There has been a furore about CBD over the last few years, but is there a new kid on the block?
CBG is a lesser known cannabinoid than CBD & THC with many advocates suggesting that it could be an effective tool to fight anxiety, chronic pain and sleep issues. It could be a fantastic addition to the already expanding CBD market and assist in laying the foundations for the evolving cannabis industry. However, CBG research is still at an extremely early stage and results so far primarily have been collated from animal studies, which is why many scientists remain sceptical.
The cannabis plant produces over 100 cannabinoids which are the molecules that act in cohesion with the cannabinoid receptors which are part of the endocannabinoid system within your brain. The two most recognised cannabinoids are CBD and THC.
The cannabis plant creates CBG but that isn’t where the process ends. The production of CBG is an earlier part of the process than the production of other cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. This is ideal for growers that are seeking harvest that are high in THC and CBD concentrations whether they are growing THC for medical purposes or CBD for the Health & Wellness market. There are several scientists that are conducting research into how the development of the cannabis plant can be slowed to preserve a high percentage of CBG.
What is the difference between CBG and CBD?
The potential and limitations of CBG can be analysed by assessing CBD. CBD is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid which means it doesn’t provide the user with the infamous high often associated with cannabis. CBD is normally derived from hemp and some research suggests that it helps with a number of conditions like anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and epilepsy. The medical research into CBD is still at a very early stage and mainly focused on lab experiments and animal trials which means scientists and Doctors do not yet know the true efficacy of treating medical conditions such as epilepsy, chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia.
CBD is not addictive, and the user does not become dependent on it which illustrates that it is safe to use. It is more the efficacy of CBD that is debated. The is so much potential for the use of CBD to be integrated with people’s daily lives in both a medical and a lifestyle capacity.
The varying quality of CBD products is one issue that has plagued the young industry. This is why the Food Standards Agency (“FSA”) has elected to implement the Novel Food legislation, to ensure that all CBD products are held to account about what the product contains and how the product is labelled. Once the industry standard rises, consumers will be able to have greater trust in CBD products which will drive the industry forward. As more people use CBD, there will be more evidence available to assess the true efficacy of CBD on treating certain conditions.
What are the benefits of CBG?
Scientists have discovered that CBG has been found to act on specific physiological systems. These physiological systems include;
- Endocannabinoid receptors are prevalent in eye structure and CBG is thought to be effective in treating glaucoma
- CBG was found to work effectively in decreasing the inflammation in sufferers of inflammatory bowel disease
- A 2015 study suggested that CBD protected neurons in mice with Huntingdon’s disease
- CBD is showing promise as a prospective cancer treatment, CBG blocked receptors that cause cancer cell growth
There has yet to be a substantial amount of research to be carried out to study the efficacy of CBG. There are many who believe that CBG could be a viable alternative option for treating anxiety and chronic pain, either on its own or in conjunction with CBD & THC.
THC can lure you into the depths of your own mind and can make your anxiety worse. CBD does not do this, and the initial evidence is that CBG doesn’t either. CBG seems to have almost no side effects, one negative side effect is that CBG increases appetite.
CBG binds onto the cannabinoid receptors with an affinity that is far lower than THC, meaning that you can consume a large amount of CBG and not be intoxicated. It is believed by some scientists that CBG binds to specific endocannabinoid receptors in the brain to mitigate pain and anxiety.
There are instances of anecdotal evidence of people successfully managing pain with CBG. Often the user will have CBG on rotation with CBD to ensure that their body does not build up too much of a tolerance to either cannabinoid. Instances where CBG has assisted to ease cramps or muscle tension are not uncommon.
There has yet to be a definitive scientific study that supports these anecdotal claims. It also seems like it will be a few years before such evidence is collated. Early research in animals has shown that CBG can indeed be used to effectively manage pain. Researchers found that CBG greatly benefitted cats with glaucoma by reducing eye pressure. Another study suggested that CBG alleviated neuroinflammation in mice. There was also a study carried out in 2013 that found that CBG was effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease. There is currently a study underway that is assessing CBG’s capability of helping sufferers manage neurodegeneration.
Barriers containing CBG
The first issue surrounding CBG is the issue of clinical and medical research. There is then the issue of how CBG is regulated, does it fall into the same category as CBD or is it more akin to THC. Currently CBG is legal in the UK and it is perfectly legal to sell it over the counter. This is likely to remain the case unless there is substantial evidence that suggests CBG needs to be scrutinised and regulated in a similar manner to THC.
Similar to what the situation is with CBD, the lack of research means that patients have to do their own trials regarding dosage and delivery methods. Desperate patients and their loved ones and carers often turn to online forums for possible solutions to their illness. They try experimental treatments and varying doses of new remedies such as CBG to find what works for them and if they are successful in treating their condition they then spread the news online or by word of mouth.
What are the difficulties when it to production of CBG?
There is an issue with CBG regarding the quantity and quality that CBG can be produced to. Cannabis plants typically produce only small amounts of CBG as it is natural for the plant to convert CBG into THC and CBD before flowering. This results in a small amount of CBG that is ready for distribution. CBG can be hard to find online and in shops. Many potential users struggle to find enough of the substance to dose themselves regularly and even if you can locate CBG the quality can vary greatly.
It is imperative that the cannabis industry begins to offer a wider variety of diverse chemical profiles of products to help spread research and ensure there are a number of high-quality cannabinoids available for purchase. Long term the cannabis industry is likely to shift towards a specific genetic treatment and the use of cannabinoid combinations will be integral in achieving this.
While there is a tremendous amount of research that still needs to be carried out to confirm the efficacy of CBG, these initial signs are positive. It seems most likely that in the future CBG will be combined with other cannabinoids to provide a more specific effect rather to treat specific ailments. Differing ratios of cannabinoids will mean that the products can be more exquisitely formulated to ensure that the end user has the optimal experience and the efficacy of the cannabinoid combinations are maximised.
It seems that CBG is safe and will remain legal, so now is the time to conduct vast amounts of research on this cannabinoid and figure out how exactly it can be implemented within people’s daily lives to provide them with relief or to deal with anxiety or even depression.
It is not unreasonable to suggest that combinations of cannabinoids will eventually be able to be tailored for individuals based on their genes or which condition they suffer from.