CBG - A beginners guide

by Tom Russell September 23, 2022

CBG - The mother of all cannabinoids

Despite being one of the lesser known cannabinoids, Cannabigerol (CBG) has been tipped as the next to hit the bigtime. From its discovery in 1964, CBG has been seen as less relevant than CBD and THC, but that’s all about to change.

Since the rise of CBD, scientists have been hoping to find the next beneficial cannabinoid. Of all those studied so far, CBG shows the most potential. It’s non-intoxicating, is vital to the production of other cannabinoids and delivers effects that are similar to CBD.

CBG: Fast facts

  • CBG is an abbreviation of Cannabigerol.
  • CBG is one of over a hundred chemical compounds found in cannabis plants.
  • Scientists first discovered CBG in 1964.
  • CBG is non-intoxicating and won’t get you high.
  • Drug tests screen for THC and won’t detect CBG.
  • It usually makes up less than 1% of whole-plant cannabinoid extracts.
  • CBGa (the acidic form of CBG) is the chemical precursor to CBD, CBG, CBC and THC.

What is CBG?  

Hemp plantCBG is one of the many cannabinoids found in the plants of the cannabis genus. It is present in small amounts and often makes up less than 1% of the weight of cannabinoid extracts. Like other cannabinoids, it influences the human body via a system of chemicals and receptors known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Studies have found that CBG interacts with the ECS in more than one way. It binds directly with chemical receptors as well as interacting with enzymes involved in related processes. CBD works with enzymes in a similar way but doesn’t bind with ECS receptors. With more links to your body systems, it’s likely that CBG may have a broader range of effects.

CBG is found in full-spectrum CBD oils where it plays a role in the entourage effect. This is the enhanced effect produced when CBD is accompanied by traces of other cannabinoids. Now, CBG oil is also available to buy, so, you can add higher concentrations of this beneficial cannabinoid to your supplement routine.

Why is CBG important? 

As well as potentially playing a role in the future of food supplements, CBG is vital to the production of several main cannabinoids. Cannabinoids first occur in hemp as acidic precursors; it is only when they are exposed to UV light or heat that they are converted into their active forms in a process called decarboxylation.

CBD moleculeThe acidic form of CBG is called Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa), and it is the first cannabinoid to be produced in young hemp/cannabis plants. As the plant develops, enzymes facilitate the breakdown of CBGa and it goes on to form new substances. The cannabinoids formed in these reactions are THCa, CBDa and CBCa.

When decarboxylation occurs, these acids become THC, CBD, and CBC, which are the most abundant cannabinoids found in cannabis or hemp. Any remaining CBGa becomes CBG when decarboxylated.

In cannabis varieties that have extremely high levels of THC and CBD, most of the CBGa has been used up in the creation of the main cannabinoids, so there will be minimal amounts in the flower. As a result, low THC varieties of cannabis, like hemp, are the best places to find CBG. Scientists and breeders have begun to produce plants with high levels of CBG and harvest the buds early to extract the CBGa before it is broken down.

The benefits of CBG 

happy active womanBecause CBG interacts with both receptors and enzymes, researchers believe that it’s likely to produce numerous effects on the endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout your central and peripheral nervous system meaning that the presence of CBG could have an influence on most areas of your body.

By interacting with receptors and blocking enzymes, CBG may support the ECS’ role in your body’s homeostatic mechanism. This is a collection of actions taken by your body systems to keep them in a healthy balance. For example, they can moderate your temperature, and influence many other factors. If your body can quickly respond to any imbalances, it will likely be better able to maintain good health. 

CBD vs CBG

CBG CBD Oil

Both CBD and CBG are chemical descendants of CBGa. They are both non-intoxicating cannabinoids and when consumed, have a range of effects that are beneficial to your health. However, despite their similarities, they have a different chemical structure, work in different ways and produce some different effects.

When it comes to producing CBD and CBG for use as food supplements or for research, CBD is more readily available. It is found in more significant amounts and can be extracted relatively easily. To produce a similar amount of CBG, requires large amounts of raw hemp plant material.

As a result, at the moment it’s more expensive to buy CBG oil than products containing CBD. However, improvements in harvesting techniques and new CBG rich hemp strains may result in better processes in the future.

How is CBG different to CBD?

CBG and CBD are both cannabinoids but have several differences:

  • CBG makes up only 1% of the cannabinoids extracted from a cannabis plant, whereas CBD is often between 3% and 15%.
  • Because CBG is less abundant than CBG, it is more expensive to produce.
  • CBG can bind with CB1 receptors, CB2 receptors and enzymes, but CBD only interacts with enzymes.
  • Currently, fewer studies have been conducted on the properties of CBG than for CBD.

CBG product types and how to use them

As our understanding of cannabinoids grow, more companies are offering their own range of CBG products. The most commonly available CBG products include:

CBG flower

CBG hemp tea - PuriBio

CBG-rich hemp flowers are sold as CBG flower. They have high levels of CBG but are low in other cannabinoids, including THC.

CBG flowers are carefully harvested and dried to preserve the beneficial plant substances.

How to use CBG flower
CBG flower is best used to make a cannabinoid-rich tea.

The brand PuriBio offers certified organic CBG hemp tea with 1.8% CBG/CBGa.

One or two tablespoons of the tea can be added to an infuser and then submerged in a mug of hot water. Allow it to brew for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the flavour and strength you prefer.

CBG oil

CBG oil is made with cannabinoids extracted from hemp plants. Strains that are known to be rich in CBG are selected and carefully extracted to ensure teh cannabinoid is found in high levels. Some CBG oils are CBG only, but others are a blend of CBD and CBG. For example, CBD Ultra CBG oil contains 500mg of CBG and 500mg of CBD. CBG oil is also is also available for pets.

How to use CBG oil – CBD oil can be used in the same way as CBD oil. The most effective way to take it is to place a few drops under your tongue and hold them there for 1 to 2 minutes. Then you can swallow any remaining residue.

CBG isolate

CBG isolate is pure CBG that’s been extracted from hemp plants. It contains no other cannabinoids or plants substances and is usually in the form of fine white crystals. However, CBG isolate is most commonly used in other products like Love CBD e-liquid, which contains 500mg of CBD isolate and 100mg of CBG isolate.

How to use CBG isolate – The best way to use CBG isolate is in a prepared product like an e-liquid. To use an e-liquid, you will need a vaporiser. Fill the tank with e-liquid and follow the user instructions to turn it on. Start with a couple of puffs two or three times a day. Gradually increase the number of puffs until you get the results you’re looking for.

Conclusion

When it comes to the benefits and potential of the hemp plant, CBD is likely just the beginning of what is possible. With some developments and further research, CBG could well become a useful companion to CBD or a well-known cannabinoid in its own right.

Not only are CBG and its precursor CBGa the mother of all cannabinoids, but they also represent the next step in cannabinoid research.

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Tom Russell
Tom Russell

Author

Tom Russell writes extensively about CBD oil and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.


1 Response

Zach
Zach

June 17, 2020

Fantastic article! I know a lot about CBD but it was very interesting to learn a bit more about CBG. Thanks for sharing!

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