CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that’s traditionally found heavier in THC-rich cannabis strains vs. CBD-dominant ones. However, more cultivators are breeding strains high in CBG and CBD with little THC to amplify cannabis plants’ therapeutic benefits without causing a high. CBG has many potential benefits. For example, CBG can buffer the psychoactivity of THC. This raises the question, what is CBG good for?
While limited, early research is showing that CBG may be able to have a role in alleviating several health concerns that commonly plague our health. And the way CBG benefits the body may be unique compared to the other cannabinoids, placing interest in it next to THC and CBD.
Studies have found that cannabinoids, in particular CBG, can lower intraocular pressure (IOP) by increasing fluid outflow to the eyes. This makes CBG potentially beneficial for treating glaucoma. One study showed that CBG was comparable to THC in its ability to produce a two-to three-fold increase in aqueous outflow facility.
You should use caution when taking cannabis products to treat glaucoma. As some research has expressed concerns that some cannabinoids may increase pressure within the eyes. In particular, the cannabinoid CBD has been associated with having adverse effects on eye pressure, and this is why the American Academy of Ophthalmology warns against the use of CBD for glaucoma.
Additionally, the delivery method may greatly influence cannabinoids’ ability to reduce intraocular pressure, with eye drops seemingly being the preferred method. However, cannabinoids’ inability to be easily dissolved in water poses several issues for manufacturing eye drops containing them.
A recent study has found that 1 out of 100 U.S. Americans have some form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). And researchers say the prevalence of IBD in the U.S. has been gradually increasing over the past decade.
Researchers using pure CBG supplied by GQ pharmaceuticals studied its effects on rodents given Dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS). DNBS induces colitis, which is a chronic digestive disease that causes inflammation of the colon. CBG was found to “significantly reduce the effects of DNBS on colon weight/colon length ratio” at various dosages.
To confirm their findings, researchers also looked at histological analysis, immunohistochemistry, and measured intestinal permeability. Histological analysis of CBG showed it reduced signs of colon injury. Immunohistochemical analyses showed that CBG could limit the colonic diffusion of Ki-67. Additionally, CBG demonstrated that it could counteract high concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Other studies have seen similar positive results, making CBG a potential treatment for reducing inflammation and pain caused by IBD.
A 2021 survey of one hundred twenty-seven U.S. adults was asked why they used CBG-predominant cannabis, with 51.2% reporting they used CBG to treat their anxiety. This beat chronic pain (40.9%), depression (33.1%), and insomnia/disturbed sleep (30.7%).
The majority said that CBG was highly effective, reporting their anxiety was either “very much improved” or “much improved” thanks to CBG. 78.3% reported they preferred to use CBG-predominant cannabis strains over conventional medicine. 44% reported no adverse side effects with 16.5% noting dry mouth as the most frequent side effect.
One reason, CBG may present strong anxiolytic properties is due to its ability to trigger dopamine release, which additionally may make CBG useful for treating stress and depression.
It’s currently unknown whether CBG, CBD, or potentially even low doses of THC, is best for reducing anxiety while supporting a better mood.
Displaying a number of benefits in the limited research that’s taken place, more studies on CBG can’t come soon enough. With no psychotomimetic like THC, CBG appears to have a greater affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors than CBD. This means CBG likely has an activity on cannabinoid receptors somewhere between delta-9 THC and CBD.
Additionally, its unique interactions with 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT1A) receptors and α-2 adrenoceptors as an antagonist and agonist, respectively, draw a lot of concern over using products heavily concentrated in CBG.
Future studies will need to look not just at those products but also at CBG’s effects and benefits when consumed with other cannabinoids, such as CBD. We mentioned before that traditionally CBG is naturally found in higher amounts in THC-dominant strains, which is good because it can buffer adverse effects seen with those strains. But that begs the question, what can we expect to see with CBD-dominant strains bred to have higher than normal CBG? As their popularity is quickly growing.
Thankfully, research on the science of cannabinoids has never been better, and we should only expect that to increase thanks to laws around the world loosening their grip on the cannabis plant.
While there isn’t a large pool of research to pull from when studying CBG’s potential benefits, CBG has demonstrated several promising ways it can be utilized to better treat several common medical conditions.
As seen in the 2021 survey we looked at, nearly 3 out of 4 adults who regularly use CBG said they preferred CBG to traditional medication designed to treat chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
We expect to see several studies taking place on CBG in the next few years. Until then, we advise caution with using CBG-based products.