As a CBD and wellness writer, I’ve always been in touch with the latest health trends.
I’m naturally a skeptic when it comes to all new, trendy health products—as someone who works in the industry, I know that many useless products are simply trendy because they’re well-marketed.
But when CBG, short for cannabigerol, burst onto the scene, I paid attention. The science behind cannabis and hemp has always fascinated me, and since CBD has helped me a great deal, I wanted to try CBG for myself.
What exactly is CBG?
CBG is a cannabinoid. This means it's one of the many active chemicals in cannabis and hemp plants. Other cannabinoids include CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the part of cannabis that makes you feel intoxicated).
CBG can be derived from cannabis or hemp. It cannot make you feel intoxicated.
CBG is a very interesting cannabinoid because it’s considered the “mother cannabinoid.” CBG-A, the acidic form of CBG, breaks down to form CBG, CBD, and THC when heated.
You can either harvest your hemp plant early, when it’s mostly CBG-A, or wait until it matures to produce the other cannabinoids.
In the past, if you wanted more CBG, you would have to grow dozens of plants to get a small amount of CBG; most hemp strains typically contain only 1 percent CBG.
The good news is, this is changing: many growers are now focussed on producing hemp strains high in CBG.
Research on CBG
As mentioned, I can be a skeptical person. The way to my heart is through stone-cold science.
As with many “newer” cannabinoids, CBG hasn’t been researched that much. This is in part because of laws affecting cannabis and hemp. Now that the laws are changing, however, it’s easier to conduct research on CBG.
According to research that’s been done so far, CBG could help with the following issues:
●Inflammation. Like most cannabinoids, CBG could reduce inflammation. CBG seems to reduce the inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease, according to a 2013 study.
●Pain. Pain is a common reason why people use medical cannabis. CBG, like many other cannabinoids, could treat pain: in fact, some studies show that it’s better than THC at treating pain.
●Bladder dysfunctions. One study 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. Neurodegenerative conditions like Huntington’s disease are hard to treat. A 2015 mice study found that CBG slowed down the progression of Huntington’s disease in rats. The researchers noted that CBG should also be tested on other neurodegenerative conditions.
●Bacterial infections. A 2008 study suggested that CBG can kill a bacteria called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which causes potentially fatal drug-resistant staph infections.
●Cancer. A 2014 study suggested that CBG could reduce the growth of colon cancer cells and other tumors.
●Glaucoma. Cannabis is often prescribed for an eye disease called glaucoma. A study published in 2008 suggested that CBG might be effective in treating glaucoma.
●Appetite loss. A rat study published in 2016 suggested that CBG could stimulate appetite. This is important for people who have conditions that make it difficult to eat, such as HIV.
As you can see, most of these studies have been conducted on animals—and need to be studied on humans before we know how CBG can help us. There are many CBG studies going on now that will hopefully reveal more potential benefits.
But for now, many people swear by it. According to online forums and testimonials, many use CBG for insomnia and mood issues like anxiety and depression. With this in mind, I decided to grab a bottle for myself.
Why I tried CBG
Before trying CBG, I had many good experiences with CBD. I have OCD and generalized anxiety, which often makes it hard to concentrate. I found that CBD helped with my anxiety and gave me a feeling of clarity and focus.
One thing CBD didn’t “fix” was my back pain. I’ve struggled with back pain for years, which has been made worse by a broken ankle a few years ago. My job involves sitting at a computer all day, so that doesn’t help.
Very few pain medications have helped my backache. The only thing that helped was the exercises my physiotherapist recommended; however, I felt like my progress was going very slowly. The pain was agonizing and often kept me from working, and I desperately needed some relief.
Given the studies I’d read, I decided to try CBG.
Finding CBG isolate was near impossible for me, so I found a CBD/CBG combination. I found a 30ml tincture that contained 1200 milligrams of cannabinoids: 1000mg of CBD, and 200mg of CBG. This means that one milliliter of tincture contained 40 cannabinoids: 33.3mg of CBD and 6.66mg of CBG.
My experience with CBG
I decided to take 0.5ml of the tincture before bed each night. This amounts to about 17mg of CBD and 3.4mg of CBG—in the past, I used about 20mg of CBD per day.
After the first few days, I didn’t feel a major difference. I slept well, but I usually sleep well, so I couldn’t tell if CBG was improving my sleep quality.
CBG, like CBD, often takes a while to “build up” in your system. I know from my experience with CBD that it seldom fixes a problem immediately, like a headache tablet, but rather enhances your wellness over time, like a vitamin.
So, I decided to continue with my experiment.
Around day 10, I really noticed a difference. In the morning, I had an agonizing headache, so I decided to take an extra 0.5ml of tincture to see what would happen. An hour later, I felt much better. There’s no telling whether my headache would’ve gotten better on its own, though.
At the end of the week, I had painful menstrual cramps. Once again, I took an extra 0.5ml of tincture, and it really took the edge off. My abdomen still felt uncomfortable, but I was able to sit up straight and concentrate on work, which was a major improvement.
While CBD alone always helps with my cramps, I felt that the CBG tincture was far more effective.
I accidentally forgot to take it one night, so I used it the next morning. Surprisingly, it didn’t make me sleepy. For the rest of the experiment, I decided to take the CBG in the morning to see what would happen.
At the same time, I decided to take a look at my Fitbit data to monitor how I was sleeping. While there was a slight improvement in my sleep quality, there was nothing major to report. However, since I wasn’t using CBG for insomnia, that didn’t phase me.
By the end of the week, I had a major revelation: my backache had improved immensely. I noticed that my hips felt perfectly fine when I walked my dog, despite the walk being over an hour. I also noticed that the random pains I usually felt as I’d get into bed were gone.
By week four, I felt like I was truly reaping the benefits of CBG. Because my back pain was better, I noticed that my mood had improved: I felt less grumpy and irritated.
I also felt more motivated to exercise. When my back pain was particularly bad, it was difficult to move from a sitting to standing position, let alone exercise. CBG took the edge off that pain. As someone who enjoys gym, yoga, and walking, this was a welcome relief.
I believe that, because I was able to be active and do all of my physiotherapy activities, my back got a little stronger.
My back pain is not entirely gone. Now and then I feel a twinge or an ache, and I can’t garden for long periods of time. However, it’s definitely improved. I think that CBG gave me a helping hand in rehabilitating my back.
To continue the experiment, I decided to put a pause on using CBG on a daily basis (although there was still plenty of tincture left in my bottle). I now use it when I have a particularly bad headache or cramps—and unsurprisingly, it works every time.
How to use CBG for yourself
While I can’t promise that CBG will fix your backache, I can promise that it helped me. With this in mind, I do recommend CBG for pain.
Sian Ferguson is a health writer based in Cape Town, South Africa. Her work covers issues related to CBD, medical cannabis, and mental health. Her work has been featured in Healthline, HealthyWay, bud.com, Greatist, and more.