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The ‘mother of all cannabinoids’ – what is CBG?

New studies show the potential benefits of this lesser-known cannabinoid

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There are hundreds of cannabinoids in cannabis from CBD to THC. Although CBD feels like it’s popping up in everything lately, the industry is looking for the next big thing – cannabigerol (CBG).

What is CBG?

Cannabigerol is one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis. It is sometimes referred to as ‘the mother of all cannabinoids’ because it is the precursor to CBD. Other cannabinoids are derived from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), an acidic form of CBG.

There is very little CBG in plants often as low as one per cent so it makes CBG more expensive than CBD products. CBD is much more available in plants at 20 to 25 per cent. CBG tends to be made from younger plants which contain a higher percentage. THC and CBD both begin life as CBGA before maturing and THC goes on to become CBN in older plants.

It is thought to work the same as CBD in that it interacts with our endocannabinoid system via receptors that are found all over the body. In particular, it may bind to the CB1 receptors in our nervous system or CB2 receptors in our immune system.

It is thought to potentially strengthen the function of anandamide which is a neurotransmitter that affects our pleasure and motivation. It also regulates appetite, sleep and pain relief.

What is CBG good for?

There have been a few studies that show the potential benefits of CBG.

A study from 2020 revealed that CBG may help to fight against antibiotic resistance.

Researchers identified CBG as an antibacterial compound that may serve as a lead for new drug development. Their study found that it was not only antibacterial but it was effective in mice fighting a resilient form of bacteria referred to as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

A more recent study from 2021 revealed that it may help in the fight against obesity.

The researchers synthesised three different CBG derivatives, HUM 223, HUM 233, HUM 234. In tests on mice, they discovered that HUM-234 may offer potential as an obesity treatment drug.

The mice were divided into groups for the study; one given just a high-fat diet (HFD), another given an HFD and CBG then one given an HFD and HUM-234. The researchers discovered that in comparison to the other groups, the mice on HUM-234 gained weight much slower and their livers were in a better condition with less fat build-up.

The researchers wrote: “The high-fat diet mice showed liver steatosis while the HUM 234 treated mice livers revealed almost no steatosis. The livers of the mice on CBG showed almost the same levels of steatosis as those on the high-fat diet.”

Should I take CBD or CBG?

Why not combine both? CBD and CBG can actually combine to offer potentially better benefits together. This is often referred to as the entourage effect. Each cannabinoid has unique effects and benefits, and their behaviour may when combined with other compounds.

That said, if you do prefer the idea of one or the other then these are some of the benefits of CBG

CBG for appetite stimulation

A study from 2017 revealed that a form of CBG with no THC was an effective appetite stimulant in rats. It is thought that it may be able to help with cachexia, the muscle-wasting and severe weight loss associated with cancer.

CBG for glaucoma

In one study, researchers treating cats with glaucoma used drops with CBG and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol.  They noticed there was a reduction in eye pressure but an increase in aqueous humor outflow which is a liquid that provides nutrition to the eyes.

CBG for Huntingdon Disease

In another study from 2015, researchers discovered that CBG may have neuroprotective properties when it comes to Huntington disease. They examined mice with an experimental model of Huntington Disease. They noted that CBG may act as a neuroprotectant minding nerve cells from damage while improving motor defects. It also helped to preserve striatal neurons against 3-nitropropionic acid toxicity.

CBD for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

A study from 2013 on mice that had inflammation similar to IBD induced in their colons revealed that it may help to reduce the production of nitric oxide. It also reduced the inflammation present.

How do I know if CBG works for me?

The best way to start taking it is to find a product that suits your needs. If it’s a muscle problem then maybe topicals may be better suited as the product can target the exact area. If you aren’t a fan of the hemp after-taste then maybe edibles may suit you?

As with CBD, it can take a while to notice the effects of CBG so keeping a note of the effects you do notice is a great way to monitor your intake and the benefits.

It is worth doing your research to find a reputable brand that you can trust. As it is difficult to produce and present in plants at a lower percentage, it may be more expensive to buy. The most common CBG product on the market is oil but there are increasingly other options available including CBG vaping e-liquids.

Is CBG legal?

It is legal, as long as the production does not exceed the legal allowance of THC. THC is still a controlled substance in the UK.

Can CBG get me high?

Nope!

CBG is non-psychoactive which means they will not get you high like THC can. The same can be said for CBD.

Read more: CBD isolate may reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

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Four of the best CBD transdermal products

Ruby Deevoy, picks the best CBD patches and transdermal products for joint and muscle relief.

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Four of the best CBD transdermal products

Cannabis journalist, Ruby Deevoy, picks the best CBD patches and transdermal products for joint and muscle relief.

One of the most common reasons people choose to try CBD is to relieve pain – whether that’s discomfort from chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and MS, or temporary muscle aches from an intense workout. 

In many cases, with a high quality transdermal product, CBD and whole plant cannabis has been reported by users to have a hugely positive impact on these and many other joint and muscle issues – and the science backs it up.

CBD for arthritis

Both topical and oral CBD has been used in both human and animal model studies to demonstrate potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

Although many people are a little sceptical of how effective topical application can actually be, results from this research has revealed remarkable potential, with one study showing that transdermal CBD gel significantly reduced joint swelling, limb posture scores as a rating of spontaneous pain, immune cell infiltration and thickening of the synovial membrane. This resulted in relief from arthritis pain with no notable side effects.

Interestingly, although THC and CBG (both of which directly activate CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system) are usually found to be more effective on pain than the CBD molecule, when it comes to inflammatory conditions like RA, it’s CBD that stands out.

CBD acts on CB2 receptors, which decrease cytokine production and immune cell mobilisation, as well as acting on other receptors involved in pain and inflammation modulation, such as serotonin and capsaicin 

Although the International Association for the Study of Pain presidential task force on cannabis and cannabinoid analgesia have expressed that they feel there are still a lack of trials proving that CBD is an effective treatment for pain, other research bodies and anecdotal evidence say different.

CBD for DOMS

DOMS (or, delayed onset muscle soreness) is the proper name for those sometimes debilitating aches and pains many people experience after a workout. Although this pain is generally a good sign, indicating that your muscles are healing, strengthening and growing, it can stop you going about your day and prevent you from smashing it at your next session. Fortunately, CBD can help.

Once again, a large part of this is down to the anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD, as many studies have shown that CBD can reduce muscle and joint inflammation. In addition, CBD has also been shown to stimulate muscle spasticity and accelerate muscle recovery via transdermal and internal products.

Topical vs Transdermal – what’s the difference?

We previously covered ‘best CBD skincare’, where a number of excellent topical products were listed. This review is specifically looking at transdermal products which, although applied to the skin, contain permeation enhancers in the ingredients to create products that go into the body through the top three layers of the skin. Topicals target the skin, but are not as readily absorbed, so will not be as effective on internal discomfort.

Transdermal CBD products, like muscle balms, gels and patches, have been designed to reach deeper tissues, like your muscles, and even further into your body. 

If you’re keen to use products made entirely from natural ingredients, you’ll be pleased to hear that many terpenes naturally present in cannabis can act as permeation enhancers. There’s also certain fatty acids, glycols and over 350 other chemicals that brands can choose to use in their transdermal formulations.

If you’re unsure whether a product is topical or transdermal, don’t be shy to ask the brand you’re buying from. Of course, all the ones listed here are transdermal.

Do CBD patches really work?

CBD patches are an exciting addition to the CBD market, and they can be really effective! Even though they’re new to the CBD industry, they’re not new in pharmaceutical administration, so there are a number of studies explaining how they work and showing that their effects can be comparable to oral dosing, if not more effective.

One mouse model study revealed that a low dose of CBD delivered via a patch (on a knee-joint swelling) provided better absorption than oral administration.

Using a CBD patch allows you to target areas of the body for a slow release, which bypasses ‘first pass metabolism’ – a process that occurs when taking CBD capsules or edibles, where the concentration of a drug is greatly reduced before circulating in the body. What’s more, there’s evidence to suggest that transdermal patched prolong the effects of the drug being delivered, with less fluctuation in dose.

Four of the best

Biosportart 2,000mg Gel, £49 biosportart.co.uk

Interestingly, this potent gel is made using citrus-derived CBD, rather than cannabis. I was sceptical at first as an avid advocate for the cannabis plant, but there’s no denying that this is seriously effective – almost like a numbing gel! It’s pricey, but worth it if you’re in a lot of discomfort.

 

The Tonic CBD Patches, £27/£40, thetonictribe.com

Long-lasting, discrete and great for reducing swelling of inflamed muscles. Patches are ideal for people who are keen on ease of use, aren’t great at remembering to reapply products and aren’t keen on feeling wet or greasy after application! They’re available in two strengths and you can leave them on for up to 36 hours.

 

Grass & Co Ease Balm, £39.50, grassandco.com

Perfect for post-workout muscle recovery, thanks to 300mg CBD alongside arnica, peppermint, camphor and eucalyptus. Testers found they were able to recover faster after putting their muscles to the test when using this product.

Dermactiva Warming Muscle Cream, £24.99, dermactiva.co.uk

An honorary cannabis seed oil mention! There’s no CBD in this cream, but a Colombian heritage blend of cannabis seed oil, ginger, chilli, horse chestnut and calendula makes for a great product that works particularly well on aching hands. 

 

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How CBD may help ease hay fever symptoms

UK pharmacies are reporting a shortage of hay fever medication – could CBD offer an alternative option?

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How CBD may help ease hay fever symptoms

With UK pharmacies reporting a shortage of hay fever medication – could CBD help ease symptoms?

Pharmacies across the UK are reporting a shortage of Chlorphenamine maleate, the active ingredient in commonly used allergy medicines, such as Piriton.

High-street giant Boots, told the BBC on Monday 9 May, that a “small number of lines” are currently out of stock due to an “industry-wide shortage” of the ingredient.

According to the Met Office pollen counts are expected to remain medium to high for the rest of the week.

Boots has said that it still has a number of other medications available to treat hay-fever symptoms, however, if you’re looking for a natural alternative – without some of the side-effects – it could be worth giving CBD a go.

Arthritis: A banner advert for the Medical Cannabis Clinics

What is hay fever?

Hay fever is particularly common at this time of year, as it is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen, typically when it comes into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes and throat.

While there is no cure or treatment, a number of over-the-counter antihistamines that can help alleviate some of the symptoms – such as Chlorphenamine maleate.

But even when they are available, many of these carry side effects – the most common of which are drowsiness and dry mouth – meaning that many people prefer not to use them during the day.

Some promising studies suggest that the CBD’s beneficial properties could be helpful for hay fever sufferers.

Cannabinoids and allergies

More research is needed, but while there have been no human studies so far, a number of animal studies have shown some positive signs.

A 2013 study gave a number of guinea pigs an antigen to stimulate a contraction in their throat muscles, which can be a common symptom of hay fever. Researchers found that “cannabidiol reduced … airway obstruction”, adding that CBD “may have beneficial effects in the treatment of obstructive airway disorders”.

Two years later, in 2015, another study looked at the link between the mediation of CB1 receptors and mast cells, which are responsible for releasing the histamines that cause the symptoms of hay fever. 

Although the results were inconclusive, they suggested that CB1 receptors may mediate the hypersensitivity of the immune system, which in turn could be used to lower histamine levels.

Elsewhere a more recent study found that a synthetic cannabinoid, designed to replicate THC, could prevent peanut allergy, as well as reducing the effects of anaphylactic reactions.

Anti-inflammatory properties 

One thing that CBD is well-known for, is its anti-inflammatory properties.

These can prove invaluable during an allergic reaction, working to reduce any swelling or irritation and limiting further histamine production.

In fact, CBD’s interaction with the human endocannabinoid system has been shown to reduce almost all of the most common side effects that accompany an allergic reaction, such as opening airways to make breathing easier, easing nasal pressure and relieving congestion and mucus.

CBD may not be a proven treatment for the prevention of the symptoms of hay fever, but at the very least it can help to ease them – even if just until the shelves are restocked.

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CBD without the chemicals – UK retailer launches ‘pure’ cold-pressed oil

The Good Level has launched cold-pressed organic CBD products, made without chemicals.

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UK retailer launches 'pure' cold-pressed CBD oil
The Good Level’s new 5% cold-pressed CBD oil, retailing at £119.99.

People who enjoy the purported benefits of CBD can now get their hands on cold-pressed products that don’t use chemicals and are entirely organic. 

It’s thanks to the cold-press extraction method, developed by British retailer The Good Level and its partners, that cannabidiol (CBD), from the hemp plant, avoids potentially harmful elements while at the same time delivering the full spectrum of touted benefits. 

CBD has exploded in popularity in recent years, and most products are classed as “novel foods“, under UK and European Union regulations. However, because cold-pressed CBD uses the most natural extraction process possible, it is not labelled novel. 

An expanding product range now encompasses everything from oils to moisturisers and teas, taken to help a range of ailments, including sleep trouble, anxiety and pains, as well as faster recovery from sports and also skincare, to aid in the reductions of blemishes and wrinkles.   

Careful control of hemp, grown in Britain 

The Good Level, which operates an online store, as well as a physical shop, in London, created a 5% cold-pressed CBD oil that’s chemical-free and only uses extra-virgin olive oil sourced from various European countries. The company’s hemp comes from a British farm where it’s organically grown without the use of pesticides.

UK retailer launches 'pure' cold-pressed CBD oil

The Good Level’s new 5% cold-pressed CBD oil, retailing at £119.99.

 

“CBD has been around for thousands of years, in its pure form, in Egypt, India and China,” said Jonny Alberto, co-founder of The Good Level. “What we’re essentially doing is relaunching the product for the modern world.” 

The company has a range of educational materials on its website to provide information about CBD and its uses to a public that may have little or no knowledge about the substance and its professed benefits. They conducted a nationwide survey*, of British adults, to find out what people are thinking about CBD. Among its findings were:

  • A majority both knew something about CBD products and their claimed benefits (53%) and would be willing to try CBD to help with ailments, sleep and other issues (62%). 
  • 10% had never heard of CBD while 7% use CBD products and 19% had no opinion. 
  • Just 4% falsely believed CBD is illegal in the UK. 

 

 

A breakdown of the gender and generations of participants in the YouGov/The Good Level survey on CBD.

 

CBD: A recipe for success 

The boom in CBD has led to different ways of using the products, and many people are now adding drops of their favourite CBD oil to various dishes they make, as well as drinks. Popular choices for CBD additions include soups, curries and casseroles, and drops can be mixed in with a salad dressing too, to give an entirely different flavour, and experience. 

Drawing inspiration from CBD bars in such places as Los Angeles and Sydney, some are also mixing CBD oil with mocktails — providing the relaxation they need from stressful work days but without the alcohol, or killer hangover. Popular mocktails include Mai Tais, CBD Juleps, Hemp Hot Toddies, Gin and CBD Tonics and lots more non-alcoholic creations to help you unwind. 

And, says Alberto, cold-pressed provides the full spectrum of benefits that people seek with quality CBD products, while the company is able to keep an eye on hemp farming because it’s done in the UK and not abroad. 

“We’re controlling the quality all the way through, from farming to the extraction process, because that’s what our customers want,” he said. 

You can check out The Good Level’s new range of cold pressed CBD products here.

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