Education Oct 30, 2020

What Is CBG? Exploring Rare Cannabinoids | Part 2

by Taylor Hogan

What is CBG? Hemp plant in palm of hand

Every day, researchers are discovering more about how cannabinoids in the hemp plant interact with our bodies. Whether you're new to using hemp products or have some experience, you’ve likely heard of CBD or THC. But you may not realize there are other cannabinoids in a full spectrum hemp oil or tincture. With a full spectrum blend, you're getting the benefit of both cannabinoids and terpenes, rather than a single isolated cannabinoid.

A full spectrum CBD oil blend likely includes several minor cannabinoids such as CBC, CBN, CBG, THCV, and CBDV (That’s a lot of acronyms!). We’ve already explored CBN and the promising research surrounding this cannabinoid. In our continuing series on rare cannabinoids, we’ll look at CBG and answer the question, “What is CBG?”

Together, we’ll explore how CBG works in your body. You’ll also learn about what scientists are uncovering, whether it’s worth looking for CBG in CBD products, and how to shop for these items when you’re ready.

What Is CBG?

CBG, which stands for cannabigerol, is a precursor to other cannabinoids. CBG-A (or cannabigerolic acid) is the acidic form of CBG. As it breaks down through exposure to heat (also known as decarboxylation), the CBG-A will transform into other cannabinoids, including CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). But CBG-A also creates other lesser-known cannabinoids such as CBC (cannabichromene), CBN (cannabinol), and CBG.

Most hemp strains have low amounts of CBG, so growers have been experimenting with cross-breeding plants to increase the amount of CBG available.

Scientific studies on the effects of CBG are limited as long-standing issues around the legality of hemp products have impacted research efforts. Still, there have been some promising results in animal studies (more on those later). And what we’ve been able to learn so far is valuable on its own.

Much like CBD and CBN, CBG doesn’t have any psychoactive effects, which means you don’t have to worry about experiencing any intoxicating sensations when you ingest it. The 2018 Farm Bill mandates that CBD products must contain less than 0.3% THC, giving you the peace of mind to enjoy CBD or CBG oil and tinctures without feeling “high.”

How CBG Works in Your Body

Woman in chair researching CBD oil

Whether you’re adding a few drops of CBD tincture to a smoothie or pampering yourself with lavender and CBD face oil in your beauty routine, the cannabinoids in your CBD products will interact with your endocannabinoid system as they are ingested or absorbed through your skin.

Your endocannabinoid system, or ECS, modulates nearly every part of your brain and affects several central nervous system functions such as sleep, hunger, heart rate, temperature, hormonal function, and more.

Some researchers suggest that imbalances in the central nervous system could be the root of common health conditions or, at least, contribute to them. Whether you experience pain, inflammation, or psychiatric and neurological disorders, irregularities in the central nervous system may play a role.

Scientific studies are still working out the finer details of understanding how CBG affects specific cannabinoid receptors in the human body. Researchers have found the relationship between CBG and human receptors to be a complex one. CBG appears to act on CB2 receptors differently than it does on CB1 receptors and is dependent on several factors. Regardless, scientists are confident it reacts to receptors positively.

Thanks to the incredible benefits people are getting from CBD products, the cannabis and hemp industries are seeing a revolution in the destigmatization of hemp. More people are opening up to the idea of hemp products, and laws are changing to allow for more research on the benefits of cannabinoids. The research on rare cannabinoids will continue to improve with time. Until then, valuable information from animal research offers some idea of the potential health benefits of using CBG.

A Scientific Reports study done on mice discovered that CBG had neuroprotective qualities in experimental models of Huntington’s disease, a genetic disorder that causes cells in the brain to break down and deteriorate. As such, researchers believe CBG could be used alone or with other cannabinoids to treat neurodegenerative conditions.

The British Journal of Pharmacology published another study where CBG showed positive effects on several conditions. CBG was effective on different types of cancer cells, had strong antifungal and antibacterial properties, and was particularly effective against MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus). What’s more, its anti-inflammatory abilities could be useful in managing inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) or other inflammation-related health issues. Studies on mice showed CBG might be helpful as an appetite stimulant as well.

It's important to note that these early studies have mainly been conducted with animals, not people. While they are promising, we cannot make any conclusions on the short- or long-term health effects in humans until more research is done.

How To Choose CBG

What is CBG: Woman with Populum's full spectrum CBD dropper

There are many different ways to introduce hemp products into your daily routine, but there are a few basic things you should remember when you’re ready to purchase.

Always look for products made by companies that value quality and transparency. Whether you’re after a full spectrum CBD oil, or you’d like to experiment with CBG on its own, look for third-party lab results. Lab results are essential because they can give you a complete breakdown of everything in your hemp oil or tincture.

While the advertised amount of CBD on a label may say one thing, the actual quantity inside can be a different story — unless you have lab results verifying you’re getting exactly what you paid for.

Lab results aren’t just helpful for knowing you’re getting the right amount of CBD. They’re also an excellent resource for learning about your tincture’s cannabinoid and terpene profiles. This is especially handy if you’d like to check the CBG content in your blend, so you know you’re getting the benefits of CBG in the first place.

Along with knowing about the cannabinoids and terpenes in your CBD oil, your lab results will make it easy to see what isn’t in your CBD product. Things like solvents, molds, and mycotoxins shouldn’t be in any CBD product you buy.

A quick note on cannabinoid isolates versus a full spectrum blend:

While it might initially seem like the best idea to look for something that contains only CBG, keep in mind that cannabinoids typically work best as a group. A full spectrum blend, like Populum’s hemp CBD oil, allows you to take advantage of what’s known as the entourage effect.

Hemp plants contain more than just cannabinoids. Terpenes are chemical compounds that are present in all plants (including hemp) and affect a plant’s color and smell. The entourage effect suggests that you experience more significant benefits when cannabinoids and terpenes work together rather than in isolated parts.

Even though side effects are rare, it’s better to start low and slow with CBD or CBG products. Be sure to follow any dosing guidelines on the label and give yourself a chance to see how it affects your body. You can always increase your dosage over time or scale back when you feel the need.

Try enjoying a few drops of CBD in a festive fall cocktail, or get creative and DIY a CBD-infused body scrub to turn a shower into a more refreshing experience.

Adding CBG to Your Well-Being Routine

What is CBG? As you have learned, it’s an acronym for cannabigerol, a minor cannabinoid produced when hemp plants are exposed to heat. It has no psychoactive effects, and scientific studies suggest it could help with inflammation, brain health, and more.

Whether you choose to use CBG isolate or opt for a full spectrum CBD blend containing CBG, it’s a good idea to do your research on both CBG and the company you’re buying from. Always look for the highest-quality hemp products along with transparent lab results to get a clear picture of your cannabinoid and terpene profiles.

Hemp CBD is growing in popularity, and we can expect to learn more about its effects on the human body. In the meantime, the evidence is encouraging, and you may find even more compelling reasons to include hemp CBD in your ongoing wellness routine.

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