Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) have exploded in popularity over the past few years. As the cannabinoid’s reputed anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects have made it trendy. This is an ingredient for skincare brands and “wellness” products.
CBD is the major non-intoxicating component in cannabis. It is abundant in common cannabis strains. It makes the cannabinoid’s isolation and use translatable to commercial product-making operations.
But recently another non-intoxicating cannabinoid has been making headlines. Cannabigerol (CBG) is a less abundant cannabinoid. But it reduces inflammation, combat pain, slows the proliferation of some cancer cells. This brings a talk on the differences between CBG and CBD.
CBG may sound like CBD on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you will see the key differences that we have discussed in this article.
What is CBG?
CBG stands for cannabigerol. Cannabigerol is one of more than 120 cannabinoids found in cannabis. It was first isolated in 1964. Research into CBG is still at a preclinical stage. But the available studies suggest that it holds considerable therapeutic promise. CBG’s analgesic properties may surpass those of THC without the intoxicating hit. There’s also evidence to suggest CBG may offer anticancer, antidepressant, and antibacterial qualities.
Cannabigerol acid (CBGA) is the chemical precursor to all the well-known cannabinoids. As the plant grows, enzymes convert CBGA into the three primary cannabinoid acids:
Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA),
and cannabichromene acid (CBCA).
Through decarboxylation, CBGA becomes CBG. This enables the cannabinoid to interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors. Research suggests that CBG has a partial affinity for both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBG may also stimulate receptors that influence pain, inflammation, and heat sensitivity.
Endocannabinoid receptor sites
Research suggests that CBG has a partial affinity for both the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CBG generally appears in low concentrations in most cannabis plants. But, breeding efforts have resulted in CBG-rich cannabis cultivars. CBG-dominant plants are “Type IV” cannabis. Although these CBG-dominant plants aren’t yet common in the consumer cannabis markets. But they are being cultivated on a large scale. High concentrations of CBG will make it easy to extract the cannabinoid for use.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a cannabinoid found in high concentrations. It is in type II (THC/CBD dominant) and Types III (CBD-dominant) cannabis and hemp plants. It was first isolated from cannabis in the late 1930s. Then it was abandoned until the seventies. This is when scientists ignited an interest in its anticonvulsant properties.
Since then, research confirms that purified CBD offers a useful treatment. This is for severe forms of childhood epilepsy. CBD may also boast anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, anti-nausea, and sedative qualities.
In recent years, CBD has seized the spotlight due to the range of therapeutic benefits it offers. CBD may help mitigate some of THC’s less desirable characteristics. They are such anxiety, paranoia, and impaired cognitive function. Research suggests CBD and THC generally provide more significant therapeutic benefits together. A phenomenon that we know as the entourage effect.
CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system through diverse physiological pathways. It has a partial affinity for both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. But it also binds to several receptors that form part of the endocannabinoid system. Its mechanisms of action on the body are still not understood.
Differences between CBG and CBD?
CBG is different from CBD in several critical ways:
Molecular structure of CBG and CBD
CBG and CBD have different molecular structures. Molecular structure refers to the number and arrangement of atoms. That is hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen atoms constitute a cannabinoid. Dissimilar molecular structures mean that CBG and CBD have different three-dimensional shapes. Thus they bind with the body’s cannabinoid receptors in different ways and act on the body. A cannabinoid’s molecular structure also helps determine the bioavailability of the cannabinoid. This is the same for its degree of solubility in water.
Pharmacology of CBD and CBG
CBD and CBG also activate receptors differently. For example, a 2011 study compares the effects of CBD and CBG at the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. CBD exerts its anti-nausea effects through its affinity for the 5-HT1A receptor. It acts as an agonist (activator). CBG, but, behaves as an antagonist (blocker) at the 5-HT1A receptor. The findings show that a pre-treatment with CBG blocked CBD’s anti-emetic effects. This suggests that the two cannabinoids are bound to the same place. But they had opposing actions at this receptor.
Appetite stimulation differences between CBG and CBD
Another critical way in which CBG differs from CBD is in appetite stimulation. Research in rats shows that doses of CBG encourage the animals to eat. This is more than double their normal food intake. In another study, CBG didn’t induce any changes to feeding behavior. but CBD reduced total food intake.
What are the therapeutic effects of CBG?
Although there are no clinical trials that have explores the effects of CBG on humans. Several preclinical studies offer insights into some of the potential effects of CBG. CBG won’t offer you an intoxicating, psychoactive experience. It may provide other unique benefits that may help with the following conditions. Though we need more human trials, of course.
As already discussed, preclinical studies reveal that CBG can promote appetite in rats. A 2017 study emphasizes the therapeutic significance of this finding. It points out that purified CBG may represent a novel treatment option. This is for cachexia, appetite loss, and wasting in humans. Unlike THC, CBG can help to drive hunger without any undesirable intoxicating effects.
MRSA bacterial infections
CBG has also demonstrated its clout as a potent antibiotic. Researchers tested the antibacterial potential of 18 different cannabinoids, including CBG against MRSA. CBG outperformed all the cannabinoids. It tested and worked as well as vancomycin, a powerful antibiotic.
CBG boasts anti-cancer properties due to its ability to inhibit abnormal cell proliferation. Research has evidence of its anti-tumorigenic properties. It stops the formation of mouse skin melanoma cells.