Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard of CBD (cannabidiol) by now. The hemp-derived compound has been making waves for its potent health benefits, ranging from pain relief to improved sleep. But CBD is only one of over 100 cannabinoids, and as it turns out, it’s not the only one worth paying attention to.
Enter CBG: short for cannabigerol, this up-and-comer is showing lots of potential. If you’re curious about how CBG compares with CBD, then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to find out more about CBG, its benefits, and whether this emerging cannabinoid could become the next CBD.
CBD, CBG, and the infamous THC all belong to a large family of cannabis-derived substances called cannabinoids. While there are over 100 known cannabinoids, only a few have been studied. And though each cannabinoid has different effects, what they all have in common is the way they interact with the body.
Specifically, the endocannabinoid system: a network of receptors found throughout the body that help regulate functions such as digestion, mood, pain, sleep, and more.
Cannabinoids mimic neurotransmitters (called endocannabinoids) that our bodies create naturally, and this, in a nutshell, is why CBD, CBG, THC, and others are capable of producing such varied effects. THC, most notably, has psychoactive effects – that is, it gets you high – while CBD and CBG do not.
The amount of each cannabinoid you’ll find in cannabis depends on the plant’s strain, but hemp is naturally high in CBD, while marijuana is highest in THC.
Meanwhile, you’ll find only trace amounts of CBG in the typical cannabis plant.
But this can depend on age; younger plants are higher in CBG, since the cannabinoid breaks down through the aging process. In fact, CBG eventually turns into other cannabinoids, including THC and CBD.
Benefits of CBG vs. CBD
Neither CBG nor CBD will get you high, but that isn’t the only thing they have in common.
Both of these cannabinoids have few (if any) side effects, while providing a variety of health benefits, many of which overlap.
For example, both CBD and CBG are anti-inflammatory, have neuroprotective properties, and can reduce glaucoma-related eye pressure. Research also suggests that both of these cannabinoids may be able to reduce cancerous tumor growth.
Along with these benefits, CBD has been widely recognized for its ability to relieve pain.
Part of its effectiveness in this area is likely due to CBD’s potent anti-inflammatory benefits. This makes it especially helpful for those dealing with inflammatory conditions like arthritis – especially since CBD may protect against arthritis-related nerve damage.
CBD can also help reduce nerve pain, as well as myofascial pain associated with conditions such as fibromyalgia, and pain associated with conditions such as migraines and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
If that wasn’t enough, CBD can also be helpful for anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
One review of CBD’s anti-anxiety benefits concluded that CBD should be studied in clinical trials. Additionally, CBD can improve sleep quality, and has been proven to reduce seizures.
Just last year, the FDA approved the first CBD drug for treating a form of childhood epilepsy.
While there has been less research exploring the specific benefits of CBG, it shows potential in treating bladder dysfunction, as well as reducing the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. CBG is also excellent at stimulating appetite, and it’s an effective antibacterial – it may even be able to fight the antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria.
In fact, that’s another benefit CBG shares in common with CBD, along with other cannabinoids like THC, CBN, and CBC.
The jury’s still out on whether or not CBG is an effective painkiller, and it’s also being studied for its potential ability to treat depression and psoriasis.
Overall, it’s clear that CBG has a lot of potential, but more research is needed to see how its effectiveness compares against CBD – especially for pain relief.
Combining CBD and CBG
As you can see, many, if not most, of the benefits of CBG overlap with those of CBD, which raises the question: what happens if you combine the two?
Research suggests that combining cannabinoids can enhance their benefits, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. This doesn’t only apply to CBD and CBG, but other combinations as well; for example, CBD and THC provide stronger pain relief when combined than when taken alone.
If you’d like to try these cannabinoids together, you’ll want to buy either full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil.
Full spectrum CBD oil contains all of the cannabinoids and terpenes that were extracted from the cannabis plant alongside CBD; that includes traces of THC, CBG, and others.
Broad spectrum is similar, except it’s further refined to remove all traces of THC, while leaving all other cannabinoids intact.
The downside of full and broad spectrum oils is that the amount of secondary cannabinoids (i.e. those aside from CBD) can vary depending on factors such as the plant they were derived from. This makes them somewhat unpredictable when it comes to benefits and side effects.
There is also a greater chance of experiencing side effects when taking broad or full spectrum CBD oils, simply due to the amount of different substances contained within them.
Plus, since full spectrum CBD oil contains THC – even though it’s just trace amounts – it can flag on a drug test.
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