In the last several years, there has been a rise in the pursuit to lead more organic and holistic lifestyles directing consumers to cannabis-derived products for health, beauty, and wellness. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the main component found within the Cannabis Sativa making up nearly 40% of the hemp. CBG, short for cannabigerol, is known as the building block for well-known cannabis compounds CBD and THC; tetrahydrocannabinol.

CBG is referred to as “The Mother of All Cannabinoids” because other cannabinoids like THC and CBD are derived from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), an acidic form of CBG. You may be asking, “If CBG is considered the “mother of all cannabinoids”, shouldn’t it reap that much more in benefits than that of its offspring?” No, just different! Similar to human life, when mothers are expecting they are advised by their obstetrician to take prenatal vitamins high in folic acid, iron, and iodine lucrative for the baby’s healthy development. With that knowledge alone, you can imagine the abundance of nutrients the expectant mother must carry to reproduce healthy thriving babies or when translating this to the cannabis world, “buds.” You can say CBG is a minor cannabinoid but it is different when it acts directly on the endocannabinoid system, and carries different sorts of effects than the more common CBD.

1. What does the cannabinoid CBG do?

While there is still plenty to learn about how CBG affects our bodies, studies show CBG to include great medical benefits ranging from neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-nausea (advantageous for chemotherapy patients), and pro-appetite effects which can aid in illnesses like anorexia. Recent studies have even shown that CBG may hold benefits relating to treatment of Crohn’s disease and neurological disorders such as Huntington’s Disease and ALS. Other potential benefits show that using CBG in cancer treatment may slow the proliferation of cancer cells.

2. Disadvantages to CBG

There is one downside to CBG; market availability. It can take thousands of pounds of biomass to create small amounts of CBG isolate because it can only be found in the early stages of cannabis development. Growers are enthusiastic about experimenting with cross-breeding and genetic manipulation to help cannabis plants produce more of a yield percentage for CBG. In addition to it being such a hot commodity in the cannabis industry, the price of CBG is inevitably higher compared to the cost of CBD products. Do not fret! Science to the rescue! Before we know it, producers will be competing to get the best products at the best prices on the market.

3. What are the defining differences between CBD and CBG?

Each cannabinoid interacts differently with your naturally occurring cannabinoid system. CBG binds exclusively to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are located in the brain and throughout the body, while CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune and gastrointestinal system; although CB2 receptors are also found in the brain, they are not expressed quite as densely as CB1 receptors. Contrary to CBG binding, CBD only stimulates the cannabinoid system indirectly thus making it possibly less effective than CBG at alleviating pain.

4. Is CBG better than CBD? How do I know if CBG or CBD is the best option to remedy my symptoms? 

That is like asking, is running better than swimming? It depends on what you have in mind as your final goal. As both share similar qualities, CBG appears to be a compound that has shown promise in treating a variety of bacterial, neurological, inflammatory, and appetite issues, and has even been shown to slow cancer cells in some research studies. CBD, on the other hand, is more copious in the hemp plant thus making it more popular in the cannabis industry today which has resulted in more research and studies over time. CBD has shown the most benefits for those suffering from acne, anxiety, and depression. Luckily, cannabinoids come in various forms including CBD tinctures, CBD Bitters, CBD Topicals, and soon, the mother cannabinoid CBG will be coming to stores near you!