You’ve undoubtedly heard of CBD, which is a particular compound (called a cannabinoid) derived from a cannabis plant. It can come from the hemp plant, which has less than .3% THC (which is what makes people feel “high”) or from the marijuana plant which can have over this 0.3% THC limit. CBD has been hailed as the “fix-all” for many maladies. But this article is about something else…

Sometimes called “the new CBD,” a cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG) delivers its own set of health benefits and is only now starting to get the attention it deserves.

What is CBG?

The letters “CBG” stand for the scientific term, “cannabigerol” [1]. So far, there have been limited major studies done on CBG to definitively show its benefits. However, there are numerous non-human research projects that have pointed to possible ways CBG could help us:  fighting cancer, brain degeneration and colitis.

One challenge researchers face is that CBG is such a tiny part, percentage-wise, of the common cannabis plant that it’s difficult to do wide-scale studies on it in a lab or elsewhere.

There’s another obstacle to research that is purely market-driven: CBG can only be derived from plants in the pre-flowering stages, before they produce marketable, and highly profitable, cannabidiol (CBD). Few growers are willing to harvest large segments of their cash crops in order to produce a substance that hasn’t built a big market demand yet. In scientific terms, CBG is a “precursor” to CBD, which means it only shows up in the plant before CBD is produced. It affects the human body via the same general pathway [2] that CBD does.

The main thing to remember, amid all the science and chemistry talk, is this: CBG is a completely different compound than the CBD we know so well, even though it is a cannabinoid produced by the same plant during the same life-cycle.

How is CBG different than CBD?

We already mentioned that CBG starts to appear in a growing cannabis plant before CBD does. Here are the differences and similarities:

Differences:

  • Their chemical structures are not at all the same
  • Their medical uses are different
  • CBG tends to make you hungry: In numerous animal studies, CBG tended to ramp up appetites for food. CBD has not been known to have that effect on people or animals.

Similarities:

  • Neither will get you high
  • They are both cannabinoids and are derived from the same plant
  • They have similar, but not identical, medical uses
  • They both counteract the “high” effect of THC in marijuana

Medical Studies of CBG

Here’s where the CBG science gets interesting. All the claims about what CBG might be able to do are based on a handful of studies that are not what scientists would call conclusive proof of effectiveness. But there is promise in the early reports from the scientific community about what CBG has the potential to achieve:

  • Reduce inflammation [3]: Studies have shown the potential of CBG to help speed up the healing time for various kinds of inflammation-related maladies like IBD, psoriasis and eczema. See more research results on CBG as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) here [4].
  • Fight cancer [5]:The cancer-fighting potential of CBG has been one of the most studied aspects of the compound. Some results indicates that not only can CBG possibly slow down the rate at which tumor cells grow but that it could also work with other cancer therapies and make them more effective in the long-run. These findings were particularly related to instances of breast cancer and colon cancer. Another beneficial effect of CBG is its possible appetite-boosting properties. This effect could play a key role in helping cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and struggling with low body weight. There is more information about these studies here [6], here [7] and here [8]. Please note, we are not saying that CBG is the cure for cancer, but these studies do show some promise for the future.
  • Treat glaucoma [9]:  This benefit could be one of the major pluses of CBG because, as things stand, CBD does not work for glaucoma. While THC does seem to be an effective glaucoma treatment, many people do not want to deal with the intoxication that comes with THC use, even if it’s in a prescribed medicine. So the possible power of a non-intoxicating compound, like CBG, as an effective glaucoma remedy is good news.
  • Treat IBD [10] (inflammatory bowel disease): There’s not a lot of research on this potential benefit of CBG, but one animal study did lead to promising results related to the treatment of colitis and IBD. There’s more research data here [11].
  • Counteract degeneration of the brain [12]: Some research has led scientists to believe CBG could potentially be an effective treatment for several different neuro-degenerative conditions like Huntington ’s disease. It appears that CBG might be able to work as a sort of protective compound for brain cells.
  • Fight against bacterial infections [13]: The potential of CBG to work as an anti-bacterial agent is one of its main advantages, according to scientists. Some research has demonstrated the compound’s ability to possibly treat a deadly form of bacterial infection called MDSA. It appears that CBG might have the power to kill dangerous kinds of bacteria that have become highly resistant to common antibiotics. There is more information about this research here [14].

How people are already using CBG

Current market trends reveal that the two key benefits people are using CBG for right now are its anti-microbial and anti-bacterial potential.

There’s a lot of ongoing research into developing CBG-containing products that might be able to treat problems like eczema, bad breath, dermatitis and a wide range of dental health issues. The potential of CBG to kill dangerous, harmful micro-organisms is also behind the push to come up with remedies for foot problems like fungus and tinea pedis (the scientific name for athlete’s foot).

Beyond CBD and CBG

Two cannabinoids used in marketed products are cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG). So far, scientists have been able to isolate more than 112 unique, different cannabinoids [1] from the cannabis plant. Medical research points to six distinct benefits [15] of cannabinoids in general

Note that of all the many substances derived from the cannabis plant, there is only one (THC) that can lead to a “high.” The other hundred-plus cannabinoids in the plant either have no effect on humans or have the potential to deliver all sorts of benefits, like anxiety reduction, pain relief and the elimination of nausea.

Six currently known medical benefits are:

  1. Relaxation of extremely contracted muscles in MS (multiple sclerosis) sufferers
  2. Relief from nausea in people who undergo various types of chemotherapy
  3. Generalized reduction of anxiety
  4. Stimulation of the appetite, which can lead to weight gain, in patients with AIDS and cancer
  5. Relief of pain and reduction of inflammation
  6. Slowing of growth for some kinds of tumors and the killing of some cancer cells

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabigerol
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6021502/
  3. https://oregoncbdseeds.com/wilkinson2007.pdf
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23415610
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16728591
  6. http://cannabisinternational.org/info/Non-Psychoactive-Cannabinoids.pdf
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4470774/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25269802
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1965836
  10. https://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/703753/ulcerative-colitis-marijuana
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23415610
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25252936
  13. https://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/index.html
  14. https://oregoncbdseeds.com/appendino2008.pdf
  15. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/qa/what-are-the-medical-benefits-of-cannabinoids