More than 120 different kinds of cannabinoids are out there, and only a precious few have been studied. But that’s all about to change. The U.S. government announced in January that it will offer $1.5 million dollars in grants to researchers studying the effects of minor cannabinoids, focusing on three in particular: cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG).
Chances are you’re already familiar with CBD, that intoxicating anti-inflammatory elixir that can be found in everything from dog treats to mascara nowadays. You may even know a thing or two about CBN, a cannabinoid known for its sedating effect that’s popular for treating insomnia. But when it comes to CBG, there’s a great big question mark in the sky, largely because there have been no human studies conducted yet on this elusive cannabinoid.
CBG is short for cannabigerol, a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis plants. Often dubbed “the OG cannabinoid,” you can think of CBG as the stem cell equivalent of cannabinoids. All cannabinoids start out as CBG and then undergo a transformative process in which they’re converted to other compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Thanks to this remarkable property, CBG shows great promise with regard to potential medical benefits.
“There is growing evidence that CBG has many potential therapeutic applications for a variety of diseases and conditions,” says Bernd O. Keller PhD, senior research scientist at Salvation Botanicals. “CBG’s capability to bind to both endocannabinoid receptors in the human body—CB1 and CB2—without causing any psychotropic effects like THC does makes it an ideal study compound for health researchers.”
CBG has the potential to help manage conditions like depression and anxiety, as studies show it can help regulate mood thanks to its ability to act as a GABA reuptake inhibitor. It can also boost low moods due to its uncanny ability to block the reuptake of anandamide (your natural “bliss” molecule), making it more available within the body. CBG appears to help protect cells in your brain from decay or damage, which is probably why it’s currently being studied for a variety of disorders like Huntington’s Disease.
We’re not just talking about ailments of the mind, either. CBG’s unique properties also affect the body in a variety of ways. The most prolific is its potential ability to fight cancer cells, but that’s by no means where the list ends. CBG can potentially help with inflammatory conditions like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), glaucoma and even bladder spasms. It’s great for skin and can help treat ailments as serious as MRSA. Its analgesic properties are also significant enough that a patent was announced this year “on oral care compositions comprising cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (“CBD”) and/or cannabigerol (“CBG”)” by AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it started showing up in your toothpaste.
“CBG has been proven as a powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent,” says AXIM’S CEO John Huemoeller. “These properties make it ideal for our oral health products. We have formulated a proprietary CBD/CBG combination that AXIM has proven is incredibly effective in treating symptoms associated with atopic dermatitis such as itching and dryness.”
But what use are all these claims without any evidence? No studies currently exist on how CBG affects humans, so we have to go to the anecdotal evidence to get a feeling for how this compound has affected folks.
I have personally experienced profound relief with CBG. In terms of managing anxiety, stress and depression, it’s been a godsend. All of the intrusive, rapidly cycling negative thoughts I used to experience on a daily basis seemed to vanish, and now I feel “normal” for the first time in my life. Panic attacks? Fuck Xanax. All I need is to pop a Level Blends CBG tablingual and poof, goodbye panic attack!
Everyone’s body is different, of course, so everyone will experience different effects. I looked through Flower Child’s social media—a lead maker of CBG tinctures—to get an idea of how CBG affects others. Many report it’s been very helpful in managing conditions like ADHD, autism and anxiety. The following are a few examples:
“My little boy is undiagnosed but suspected to have ASD…He has sleeping, eating and sensory issues as well as language delay…As time went on we realized he could not understand the words he read and had only a few words of functional communication. He is 3 now and just started CBD therapy and CBG as well. He is doing awesome. Immediate language results! My little boy is speaking sentences. He is joining his family. He is sleeping and eating better. This is my jam right here. Thank you!!!!!”
“I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks occasionally but with this CBG oil, I’ve felt really good, really positive and happy…”
“I’m on the autism spectrum and have been taking CBD for about 8 months. This brand of CBG was recommended and it’s been helping with issues like social anxiety and feeling comfortable in general. It helps to take away that feeling of vulnerability where people’s looks can make me feel shame or fear. Eye contact and speech have gone up without even making that a goal…It’s relieving a lot of suffering in many people.”
You can also find a few CBD/CBG tincture blends as well. Flower Child has a 50/50 blend (CBD/CBG) available, while Steve’s Goods has a 20:1 CBD to CBG tincture. A quick peek at the Steve’s Goods reviews suggest the tincture might help people manage a variety of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The following are a few examples:
“Use it to manage PTSD symptoms and I notice on days when I forget to take it.”
“Helps a lot with my dislocated ac joint pain and helps with my PTSD.”
Okay, so where can I get my hands on some? Another solid question.
“CBG is incredibly expensive to produce and therefore is rarely included in products on the market now,” says Huemoeller.
Manufacturers haven’t really invested time in CBG up until now, guided by consumers’ ever present desire to get their hands on large amounts of THC. Consumers, however, had other ideas in mind.
“We recognized at a very early stage that the oils we were producing with higher CBG percentages were particularly beneficial to us and our customers, especially in the medical market,” says Marley Bankoff, Founder of Evolvd.
Based in Oregon, Evolvd is one of the proud few that have some great CBG products available. Their Living Resin line of cartridges, for instance, boast high amounts of CBG thanks to a unique proprietary process that carefully preserves every compound found in the cannabis flower as it’s processed into oil. Others, like their “Cookiehead” cartridge, clock in at an especially high 6.44 percent CBG.
Many other kinds of CBG products are out there. You have CBG tinctures, sure, but then you also have CBG salves that seem to improve skin conditions. There are also CBG capsules and even CBG isolate. And let’s not forget flower, either. I purchased High Noon Cultivation’s Blue Steel exclusively for its 5.94-percent CBG content, and let me tell you, nothing seems to stop a bad mood in its tracks like CBG.
“Consumers are continuing to focus less on THC percentages and more on the symbiotic relationship between all the compounds in the cannabis plant. As this exploration into other compounds expands, we expect there to be a steady increase in demand for products that feature minor cannabinoids like CBG,” Bankoff wisely notes.
Follow Janelle at @jenkhari.