetite: In a 2016 study in a rat model, CBG more than doubled total food intake and increased the number of meals consumed without producing negative neuromotor side effects;
- Neuroprotective benefits: In a mouse study of the neuroprotective potential of cannabigerol, subjects with Huntington’s disease experienced a modest improvement in the gene expression for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes the survival of nerve cells in the brain.
Taken together, CBG and CBD are thought to make a powerful team, contributing to what is called the entourage effect in broad spectrum products. Research by Ethan Russo, M.D., confirmed this theory, stating that whole-plant cannabis products work better than single-molecule cannabinoids.
Beyond how they interact with the ECS, another crucial difference between CBD and CBG is the quantity found in most cannabis plants. Most plants contain around 1% CBG, making it more scarce. Coupling stable, high CBG producing plants with unique processing techniques like chromatography, are making CBG more accessible. Products containing rare cannabinoids like CBG may be one of the reasons economists predict the global market for cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals will grow to $50 billion in just 10 years.
Selecting CBG Ingredients
Consumers looking to experience CBG alone might prefer a CBG isolate product. In isolate, nearly all traces of compounds other than CBG are eliminated, including THC and any other cannabinoids and terpenes. Consumers with a rising interest in the mother of all cannabinoids, which some describe as “more lavish than its counterparts” or “the next CBD,” will appreciate having access to this rare and coveted cannabinoid without any other molecules.
CBG isolate and distillate each have differentiating factors to set your products apart. While isolate contains no other cannabinoids, high-CBG broad spectrum distillate allows consumers to experience the entourage effect — several cannabinoids and terpenes — with CBG leading the way (but no THC). Full-spectrum blends may also contain trace amounts of THC.
While the potential of CBG creates a buzz among scientists and consumers, take the opportunity to get ahead of the next trend by incorporating CBG into your new formulations. Learn more about GenCanna CBG isolate , which is a great foundational ingredient for formulated goods, such as topicals and cosmetics, oils, vapes, gummies, pet treats and other oil-soluble applications.
*Note that GenCanna is not making health claims on CBD products. The data discussed herein is based on a scientific review of literature only.
Erica Garza is a writer and editor specializing in health and wellness. Her articles have appeared in TIME, Health, Women’s Health, Glamour and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.
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