What is CBG?

Brendan Porter

Here at Eight Horses Hemp, we frequently get asked about what the difference is between CBG and CBG.


Currently in the hemp industry there are two major players at work, CBD and CBG. They are both cannabinoids with their own benefits and uses, but how exactly do they differ? What uses do you have for each and who could really get more relief from one more than the other?


Lets look at what we know.

What is CBD?

 CBD has exploded in popularity around the world, now becoming as popular as THC, its long famed counterpart that gets you “high”. CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of at least 113 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, along with THC and CBG. Many people currently enjoy the benefits of CBD, which include increased appetite, help with anxiety, help with epilepsy, insomnia, PTSD, pain management, nausea, and its proven particularly beneficial to children with ailments because of its low psychoactivity. Between this and THC, what more could one need? That’s where CBG comes in.

What is CBG?

Cannabigerol, also known as CBG, is considered the “mother cannabinoid” to some because it is the precursor to all others. When cannabis plants are still developing, they produce CBG first. CBG starts off as CBGA (the raw or “acidic” form version of the compound).  CBGA then combines with enzymes to render THC, CBD or CBC (also from their acidic forms) later in the flowering cycle. Up until recently, CBG was the most expensive cannabinoid to extract since its only naturally produced in very small amounts inside cannabis plants. We have now cultivated strains of cannabis that are high in CBG throughout their life cycle, and CBG is now very affordable and accessible to anyone. 


Benefits of CBG:

So what are the benefits of CBG? While CBG has many of the same benefits as CBD (anti anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc), it’s built its own reputation as a powerful anti inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and most recently, an anti-bacterial. Its effects are also described as being more stimulating and clear than CBD. Its anti inflammatory properties are very promising, as many people report that upon using CBG, they instantly feel their muscles relax, bone and joint pain subside, and headaches melt away. This is extremely unique because although other strains of cannabis and certain cannabinoids also help in this way, nothing quite does it the way CBG does. 


CBG has also been found to be a potentially excellent anti-oxidant. Oxidative stress and inflammation in the human body causes neuronal cell death, which triggers and amplifies even more problems called neurodegeneration. Neurodegeneration leads to neurodegenerative diseases or disorders, some you may be familiar with like Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and PD-related disorders, Prion disease, Motor neurone diseases (MND), Huntington’s disease (HD), Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA), and Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Current research is being done to see if CBG can help treat and even prevent some of these ailments. 


How does CBG Work?

How does CBG accomplish all this and why hasn’t it been in use longer? Well, the “why” is simple. Because of prohibition and the drug war, we haven’t been able to properly research cannabis and all of its properties until recently. With the passing of the farm bill, low THC cannabis is now legal to cultivate and study. The emergence of CBG is because of that freedom. The “how” is a little more complicated. 


CBG interacts with receptors in our body and brain in a way some other cannabinoids don’t. One receptor is called the “alpha-2” receptor. This receptor is involved with the “calming” and “exciting” part of our nervous system, as well as regulates blood vessel dialation. When CBG binds to this receptor, it lowers blood pressure and decreases stress and anxiety. CBG also reacts with a part of our own endocannabinoid system, anandamide. Anandamide is known as the “bliss” hormone, and CBG blocks its reuptake, causing it to last longer, which leads to more, well, bliss.


The way that CBG works as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant is even more complicated, so we’ll spare you the scientific jargon. In a nutshell, CBG basically blocks and reduces certain oxidative markers that attack cells and cause neurodegeneration. Those oxidative markers are what cause the neurodegenerative diseases mentioned previously in this article. These are called neuroprotective properties and hopefully further research will unveil even more of these properties and develop them into effective treatments for patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

CBG v CBD

All of the technical stuff out of the way, its worth mentioning that CBG in its flower form looks different from CBD dominant flower. If you hold up a bud of CBD dominant flower and a bud of CBG dominant flower, you will notice a stark contrast in appearance. CBG flower looks like it has been snowed on, or left overnight and developed a layer of frost. This is because the trichomes on CBG flower stays completely white. Trichomes are glands full of resin with bulbous heads that appear on the flowering parts of the cannabis plant. They are commonly known as “crystals” due to their crystal-like appearance. 


Taking a whiff of some CBG dominant flower will also leave you with a unique experience. Contrary to the traditional “weed smell” that most cannabis has, CBG has what most describe as a creamy and lemony scent profile, much lighter and less pungent than other cannabis varieties, but still pleasant in its own right. Some users will find that mixing CBG and CBD together at one time provides a unique experience of effects all over the “spectrum” of cannabis psychotropic range. 


Overall, CBG and CBD are both great cannabinoids with their own suites of benefits and noticeable effects. With the freedom to cultivate and explore given from the Farm Bill, CBG is emerging as a promising cannabinoid for both medicinal and recreational use. Its price is dropping and availability is skyrocketing, and accessibility is easier than ever. Next time you’re looking for a new strain to try out, maybe think about trying a different cannabinoid in general. Perhaps you may benefit from CBG more than you know. 

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