Cannabigerol (CBG) is a minor cannabinoid, which means it doesn't exist naturally in very large quantities naturally in cannabis plants. It's not as well-known as CBD or THC, but CBG has become a popular cannabinoid in the health and wellness space with many similarities to CBD.
As a cannabis-derived compound, a common question is whether or not CBG can get you high.
Most people don't experience intoxicating effects with CBG that you would get with THC. However, scientific research shows a lot of potential for CBG towards brain health, which why many people are using it as a productivity tool for sharpening focus and attention.
In this article, we'll discuss why CBG doesn't induce a similar high to THC use in marijuana and briefly discuss what research shows about its potential for supporting brain health.
What Is CBG?
Cannabigerol (CBG) is the subject of a growing body of cannabis-related research. While you might be familiar with CBD and THC, the main cannabinoids from cannabis plants, CBG is a newcomer to the cannabis market—but it's by no means a "new" compound. In fact, CBG is the precursor molecule to THC and CBD.
Technically, the real mother cannabinoid is the acidic form of CBG, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).
Unprocessed cannabis plants contain the acidic forms of the well-known cannabinoids. For example, cannabigerol exists in its acidic form, (CBGA). So until heat is applied, CBG, CBD, THC, and CBC are CBGA, CBDA, THCA, and CBCA.
Through the plant’s life cycle, CBGA is converted to the acidic form of other cannabinoids. CBGA becomes THCA, CBDA, CBCA, etc. Since the different cannabinoids all start from the same source, they’re similar in shape and effect.
The shape of the cannabinoid molecule plays an important role in how THC, CBD, and CBG influence the body.
Homeostasis and the Cannabinoids in Action
The Brain-Body Connection
Homeostasis is the automation of staying the same. It allows animals to maintain an optimal body state by responding to external stimuli—like changing temperature, stress, fear, etc. The ability to self-regulate is a useful adaptation, which is why it is so common in the animal kingdom.
These receptors bind to chemicals, and the strength of that bond produces some action (or prevents one from occurring). These actions could be sending a signal, opening or closing a channel, or releasing another chemical, among others.
THC vs. CBG
The endocannabinoid system was discovered due to research on the psychoactive effects of THC. The illegal status of marijuana slowed down a lot of progress in investigating its effects, so much of the findings are relatively recent (in the early 1990s) . Until now, we didn’t know how cannabinoids worked in the human brain.
THC was shown to activate two receptors, creatively called CB1 and CB2, for Cannabinoid Receptors 1 and 2.
The strong activation of CB1, in particular, is what makes THC psychoactive. When stimulated, the CB1 can change mood, balance, and perception. Cannabinoids primarily interact with the CB1 and CB2, but they are sometimes observed to have unique effects at other receptor sites.
CBG is considered non-psychoactive, because it doesn't activate the CB1 receptors as drastically as THC, but it goes the extra mile. One of the other effects of CBG is that it may make THC less active .
When CBG binds with CB1, it's not powerful enough to cause an intoxicating effect, but gets in the way of THC from binding to the receptor. You could say that CBG limits the psychotropic effects of THC by running interference.
In marijuana and full spectrum cannabis plant products, the presence of CBG is thought to mellow the overall experience . This is called the "entourage effect." It's believed that when taken together, cannabinoids are more effective, provide a better experience, and have fewer unwanted side effects.
How Can CBG Help With Productivity
CBG May Benefit Focus
Granted, mental focus may not be the first thing to come to mind when discussing cannabinoids.
Most people who take THC, for example, don't generally claim it helps with mental alertness. However, anecdotal accounts from cannabigerol isolate users mention that it provides a positive effect on focus.
Recent studies have found that CBG binds strongly with a very specific location in the brain, the alpha-2 adrenergic receptors . Interestingly, these receptors are well-established targets for pharmaceuticals that manage heart rate, pain, and issues related to hyperactivity and impulse control [5, 6].
The same research also reported that CBG, in clinical settings, appears to inhibit the activity of another receptor, 5-HT1A. This receptor impacts mood. 5-HT1A is part of the system that manages serotonin, one of the hormones responsible for a feeling of well-being.
Inhibitors of this receptor may prolong the time serotonin is active in the body.
It’s not yet known how, or if, CBG interacts with these receptors in the human brain. Still, studies like this have significant implications since they show that CBG can at least interact with these receptors that influence our concentration and mood. As the research matures, CBG’s impact on focus and sense of wellbeing is sure to be included.
CBG May Support The Brain's Ability To Build New Connections or Repair Damaged Ones
Other studies have shown that CBG may have a beneficial effect on brain health overall through an effect called “neuroprotection” .
The brain is an incredibly resilient organ that can repair itself even after traumatic injuries. The brain's ability to adapt and repair is called "neuroplasticity." Compounds with neuroprotective qualities are shown to support the brain's regenerative functions and help to protect brain cells' structure and function.
Multiple cannabinoids are being investigated for helpful neuroprotective properties. Among those, CBD, THC, and, yes, CBG, have been shown to exhibit these properties in lab testing on animals . Since the research is ongoing, only time will tell if these positive effects are seen in humans.
Where Can I Buy CBG Oil?
CBG is legal to purchase and consume as long as it comes from Farm Bill compliant hemp plants, containing THC concentrations of 0.3% or less.
Since CBG is a minor cannabinoid, most abundant in hemp plants, it's difficult to source. Many companies are breeding CBG dominant hemp strains and harvesting them early to extract concentrated quantities of CBG for CBG oil and other products.
Since so much research is popping up about the benefits of CBG, many CBD brands are jumping on the wave and producing their own line of CBG products made from either CBG-rich hemp strains or CBG isolate.
The best place to shop for CBG products is online, where you can browse in the comfort of your home, with plenty of options, and more importantly, have access to third-party lab tests to verify the safety of your product.
How to Consume CBG
Most people find the best effects from their CBG products as full spectrum extracts.
Full spectrum contains a wide range of cannabinoids and terpenes—not just CBG—to create a stronger and more balanced effect profile, thanks to the entourage effect.
You can also products only containing CBG as the active ingredient, which is made by isolating the compound from a full spectrum extract. You may find that you need a higher dose of CBG isolate products to achieve the same desired effects.
What Do The Side-Effects Of CBG Feel Like?
The side effects of CBG are similar to that of CBD—very mild and temporary.
Natural cannabinoids are observed to be well-tolerated, but if you take too much it can produce some unwanted side effects. People have reported feeling nauseous, upset stomachs, headaches, and drowsiness when they've taken too much CBG.
This is why it's important to start with small amounts of CBG to understand your tolerance.
If you're using a CBG topical, always patch test on your skin to make sure you don't have any reactions to ingredients in the product.
We always recommend that you speak with your primary care practitioner before adding a new compound to your wellness routine, especially if you have a health condition or are on any medication.
The Takeaway: Does CBG Get You High?
Cannabinoids can affect everyone differently, but most people don't experience an intoxicating effect using CBG and CBD like they would from THC in marijuana.
As long as your CBG product is derived from Farm Bill compliance cannabis plants, it should be federally legal and technically non-intoxicating.
There are many similarities between CBD and CBG in terms of supporting a healthy lifestyle, but one of the more notable effects of CBG oil is its ability to combat some of the adverse effects of THC and its potential for brain health.
But before you check out those products in the cart, always look to the company's Certificate of Analysis on the extract used to ensure it's safe and contains the listed potency and cannabinoid profile.
To learn more about the different cannabinoids and how to use them, you can visit our blog or get updates sent straight to your inbox by subscribing to our Insider Scoop.
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