CBG For Pain Relief – How Does It Actually Work?

CBG for Pain Relief

Pain is a common experience that all of us have felt at some point in our lives. We’ve all had those moments where our head hurts or our back aches, but chronic pain can be debilitating. It can hinder your movement and make everyday activities grueling.

But did you know the ECS (Endocannabinoid System) plays an important role in regulating pain? Not just pain, but the ECS is critical for almost every moment of our functioning.

Despite its importance, many people aren’t aware of its role in relieving pain.

Although research is in its early stages, CBG is becoming increasingly popular because of its many potential benefits.

CBG has shown to help with overall inflammation, as well as reduce pain.

Can CBG Help With Pain?

A woman sitting on a sofa holding their head, appearing in discomfort

Yes, CBG can potentially help with pain relief and relaxation. CBG interacts with the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in our body which play important roles in regulating pain perception, pain threshold, and pain tolerance1.

CBG is a minor cannabinoid that’s often referred to as the “mother of all cannabinoids” because other cannabinoids are derived from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), an acidic form of CBG. CBG is found in smaller quantities than other cannabinoids in cannabis plants, such as CBD and THC.

CBG is both anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive, which means it can ease inflammation and block the transmission of pain signals in our nervous system2.

By targeting both inflammation and pain signals, CBG can provide a more comprehensive approach to relief than conventional options.

In fact, evidence suggests that CBG is even more potent analgesic than THC and aspirin – and without the psychoactive effects3.

While CBG was effective at low doses, THC had the potential for stronger pain relief at much higher doses. This suggests that THC may be more effective than CBG for pain relief at higher doses. Research suggests that CBG works for pain at all stages.

CBG has been shown to have potential benefits in regard to managing pain caused by IBS, IBDs and general stomach pain.

How Does CBG Actually Work For Pain Relief

CBG interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our nervous and immune systems which govern pain processing and regulation.

The ECS is known to interact with the opioid, dopaminergic, and serotonergic systems, which are all involved in pain processing. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a critical role in pain sensation by modulating pain processing pathways at all stages4.

To put it simply, pain can be classified into 4 stages:

  1. Transduction: This is when your body senses something that might be painful, like touching a hot stove. Your body sends a message to your brain that says “ouch!”.
    • CBG could potentially reduce the activation of special cells in your body that detect noxious stimuli.
  2. Transmission: This is when the message travels from your body to your brain. It’s like a phone call from your body to your brain that says “ouch!”.
    • CBG could potentially reduce the release of certain chemicals that transmit pain signals to your brain.
  3. Modulation: This is when your brain decides how much the pain should hurt. It’s like a volume knob on a stereo that can make the pain louder or softer.
    • CBG could potentially reduce the activity of certain cells in your brain that amplify pain signals.
  4. Perception: This is when you feel the pain. It’s like hearing the music from the stereo.
    • CBG could potentially reduce the intensity of pain by interacting with a system in your body that regulates pain.

CBG is processed by our body’s endocannabinoid system, which is made up of molecules and receptors that are responsible for keeping our bodies in an optimal state, regardless of what’s going on in our external environment. 

Phytocannabinoids like CBG imitate and support endocannabinoids, the natural compounds our bodies make. But it does not have THC’s psychotropic effects, so it will not give you a high.

CBG works by binding to both receptors, where it’s thought to strengthen the function of anandamide5.

Anandamide is one of many neurotransmitters in the brain. It plays a role in enhancing pleasure and motivation, regulating appetite and sleep, and alleviating pain.

CBD and CBG For Pain Relief

CBD and CBG both have been found to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, but there are differences in how they work.

CBD and CBG have shown promise in reducing anxiety, while CBG may be more potent with physical pain relief. Studies show that CBG may be more effective than CBD for certain types of pain, such as nerve pain, stinging or stabbing sensations, but the studies also noted that CBG works best together with CBD than alone6.

Endocannabinoid System and Pain

A woman comfortably relaxing on a couch

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system that plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including pain perception. The ECS comprises a vast network of chemical and cellular receptors called cannabinoid receptors that are densely packed throughout our brains and bodies. 

The “cannabinoid” receptors in the brain — the CB1 receptors — outnumber many of the other receptor types on the brain. They control the levels and activity of most of the other neurotransmitters. This is how they regulate things: by immediate feedback, turning up or down the activity of whichever system needs to be adjusted, whether that is hunger, temperature, sleep or alertness.

Clinical studies have revealed altered endocannabinoid signaling in patients with chronic pain. These studies have shown that the levels of endocannabinoids and their receptors are altered in patients with chronic pain7.

For example, one study found that patients with chronic pain had lower levels of anandamide, an endocannabinoid, in their cerebrospinal fluid. 

Another study found that patients with chronic pain had increased expression of CB1 receptors, a type of cannabinoid receptor, in their peripheral nervous system8. These findings suggest that the ECS may be a potential target for the treatment of chronic pain.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a critical role in regulating pain sensation by modulating pain processing pathways at all stages. The ECS is involved in the regulation of pain perception, pain threshold, and pain tolerance.

The ECS is also involved in the modulation of nociceptive processing, which is the process of encoding and processing noxious stimuli.

  1. ↩︎
  2. Anokwuru, C.P., Makolo, F.L., Sandasi, M. et al. Cannabigerol: a bibliometric overview and review of research on an important phytocannabinoid. Phytochem Rev 21, 1523–1547 (2022). ↩︎
  3. Formukong, E. A., A. T. Evans, and F. J. Evans. “Analgesic and antiinflammatory activity of constituents of Cannabis sativa L.” Inflammation 12.4 (1988): 361-371. ↩︎
  4. Woodhams, S.G., Sagar, D.R., Burston, J.J., Chapman, V. (2015). The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Pain. In: Schaible, HG. (eds) Pain Control. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, vol 227. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. ↩︎
  5. Jastrząb A, Jarocka-Karpowicz I, Skrzydlewska E. The origin and biomedical relevance of cannabigerol. Int J Mol Sci. 2022;23(14):7929. doi:10.3390/ijms23147929 ↩︎
  6. Sepulveda DE, Morris DP, Raup-Konsavage WM, Sun D, Vrana KE, Graziane NM. Cannabigerol (CBG) attenuates mechanical hypersensitivity elicited by chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Eur J Pain. 2022 Oct;26(9):1950-1966. doi: 10.1002/ejp.2016. Epub 2022 Aug 4. PMID: 35899583. ↩︎
  7. Huang, W., Chen, W., Zhang, X.”Endocannabinoid system: Role in depression, reward and pain control (Review)”. Molecular Medicine Reports 14, no. 4 (2016): 2899-2903. ↩︎
  8. Björklund E, Forsgren S, Alfredson H, Fowler CJ (2011) Increased Expression of Cannabinoid CB1 Receptors in Achilles Tendinosis. PLOS ONE 6(9): e24731. ↩︎
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