You know THC. And right now we’re all loving CBD beauty products. But did you know that THC and CBD are just two of over one hundred other active goodies in hemp and cannabis plants called cannabinoids? Let’s paint another color into the cannabinoid rainbow: cannabigerol, or CBG!
Rainbows are a great metaphor for the beautifully diverse spectrum of active compounds in hemp and cannabis plants, but when we’re talking about CBG specifically the better metaphor is a family tree. Why? Because CBG is actually the mother of all cannabinoids.
CBG: The Mother Cannabinoid
When cannabinoids like THC or CBD are still in the living plants, they exist in an acidic form. You can think of these acidic cannabinoids as kind of like “raw” cannabinoids, and they’re easily distinguished by simply adding an “A” to already familiar acronyms like CBD. So CBD starts out its life as cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and THC begins as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) for example.
But where do CBDA and THCA come from? This is where mama CBGA comes into the picture. When hemp and cannabis plants are young and busy growing lots of new stalks and leaves, they also produce large amounts of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). The mother cannabinoid then waits patiently for the plant to mature and start producing flowers, when it gets busy making all the offspring that will grow up to be cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC) and dozens of other compounds.
Since CBGA has this foundational role as a building block, there isn’t typically much left in the mature plants by the time they are harvested and undergo processing for extraction. Historically, this has meant that CBG was expensive and hard to come by.
Recently, though, as public and scientific interest in CBG has begun to take off, breeders have been working on hemp and cannabis strains that have higher levels of CBG. Plants are also being harvested earlier to preserve CBG before it’s transformed into other cannabinoids.
What Is The Difference Between CBD and CBG?
Both CBD and CBG impact us via an ancient bodily system called the endocannabinoid system (or the ECS). This innate system is in you, me, your cat, my dog and every other mammal on the planet (plus lots of other creatures too).
The ECS works tirelessly, through a vast network of cannabinoid receptors that are all over our body, to maintain balance in the face of all kinds of stressors — pollution, anxiety, injury and illness to name a few. The ECS also impacts a wide range of body basics like mood, metabolism, pain, sleep and appetite.
When cannabinoids like CBG interact with the receptors in the ECS, they activate a cellular response that produces effects in the body. Like CBD, CBG may help improve mood, reduce pain and inflammation and keep our skin happy.
Aside from being invaluable to the plants (and to us) by providing the building blocks for all other cannabinoids, CBG has been getting more and more attention for its own unique wellness and health benefits. So what does CBG do exactly?
Deep Dive: CBG vs. CBD
The Benefits of CBG
We’re still in the very early days of discovery, but initial studies are suggesting that CBG can increase levels of anandamide, or “the bliss molecule,” in our bodies. Anandamide helps regulate all kinds of basic biological functions like appetite, mood, sleep and immunity.
CBG also seems to offer up potent antibacterial and antimicrobial effects, along with the ability to reduce pain and inflammation. CBG might also be valuable in protecting the body and brain through its antioxidant properties.
Does CBG Get You High?
Like CBD, CBG is non-intoxicating: it won’t create the euphoria or high feeling associated with THC. This is because, like CBD, CBG doesn’t really interact with the receptors in your brain (the CB1 receptors) that would induce that feeling.
Related: 5 CBD Myths Debunked
What Is CBG Used For? Beauty, Skincare and More
Right now, thanks to its antioxidant properties, CBG is making its debut in beauty products designed to support the general health of the skin.
Research also suggests that CBG might be especially helpful in taming skin inflammation, easing the itchiness and discomfort of dry skin, and in impacting oil glands. These effects could prove useful for maintaining a happy, balanced scalp and healthier hair.
Aside from in beauty and wellness products featuring CBG as a star ingredient, you’ll also find the small amounts of CBG naturally present in plants in most full- or broad-spectrum hemp products on the market, like in the CBD oils you might already be using or our GRO+ Advanced Hair Serum or GRO+ Advanced Lash & Brow Kit. VEGAMOUR even offers GRO+ Advanced Replenishing Shampoo and Conditioner with CBD.
Medical Uses for CBG
Initial medical research is showing there might be a whole host of applications for this hot new cannabinoid.
Data suggests that CBG might help reduce the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma, kill the stubborn bacteria associated with MRSA staph infections and kill cancer cells. Initial studies show it might be helpful in treating bladder conditions and easing inflammation caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
CBG: The Next Big Thing in Beauty?
Given the increasing interest in and excitement around CBG, we’re seeing more and more health and beauty products featuring it including hair products, skincare products and more. The possibilities are endless — and the cannabis world is just getting started with CBG.
We are also seeing more cannabis and hemp strains being cultivated for higher levels of this new and intriguing cannabinoid.
As folks discover how CBG works for them and researchers round out our understanding of the cannabinoid, CBG might just be the next darling of the cannabinoid family.
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