By now most of us have at least heard of CBD and its benefits when it comes to mood, inflammation, sleep, pain and even appetite, but CBD is one of over 100 different phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Another one of these phytocannabinoids is called CBG or cannabigerol.
What is CBG?
CBG is a precursor to CBD and many others of the phytocannabinoids, which is why it’s often referred to as the ‘stem cell’ of the cannabis plant. It’s is similar in many of its benefits to CBD as it can help relieve inflammation, improve mood by allowing us to create more of our naturally occurring endocannabinoids like Anandamide AKA the bliss molecule but CBG also provides multiple other benefits that make it a beneficial supplement for many.
CBD as a Neuroprotective agent
One of these benefits is that CBG is a potent Neuroprotective agent meaning it’s a substance capable of preserving brain function and structure even when the brain is exposed to high levels of oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, various forms of neurotoxicity and protein deficiencies.
Neuroprotective agents are useful for:
- Combatting the effects of excessive cortisol (stress hormone)
- Maintaining energy levels by protecting the cell mitochondria
- Maintaining general cognitive function
- Reduction of neurotoxicity
CBG and mood
CBG can help improve mood in a different way to CBD. CBG acts as a GABA reuptake inhibitor. GABA is our brains naturally occurring anti-anxiety neurotransmitter, so by inhibiting the reuptake of GABA, it leads to muscle relaxation, tension relief and a feeling of calm in mind and body as more GABA molecules are circulating the brain. As mentioned earlier, CBG also helps elevate our production of Anandamide, which can improve mood also.
Inflammatory bowel disease
Rats were studied in 2013 for the use of CBG for colitis, and the results were positive, concluding that CBG reduced the effect of colitis. According to the study, IBD patients have been experiencing "successful management of abdominal pain, joint pain, cramping, diarrhoea, poor appetite, weight loss, and nausea" with the use of cannabis, but there are not many studies just yet exploring CBG as an isolated compound.
Have antibacterial properties, particularly for MRSA.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or "MRSA" is a type of staph infection that is resistant to methicillin (a common type of antibiotic), rendering it a particularly threatening or even fatal bacterial infection. In a 2008 study, CBG showed promise for treating MRSA as an antibacterial agent. Dr Solomon said this is an area where CBG shows real promise. "It's thought to help with MRSA," he said. "CBG has potential to treat bacteria that are resistant to traditional antibiotics."
May treat glaucoma and relieve intraocular pressure.
CBD on its own does not help with glaucoma, but THC does-so for patients who want to treat glaucoma using cannabis, this may be a way to do so without the intoxication effect. A 1990 study looked at the use of CBG for glaucoma and found that "cannabigerol and related cannabinoids may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of glaucoma." However, you should continue to take doctor-prescribed glaucoma medication, and only take CBG or cannabis as an addition to your Rx meds and after consulting your doctor, says Dr Solomon.
How long until we can buy CBG in the UK?
Although there are some companies in the US already selling CBG, there are not many, and as the UK is slightly behind the curve with these hemp-derived products, it could be a while yet before we start growing and producing our own.
On top of that, harvesting CBG from the hemp plant creates problems of its own. CBG is more prevalent when the hemp plant is in its infancy stages than when its fully grown although there is still some CBG. So should hemp farmers pick the plant in its infancy when there’s more CBG available or when its fully-grown and they can harvest both CBG and CBD?
That’s the question the industry needs to sort out but when they do, watch this space. CBG has the potential to benefit so many aspects of human health, don’t be surprised to see your friends out there buying it.
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