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While they're much more popular, THC and CBD are far from the only exciting cannabinoids in the hemp or cannabis plants. CBG, in particular, is up-and-coming in the cannabis world thanks to compelling evidence around its potential to help with specific health and wellness concerns. From inflammation to depression, CBG is worthy of your attention.
This article dives into what we know about CBG, how it works in the body, its potential impact on depression, and what to consider before trying it yourself.
- CBG is a non-psychoactive chemical found in cannabis and hemp plants that shows many of its own properties, including antidepressant potential.
- CBG may work by increasing levels of anandamide in the body, a neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation.
- CBG occurs very little naturally in the cannabis plant, so buying CBG products may be expensive due to sourcing difficulties.
What is CBG?
Cannabigerol or CBG is known as a “parent” cannabinoid to many other minor cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While it's present only in small quantities in hemp and cannabis, without it, more popular cannabinoids like THC and CBD wouldn't exist.
You’ll often find more CBG in its acidic form (CBGA) present in younger cannabis or hemp plants before the chemical has had a chance to convert into THCA and CBDA. When exposed to heat, these turn into the THC and CBD that interact with our endocannabinoid system.
Some strains of cannabis have naturally higher CBG content due to their genetic and biochemical makeup. With its growing popularity, cannabis cultivators have recently been experimenting with creative breeding to create plant varietals with more naturally occurring CBG.
How CBG Works
While evidence is still limited on precisely how CBG works in the body, early evidence suggests the cannabinoid might affect us via multiple pathways.
First, like most cannabinoids, CBG works in the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of receptors and chemicals involved in regulating various physiological systems. CBG interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS, and this interaction with the ECS is believed to play a role in CBG's potential effects on depression.
Additionally, CBG may also affect other neurotransmitter systems in the body. For example, it has been found to limit the reuptake of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which regulates anxiety and mood. By doing so, CBG may increase the availability of GABA in the brain, which could generate calming and mood-stabilizing effects.
CBG has also been shown to activate the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A, which regulates mood and anxiety. These additional mechanisms of action suggest that CBG may have a multifaceted approach to addressing depression.
CBG Effects on Depression
The latest scientific research on CBG and its effectiveness for depression is still limited, as legal issues hamstring much investigation into the world of cannabis. While some studies have explored the potential benefits of CBG for various mental health conditions like depression, more research is needed to draw definitive conclusions.
One small study found that the number one reason people chose cannabis preparations with high CBG content was to reduce anxiety. One-third used it to ease depression, and most believed it more effective than conventional treatment.
Another study published in 2022 found that CBG administration lowered blood pressure in mice models. However, it's important to note that animal studies may not always translate directly to human experiences.
CBG vs. CBD: Which Is Better for Depression?
CBG and CBD both derive from the cannabis plant and while the latter has much more research exploring its ability to impact depression than the former, much more is required to say one is definitively superior. There’s limited clinical evidence to choose a clear winner, but preclinical studies indicate that CBG and CBD share properties that make both potentially helpful for easing depression.
CBD reportedly works very well for alleviating depression, with one survey citing 1 in 6 of 2000 participants using it for such treatment. We mentioned the above study regarding CBG, too, working from pathways affecting the ECS to modulate serotonin in the body, similarly to how SSRIs might.
It is important to note that individual responses to cannabinoids vary, so what works for one person may not work for another. It is best to consult with a healthcare professional before using CBG or CBD for depression.
How to Use CBG for Depression
The most common ingestion route for CBG is as an oil, either taken under the tongue or infused in edibles like gummies. In the cannabis plant, CBG is only present in small amounts, making CBG oil somewhat hard and pricey to find online or at your local dispensary.
Additionally, some individuals may relieve depression symptoms by using topical CBG products. CBG-infused creams or ointments can be applied directly to the skin, targeting specific areas of discomfort or tension. While this method may not directly impact brain chemistry, CBG can help the body feel better, which can, in turn, help the mind.
CBG is also notoriously expensive to isolate, as the required equipment and volume of materials are expensive and potentially cost-prohibitive. It remains to be seen if experimental cannabis breeders can create varieties with high CBG and bring down costs.
The Bottom Line: Does CBG Work for Depression?
Early clinical studies and consumer reports suggest that CBG may provide useful anti-depressant effects, though research is far from definitive. Everyone's body is different, so if you're looking for a cannabinoid-based remedy for treating depression, experimenting with CBG may be a good option for you.
Check out our variety of CBG-infused gummies, sourced from legal and lab-tested hemp plants and available to ship to your door!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does CBG help with anxiety and depression?
The research is limited, but early studies suggest that CBG is an effective treatment for anxiety. Since many of the same prescription drugs are used in depression and anxiety, taking CBG may improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
Is CBD or CBG better for anxiety or depression?
Both CBD and CBG show promising abilities to address both anxiety and depression. You may choose one or the other depending on the time of day. CBG is reportedly more energizing and good for daytime depression management, whereas CBD is more relaxing and may be best suited for evening use.
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