Ah yes, it seems everyone and their dog has heard about Cannabidiol, or CBD for short. This powerful cannabinoid may offer many benefits for your pet including helping maintain a normal inflammatory response, enhancing brain function, and great for dogs exhibiting nervousness, hyperactivity, discontentment, or responding to environmentally-induced stress. But have you heard of its parent molecule, Cannabigerol (CBG)? That’s right, it seems the cannabis plant has a new, powerful kid on the block (or, at least, new to us).
While still relatively new to the cannabis market, CBG is already building quite a name for itself, partly because research suggests it could offer many benefits for humans and pets alike. So, what exactly is CBG? And what are the benefits of CBG for pets?
What is CBG?
Before diving into what CBG is, we first need to understand a little more about the plant that it comes from: Cannabis sativa.
Cannabis sativa, which is often referred to as hemp or marijuana, contains over 100 unique compounds called “cannabinoids.” Of these cannabinoids we have the ever-popular and therapeutic CBD, as well as the infamous Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) –– the cannabinoid known for getting its users “high” if consumed alone or in significantly higher ratios to CBD.
Then we have CBG, also a cannabinoid. It’s often called the “chemical precursor” to the following cannabinoids:
- CBD (Cannabidiol)
- THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
- CBC (Cannabichromene)
- And many others…
So what does this all mean?
In the cannabis plants, all cannabinoids exist in an acid form. So, CBD actually starts out as cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), THC as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), and so on. (Don’t worry, this will all make sense in a sec.)
It’s only after we apply enough heat that these cannabinoid molecules change from their acid forms to their more stable counterparts that we consume in a variety of products.
Take marijuana, for example. A person won’t get high from eating a raw marijuana flower. That would be one rough, bitter tasting attempt at getting a buzz. Instead, they have to first heat it up in order to feel its psychoactive effects. The same goes for CBD: In order for you and your pet to benefit from CBD’s properties, it must be heated first (this is usually done by extraction during a CBD product’s manufacturing process).
But let’s talk more about why CBG is the precursor, or as others like to say, the “mother of all cannabinoids.”
In the cannabis plant, CBD starts out as an acidic form of CBG called Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA).
Through a series of chemical processes, it becomes CBDA, and then when we apply heat, it becomes the CBD that we know. So, before there is THC and CBD, there first has to be CBGA.
Because CBGA is a chemical precursor to many cannabinoids, it actually doesn’t occur in large amounts in the Cannabis sativa plant. This is because, when it comes time to harvest these plants, all of the CBGA has often already turned into other cannabinoids. We can thank the sun’s heat for that.
On an interesting side note, hemp farmers have managed to breed specific strains of hemp that contain higher ratios of CBG. This is because, as we mentioned earlier, fully grown hemp only contains a small percentage of CBG. Nevertheless, it’s suggested that even these specific hemp strains should be harvested well before they’re ready, as the CBG will convert into other cannabinoids. So this game-changing cannabinoid is actually quite hard to come by. All the more reason to snatch it up when given the chance… from reputable sources, of course.
But you’re still probably wondering, “What does this all mean for my dog (or cat)?”
How Can CBG Help My Pet?
As luck would have it, scientific research (so far) indicates that CBG has numerous health benefits, so we expect to see more CBG products entering the market in the near future.
While there haven’t been any studies on CBG’s benefits in dogs or cats yet, there have been a few preclinical studies indicating that CBG has the following benefits:
- Enhances brain function
- Supports cellular health
- Supports immune health
- Helps support proper digestion
- Helps support normal urinary tract function
- Maintains ocular health (yay, eyes!)
- Supports a healthy appetite
- Helps reduce oxidative stress
- Promotes relaxation
- May help discomfort associated with normal daily exercise and activity
- Supports a healthy inflammatory response
- Support skin health
- And the list goes on…
Given these properties, CBG may be especially beneficial for your pet if they have a condition that involves joint discomfort. After all, that is known to be the underlying cause of many unwanted health problems that occur in pets.
Additionally, there’s been some promising research provided through the National Library of Medicine on CBG and inflammatory bowel disease in mice, leading to much hope that CBG can potentially help both humans and pets with gastrointestinal issues.
Now you and your pet might be thinking: “I don’t get it. It sounds like CBG and CBD offer the same benefits. How in the world are they different? And why is CBG so important for my pet?”
The difference between CBD and CBG
As you can see, there’s quite a bit of potential positive overlap between CBD and CBG. The main difference between these two powerhouse molecules is that the research surrounding CBD far outweighs the research of CBG. Meaning, the information regarding CBG is still in its infancy.
However, some research suggests that CBG has more interactions with our pets’ Endocannabinoid System (ECS) than CBD does. If you’re unaware that the ECS is found in all mammals including our beloved pets, don’t worry, this system was only recently discovered by renowned scientists in the last few decades. Simply put, the sole purpose of the ECS is to ensure your pet is happy and healthy.
So when your pet consumes CBD, it indirectly interacts with their ECS functions. On the other hand, when your pet consumes CBG, it’s thought to interact directly with cells all throughout your pet’s body. This could mean that CBG may be more effective than CBD when addressing health problems.
It’s also theorized that CBG could enhance the health benefits of CBD when combined together. Nevertheless, more studies are desperately needed regarding CBG, especially for our canine and feline friends.
Is it safe to give my pet CBG?
Much like CBD, CBG doesn’t produce the high that we often associate with marijuana. It’s also been noted from studies that it’s well tolerated by rats. Its calming effects and the fact that it typically lacks side effects means that many pet parents are beginning to give their animals CBG… and they’re seeing overwhelmingly positive results. “What we have seen is…dramatically improved coordination and balance…decreased sound sensitivities…increased energy…healthier urinary stream,” said pet parent Ellie after giving her pup CBG oil. “My old man has a hard time getting around. CBG made him feel better,” added Trisha, another pet parent who’s been giving her dog CBG oil to help with pain.
Where can I find high quality CBG products for my dog or cat?
Though CBG is still relatively new to the hemp/cannabis industry, growers are starting to breed hemp plants that yield high amounts of CBGA. Some are also harvesting their plants earlier—before the plant has time to convert all of that CBGA into other cannabinoids.
The result of these new developments is that more CBG products will be entering the market. At Holistic Hound, our organic full spectrum CBG oil is one of the first pet CBG products to be available nationwide. Though this product has only been available until relatively recently, we’re already receiving plenty of positive feedback from hopeful pet owners, as noted above.
Though CBG hasn’t entered the realm of public consciousness in the same way CBD has, it’s certainly poised to do so in the coming years. CBG’s wide range of potential benefits and shown lack of side effects means that it could be a viable option to pet parents looking to help their animals maintain various components of their health.
As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or sheer curiosity, please let us know here. We’d love to hear from you and we’re happy to help in any way we can.