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CBG oil

cbg-oil
Written by Stefan K.

What is CBG oil?

Since the beginnings of human culture, people have made use of hemp. Over the millennia, our knowledge of the plant has deepened. Alongside being able to make tasty foods from this plant, researchers have shown that it also possible to obtain all sorts of substances from the hemp for use in natural remedies – and one of these substances is cannabigerol, or CBG for short.

Unfortunately, hemp is most well-known for containing the active substance THC, which if consumed, for example by smoking, has psychoactive effects. CBG, on the other hand, is not a psychoactive substance and detailed tests have established that it has no intoxicating effects.  The fact that many of the particularly useful active substances in hemp are only coming to light bit by bit, as analytical methods improve, is demonstrated by the fact that researchers first discovered the presence of CBG in hemp in 1964.

Just like THC, or the similar compound CBD, CBG has what is known as an acidic precursor. This is known as cannabigerolic acid, or CBGa, (the “a” stands for “acid”). During growth or, more accurately speaking, during maturation, CBGa is one of the first substances to be produced by the hemp plant. It ceases to be an acid on conversion from CBGa to CBG. This process can also be “artificially” initiated by means of heating, curing or drying.

Researchers consider CBG to be an antagonist of the CB1 receptor of the ECS – the endocannabinoid system. This means that it is likely that CBG has an inhibiting influence on the effects of psychoactive THC.

But what is CBG oil exactly? CBG oil refers to those oils which include amongst their constituents an effective concentration of CBG. Such CBG oils are often made by mixing a carrier oil (e.g. hemp oil) with pure CBG crystals. There are also, however, a number of full-spectrum CBG oils.

The difference between CBD and CBG

Similarly to CBDa, CBG is also a precursor of CBD. High concentrations of CBG are transformed into cannabidiol under the extrinsic influencing factors of heat, sunlight and UV light as they initiate the drying process. As a consequence of the evolutionary relationship between these two useful active substances which are found in hemp, they differ in their modes of action only in a few select, but nonetheless important, ways.

These few points have already served to justify the pursuit of two distinct objects of empirical research for some renowned scientists. In short, despite their chemical-evolutionary relationship, the most obvious differences between CBG and CBD lie in their chemical structures and in their concentrations in the hemp or cannabis plant.

However, current research focusing on the difference between the two substances does not ignore their interactions as part of what is called the entourage effect. The aim is to investigate how and whether CBG supports or even helps to initiate the positive effects of CBD which have been successfully demonstrated thus far. There are around 100 known cannabinoids, and the challenge of this kind of research is to determine what effects they have on each other and what effect they each have on the human body.

The rule of thumb which is applied by hemp farmers when it comes to the production of CBG is that the proportion of CBG in young plants is higher than that of plants later on in the maturation process. The “extraction” of CBG from the hemp plant for use in CBG oil takes place via distillation. Care must be taken to ensure that this distillation is carried out gently, so that the cannabigerol does not unintentionally end up being converted into cannabidiol (CBD).

Summary

  • CBG is regarded as the “mother of the cannabinoids” CBD develops from CBGa, amongst other compounds

CBG oil production

During CBG oil production, roughly speaking, CBG is extracted from the plant and then dissolved in a plant-based carrier oil. CBG oil is essentially produced in much the same manner as CBD oil.

For the production of CBG oil, manufacturers usually first extract pure CBG. In these cases, the pure CBG occurs in the form of crystals. These CBG crystals are 100% pure and are already being used as a therapeutic agent – however, the price is very high. This high price is due in part to the fact that a combination of steam and the CO2-based distillation process mentioned above is used during production. This delicate balance of steam and CO2 prevents the CBG from being converted into CBD.

In a subsequent step, the crystalline form of the CBG is redissolved in carrier oils in order to produce the desired concentration. This constitutes the last step in the production of CBG oil. Instead of heterogeneous liquids, this produces very homogeneous ones. Even after being left to stand for long periods, the CBG does not settle at the bottom of the container. If, for some reason, a sediment should end up forming following years of storage, it can easily be mixed into the oil again by shaking it.

How to take CBG oil

CBG oil is taken in just the same way as CBD. Ideally, the oil is put directly under the tongue using a pipette. This way, the cannabinoid is taken up via the mucous membranes of the mouth, and enters the bloodstream very quickly. As the ECS is present throughout the entire human body, if CBG oil is used correctly, the active ingredient develops its positive and healing effects after a very short time.

If you don’t like the taste of CBG oil (often strong, hempy), you can swallow the oil straight away. Absorption then takes place via the gastric mucosa, and takes about half an hour. As a way of taking CBG oil, this is also perfectly fine.

The effects of CBG – What can it help with?

As is the case with many cannabis products, the effects of CBG are very diverse in their nature. In general terms, it appears that CBG is very likely to help relieve problems with the digestive system. In addition, according to many reports from CBG users, the substance has a particularly good impact when it comes to eye problems. Thus, the application CBG in cases of glaucoma appears to have a noticeable positive effect on the disease. Intraocular pressure, whose unnatural increase significantly contributes to glaucoma, is substantially reduced by the use of CBG. CBG also regulates the flow of tears. Compared to CBD, the effect of CBG on nausea not only begins faster but also lasts longer.

cbg-oil

In addition to these proven CBG effects, which are supported by people’s reports of their experiences, scientific research in recent years has increasingly been paying attention to the properties of CBG. Relationships between the positive effects of CBG in the case of cancer, Huntington’s disease and in the alleviation and prevention of pain, have been the subject of many studies to date.

CBG and cancer

Cancer is the epidemic and scourge of our time. Current studies suggest that CBG shows particular promise for the treatment of many types of cancer.

In 2014, researchers in Italy published a study[1] showing that the hemp-derived substance CBG interacts with very specific “targets” in the body, significantly improving the chance of a cure in colorectal cancer by effectively inhibiting carcinogenesis (tumour growth). CBG acts as an antagonist of the TRPM8 gene.

Some time before the Italian studies, another study, published in 1996, had already looked at the effect of CBG on melanomas. In the test subjects, melanoma cells were reduced significantly. In 1998, the same researchers concluded that, when CBG was compared with other anti-cancer drugs, this cannabinoid had the greatest growth-inhibiting effect on cancer cells. In this second study, substances such as olivetol and geraniol were used for the  purposes of comparison.

A landmark article was published in the renowned British Journal of Pharmacology in 2011. This gave a detailed account in detail the oncological qualities of cannabinoids. The authors carefully addressed the question of CBG’s inhibition of the growth of breast and prostate tumours.

CBG functions as a neuroprotector

Research into CBG and its useful medical properties is not limited to Italy. At the Complutense University of Madrid, biochemists and molecular biologists have found that CBG has protective properties with respect to the nervous system, as shown in a 2015 study[2]. Two different in vivo models of Huntington’s disease were used. The disease is characterised by the progressive decline of the nerve cells in the brain.

To summarise, the results of the study say that CBG works as an effective neuroprotector. CBG reduces motor deficits, conserves neurons and it can control the expression of certain genes in a positive manner in the general context of Huntington’s disease.

In 2012, the renowned Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology published a study[3] in which the connection between the effects of CBG and improvements in the condition of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis was presented. The researchers came to the encouraging conclusion that CBG is a very effective anti-inflammatory drug, and also has neuroprotective properties. Using an in vivo model, the researchers concluded that CBG reduces the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and modulates the expression of genes which fundamentally involved in the disease.

In summary, the current studies suggest that CBG has a positive effect on Huntington’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

CBG for pain

The active substances found in the hemp plant have demonstrable efficacy in alleviating and inhibiting (neuropathic) pain. Evidence that, for example, CBG oil is effective against pain is available. In 2011, the companies Otsuka Pharmaceutical and GW Pharma applied for a patent[4] which was based on the understanding that CBG helps against neuropathic pain, amongst other things. The focus was not simply the general relief of pain. According to the patent application, CBG also has a positive effect on the regeneration of the body in the case of surgically induced pain.

“Normal” pain can also be alleviated by opiates, but these can lead to addiction (CBG does not), and many opiates are not effective against neuropathic pain. CBG is groundbreaking in the treatment of this kind of pain.

CBG reduces inflammation

At this point it should be mentioned that CBG, like many other cannabinoids, has an anti-inflammatory effect. This characteristic of CBG effect is also increasingly used medically for the treatment of unpleasant inflammatory bowel diseases.

CBG as an antibiotic

In recent years, intensive livestock farming and the inappropriate prescription of antibiotics have led to many germs and bacteria developing resistance against many of these substances.

In 2008, researchers published results showing that certain cannabinoid extracts (including CBG) had a similar effect to that of antibiotics in bacterial cultures of MRSA strains. According to the researchers, the CBG was on a par with antibiotics in terms of its effectiveness in killing bacteria. The reason for this may be that hemp plants have developed a natural defence reaction against bacteria over the millennia.

Does cannabigerol (CBG) have any side-effects?

The question of whether CBG has side-effects mainly depends on the definition of side-effects used. Thus far, no studies or experience reports have suggested the existence of harmful side-effects in the strict sense of the term. Nevertheless, CBG does have effects which one ought to be aware of.

One of the best documented (side-)effects of hemp products is hyperphagia – that is to say increased appetite. This effect is known in the case of THC, but cannabis products which do not contain any THC can also have this effect. Therefore, present-day researchers believe that it is a cannabinoid other than THC which is responsible for this effect. CBG is one of the possible candidates.

This is the conclusion drawn by researchers at the University of Reading. In 2016, they published a study[5], the results of which clearly show that taking CBG can enhance the appetite. Other side-effects were not identified in the study. A promising avenue for future research might be the treatment of eating disorders with CBG oil and CBG products.

What can be said is that, the appetite-inducing effects of CBG may make it difficult to lose weight by reducing food intake.

Thus, overall, no negative side-effects of taking CBG are known. However, two things are advisable – pregnant women and nursing mothers should consult their doctor before taking CBG, as is the case for all supplements. For the purposes of safety, anyone taking strong medication should also consult their doctor before taking CBG oil.

CBG in full spectrum oil

Full spectrum oil combines the entire range of active substances present in hemp. In addition to CBG, such cannabinoid oils contain many other valuable and natural ingredients which are found in the cannabis plant. People often use full-spectrum oil with CBG as a useful dietary supplement.

CBG full spectrum oils rely on the entourage effect which has already been briefly mentioned above. In short, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. This means that, in the full-spectrum oils, it is not simply the case that each individual cannabinoid exerts its positive effects in isolation. Rather, it is the interaction and effects of these different components in combination which often cause and increase the desired effects.

How to buy CBG oil

Only a few years ago, hemp retailers were of the opinion that “only” CBD products or full spectrum oils which exhibit the entourage effect would sell, but nowadays, CBG oil is also gradually conquering the market. Buying CBG oil thus no longer presents a problem. The range of suppliers is constantly growing. This means that there are now many online shops where you can buy or order CBG oil. A number of pharmacies and specialist shops also offer these products.

Conclusion

  • CBG oil can help against many ailments Understandably, the reputation of cannabigerol is growing steadily


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25269802 – 07.08.2019

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25252936 – 07.08.2019

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22971837 – 07.08.2019

[4] https://patents.google.com/patent/EP2768493A1 – 07.08.2019

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5021742/ – 07.08.2019

Taking products containing cannabinoids may result in interactions with various medications. If you are already taking medication, the use of CBG and other cannabinoids should be discussed with your doctor beforehand.

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About the author

Stefan K.

Stefan K.

Stefan is not only a valuable part of the CannaTrust magazine but also convinces with his sound knowledge about the effects of cannabinoids. As an author in Austria he gathered valuable experiences when writing for 'Stadtblatt Salzburg'. He got in contact with cannabis through several positive media reports. Nowadays he writes about everything around the most popular cannabinoid these days: CBD.