CBD has become tremendously popular over the past several years- so much so that a Gallup survey concluded in August 2019 that as many as one in every seven Americans are using CBD. However, CBD is not the only cannabinoid captivating the country right now and a completely non-psychoactive newcomer is steadily rising in the hearts and minds of hemp users: CBG.
Cannabigerol (CBG) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are not “new” cannabinoids in a traditional sense; the Cannabis genus likely split from its parent genus Humulus and began evolving into the hemp plants we know and love today some 28 million years ago. It’s really only our growing body of knowledge about these compounds that’s new.
In fact, thanks to the abundant research conducted on hemp and its contents over the past few years, we now know there are at least 113 cannabinoids in the hemp plant! So far only two of them, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD, have become household names. However, that promises to change as the amount of research and degree of accessibility continue to swell across the country- even in the states historically opposed to cannabinoid use and research.
There are currently a few cannabinoids gaining attention, with Cannabinol (CBN) being another one viewed as a possible “new” alternative, but CBG is leading the pack in terms of public interest. In this article we’ll take a closer look at CBG, comparing it to CBD and THC to break down the similarities and differences between all three.
In order to understand CBG’s effects, we need to first understand the way it works. We’ve covered the endocannabinoid system in previous articles; this is the system found in every creature on Earth that’s directly responsible for organically synthesizing endocannabinoids and processing cannabinoids from external sources, as well as breaking both down for our bodies to use for these compounds’ beneficial effects on our lives.
You’ve got to admit: it’s kind of cool that we make and use our own cannabinoids as naturally as we breathe and blink. Talk about natural medicine!
The endocannabinoid system’s functions rely on the processes of two types of nodes, the cannabinoid receptors, that are primarily responsible for interacting with cannabinoids and endocannabinoids to produce their effects on the mind and body of the user:
- CB1 receptors are found predominantly through the brain and spine, though are also found in lighter concentrations throughout the body, and mainly affect the central nervous system. Because of this, these receptors influence neurocognitive functions, motor control, emotional and mental health, appetite and pain response. These are the receptors that THC naturally gravitates to, providing stimulation to the endocannabinoid system and giving us the sensation of feeling high through their interactions.
- CB2 receptors mostly occupy the immune and gastrointestinal systems, though are found in the brain too- just not nearly as dense in expression. These receptors affect physical relaxation, sleep, immune system responses, inflammation control, gastrointestinal processes and pain management, all without affecting cognition or causing a high. Researchers are still trying to find a way to acutely target these receptors similar to the way THC targets CB1 receptors, but a terpene found in black pepper and numerous varieties of hemp, beta-caryophyllene, attracts to the CB2 receptors and shows great promise.
Interestingly enough, cannabinoids like CBD, CBG and THC seem to have interactions with other parts of our body’s systems and processes too. This might suggest a possibility that there are more CB receptors and cannabinoid interactions waiting to be discovered!
Cannabinoid Interactions with CB1 and CB2 Receptors
As we’ve previously mentioned, THC primarily bonds to and interacts with the CB1 receptors more commonly concentrated in our brains and spinal columns. CBD has indirect interactions with both receptors and gets the bulk of its reputation for its effects elsewhere in the body, such as its great potential for managing inflammation and neuromuscular spasms.
CBG, on the other hand, holds a unique and intriguing position in our current understanding of cannabinoids. CBG actively binds directly to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our brains and bodies, leading to a more potent effect that’s closer akin to the effects of THC, affecting us on a systemic level but lacking any kind of high. In this regard, CBG might be the closest thing to “THC without the THC” our country and its cannabinoid users have seen yet!
CBG’s Effects as a Standalone Cannabinoid
So what does this mean to us, the end users? What does it mean for us? Apparently, quite a bit! CBG is still being studied, but our understanding of the compound is expanding as public interest in its use rises. From what we can tell so far, CBG seems to possess incredibly strong neuroprotective, regenerative and therapeutic capabilities.
Studies being conducted with CBG suggest the compound may yield promising results in the treatment and management of a wide range of physiological and neurological maladies including inflammation, sleep disorders, glaucoma, Huntington’s Disease and drug-resistant bacterial infections such as MRSA. Like other, more familiar cannabinoids, CBG possesses antioxidant and immunosuppressant properties, making it a valuable aid in the treatment of conditions that trigger dangerous hyperimmune responses. More impressive yet, recent clinical studies using animal models of colorectal cancer’s spread seem to indicate CBG might even inhibit- and potentially reverse- tumor growth caused by certain forms of cancer.
CBG, CBD and the “Entourage Effect”
By now you’ve probably heard of the Entourage Effect. This is a term used to describe the interactions cannabinoids have with terpenes, phytocannabinoids and each other as they stimulate and affect our endocannabinoid systems.
The Entourage Effect is the reason why trace amounts of THC in CBD products can boost the effects of a lower potency dose of CBD- and it’s why THC users who supplement their intake with CBD report feeling higher and experiencing fewer of the less savory psychological impacts, such as paranoia and anxiety. It’s also one of the main reasons why full spectrum and broad spectrum options are generally less potent in their CBD content and more expensive than their counterparts made with CBD isolate.
When taken together, CBD and CBG will produce the Entourage Effect with each other as they work together to affect the body. This can make the effects of both much more pronounced and more easily noticeable. The combination of the two can potentially have a tremendously beneficial impact on the lives of people suffering from acute, chronic and neuropathic pain and discomfort, inflammation and sleep disorders like insomnia.
Why CBG is More Expensive and Uncommon
CBG poses a unique challenge to its cultivators, extractors, purveyors and fans: it’s much harder to come across. Typically, only trace amounts of this cannabinoid can be detected in fully mature plant matter. This is mainly due to the fact that CBG converts into other cannabinoids as hemp plants mature, meaning those who wish to isolate and work with CBG must choose between harvesting their crops prematurely for a lower yield of raw plant matter and allowing their crops to fully mature, keeping their income rolling from hemp’s other uses but yielding lower CBG content. As a result, it can take thousands of pounds of raw hemp to produce very small amounts of CBG.
Another issue with cultivating, extracting and distributing CBG is the cost of production. The extraction and isolation processes for this cannabinoid require expensive, specialized equipment, such as high-performance chromatography devices that are much more precise than those used to extract and isolate CBD and THC. These specialized apparatuses come with higher upfront and operating costs, leading to more expensive price tags for those who wish to use CBG.
There’s a third major cause for the discrepancy between the lower prices of CBD and THC and the higher prices of CBG: bioavailability. Raw hemp can only contain a finite amount of cannabinoids; since the nation’s demand for CBD and THC is much higher, growers and extractors generally tend to cultivate their products for these markets. States that have legalized cannabis use for medicinal or recreational purposes have seen a great degree of groundbreaking research into breeding plants that contain higher degrees of THC and lower amounts of other cannabinoids per volume, pushing lesser known cannabinoids out of the plants in favor of their more popular counterparts.
As a result, the cannabis industry has seen an ever-growing arms race between growers producing increasingly potent strains of the psychoactive plant. The CBD industry then applied these revolutionary concepts to breeding hemp plants with higher CBD yields to great effect, triggering the rise in CBD’s potency, popularity and availability on the market while the non-psychoactive compound’s prices continue to drop.
And therein lies the hope for tomorrow. While CBG might be the most expensive and “elite” cannabinoid on the market right now, we have reason to believe that might not be the case forever. If hemp can be bred under specific, differing conditions to produce higher yields of desired cannabinoids, it’s quite possible this can be done to encourage plants to produce larger amounts of CBG too.
The compound’s popularity is only just beginning to take off; perhaps we’ll see our first CBG heavy strains of hemp plants make their appearance on the scene over the next few years. These hypothetical CBG strains of hemp might even reach the potent cannabinoid contents of their specialized sisters someday!
What We’ve Experienced with CBG
Here at the Silver Owl CBD Company, we take our research and development stages extremely seriously. Beyond our lab testing, every new product we’re hoping to launch undergoes an extensive quality control process involving everyone on our team.
In other words, everyone here tries our Silver Owl products first and foremost! If we don’t like what we’re experiencing, our recipes go back to the drawing board and have to come back anew for another round of sampling before we approve the mass manufacturing of our final products. As we’ve experimented with CBG in anticipation of some hot new irons in the fire (*wink wink*), we’ve taken down some notes from our personal experimentations to share with you, our readers.
Here are the three results most commonly observed by the good folks in the Silver Owl Team after personally experimenting with CBG for a week:
- Decreases in restlessness, sleep disturbances and insomnia (during one of our R&D meetings, my beloved and wonderful teammate, Christy, went so far as to loudly proclaim, “It knocked me the [expletive deleted] out!” We all got a good chuckle out of that one!)
- Pain and inflammation relief- especially in our knees and backs (through the course of our most recent personal tests, I’ve realized I never once had any clue how many of us deal with bad knees and backs…)
- Improvements in our mental and emotional states (though we suspect these effects are not only due to CBG’s direct impact on our psychological health, but also come from the increase in physical relief we’re experiencing)
*These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA. Our products are not intended, nor are to be used, to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you or your loved ones have serious health concerns, please consult a physician,a trained medical or veterinary professional, or emergency medical services.