During the past decade, the non-intoxicating cannabinoid CBD has taken the wellness community by storm. It shows up in everything from beauty products to pet treats. Even people who never dreamed they’d be regularly using cannabis are finding a daily CBD regimen to be life-changing.
But CBD isn’t the only curative compound found in the cannabis plant. In fact, there are over 100 unique cannabinoids, all with their own benefits. CBG, for example, is growing in popularity both among consumers and cultivators alike. But how exactly is CBG different from CBD? Keep reading to find out.
The Chemical Difference Between CBG and CBD
Oftentimes, CBG is referred to as “The Mother Of All Cannabinoids” because of its acidic form. CBGA acts as a precursor for the three primary cannabinoid lines. As the cannabis plants grow, a special enzyme breaks down the CBGA into the acidic forms of THC, CBD, and CBC.
Most of the CBGA ends up converted into one of these three lines, but a small percentage remains intact. Then, when that remaining CBGA is exposed to heat, it converts to CBG through a process called decarboxylation.
How Do Cannabinoids Affect The Body?
Before getting into the nuanced differences between individual cannabinoids like CBD and CBG, it helps to have a baseline understanding of cannabinoids. Mostly how it interacts with the human body.
All of us have what’s known as an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a system made up of neurotransmitter receptors located throughout the brain and central nervous system. These receptors receive chemical signals that come in the form of endocannabinoids — lipid-based neurotransmitters which our bodies naturally produce.
Despite only being discovered around 40 years ago, we’ve learned that the ECS plays a vital role in regulating cognitive processes and neural functions such as memory retention, mood, sex drive, appetite, motor coordination, and pain sensation.
When we consume cannabis, the cannabinoids inside the plant, like THC, CBD, or CBG, mimic our natural neurotransmitters and stimulate the ECS.
The Effects Of CBG and CBD
When it comes to the endocannabinoid system, CBG and CBD behave quite differently. CBD doesn’t make direct bonds to the endocannabinoid receptors. Instead, it passively antagonizes the receptors and influences how they interact with other cannabinoids and neurotransmitters. This is why consuming CBD with other cannabinoids can enhance benefits and reduce the negative side effects.
CBG, on the other hand, behaves more like THC by binding directly to receptors in the ECS. Despite this similarity, CBG doesn’t produce any intoxicating effects. However, this direct binding could indicate that CBG may be an even more effective therapeutic agent than CBD.
The Benefits of CBG
There haven’t been many clinical trials investigating the effects of CBG. However, the preliminary research into the compound’s medicinal potential looks incredibly promising.
One 2017 study found that CBG may function as a potent appetite stimulant. This could help combat wasting in terminal patients similar to the way THC does, but without having any intoxicating effects.
Other studies suggest that CBG is particularly effective at reducing effective intraocular pressure. This makes it one of the most effective cannabinoids for treating glaucoma.
Commonly, many people take CBG to help them with insomnia. Anecdotally, the cannabinoid has been known to help lower mental and physical stress, making it easier to fall asleep.
Animal studies indicate that CBG has anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial to those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.