What Is Cannabigerol (CBG)? Uses & Benefits

Area 52
September 06, 2021 | Blog

CBG is an up-and-coming cannabinoid that’s gained a lot of hype over the last couple of months.

Is CBG all it’s cracked up to be? Why should I be interested?

Here’s everything you need to know about the so-called “cannabinoid stem cell.”

What Is CBG?

Illustration of CBG chemical structure

Cannabigerol (CBG) is a cannabinoid found in marijuana and hemp. It’s a precursor to CBD, CBC, and THC.

All cannabis makes CBG. The difference between hemp and marijuana comes down to how each plant metabolizes CBG.

Marijuana plants produce more enzymes that convert CBG to THC; hemp has more enzymes that convert CBG to CBD instead.

This cannabinoid is non-psychoactive with some overlap with both CBD and THC. It’s non-psychoactive but has a mild cognitive effect similar to Delta 8 THC. Users remain clear-headed but may feel more in-tune or focused with whatever they’re working on.

This is why CBG products are most often positioned as productivity enhancers or daytime cannabinoid supplements.

Does CBG Get You High?

CBG is non-psychoactive, so it doesn’t produce a high. 

While some people might see this as a drawback, it opens up CBG for more mainstream use.

People can take CBG during a regular working day or school day to reap the potential mental benefits without the cloudiness of a psychoactive high.

How Is CBG Made?

Fully “ripe” cannabis buds have about 1% concentrations of CBG — a paltry amount compared to the approximately 25% concentrations of CBD or THC in most cannabis or hemp plants.

In order to extract CBG, manufacturers extract it from young marijuana or hemp plants before it’s converted to another cannabinoid.

Recently, researchers have put some effort into genetically engineering cannabis plants to produce more CBG, making it easier and more cost-effective to produce consumable CBG products.

How Does CBG Work?

Cannabinoids like CBG work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is made up of a series of receptors found throughout the body that regulate homeostasis (balance). All organisms on Earth that have a central nervous system have an endocannabinoid system — not just humans.

The two main receptors in the endocannabinoid system are the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors are found in the central and peripheral nervous system and interact with your brain’s neurotransmitters, while CB2 receptors are primarily in the immune system.

CBG binds with both CB1 and CB2 receptors but doesn’t activate them. This makes it functionally different from CBD, which doesn’t bind directly to either of these receptors — nor like THC, which binds and activates them.

Is CBG Natural?

CBG is 100% natural and forms during the initial growth cycles of cannabis plants. Some confusion surrounding CBG’s natural status comes from the process used to extract it from cannabis plants.

Since CBG is only present in cannabis in low concentrations, CBG manufacturers use sophisticated extraction processes, usually involving CO2 or ethanol, to extract usable amounts of CBG from cannabis and hemp plants.

Is CBG Legal?

Metal Gavel Beside the Hemp Leaf in a Surface

CBG is legal, but it’s a bit complicated.

CBG is not a scheduled drug, according to the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. This means that it’s not internationally regulated, so countries don’t have to regulate it in their jurisdiction.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, CBG derived from marijuana is federally illegal, while CBG derived from hemp is legal.

The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp plants and all components of them, including CBG.

When shopping for CBG, make sure to double-check the THC content. It’s common to find CBG products made with delta 8 or delta 9 THC for added effect. These products are legal in some states and illegal in others.

CBG vs. CBD: What’s the Difference?

Chemically speaking, CBG and CBD look quite similar. Both molecules are made exclusively from carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and they have similar chemical formulas.

However, biologically speaking, they have several significant differences.

1. CBG vs. CBD: Effect & Benefits

CBG and CBD differ in how they interact with your body’s cannabinoid receptors. CBG interacts readily with CB1 and CB2 receptors, while CBD does not, giving them different pharmacological effects.

Despite these differences, they also have similar effects; the prime example is that CBD and CBG users report that they both help manage racing thoughts and anxiousness.

CBD is generally regarded as the better option for pain and inflammation, while CBG is better-suited for improving focus and concentration.

2. CBG vs. CBD: Medical Research

Research on the effects of CBG is scarce compared to the troves of research available on CBD.

However, CBG research is becoming more prominent as scientists investigate it as a potential treatment for several conditions that CBD is ineffective at treating.

3. CBG vs. CBD: Availability

A key difference between CBG and CBD is availability. Producing CBG takes approximately 20 times more plant matter than producing the same amount of CBD, making CBG prices comparatively higher.

CBD is still more popular due to its ready availability and reasonable prices. Most companies that could produce CBG choose to manufacture CBD instead, which simply involves waiting a bit longer for the plant to mature. A major breakthrough in CBG production techniques is likely required for CBG to match CBD’s popularity.

How to Make the Effects of CBG Stronger

CBG in the Dropper

If you’re interested in taking CBG to improve your productivity and enhance your cognitive performance, you can do a few other things to make it even more effective.

1. Only Use CBG When Necessary

First, and most importantly, is only to use CBG when you really need a mental boost.

Because CBG binds to CB1 receptors, repeated frequent use can reduce your body’s sensitivity to CBG, making it less effective over time.

Save CBG for when you have a big test coming up or are entering a crunch period at work.

2. Build Good Habits

Second, build other productivity-boosting habits into your daily life. Getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular, moderately intense exercise will help improve your mental clarity and focus.

Put yourself in a position to be as productive as possible; when you take CBG, you’ll be starting from a better place than you otherwise would. This allows CBG to provide the little extra push you need to get into the zone rather than relying on it to do all the work by itself.

3. Use CBG With Stress-Reduction Practices

Finally, try to limit your stress by practicing sound mental health habits. Daily meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress, and lower stress levels are associated with better cognitive performance. Keeping a daily journal can also reduce stress by relieving your brain of the burden of remembering everything you’re thinking.

Key Takeaways: What Is CBG?

CBG is a less-known cannabinoid found in small amounts in cannabis plants. It has similar effects to CBD but is considered the best cannabinoid for improving cognition, focus, and productivity.

Unfortunately, CBG products are significantly harder to find and more expensive than CBD products due to how difficult it is to extract from marijuana and hemp. Mature cannabis plants contain about 20 times less CBG than CBD or THC, making it expensive to produce even small amounts of CBG.

There have been some promising techniques for increasing CBG yields in the last few years, but a significant amount of work still needs to be done to take CBG to the next level as a consumable product. It will also likely become cheaper as it grows in popularity and more companies begin to manufacture it.

Overall, CBG could be a helpful addition to your routine, but don’t expect it to work any miracles.

May we suggest?