CBD took the beauty and wellness industries by storm last year—it’s projected to hit $20 billion in sales by 2024! Part of the cannabis plant, from which marijuana also stems, CBD (short for cannabidiol) is non-intoxicating and praised for its therapeutic properties, both in topical and oral applications. It’s the second most prevalent active, or cannabinoid, in the plant (THC being the first), but there are other, more minor cannabinoids, and CBG, or cannabigerol, falls into that category. It may not be a new ingredient—and scientific research is still in its infancy—but for some brands, it’s the next hot thing on their radar. Here’s what you should know.
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What is CBG?
Like CBD, CBG is not regulated by the FDA, but there are some good studies and a lot of anecdotal information supporting its claims and efficacy. “CBG is a precious, nonpsychoactive cannabinoid that’s often referred to as the ‘mother’ or ‘stem cell’ of cannabinoids because it’s the precursor from which all other cannabinoids—like CBD and THC—are created,” says Casey Georgeson, founder and CEO of SAINT JANE.
Tim Orr, senior vice president of innovation at Charlotte’s Web Labs, says CBG works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). “Together, CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body regulate our neurohormones, which actively affect physiological processes including mood, metabolism, pain response and appetite. When cannabinoids like CBG interact with these receptors, it activates a response and produces physiological changes.” These changes include mood enhancement and reduced inflammation, anxiety and other health concerns. “Like CBD, it’s nonintoxicating, but thought to help regulate mood thanks to its ability to boost anandamide, the body’s native ‘bliss’ molecule,” adds Georgeson.
Does it offer any skin-care benefits?
Yes. Although there are fewer clinical studies on CBG, Georgeson calls it “an antioxidant and nutrient-rich skin-care superhero with antibacterial and antifungal properties.” Katherine Ragusa, co-creator of Lab to Beauty, is utilizing CBG in a new collection of face and body products focused on healing, hydration and anti-aging. “CBG has an incredible ability to help skin cells retain moisture,” Ragusa explains. “As we age, our lipid production slows and our skin becomes increasingly defenseless, weakening most dangerously our ability to retain moisture. CBG helps to maintain it.”
Ragusa also credits CBG’s capability to increase basal sebaceous lipid synthesis. “Sebaceous glands produce sebum—an oily substance made of fat, keratin and cellular residue—onto the surface of our skin that helps naturally moisturize it and protect it from environmental aggressors that cause premature aging,” she says. “CBG works to keep our sebaceous glands strong by both maintaining and increasing its lipid synthesis. Therefore, the more productive your sebaceous glands, the younger your skin will appear. CBG is a knight in shining armor for our skin.”
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So is it better than CBD?
Not necessarily. Unfortunately, research on CBD is still in the early stages, although it’s become so mainstream, so therefore research on CBG will be even further behind. What we do know is that most full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD formulations also contain a mix of other cannabinoids, including CBG. This means you may already be getting some in your existing products, and you can check the product’s COA, or certificate of analysis, to confirm that. (Many brands will, and should, post this information on their website or make it accessible to consumers to ensure full transparency.)
“CBG is also usually only present in small amounts in most hemp strains, which makes it a very precious raw material and more difficult to extract than CBD,” says Georgeson. “This makes CBG more expensive, and it’s the reason why industry insiders call it the ‘Rolls-Royce of cannabinoids.’” So for now, until we get more research on its effects in both skin-care and supplements, we totally support sticking with your beloved CBD products. But if you’re someone with super-dry skin and willing to spend a little bit more for a natural, ultra-moisturizing solution, why not give CBG a go?