What Are the Benefits of CBG? Here’s What the Data Says

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson is the senior editor at CBD Oracle, and has been covering science, vaping and cannabis for over 10 years. He has a MS in Theoretical Physics from Uppsala...

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Medically reviewed byAbraham Benavides, MD

Medically reviewed by

Abraham Benavides, MD

Dr. Abraham Benavides is an international cannabis science advisor, health coach, and full-tuition merit scholar of the GW School of Medicine. Abe pioneered and published first-author research with the Cannabis...

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CBD Oracle’s primary mission is to provide accurate, evidence-based information, and our medical reviewers hold us accountable to this goal. The “medically reviewed” tag on our health and wellness articles means that an experienced medical professional or a researcher who specializes in cannabis has reviewed the content, evaluated the references, and confirmed that the information contained within reflects current scientific knowledge.


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CBD isn’t the only non-intoxicating cannabinoid that could help you with anxiety, pain, inflammation, and insomnia: Cannabigerol (CBG) is rapidly gaining attention for doing just that.

As one of over 120 cannabinoids in the plant, and as a “minor” cannabinoid, it hasn’t drawn the same amount of attention as the part that gets you high (THC) and the part that has medical benefits without the high (CBD), but CBG is going to start sharing some of this spotlight very soon.

As always, CBG advocates and sellers claim the cannabinoid has many benefits, but what does the science say? Here’s a run-down of what we know about the benefits of this rare cannabinoid.

The Benefits of CBG, According to Research

Research into CBG’s benefits is still in its early stages, but there are promising results in a pretty wide range of areas:

Pain and Inflammation

Pain and inflammation are two of the most commonly-endorsed uses for CBG, and there is supporting evidence in both cases.

For pain, CBG is suspected to help because of its action at the α2-adrenoreceptor and TRP receptors, where CBG is a potent agonist. α2-adrenoreceptors are a common target for drugs helping with high blood pressure, sedatives and painkillers. 

CBG also acts on many members of the TRP receptor family (TRPA1, TRPV1-4, and TRPM8) which are well-known for their pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer activities. There are some computational modeling studies of these, and research on mice looking at pain-related brain pathways, both of which show positive effects.

Other potential anti-inflammatory targets of CBG may include cyclooxygenase enzymes such as COX-1 and COX-2 which are regularly targeted by NSAIDs, in addition to some activity at CB2.

In addition, in Ethan Russo’s CBG survey, 73.9% of people using CBG for pain rated it as better than their conventional medication.

For inflammation, there are many indications that CBG will likely help. For instance, studies find that CBG’s effect at the CB2 cannabinoid receptors helps it counter oxidative stress, which in turn reduces inflammation. Other studies showed that the same receptor action had positive effects in mice models of colitis, a common form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Here, CBG shows reductions in reactive oxygen formation in the intestine and nitric oxide production in macrophages.

In fact, a systematic review of cannabinoids for colitis found that CBG had the largest effect size, although CBD was the most commonly-investigated. Similarly, in the user survey, 82.4% of people using CBG for irritable bowel syndrome, 75% for inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis) and 86.4% of those using it for other inflammatory problems preferred CBG to their conventional medication.

Anxiety and Mood Disorders

Helping with anxiety and depression are two of the most commonly-cited benefits of CBG based on user surveys, but the evidence is mixed at present. There are some promising results but other contradictory findings too.

Research into CBG for anxiety has produced conflicting results. For example, a Canadian study used the light-dark box test to investigate the impacts of CBG on anxiety in rats, with more anxious rats spending more time in the dark box than the light box. THC increases the time spent in the dark box (unsurprisingly, because high can make you anxious), but neither CBG nor CBD decreased this in the test. Other similar experiments (the open field test) have shown that CBG can have some anxiety-reducing effects.

For depression, the Canadian study mentioned above found that rats treated with CBG – like those treated with THC – found saccharin more palatable, which may be a sign of an antidepressant effect. While a study using the forced swim test and the tail suspension test found antidepressant effects from delta-9 THC, CBC and CBD, it didn’t find any from CBG at up to 80 mg/kg. However, a study presented at a conference found that a 40 mg/kg dose of CBG did produce a possible anti-depressant effect in the tail suspension test.

Overall, it’s pretty hard to interpret the results for either of these conditions at the moment. However, the results from the only clinical survey available are the most promising, with 78.3% of anxiety patients reporting greater effectiveness with CBG over conventional medication. 

In fact, when we asked Dr. Ethan Russo about the biggest priority for CBG research, he responded:

“Treatment of anxiety. It will also be utilized to treat cancer, especially prostate and as a component of antibiotic treatments for resistant infections.”

We’ve already seen that the existing evidence for anxiety seems positive, but what’s the situation for cancer? 


There are many suggestions that CBG would be effective against cancer, particularly prostate cancer. However, as with all of the other cases, evidence at this point is basically limited to pre-clinical research and we need a lot more information to be sure.

The Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies goes through the evidence on CBG for cancer emphasizing that like many other cannabinoids, it reduces cell proliferation in human breast, prostate, colorectal and gastric cancers. Most of the interest is around prostate cancer, because only it and CBD have these effects in that case. The effectiveness of CBG is likely down to its interactions with TRPV1, TRPV2 and TRPM8 receptors, all of which play a role in the development of prostate cancer.

There have also been several studies that back up the theory. For example, one study found that CBG inhibited the growth of prostate cancer cells, as well as increasing programmed cell death (apoptosis), but with lower efficacy than other cannabinoids. Other research shows effectiveness against human oral cancer, human breast cancer and mouse skin cancer cells.

However, it’s very important to understand that we’re not saying that CBG cures, prevents, or mitigates cancer or anything of the sort. It’s possible, though, that it may be useful in treatment of cancers as an additional component to standard care for symptomatic relief and quality of life.

For instance, patients suffering from cancer and AIDS often experience a severe loss of appetite leading to cachexia. CBG is a promising appetite stimulant like THC is, but without the intoxicating effects that many patients don’t want. 

Neuroprotection and Neuromodulation

In vitro and animal studies have shown a neuroprotective effect of CBG, which may mean that it’s helpful in treatment of Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

One example of the research in this area was a study published in the Journal of Neurotherapeutics looking at CBG’s effect on mouse models of Huntington’s disease. This found that in a model where mice are treated with 3-nitropropionate, CBG prevented neuron death, improved motor defects and reduced markers of inflammation. The results for another mouse model of the condition were also broadly positive, but looked less promising than in the first test.

As a paper from researchers at Penn State College of Medicine details, there are many similar studies showing neuroprotective effects from CBG. For example, one study looked at the effects of CBG and CBD on neurotoxicity in cell cultures, finding that both were protective, likely because of its interaction at the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor.

RELATED: What’s the Difference Between CBD and CBG?

Other Benefits of CBG

Other potential benefits of CBG include appetite stimulation, psoriasis, intraocular pressure (from glaucoma), reducing testosterone (useful for prostate cancer, among other conditions) and as an antibacterial agent. 

  • Appetite stimulation: Many studies on rats have found that doses of CBG from around 120 mg/kg and upwards are effective at stimulating appetite, including reducing weight loss caused by chemotherapy agents.
  • Treating psoriasis: CBG was shown to reduce keratinocyte proliferation, which is a key feature of psoriasis, based on its effect on the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It was also found to be more potent than THC for this.
  • Reducing intraocular pressure: A study conducted on cats showed that CBG is effective at reducing intraocular pressure, which it achieves without being toxic to the eyes or brain. The only side effect was increasing the amount of time it took the cats to sleep.
  • Reducing testosterone: CBG outperformed THC when tested for its ability to inhibit the production of testosterone in rats. This means it could help in the treatment of prostate cancer and hypersexuality, and could be useful as a male contraceptive or even as a gender affirming drug.
  • Antibacterial effects: CBG is a better anti-bacterial agent than THC, CBD and CBC, and has also been shown to be effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Side Effects of CBG

While there isn’t much peer-reviewed evidence on humans using CBG, the consumer survey from Dr. Russo does suggest several possible side effects, including dry mouth, sleepiness and increased appetite.

If these symptoms sound familiar to you, Dr. Russo pointed out to us that:

“The few side effects reported (dry mouth, red eyes) and the like were clearly related to products containing THC. We do not see these complaints with CBG-only products.”

However, the survey did find that 56% of those using commercially-available CBG-predominant cannabis experienced some form of side effect. Dr. Russo is right to point out that these are primarily the effects of THC use, and there’s no reason to assume that CBG itself was the cause. The full list of side effects reported in the study is:

  • Dry mouth (16.5%)
  • Sleepiness (15%)
  • Increased appetite (11.8%)
  • Dry eyes (8.7%)
  • Nervousness/anxiety (6.3%)
  • Difficulty concentrating (6.3%)
  • Headrush/lightheaded/dizzy (6.3%)
  • Headache/migraine (5.5%)
  • Feeling “high” (4.7%)
  • Heart palpitations/racing heart (3.1%)
  • Off-balance (2.4%)
  • Paranoia (1.6%)
  • Hot flashes (0.8%)
  • Other, e.g. increased focus, change in perception of time, sinus pain (9.4%)

Overall, while this isn’t the best evidence because it’s ultimately based on self-reporting and we don’t have much information about what exactly each participant was taking, it is still a good indication of the most likely side effects. Some authors also point out that the action of CBG at the α2 receptor could give it cardiovascular side effects, such as low blood pressure and slow heart rate.

What Dosage of CBG Should I Take?

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The recommended dose of CBG isn’t precisely known by scientists yet, but 10 to 30 mg daily is a good starting range. Unfortunately, with very little research to work on and quite a wide variation in doses used, it’s unlikely you’ll find a definitive answer for a specific condition.

Since it’s difficult to estimate dosage from published studies, we asked two CBG experts about what dosage to use.

Dr. Ethan Russo commented that, “In general, effective doses of CBG for anxiety range from 5-20 mg at a time.”

While Jennifer Carlile from the Rare Cannabinoid Company suggested a slightly higher range: “Our customers report taking one to two CBG gummies per day (30-60 milligrams of CBG) or roughly the equivalent if they are using the pure CBG oil or CBG:CBD blend. This will also depend if they use it daily, or some people only use CBG when experiencing soreness.”

RELATED: CBG Is Legal For Now, But The FDA Is Watching

Since there is so little clarity on the topic, the best approach is to start with a relatively low dose (say 10 to 20 mg per day) and then work your way up to 25 mg, 30 mg and beyond until you feel relief from your symptoms.

Limitations of the Evidence

It’s crucial to remember that there isn’t much evidence on CBG at the moment. In fact, the evidence which does exist is almost entirely conducted on animals or in cell cultures confined to a petri dish. Real human bodies are very different from both of these things, and it’s not clear how much CBG would get to the relevant cells if you smoked a CBG-dominant hemp strain, for instance.

In other words: the results shown here are potential benefits, but none of this has been proven enough for the FDA, for example, to accept that CBG should be approved as a real medication in the same way CBD and synthetic THC are.


CBG has a whole host of potential benefits, and even though a lot of the research is still in its early stages, the findings so far and minimal side effects point to a bright future for the cannabinoid. CBG’s benefits might not be embraced by the broader scientific community for some time, but the Farm Bill has already brought the option to online and offline stores across the country. So maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, but it probably won’t hurt to try.

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