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CBD Vs CBG: What Should I Choose?

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If you're like us and have your finger on the pulse of cannabis news, you've probably seen a lot of buzz surrounding a new cannabinoid, cannabigerol (CBG).

It's not technically a new cannabinoid by any means, but the popular cannabinoids CBD and THC have long overshadowed its attention. By now, you may be familiar with CBD for its benefits towards supporting a healthy and natural state of well-being—so what is CBG good for and is it something worth adding to your wellness routine?

In this article, we'll explore the difference between CBG and CBG and compare what each cannabinoid may offer in terms of effects. 

What Does CBG Mean?

CBG stands for cannabigerol, and it's a non-intoxicating cannabinoid mostly derived from hemp Cannabis sativa plants produce hundreds of other cannabinoids, including THC and CBD.

Cannabinoids are found in the resin glands (trichomes) produced on the flowers of mature cannabis plants, along with terpenes and fatty acids. It's believed that the plant produces these compounds to protect from harsh climate conditions and pests.

The raw form of CBG is CBGa or cannabigerolic acid. Cannabigerolic acid is often called the "stem-cell" or the "chemical precursors" to major cannabinoid acids, including tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, cannabidiolic acid, cannabichromenic acid.what are cannabinoids infographic

Why Is CBG More Difficult To Produce Than CBD?

Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) is formed in the early flowering period of the cannabis plant (3–4 weeks), so they're most abundant in younger cannabis plants. As the plant is exposed to UV from the sun, CBGa transforms into either THCa, CBDa, or CBCa, depending on the plant strain and other environmental factors.

Because CBGa transforms into the more abundant cannabinoids, CBG is present in low amounts as the cannabis plant matures, making it a minor cannabinoid (less than 0.1%). CBG extraction requires the use of specialized equipment called a chromatography apparatus to isolate the CBG from other cannabinoids for more refined CBG oils. However, plant breeders are experimenting with genetic manipulation to design hemp strains that preserve higher concentrations of CBG in its maturity alongside THC and CBD.

Is CBG Legal? CBG From Hemp Vs. Marijuana Plants

CBG operates under the same regulations as CBD products in the United States. It's entirely legal as long as it's harvested from hemp plants—not marijuana plants.

Hemp plants are defined as cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC—the main psychoactive cannabinoid. Young, flowering marijuana plants also contain CBG, but this source of CBG is not federally legal. 

However, CBD and other cannabinoid regulations may vary from state to state with the potential to change at any time. Always make an effort to stay engaged and informed on your local state laws. 

Unlike THC, CBG does not produce a high, so there's very little chances that CBG will become a banned substance, 

How Do We Get CBD, THC, and CBG?

Heat causes a chemical reaction, called decarboxylation, that breaks off a carbon atom chain, changing the chemical formula from CBDa to CBD, which you get in most CBD oil products. 

However, the effects of decarboxylation are most noticeable with THCa. To activate the compound's psychoactive properties, you need to cure or heat the THCa to break off the carbon chain to get THC to bind to specific receptors. It's also believed that heated cannabinoids have a molecular structure that is a better fit for receptors in the body, making them more bioavailable.

With more research delving into the properties of CBG, we're discovering that CBG shares many benefits similar to CBD and THC. Still, CBG also produces unique effects of its own, thanks to its distinctive molecular structure.

cannabinoid formation infographic

CBD Vs CBG Cannabinoid Structure

If we're comparing the molecular structure of CBD and CBG—that is, the arrangement of atoms that make up the cannabinoid—we'll see that they're quite different. This is important because the molecular structures indicate how they may behave in the body, a.k.a the pharmacology. cannabidiol vs cannabigerol infographic

The shape of these compounds gives us an idea of how they bind to different receptors to carry out potential therapeutic effects. You can think of receptors like keyholes—the shape of molecules has to bond perfectly to the receptor to elicit a specific action. 

Cannabinoids primarily interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, which is tasked with regulating other vital systems, including the immune response, metabolism, hormones, stress, and much more. 

There are two main cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system—CB1 and CB2. CBD has a low affinity to bind to these receptors. Instead, it helps increase the sensitivity of these receptors to bind to other cannabinoids.

CBG seems to have a better molecular shape to interact with CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the brain. CBG's shape also allows it to interact at the a2-adrenoceptor site to active relaxation and pain-masking actions [1].

What's The Difference Between CBG and CBD?

As CBG is the precursor molecule to CBD, it's no surprise that there are some similarities between them like anti-inflammatory potential, pain-relieving potential, and relaxation benefits. When it comes to the CBD vs CBG differences, here's a quick summary:

  1. Concentration in mature cannabis plants
  2. Cannabinoid's molecular structure
  3. How they interact in the body (pharmacology) 

CBG Benefits Vs CBD — Which Should I Choose?

As more popularity surrounds the cannabis industry in the health and wellness spaces, interesting studies are emerging to show us that CBG has potential for unique therapeutic benefits that shouldn't be underestimated. 

While most studies up until now have focused heavily on CBD and THC's uses, CBG is slowly making its way into the spotlight, and it has a promising future. 

Let's outline which cannabinoid would be best for a particular use case based on current research available. Keep in mind that we still have a long way to go to understand what CBG has to fully offer as research continues to emerge. 

Support A Healthy Stress Response

Both CBD and CBG can help manage stress.

Stress is a part of our fight-or-flight response and experiencing stress is not a bad thing. Its primary function is to provide an energy boost and fast-reaction time for self preservation—like encountering a hungry tiger. 

We're not faced with many tigers in everyday life (hopefully), so our fight-or-flight response reacts to modern stressors like tight work deadlines, financial problems, health issues, or relationships. 

When our stress isn't properly managed, we never activate the rest-and-digest response, which handles our recovery and digestion. When these systems go out of haywire, it can lead to a constellation of health problems. 

GABA is a neurotransmitter that acts as a brake pedal to the stress response [2]. In preclinical studies, CBG and CBG have been shown to slow the breakdown of GABA in the brain, which helps to induce a sense of calm, counteracting the stress response's hyperactivity [3]. 

Other lifestyle changes you can do to mitigate your stress levels include: 

  • Regular exercise
  • Prioritize sleep
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Take up a meditation practice
  • Seek professional counseling and therapy. 

Appetite Stimulation

CBG may help stimulate appetite. 

There can be many different reasons people may experience a lack of appetite from hormonal changes, adverse side effects from medication, and illnesses. Low food intake can lead to nutrition deficiencies, fatigue, weakness, and a long list of other health concerns. 

What does the science say about the benefits of CBG vs CBD when it comes to appetite? Well, CBG is also the precursor to the munchie cannabinoid, THC, and these two compounds share appetite-stimulating effects. 

CBG is a promising alternative to the high-inducing THC cannabinoid for someone looking to support a healthier appetite. It's been studied that CBG encouraged appetite stimulate in rates to level of normal food intake without negative side effects [4].

Here are other ways to overcome a poor appetite: 

  • Increase the intensity of physical activity
  • Schedule your meal times
  • Boost the flavor and smell of your food with aromatic herbs and spices
  • Choose calorie-dense foods for more energy 

To Natural Inflammatory Response

Both CBG and CBG may help to support a healthy inflammatory response. 

Inflammation is a natural part of our immune system. It's a complex system designed to product us from our environment, but it can lead to severe and long0term damage when it comes out of balance.

In a healthy immune system, immune cells scout the body for potential threats. When you sustain an injury and a foreign particle inters the system, these cells call for backup to eliminate the threat, which causes a normal inflammatory response [5]. 

The endocannabinoid system is tasked with maintaining equilibrium in the body, and one of its important functions is tied to regulating the immune response. 

A healthy ECS can help make sure that the immune cells don't go overboard on the attack, causing damage to the body's cells [6]. Any compound that strengthens the ECS can have a beneficial outcome for the immune response and inflammation. 

According to one study conducted on rats, CBG has limited actions on specific inflammatory markers that cause inflammation in the gut, which helped to reduce signs of inflammatory bowel disease and bladder dysfunctions in rats [7]. 

While CBD is quite famous for its benefits towards supporting the body's natural inflammatory response, more research is underway for the potential benefits of CBG. 

To Support Natural Recovery And Discomfort

Both CBG and CBG may support recovery and ease discomfort. 

During a strenuous workout, you're pushing your muscles to work harder than they're used to, causing microscopic tears to the muscle fibers. This is what's believed to cause achy muscles and discomfort, which can prevent you from hitting the gym again. 

Many athletes are looking for ways to decrease recovery times between workouts to maximize their efforts. With less pain in the muscles, you can get back into the action without causing injury and discomfort. 

One of the reasons you're feeling pain is due to the inflammation in the muscle fibers. Because the endocannabinoid system is closely linked with the immune response, any compound that strengthens the ECS can help to mitigate the effects of inflammation and the pain that comes with it. 

On top of this, both CBD and CBG may have analgesic properties through interactions with pain receptor sites that inhibit pain signals to the brain and help to relax tight or spastic muscles [8].

To Counteract The Psychoactive Effects Of THC

CBG and CBD may mitigate the undesirable effects of THC (paranoid, anxiousness, and impaired cognitive function). 

THC is the primary psychoactive compound produced in the cannabis plant. It has an affinity to bind with CB1 receptors in the brain, which causes a flood of neurotransmitter release, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine that causes an altered state of mind associated with a high. 

But if you were to choose only one cannabinoid—CBG vs CBG—to counteract THC's psychoactive properties, there's one that appears to have the most substantial effects, CBG. It's been observed anecdotally that young marijuana strains containing more CBG limited the plant's psychoactive effects. 

Upon further investigation, CBG blocks the THC's psychoactive effects by preventing THC from binding to the cannabinoid receptors that active the serotonin release [9]. 

THC is a cannabinoid with many potential therapeutic benefits of its own. However, due to its mind-altering effects, it remains illegal in many parts of the world. Even with changes in its legal status in some states, many people are still turned-off from the cannabinoid. CBG shows promise in mitigating THC's intoxicating effects so that more people may be able to include it in their health regimen. 

For Anticonvulsant Properties

CBD is found to be more effective as an anticonvulsant.

There is currently only one FDA-approved drug on the market made from pure CBD derived from hemp plants. Epiliodex is prescribed for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, which are rare and severe forms of epilepsy. 

Researchers found that the most well known cannabinoids, CBD and THC seem to be effective in murine studies for its anti-epileptic effects. However, the psychoactive nature of THC makes it an undesirable compound for therapeutic use [13]. 

While CBG may have sone anticonvulsant effects, it doesn't appear to be as potent as CBD or THC.

For Neuroprotective Properties

CBG may have more neuroprotective potential over CBD in preclinical studies. 

Neuroprotectants are substances that protect brain cells (neurons) from degenerating due to age, genetic predisposition, traumatic injury, or oxidative stress. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds tend to also excellent neuroprotective agents. 

In anecdotal accounts of CBG oil use, many people report feeling a calm, centered focus, making it an ideal supplement for daytime use for productivity and concentrated tasks


Further Research Highlighting Potential CBG Extract Uses

Most research on CBG uses in health and wellness is conducted on animals, but the outcomes have been promising for future human trials, which will be critical for fully understanding CBG extract's therapeutic effects.

  • CBG and other cannabinoids show antibacterial effects in pre-clinical trails against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a highly contagious bacterial skin infection [10].
  • In murine studies, purified CBG was found to show positive results for treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by mitigating the overactive inflammatory response in the gut [11].
  • There are many anecdotal reports of CBG oil for bladder dysfunctions. In murine subjects, CBG isolate was found to reduce acetylcholine-induced urinary bladder contractions [12].

Minor cannabinoids are becoming more popular as research like this emerges on their potential benefits, but there are still no FDA-approved cannabis-based product for these conditions. It's always best to consult your health care professional for advice before turning to any CBD or CBG oil. 


Where Can You Find CBG Oil?

Most hemp-based products focus on CBD because of the limited research surrounding CBG, and its lower concentration in crop harvests. That being said, you've likely experienced the benefits of CBG in full spectrum hemp extracts.

As the name suggests, full spectrum extracts maintain most of the hemp plant's natural cannabinoid compound, and they're considered the most potent extract type for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Still, most full spectrum extracts only contain trace amounts of CBG.

Thanks to its increasing popularity, hemp breeders are looking to produce higher CBG concentrations in their mature plants. More and more brands are beginning to recognize the benefits of CBG and are supplementing CBG isolate into their full spectrum extracts for an added boost.

Like with shopping for any cannabis product, it's important to remember not all CBD oil or CBG oils will be worth your money.

neurogan cbg gummy squares

Final Thoughts: CBG vs CBD

CBG is slowly making its way into the mainstream of the CBD industry, which means you'll soon be able to shop with even more variety in the market.

While there's still more research needed to understand the full benefits CBG has to offer, it's unsurprising that it shares many similarities to CBD and THC. Rather than looking for a CBG isolate, CBG is better off than other cannabinoids, much like CBD is more effective in a full spectrum extract.

When shopping for CBD or CBG oils, make sure you're doing your diligence with research and shopping with reputable brands that can show you transparency in their business practice and have a reliable customer service team who can answer your concerns.

Neurogan CBG products are made from Farm Bill-compliant hemp crops with less than 0.3% THC in our full spectrum CBG. For those looking to avoid THC altogether, our CBG oils and gummies come in THC-broad spectrum extracts as well to cater to many people's wellness needs.

If you've tried a CBG product, we'd love to know your experience. Feel free to comment below.

Resources:

  1. Resources:

    1. Navarro, G., Varani, K., Reyes-Resina, I., Sánchez de Medina, V., Rivas-Santisteban, R., Sanchez-Carnerero Callado, C., ... & Franco, R. (2018). Cannabigerol action at cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors and at CB1–CB2 heteroreceptor complexes. Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 632.Chicago
    2. Jie, F., Yin, G., Yang, W., Yang, M., Gao, S., Lv, J., & Li, B. (2018). Stress in regulation of GABA amygdala system and relevance to neuropsychiatric diseases. Frontiers in neuroscience, 12, 562.
    3. Banerjee, S. P., Snyder, S. H., & Mechoulam, R. A. P. H. A. E. L. (1975). Cannabinoids: influence on neurotransmitter uptake in rat brain synaptosomes. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 194(1), 74-81.
    4. Brierley, D. I., Samuels, J., Duncan, M., Whalley, B. J., & Williams, C. M. (2016). Cannabigerol is a novel, well-tolerated appetite stimulant in pre-satiated rats. Psychopharmacology, 233(19), 3603-3613.
    5. Chaplin, D. D. (2010). Overview of the immune response. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 125(2), S3-S23.
    6. Pandey, R., Mousawy, K., Nagarkatti, M., & Nagarkatti, P. (2009). Endocannabinoids and immune regulation. Pharmacological research, 60(2), 85-92.
    7. Borrelli, F., Fasolino, I., Romano, B., Capasso, R., Maiello, F., Coppola, D., ... & Izzo, A. A. (2013). Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. Biochemical pharmacology, 85(9), 1306-1316.
    8. Russo, E. B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 4(1), 245.
    9. Cascio, M. G., Gauson, L. A., Stevenson, L. A., Ross, R. A., & Pertwee, R. G. (2010). Evidence that the plant cannabinoid cannabigerol is a highly potent α2‐adrenoceptor agonist and moderately potent 5HT1A receptor antagonist. British journal of pharmacology, 159(1), 129-141.
    10. Appendino, G., Gibbons, S., Giana, A., Pagani, A., Grassi, G., Stavri, M., ... & Rahman, M. M. (2008). Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure− activity study. Journal of natural products, 71(8), 1427-1430.
    11. Borrelli, F., Fasolino, I., Romano, B., Capasso, R., Maiello, F., Coppola, D., ... & Izzo, A. A. (2013). Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. Biochemical pharmacology, 85(9), 1306-1316.
    12. Pagano, E., Montanaro, V., Di Girolamo, A., Pistone, A., Altieri, V., Zjawiony, J. K., ... & Capasso, R. (2015). Effect of non-psychotropic plant-derived cannabinoids on bladder contractility: focus on cannabigerol. Natural product communications, 10(6), 1934578X1501000653.
    13. Karler, R., Cely, W., & Turkanis, S. A. (1973). The anticonvulsant activity of cannabidiol and cannabinol. Life Sciences, 13(11), 1527-1531.


Disclaimer

The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

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