CBG

A beginner’s guide to the “Mother of all Cannabinoids”.

Did the “mother of all cannabinoids” part in the title pique your interest? Good. It should have. Don’t worry. It isn’t clickbait. CBG is, in fact, the OG phytocannabinoid responsible for most other phytocannabinoids in varieties of cannabis — be it directly or indirectly. We know you probably know what THC and CBD are, but did you know there are 113 cannabinoids in cannabis?

But what does this mean for you?

Well, there’s quite a lot we do know about CBG and quite a lot we still don’t — but don’t panic. What we do know is actually really useful, especially if you’re suffering from a range of different physiological ailments.

Let’s take a look.

Here’s what you need to know about Cannabigerol (CBG):

  • Quite possibly the most important phytocannabinoids found in varieties of cannabis — without CBG (and its CBGA precursor acid), you wouldn’t have THC, CBD, or CBC.
  • It was discovered by a team of Israeli scientists in 1964 whilst researching hashish
  • Known to be an effective anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and appetite stimulant
  • Its side-effects are still relatively unknown, especially in the long-term
  • It’s federally legal and not included in the controlled substances list (unlike THC)
  • It doesn’t show up on drug tests (but THC does)
  • CBG products are rare and pretty expensive to produce/purchase
  • Most CBG oils are 99% CBD oil anyway, so best bet for a quick & easy purchase is to buy good quality, full spectrum CBD oil — otherwise, you can purchase a 1:1 balance of CBD and CBG together.

What is Cannabigerol (CBG)?

CBGA (and, by extension, CBG) is the mother of all cannabinoids because it breaks down into not only CBG but also THC, CBG, and CBC. 

Cannabigerol (CBG) is arguably the most important phytocannabinoid found in varieties of cannabis. In fact, I argue it’s the most important and vital phytocannabinoid because of its precursor acid cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). 

You see, CBGA is the “mother” or “stem cell” phytocannabinoid responsible for a whole range of other phytocannabinoids — not just CBG. 

First, specific enzymes known as synthases transform CBGA into three other precursor acids:

These precursor acids then go on to form tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabichromene (CBC) via the process of decarboxylation (exposure to heat or UV light).  

So, as you can see, this is why CBG (as well as CBGA) is known as the mother of all cannabinoids. It births all the major cannabinoids!


CBG vs. CBD vs. THC

CBG vs. CBD
Cannabigerol (CBG)Cannabidiol (CBD)
Federally legalFederally legal
Derived from CBGADerived from CBGA
Known to mediate the intoxicating effects of THCKnown to mediate the intoxicating effects of THC

CBG vs. THC
Cannabigerol (CBG)Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Federally legalLegal in some states. Classified as a Schedule 1 drug.
Weak CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist — doesn‘t display psychotropic or intoxicating effectsCB1 and CB2 receptor agonist — binds to both, eliciting a strong high


CBG was discovered by a team of Israeli scientists 

Surprisingly, the mother of all phytocannabinoids wasn’t actually the first one to be discovered — that prize goes to Cannabinol (CBN).

CBG was actually first found back in 1964 by three Israeli scientists (Raphael Mechoulam, Yechiel Gaoni and Yuval Shvo) at the Weizmann Institute in the city of Rehovot. 

Surprisingly, the trio of scientists didn’t uncover CBG from varieties of cannabis per se — they were actually researching the main properties of hashish, which is dried resin from cannabis trichomes. Alongside CBG, they also found CBD, THC, and other phytocannabinoids in the hashish as well. 

CBG oil benefits 

Despite its “mother of all cannabinoids” tag, CBG is still relatively under-represented in terms of scientific studies and research — though more is known about this phytocannabinoid than, say, CBN or CBDV.

However, from what we do know, CBG is quite an effective cannabis compound. Let’s find out what it can do for you. 

1. CBG is an effective anti-inflammatory

CBG is a promising anti-inflammatory, particularly for symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), an umbrella term used to describe a whole range of inflammatory conditions found in the digestive tract. 

In 2013, researchers at the University of Naples induced colitis in mice by injecting dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS) directly into the colon. CBG was then administered into the affected area, which caused a reduction in nitric oxide production in macrophages (white blood cells as part of the immune system) via CB2 receptor modulation. They also discovered an overall reduction in colitis amongst the test subjects. In other words, it combated inflammation pretty damned effectively. 

2. Has quite potent analgesic properties

CBG is a very potent analgesic rivaling THC. In fact, some studies suggest CBG is a better pain-reliever than THC. This is quite the revelation and shines a light on CBG’s future potential as a credible and legitimate treatment for pain and pain-related symptoms medically — though, of course, I won’t be holding my breath just yet…

3. It’s known to stimulate your appetite

CBG is also known to stimulate the desire to eat. Researchers at the University of Reading in the UK turned their attention away from THC (which is also known to increase the desire to eat) and focused on CBG as an appetite stimulant. The results were pretty staggering. 

They found a dose of 120-240 mg/kg CBG “more than doubled total food intake and increased the number of meals consumed” — at 240 mg/kg, the latency to feed was significantly reduced. 

This research has also been reinforced by a study conducted in 2019. Researchers uncovered CBG’s effectiveness in stimulating the appetite for patients undergoing chemotherapy,  

Other benefits of CBG oil

A. Multiple sclerosis 

CBG has the potential to be a solid treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). In 2012, researchers at Vivacell Biotechnology España discovered CBG’s antiphlogistic and neuroprotective qualities via its anti-inflammatory effects on a Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) model of MS. The results were very promising. CBG improved TMEV infection symptoms and “modulated the expression of genes involved in MS”.

B. Anti-Cancer (Colorectal)

CBG’s anti-cancer qualities are fairly well-documented. Researchers found CBG to be particularly effective at combating colorectal cancer (CRC) through transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily M (melastatin) member 8 (TRPM8) antagonism, which was enhanced by the deactivation of CB2 receptors. This, in turn, promoted cancer “cell death” (also known as apoptosis), reduced cell growth, and boosted oxidative stress responses. 

In other words, CBG inhibits the growth of colorectal cancer (alongside CBD and THC).  

C. Antiemetic (nausea & vomiting)

Over the past decade, CBG’s antiemetic qualities have gained quite a substantial amount of attention. In a 2011 study, looked into if CBG can reverse the anti-nausea, antiemetic effects of CBD. The results were interesting and very dose-dependent. 

At low doses (1 mg/kg), CBG was able to combat acute nausea via injection. However, at a higher dose (5 mg/kg), CBG completely blocked CBD’s anti-nausea effects. If CBG was to be used as a treatment for chemo-induced nausea, I think second-thought should be given until more research is conducted. 

To be perfectly honest, CBD and THC fare better and CBG should be disregarded here. 

D. Treatment for neurological disorders 

Multiple cannabinoids including CBG (alongside CBD and CBDV) are known to “show potential as therapeutic agents in preclinical models of central nervous system (CNS) disease”. CNS disease is defined as a class of neurological disorders which affect the brain and spinal cord. Researchers believe all three of these cannabinoids specifically interact with certain “pharmacological targets”, which includes your cannabinoid receptors. 

As a result, epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases, affective disorders, and the central modulation of feeding behavior could be treated using these cannabinoids.  

So, what can CBG oil do for you?

CBG oil can be really helpful if you have anxiety, an eating disorder, or depression by inhibiting your GABA neurotransmitter.

GABA neurotransmitters help regulate anxiety and depression symptoms, as well as promoting better sleep, concentration, and memory. 

From what we just learned in the section above, CBG oil is an impressive phytocannabinoid. It can provide you with some pretty impressive anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities. 

Although the anti-inflammatory qualities have only been scientifically proven to combat inflammatory digestive conditions, I see no reason why this wouldn’t extend to other types of inflammation away from the digestive tract.

Why?

Well, CBG is known as a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) reuptake inhibitor. GABA is a neurotransmitter commonly viewed as responsible for regulating anxiety and depression, as well as promoting better sleep, concentration, and memory. 

However, studies are now looking into the connection between GABA and inflammation — particularly GABA found in the immune system. Researchers currently believe GABA acts on T cells and macrophages and “exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects”, particularly in patients with type 1 diabetes.

As an appetite stimulant, it could be a really effective treatment if you’re suffering from an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. It could also be useful if you’re currently undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy and you’re experiencing appetite loss as a result. 

CBG’s side-effects still require more research

Because research into CBG is scarce compared to its CBD and THC compadres, we’re still pretty uncertain about its short and long-term side effects.

We can only assume it has the same side-effects as CBD considering its molecular structure and the way it interacts with your ECS.

As a side note, there’s an article on the internet outlining the “severe” side-effects of CBG (I won’t link the article in fear of sparking some bad blood). The “severe” side-effects listed include grogginess, tiredness, weight loss, and (weirdly) weight gain as well. I advise you to take this article with a pinch of salt until substantial evidence of adverse side-effects is presented properly. 

This isn’t to say there aren’t side-effects. As with any cannabis-derived product, I always recommend correct dosing. If you’re a beginner, I suggest one or two drops in the morning on a day where you have no prior commitments — this way, you can test out the product in the comfort of your own home and not at work or on a night out. 

CBG and Alcohol: Unfortunately, there’s not much evidence analyzing how CBG and alcohol interact with each other.

CBG and Medications: Regarding whether CBG reacts with certain medications, we advise that you speak with your physician for a more accurate and educated opinion. A rule of thumb with CBG/CBD oil is to avoid products with the grapefruit warning as the metabolization process between them is similar.

CBG is only very mildly psychoactive (but not intoxicating)

As we already covered in the section above, CBG doesn’t impair your judgment, nor does it cause an intoxicating high — this is mostly down to it being a weak agonist of CB1 and CB2 receptors.

It does, on the other hand, provide you with some mild psychoactivity, as well as some relaxing effects. 

CBG and ECS

CBG’s relationship with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) is similar to THC insofar as it displays agonist effects on both CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, this agonist behavior is particularly weak, which is why it presents non-intoxicating effects similar to CBD. 

The weak agonist behavior toward both receptors doesn’t mean CBG is a weak phytocannabinoid. It’s known to have an effect on your serotonin 1A receptors (5-HT1A), which help regulate your mood and anxiety symptoms, particularly when activated.

Is CBG legal in the U.S.?

CBG is not listed as a controlled substance and is federally legal under the Agriculture Improvement Act 2018 (Farm Bill 2018), provided it’s derived from industrial hemp containing less than 0.3% THC and not marijuana containing a higher percentage of THC.

In other words, CBG derived from industrial hemp is perfectly legal to manufacture, possess, and consume on a federal level (with some restrictions and limitations depending on state law). CBG derived from marijuana is not federally legal.

However, US state law on CBG varies. Not all states follow federal law on hemp and cannabis. 

  • There are 47 states across the US allowing all forms of CBG (hemp-derived and cannabis-derived).
  • 15 US states + District of Columbia (D.C) legalized adult-use recreational and medical cannabis with CBG.
  • 36 US states + D.C. + 3 inhabited US territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) legalized medical cannabis with approved and authorized programs.
  • 11 US states allow low-THC, high-CBD cannabidiol products for medical reasons (limited qualifying conditions). 

The FDA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are keeping a close eye on all phytocannabinoids derived from varieties of cannabis, irrespective of their popularity amongst brands and consumers. Don’t be surprised if you see CBG’s legality questioned in the next couple of years. 

Legality of CBG as food

CBG as a dietary supplement

According to Mondaq, a content creation & legal service for businesses, CBG as a dietary supplement might be possible, provided it has a history of safe consumption in humans and is used in accordance with the product label. 

Any health and wellness brand and manufacturer (CBD or otherwise) must send a “new dietary ingredient notification” to the FDA within 75 days of being sold on the market. Then it’s up to the FDA whether or not the evidence to support its use as (or in) a dietary supplement is sufficient and compelling. 

CBG as a food additive

Again, according to Mondaq, CBG as a food additive must go through strict FDA loopholes before being allowed on the market. All health and wellness brands and manufacturers (CBD or otherwise) must complete a food additive petition and have it approved. This process can take many years unless the additive is already deemed safe for consumption/use. 

The problem with CBG (and all other cannabinoids) is the FDA is on the fence about its safety, meaning CBG marketed as a food additive is prohibited in the US. Some CBD brands still market it as such, however. No idea how they’re getting away with it.

Where in the world is CBG not allowed?

CBG is prohibited in all countries where varieties of cannabis are completely illegal. There are over 60 countries prohibiting most, if not all forms of recreational and medical cannabis. These countries include:

  • Algeria
  • China
  • France
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • Vietnam

Other countries where cannabis is illegal recreationally but legal medicinally are case-by-case. CBG, of course, is allowed for medical use or research but not recreationally. 

Some countries are very strict with cannabis law. In many Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern countries, possession and consumption can result in lengthy prison sentences and harsh fines. 

For example, possession and consumption of cannabis in Singapore are punishable by law and carries a maximum of 10 years in prison or a S$20,000 fine. Similarly, the maximum sentence for drug possession in the UAE or Turkey is 15 years and 18 years, respectively. 

We recommend staying away from anything cannabis-related in these countries. It doesn’t matter if it’s a CBG extract. The laws cover all cannabis and its compounds.

You won’t fail a drug test after CBG consumption

Fortunately, you won’t fail a drug test after consuming CBG — even if you consume it in high quantities.

Drug tests don’t check for CBG. Instead, they look for THC, which is (if you don’t already know!) the intoxicating cannabinoid found in varieties of cannabis. This is what you ultimately have to watch out for. 

So, for example, you’ve just purchased a full-spectrum CBG oil from your favorite brand. You’re excited to try it as a new alternative to your CBD oil. You’re ready to dose it and let it flow through your system. 

However, hold back on your excitement, especially if you have an upcoming drug test. Don’t consume it just yet and definitely don’t consume it in conjunction with any other cannabis-derived product.

There are many oils (CBG or otherwise) that contain THC. Full-spectrum CBD oils contain trace amounts of THC (<0.3%) and cannabis oils derived from marijuana contain anywhere between 10-20% THC (sometimes more or less depending on the product). 

Though rare, there are times where full-spectrum CBD oils have caused false-positive readings on a drug test. This typically occurs when you’ve consumed too much of the oil in a short space of time. Cannabis oils, on the other hand, will almost always cause you to fail a drug test due to the high THC content. 

My advice is to always check the label, ingredients list, and Certificate of Analysis (COA) to see if there’s any THC in the product you’re about to consume.

If there is THC, be cautious. It can stay in your system for quite a long period of time — more so if you’re a long-term user of THC. Short-term (or first-time) THC users shouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief, however. You should assume it stays in your system for 60 days after consumption. 

Length of time THC stays in your system:

  • Hair – at least 60 days
  • Urine – at least 70 days
  • Blood – at least 7 days
  • Saliva – at least 7 days

How much THC is needed to show up on a drug test:

  • Hair – No cutoff limit
  • Urine  – 50 nanograms per milliliter 
  • Blood  – 1, 2, and 5 nanograms per milliliter
  • Saliva – 4 nanograms per milliliter

Can you purchase CBG products?

Yes, but CBG products are rare and expensive to produce.

As with most other products created from minor (or rare) phytocannabinoids, CBG oils are incredibly expensive to produce, which is why most brands don’t sell them. If you do manage to track down a CBG oil, they’re usually four times the price of a CBD oil, which isn’t surprising at all, to be honest. 

The reason for this markup price comes down to both the meticulous extraction process required and the fact that CBG is only found in very small amounts, thus requiring a large number of hemp/cannabis plants. However, since CBG is becoming increasingly popular amongst brands and consumers alike, specially grown high-CBG plants are now being cultivated. 

Here are the various types of CBG products you can buy online.

CBG oils

Pure CBG oils are rare. Practically non-existent, in fact. We’ve not seen any pure CBG products anywhere on the market.

Instead, there are CBG blends. For example, CBD+CBG oils are a massive hit right now. Many of these oils come in a 1:1 CBD+CBG blend. Usually 500mg of CBD and 500mg of CBD. 

CBDistillery is a fantastic choice here. The company has produced an excellent Relief & Relax 1:1 CBD+CBG product complete with natural ingredients and a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) carrier oil for better absorption and bioavailability. 

Alternatively, Medterra has a Citrus flavored 1:1 CBD + CBG oil available in two different strengths: 1000mg (500mg CBD + 500mg CBG) and 2000mg (1000mg CBD + 1000mg CBG). MCT carrier oil and all-natural flavorings. Perfect choice if you prefer a sweet flavored oil. 

CBG capsules

CBG capsules typically come in blends. You can mostly find CBD+CBG capsules in varying ratios. We personally like 1:1 CBD+CBG blends simply because of our love for all things CBD. We believe the combo in equal measures is perfect and very beneficial for your body. 

We highly recommend Extract Labs 1:1 CBD+CBG capsules. Each capsule contains 33mg of full-spectrum CBD and 33mg of CBG.

CBG gummies

CBG gummies have recently gained quite a lot of traction in the cannabis industry. Similar to CBD gummy products, CBG gummies provide you with a sweet and delicious alternative to naturally flavored oils (they can be quite bitter and pungent!). 

The best one we’ve tried is Kush Queen RX CBG+CBD Gummies with a full-spectrum extract. Each gummy contains 15mg CBD and 15mg CBG. This isn’t the highest amount of CBG in a gummy product but still enough for it to work well in your system. 

If you’re looking for a higher CBG amount in your gummy product, give CBD American Shaman’s Pure CBG Gummies a try. They’re made from isolated CBG extracts with no other cannabinoids in it — not even CBD! The best thing about these gummies is they’re 100% water-soluble. The company uses nano-emulsification technology for superior absorption and enhanced bioavailability. 

CBG crystals

CBG crystals are the purest CBG products you can buy. Similar to CBD crystals, they typically pack quite a punch. The highest concentration of CBG we’ve seen is roughly 97%. Cibdol, for example, has an awesome CBG crystal product with 97% CBG alongside 3% cannabidivarin (CBDV).   

The best way to use Cibdol’s CBG isolate is to dab them — or, rather, vaporize them. Why? Because dabbing and vaporizing any cannabis-derived product is very effective. The cannabinoids (in this case) pass directly through the lung’s microcapillaries straight into the bloodstream without being broken down and lost in the digestive system.