What Is CBG? Benefits, Risks And More

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A recent survey conducted by OnePoll for Forbes Health reveals that over 60% of adults in the United States have experimented with cannabidiol (CBD). Despite CBD’s widespread popularity, it is no longer the sole cannabinoid garnering attention. Cannabigerol (CBG), another active compound found in hemp and cannabis sativa plants, is gaining traction and is now frequently featured alongside CBD in various products.

Similar to CBD, CBG is derived from hemp; however, it does not produce the psychoactive effects associated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As we delve into the comparison between CBD and CBG, it becomes evident that while they share commonalities, there are distinct differences worth exploring. Understanding these nuances is crucial for those interested in the potential benefits and risks associated with the consumption of this emerging cannabinoid.

The growing popularity of CBG suggests a shifting landscape in the cannabinoid market, providing consumers with alternative options beyond CBD. Exploring the similarities and differences between CBD and CBG will empower individuals to make informed decisions about their cannabinoid preferences.

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What Is CBG?

CBG, often hailed as “the mother of all cannabinoids” by experts, serves as the foundational compound from which various other cannabinoids, including CBD, originate, according to insights from Michelle Sexton, a naturopathic doctor at the Pain Trauma Institute in San Diego. Positioned as the initial component in the biosynthesis of cannabinoids, CBG plays a crucial role in the production of other compounds within the cannabis plant.

Notably, CBG is commonly sourced from young cannabis plants since, as the plant matures, the CBG content diminishes, giving way to higher concentrations of THC and CBD, as explained by Dr. Sexton. Young cannabis plants contain cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), an acidic precursor to CBG. As the plant matures, CBGA naturally transforms into CBDA and THCA. Subsequently, under the influence of heat, these compounds can be converted into CBD and THC.

The versatility of CBG is reflected in its availability in various forms, such as tinctures, gummies, capsules, and topical creams and lotions. A common trend is the combination of CBG with CBD in these products, a strategy driven by the synergistic benefits offered by the two cannabinoids. Fraser Smith, a naturopathic doctor and assistant dean at the National University of Health Services in Lombard, Illinois, notes that this combination can contribute to reducing inflammation and alleviating pain, underscoring the potential complementary effects of CBG and CBD.

How Are CBG and CBD Different?

While CBD and CBG share the commonality of lacking psychoactive properties, Dr. Sexton emphasizes their distinct molecular compositions, resulting in nuanced effects on the body.

A significant contrast between CBD and CBG lies in the extent of research conducted on their respective actions and applications. Experts, including Dr. Sexton, highlight that CBD has been the subject of more extensive research compared to CBG. Studies on CBG are predominantly conducted on animals or small human groups, leading Dr. Sexton to caution that the potential benefits of CBG remain unsupported by comprehensive research.

Despite the limited research, some similarities and differences between CBG and CBD are acknowledged. Both compounds, as noted by Dr. Sexton, are non-psychoactive and possess anti-inflammatory properties, ensuring they do not induce a “high” reaction. However, due to variations in their molecular structures, these cannabinoids exert slightly different effects on the body.

For instance, preliminary studies suggest that CBG may act as an appetite stimulant, contrasting with CBD, which is more likely to act as an appetite suppressant. It is essential to note that additional research is required to substantiate these findings and explore other potential mechanisms of action for both CBG and CBD. As the scientific community delves deeper into the unique properties of these cannabinoids, a more comprehensive understanding of their distinct impacts on the body will likely emerge.

Potential Benefits of CBG

Similar to CBD, CBG is believed to offer potential benefits in addressing chronic pain, anxiety, and sleep-related issues. However, Dr. Sexton underscores the need for more robust research to substantiate and fully understand the impact of CBG on the body.

Although the scientific exploration of CBG is in its early stages, Dr. Smith expresses optimism regarding its potential to alleviate chronic pain due to its suggested anti-inflammatory properties. “CBG may assist in managing overall inflammation and contribute to specific pain reduction,” he suggests.

One notable aspect is CBG’s potential to stimulate appetite, which Dr. Smith sees as a potential asset for individuals undergoing cancer treatments, particularly those experiencing a loss of appetite. Additionally, emerging research is beginning to investigate whether CBG, especially when combined with CBD, could play a role in protecting against certain types of cancer. It is crucial to note that while these possibilities are intriguing, concrete human trials are still needed to validate these potential benefits and delve deeper into the therapeutic effects of CBG. As the field of cannabinoid research advances, a clearer understanding of CBG’s applications and efficacy is likely to emerge.

Potential Risks of CBG

It’s essential to note that CBG products currently lack regulation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To ensure both product safety and accurate labeling, reliance on third-party testing becomes paramount. Consumers are advised to seek out readily available test results on a company’s website, accompanied by the product’s certificate of analysis (COA).

Dr. Sexton emphasizes that, in general, CBG is considered safe for consumption, provided that the product matches its advertised content. The absence of regulatory oversight underscores the importance of conducting thorough research before purchasing CBG products. Due diligence in scrutinizing the transparency and credibility of manufacturers is crucial to make informed choices.

Individuals with underlying health conditions or those currently taking supplements or medications should exercise caution. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating any CBG-containing product into one’s regimen. This proactive approach ensures that potential interactions or health implications are addressed with professional guidance, contributing to a safer and more informed use of CBG products in diverse consumer contexts.

Who to Speak With About CBG

For individuals seeking comprehensive information about CBG, Dr. Smith recommends engaging with a naturopathic doctor who possesses specialized knowledge in herbs, including hemp. Naturopathic doctors often exhibit a deep understanding of holistic approaches to health and may offer insights that go beyond the scope of traditional medical practitioners.

When discussing CBG with a naturopathic doctor, it is crucial to provide a detailed overview of your interest in trying the cannabinoid. Additionally, disclosure of any underlying health conditions and a list of current medications, supplements, or substances being consumed is essential. This information ensures that the naturopathic doctor can offer personalized advice based on an individual’s unique health profile.

If, following the consultation, CBG aligns with your health goals, it is emphasized to source the product from a reputable supplier. Dr. Smith highlights the importance of verifying that the CBG products have undergone third-party laboratory testing, with accessible Certificates of Analysis (COAs) on the product’s official website. This commitment to transparency is fundamental in ensuring the quality and safety of CBG products.

While ongoing research continues to uncover the potential benefits of CBG, the existing scientific findings are promising. Engaging with a naturopathic doctor provides an opportunity for individuals to navigate the complexities of CBG use with personalized guidance, fostering a well-informed and health-conscious approach to incorporating this cannabinoid into one’s wellness routine.

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