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What is CBG?

Much like CBD, Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant that is being researched extensively for different medical ailments. The Apothecarium Dispensary explains that CBG acts as a chemical precursor to other cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. This conversion typically takes place 6-8 weeks in the flowering cycle. CBG is present only in trace amounts in most cannabis strains, however some hemp strains are specifically cultivated to generate higher yields of this cannabinoid.

According to Shape.com, the plant itself is thousands of years old but common knowledge of it is still new.

Perry Solomon, M.D., a board-certified anesthesiologist and medical cannabis expert, says they don’t know much about CBG and it’s not a common cannabinoid. Solomon noted that it's not found in large quantities within the cannabis plant, "and you have to get enough to be able to test it and study it." Due to nearly a century of cannabis prohibition and scarcity of this novel phytocannabinoid, many of the claims about its efficacy are yet to be proven-but that doesn't mean it's not important.

"CBG is the precursor to CBD, CBC, and THC," says Dr. Solomon. It's sometimes referred to as the stem cell. This means "CBGA (the acidic, inactive form of CBG) changes, is broken down, and becomes the base molecule that other cannabinoids form from," including THC, CBD, and CBC.

What's the Difference Between CBD and CBG?

CBG helps make CBD, so while they're both cannabinoids, they're different compounds within the cannabis plant. Additionally, they serve different purposes.

Both CBG and CBD are currently considered non-psychotropic, meaning they won't alter your state of mind in a way that would inhibit your day-to-day function and mental clarity. So perhaps a better description of this would be "non-intoxicating" - it won't get you high in the way THC can.

Like CBD, CBG may counteract the intoxicating effects of THC, says Dr. Solomon. "Studies of CBG seem to show that it activates the CB1 receptor just as CBD does, which essentially decreases psycho-activation," he says.

This means if you consume cannabis that has a high concentration of CBD and CBG, or consume an isolate of CBG in addition to consuming cannabis, you could potentially counterbalance the "high" or intoxication. There is CBG naturally found in the cannabis you're already consuming, but likely not in a large enough quantity to make any difference.

How Does CBG Work?

CBG interacts with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, acting as a possible inhibitor to the psychoactive effects of THC. CBG is also thought to boost anandamide, an endocannabinoid that naturally increases dopamine levels and responsible for regulating various health functions. 

The Research

To learn about current research on CBG, below are some suggested website references.

Sources: Leafly.com, Shape.com, Apothecarium.com, Nature.com, Wikipedia.com, NORML.org, Foliumbiosciences.comncbi.nlm.nih.gov