The ABCs on CBG

The ABCs on CBG

Maya Krajcinovic

CBD has been all the rage over the past few years.  Touted as the magic elixir, CBD has been seen to be effective in alleviating symptoms of anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and muscle soreness.  CBD has also been FDA approved as a treatment for seizures, both in children and adults. 


Just when I thought I had a handle on all things CBD, my business partner told me that we were planting cannabis plants that were specifically grown for CBG.  So, it was back to hours of research to figure out what the differences, benefits, drawbacks were with CBG and how it differs from CBD.


As a refresher, the cannabis plant has hundreds of separate compounds, many of which have not been studied yet, so their effects aren’t known.  Some of the compounds, or cannabinoids, that have been documents are THC (the stuff that makes you high when you smoke marijuana), and CBD that is similar to THC but doesn’t cause a high. 


Cannabis plants produce cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).  Enzymes break this acid down and convert it into other acids.  These acids include THC, CBDA (which eventually turns into CBD), and CBCA (which eventually turns into CBC).  As the plant matures, ultraviolet light with the help of CBGA (which eventually turns into CBG) converts these acids into the cannabinoids THC, CBD and CBC.  Even though CBG has always been present, harvesting large amounts of CBG has been problematic. 


CBG, like the other cannabinoids, works with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, a complex network of receptors found throughout the body.  Research is showing that CBG appears to boost production of natural dopamine, the neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sleep and appetite. 


CBG is similar to CBD in terms of its health effects, but some research indicates that it may be more potent.  In a 2008 NIH study (Antibacterial Cannabioids From Cannabis Sativa: A Structure-Activity Study; Giovanni Appendion et al J Nat Prod 2008 Aug) CBG was shown to be “a powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent that can even be effective against MRSA.”  Similarly, CBG was shown to effectively fight the inflammation of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.  CBG is also a vasodilator.  This is important in helping control high blood pressure and lower intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients. 


CBG has been shown to be a neuroprotectant.  It can support the integrity of the protective sheath around neurons and encourage the development of healthy neural pathways.  Some research suggests that CBG can help relieve symptoms of neurological diseases like Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.  (Neuroportective Properties of Cannabigerol in Huntington’s Disease: Studies in R6/2 Mice and 3-nitroporpiionate-lesioned Mice; Sara Valdeolivas et al. Neurotherapeutics, 2015. Jan.)


Like CBD, you can legally purchase CBG products since it’s largely sourced from hemp and doesn’t have the psychoactive effects that THC does.  Taken in therapeutic doses, CBG is safe and generally causes no side effects.  As with other cannabinoids, it’s preferable to start with small doses of CBG and slowly increase the dose until you receive the desired effect.  Taken in excess of 300 mg/kg of body weight there may be some unpleasant, yet temporary side effects such as drowsiness, diarrhea, or digestive upset. 


So why are we now just seeing CBG hit the market? One of the reasons is that the cost of producing CBG is one of the most expensive cannabinoids to produce.  Another reason is that in order to cultivate CBG you need to harvest the crop early.  If you wait too long to harvest, the longer the cannabis plant matures, the more chance that the CBG present in the strain will convert into other cannabinoids and you will have a low percentage of CBG. 

On the Driftless Dreams farm, we planted a strain of CBG plants called “White CBG” that we purchased from Oregon CBD.  Our harvest just begun, so stay tuned and we will keep you posted on when this specific strain will be ready to purchase. 


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.