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CBD vs CBG: The CBG Hemp Flower Difference?

what is CBG
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Cannabidiol (CBD) hemp flower products have become well known, as has the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from marijuana. But have you heard of cannabigerol (CBG)? CBG hemp flower can be purchased just like CBD hemp flower, and is even thought to be especially low in potential THC!

CBG flower comes from hemp, just like CBD flower. Both are low in THC, but CBG tends to have even less THC than CBD flower because it is the parent cannabinoid to both. If hemp flower produces a lot of CBG, it will not have much CBD or THC because the molecule has not been converted into either.

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CBG PreRolls and CBG Hemp Flower

CBG hemp products like CBG pre-rolls (CBG joints), and CBG oil tincture are almost identical to CBD products, except they feature a different cannabinoid. But getting hemp to produce high levels of CBG is difficult! CBG is normally only present in minor amounts, making it more scarce and more expensive to purchase.

Plain Jane Premium CBG Hemp Flower

What Is CBG?

CBG is a cannabinoid. Normally, it is a very minor cannabinoid because it is converted to THC or CBD. CBG hemp can come from two methods. The first is to selectively breed a premium CBG hemp flower strain to get a genetic mutation that stops the plant from converting CBG into THC or CBD.

The second approach is used more for CBG oil extraction than for producing smokable hemp flower. This approach is to harvest hemp flower early before the plant has time to turn CBG into CBD or THC. Another approach is to separate CBG from crude CBD oil and “skim” it off. This last method is the least efficient way, but it may make sense for CBD isolate producers to collect it as a by-product.

What Does CBG Hemp Flower Do?

CBG has not been studied as well as CBD or THC. The concept of taking concentrated amounts of CBG is relatively new, so there is no long term safety data or sizable human studies. Here is what is suspected to be the benefits of CBG according to recent research:

CBG May Alleviate Over-Active Bladders

It is thought that some cannabinoids may help alleviate over-active bladders by reducing the signals that cause the bladder to contract. A 2015 research report found:

In depth studies on CBG showed that the effect of this phytocannabinoid on acetylcholine-induced contractions was not affected by CB1 or CB2 receptor antagonists. Additionally, CBG also reduced acetylcholine-induced contractions in the human bladder.

Pagano, E., Montanaro, V., di Girolamo, A., Pistone, A., Altieri, V., Zjawiony, J. K., … & Capasso, R. (2015). Effect of non-psychotropic plant-derived cannabinoids on bladder contractility: focus on cannabigerolNatural product communications10(6), 1934578X1501000653.

The team also notes “…similar to THC and CBD the other cannabinoids, namely CBG, THCV, CBC and CBDV have the ability to reduce bladder contractility.” These findings sound very promising, but many do only look at tests carried out on mice (not humans). While CBG is not an approved medical treatment for any health indication, is does show some prospect.

CBG for Skin Conditions

At least one company is interested in getting CBG approved as a pharmaceutical product for skin conditions.

The two indications for AXIM’s AX-1602 in human trials are Psoriasis (PsO) and atopic dermatitis (AD) also known as eczema.

AXIM Biotech. (2016). AXIM Biotech Begins Human Clinical Trials With Cannabigerol (CBG) for Psoriasis and Eczema in Patients.

CBG skin benefits have yet to be confirmed, but its suspected anti-inflammatory properties would make it an interesting candidate.

CBG for Mood Disorders

5-HT1A is a type of serotonin receptor. This makes it a common molecular target for medicines aimed to alleviate serotonin imbalance disorders such as depression and anxiety. In 2010 it was discovered that CBG does have interactions with 5HT1A. The research team found:

…evidence that cannabigerol can activate α2‐adrenoceptors, bind to cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors and block CB1 and 5‐HT1A receptors.

Cascio, M. G., Gauson, L. A., Stevenson, L. A., Ross, R. A., & Pertwee, R. G. (2010). Evidence that the plant cannabinoid cannabigerol is a highly potent α2‐adrenoceptor agonist and moderately potent 5HT1A receptor antagonistBritish journal of pharmacology159(1), 129-141.

More work needs to be done to find out what greater effect CBG has on mood-related molecules in the body, but it is interesting that CBD shares similar action with 5-HT1A. It should be noted that this study was done on Chinese hampsters though!

CBG for Multiple Sclerosis

CBG has been shown to cross the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) and act to reduce inflammatory factors. It is thought to be able to reduce neuroinflammation via influencing the molecule PPAR-gamma.

[PPAR-gamma (PPARy)] agonists have been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of disease in experimental models of MS such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).

Granja, A. G., Carrillo-Salinas, F., Pagani, A., Gómez-Cañas, M., Negri, R., Navarrete, C., … & Calzado, M. A. (2012). A cannabigerol quinone alleviates neuroinflammation in a chronic model of multiple sclerosisJournal of neuroimmune pharmacology7(4), 1002-1016.

The CBG derivative, VCE-003 (cannabigerol quinone), is specifically of interest as a potential treatment for MS. This preparation would be much different than a retail CBG oil, but is exciting nonetheless.

CBG for Appetite

In research on mice, CBG demonstrated an ability to stimulate the appetite. Researchers believe CBG oil or CBG hemp flower may be helpful for those who need to avoid weight loss. THC also stimulates the appetite, but unlike THC, CBG will not get you high. This means that CBG may be a potential alternative for cannabis patients that do not tolerate THC well or wish to avoid its effects.

In the feeding assay, 120–240 mg/kg CBG more than doubled total food intake and increased the number of meals consumed, and at 240 mg/kg reduced latency to feed.

Brierley, D. I., Samuels, J., Duncan, M., Whalley, B. J., & Williams, C. M. (2016). Cannabigerol is a novel, well-tolerated appetite stimulant in pre-satiated rats. Psychopharmacology, 233(19-20), 3603–3613. doi:10.1007/s00213-016-4397-4.

Medical Uses of CBG

Retail CBG products are very different from those used in medical research studies. That being said, researcher Serena Deiana has written extensively on how CBG is thought to act in the body and what its potential medical uses may be. In her 2017 paper, Potential Medical Uses of Cannabigerol: A Brief Overview she discusses CBG for:

While these CBG benefits are just starting to become understood, it is exciting that cannabis and hemp users have a new option to consider.

How to Consume CBG Hemp Flower

CBG, like CBD and THC, can be consumed in a variety of ways. CBG hemp flower can be smoked on its own in a bowl or rolled into a joint/preroll. CBG oil can be taken the same fashion as CBD/THC oil. Soon there will likely be CBG edibles and concentrates. The way to consume CBG depends on each persons’ needs and preferences! 

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