America has been high (but not high) on CBD for the past few years, and for good reason: The wonder cannabinoid has amazing potential as a therapeutic for all sorts of ailments. But somewhere along the line, CBD became too popular — fast-food chains released CBD hamburgers, home-furnishing companies came out with CBD bed sheets and money-hungry corporations touted the cannabinoid as a cure for every ache, scratch and boo-boo imaginable. As a result, the whole CBD thing can sometimes feel like quack.
So, you may roll your eyes when you hear that the cannabis industry has a new baby: CBG, or cannabigerol. Promising many of the same benefits as CBD, it’s still entirely unregulated, which means it’s already appearing in tinctures, pre-rolls and gummies all over the country. But is CBG legit? Are we in for a repeat of the CBD craze? Where in this ever-expanding world of cannabinoids do we go from here?
Well, we don’t really know — we’re still in the process of learning about this very complex plant. But we may be onto something. So far, we’ve identified about 120 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, according to Nick Tennant, founder of Precision Extraction Solutions, a cannabis distillation company. “These molecules all bind to the endocannabinoid system in your body differently,” he says, explaining that that’s why THC makes you high and CBD doesn’t. “You’re going to get a different medicinal benefit from each one of these cannabinoids.”
CBG is just the cannabinoid flavor of the day. Its science is still far behind what researchers know about THC and CBD, but CBG shows promise as a therapeutic for inflammatory bowel disease, glaucoma, bladder dysfunctions, Huntington’s disease, bacterial infections, cancer and appetite loss. On Reddit, some compare CBG to caffeine, and others say it’s great for migraines and “especially helpful the day after my COVID shot.” Others say it makes them sharper and more focused. Then there are those who say it does absolutely nothing. Sadly, like CBD, it won’t get you high.
All these disparate accounts are why Tennant says we still have a long road ahead to figure out what’s really going on — that is, how CBG and all 120 or so cannabinoids impact our endocannabinoid systems, how much we need to produce the optimum effects, how we might benefit from combining them and how they change depending on how our bodies metabolize them, all of which depends on how we consume them. It’s a lot to figure out.
Tennant suspects that the time for clinical trials on CBG is nigh, though, and we should see both pharmaceutical and cannabis companies ramping up their research on just about every cannabinoid, if only so they can sell more of them. “We’re just beginning to scratch the surface of the science,” he says.
I guess that means we can expect a wave of CBH, CBI, CBJ, CBK and so on in the near, near future.