Cannabigerol (CBG) is a cannabinoid, meaning it’s one of the many chemicals found in cannabis plants. The most well-known cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but there’s recently been more interest in the potential benefits of CBG.
CBG is considered to be the precursor to other cannabinoids. This is because CBG-A, the acidic form of CBG, breaks down to form CBG, CBD, THC, and CBC (cannabichromene, another cannabinoid) when heated.
CBD and CBG are both nonintoxicating cannabinoids, meaning they won’t make you high. They also both interact with the same receptors in the body, according to a 2018 studyTrusted Source, and appear to have anti-inflammatory effects.
However, CBG does seem to have some different functions and health benefits than CBD.
The main difference between CBD and CBG comes down to the level of research available. There’s been a decent amount of research on CBD, but not so much on CBG.
That said, with CBG becoming more popular, there will likely be more studies on it soon.
While the research on CBG is limited, studies do exist suggest that it offers several benefits.
CBG may be able to improve the following health conditions:
- Inflammatory bowel disease. CBG seems to reduce the inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease, according to a 2013 study conducted on miceTrusted Source.
- Glaucoma. Medical cannabis seems to effectively treat glaucoma, and CBG might be partly responsible for its efficacy. A study published in 2008Trusted Source suggests that CBG might be effective in treating glaucoma because it reduces intraocular pressure.
- Bladder dysfunctions. Some cannabinoids seem to affect the contractions of the bladder. A 2015 studyTrusted Source looked at how five different cannabinoids affect the bladder, and it concluded that CBG shows the most promise at treating bladder dysfunctions.
- Huntington’s disease. CBG might have neuroprotective properties, according to a 2015 study that looked at miceTrusted Source with a neurodegenerative condition called Huntington’s disease. The study concluded that CBG might show promise in treating other neurodegenerative conditions.
- Bacterial infections. A 2008 studyTrusted Source suggests that CBG can kill bacteria, particularly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which causes drug-resistant staph infections. These infections can be hard to treat and fairly dangerous.
- Cancer. A 2014 studyTrusted Source looked at colon cancer in rats and concluded that CBG might reduce the growth of cancer cells and other tumors.
- Appetite loss. A 2016 study on ratsTrusted Source suggested that CBG could stimulate the appetite. Appetite-stimulating chemicals could be used to help those with conditions such as HIV or cancer.
While these studies are promising, it’s important to remember that they don’t confirm the benefits of CBG. Much more research is needed to fully understand how CBG works in the body.
Very little is known about the side effects of CBG oil or other forms of CBG. So far, it seems to be well tolerated by ratsTrusted Source, but there’s not enough research to say much about the potential side effects it might have on humans.
Not much is known about how CBG might interact with over-the-counter or prescription medications, as well as vitamins or supplements.
If you take any kind of medication, it’s best to check with your healthcare provider before trying CBG oil. It’s especially important if you take a medication that contains a grapefruit warning.
Medications that often have this warning include:
- antibiotics and antimicrobials
- anticancer medications
- antiepileptic drugs (AEDs)
- blood pressure medications
- blood thinners
- cholesterol medications
- erectile dysfunction medications
- gastrointestinal (GI) medications, such as to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or nausea
- heart rhythm medications
- mood medications, such as to treat anxiety, depression, or mood disorders
- pain medications
- prostate medications
CBD may affect how your body metabolizes these medications. It isn’t clear if CBG has the same effect, but given how similar it is to CBD, it’s best to err on the side of caution and double-check.
Don’t stop taking any medications to use CBG oil unless your healthcare provider tells you to do so.
Finding a good CBG oil can be difficult, as it’s much harder to find than CBD. Plus, neither CBD nor CBG is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so you have to do a bit more legwork to ensure you’re getting a high-quality product.
Here’s are a few pointers to help get you started.
Try full-spectrum CBD
Full-spectrum CBD products contain a small amount of many cannabinoids. They’re also much easier to find than CBG-only products.
Plus, it’s believed that cannabinoids work best when they’re all taken together.
Check for third-party testing
Companies that produce CBG products should have their products tested by an independent lab. Before you buy CBG, find out whether the company’s products are third-party tested, and be sure to read the lab report, which should be available on their website or via email.
CBG is becoming increasingly popular, but the research around it is still pretty limited. While it may offer several potential benefits, not much is known about its side effects or how it might interact with certain medications.
If you’re curious about trying CBG, it might be easier to find high-quality full-spectrum CBD oils, which should contain some CBG. Just make sure to check in with your healthcare provider first if you take any medications or have an underlying health condition.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice, cannabis, and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.
Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT on February 27, 2020 — Written by Sian Ferguson