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CBD or CBG for Anxiety?

5 minute read

The fledgling hemp industry changes each day. The science improves, laws shift, and brands are coming out with new products and cannabinoids. The fast growth and limitless options have caused a little confusion among consumers. 

To narrow it down, this post explores whether to try CBD or CBG for anxiety.  Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer as to what is best, but understanding the nuances of each cannabinoid will help you reach an informed decision of what to try for yourself. 

What is Anxiety?

We’ve all experienced some level of anxiousness—sweaty palms, a racing heart. They are necessary biological functions that alert our minds to potential danger. But it can become stifling if we attach the same anxious feeling to non-threatening situations. The mental discomfort may surface as stress, phobias, social anxiety, depression, or other manifestations. 

Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the U.S. It affects 18 percent of the population every year. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, only 37 percent of the 40 million adults suffering from anxiety seek treatment, illuminating a great need for resources.

While cannabinoid research for anxiety is in early development, we know a little about why it helps mellow our minds. 

The Bliss Molecule

Before we get into how cannabinoids may help anxiety, you need some background on the endocannabinoid system, a network work that regulates a handful of human functions. The recent discovery of the ECS shed light on why cannabis and humans fit hand in glove. The ECS interacts with phytocannabinoids, plant molecules, such as CBG, CBD, and THC. The ECS also interacts with our own naturally produced endocannabinoids (endo is Greek for within). Endocannabinoids and cannabinoids from plants attach to the ECS’s CB1 and CB2 receptors and create similar responses. 

The two endocannabinoids our bodies produce are FAAH and anandamide. Anandamide is also known as the bliss molecule, which comes from the Sanskrit word Ānanda meaning joy or bliss. We naturally make this feel-good compound through physical activity. It’s the reason why people often report a positive mild buzz post-exercise. So while anandamide creates uplifting effects, FAAH breaks it down. It’s the Karen endocannabinoid ruining everyone’s good time.

Research has shown how these two enzymes influence our actions. 

The ECS and Anxiety

a hand holding a tincture dropper full of CBD oil in front of a solid purple backgroundAccording to an article published in Weill Cornell Medicine, 20 percent of Americans of European descent have a mutation that reduces the level of FAAH in our brains, leading to an increase in anandamide. (Remember anandamide makes us feel good!)

To verify that anandamide can reduce stress, a research team inserted mice with the FAAH mutation. Mice with the mutations had higher levels of anandamide and a stronger connection between the prefrontal cortex (which controls emotion) and the amygdala (which processes fear). 

Researchers tested the mice’s anxiety by first teaching them to associate a loud noise with an electric shock. Then they would play the noise without the shock. At first, mice would freeze when they heard the sound. But over time, the mice with the mutation (with more anandamide in their brains) would freeze less often, suggesting that they got over the fear of the shock faster. They also noticed mice with the FAAH mutation spent less time against the walls of their cages and more time out in the open. 

In a similar human study, researchers showed subjects with and without the FAAH mutation two colored squares. They sounded a loud noise while showing participants one of the two colors.  

The same squares were presented without the noise the next day. Researchers measured fear responses by changes in the participants’ sweat. Like the animal study, human subjects with the mutation got over the fear quicker than the others without the mutation. 

Because phytocannabinoids act similar to our natural endocannabinoids, hemp extracts may regulate fear and anxiety in the same way. Research suggests this may be true.

CBD and Anxiety

More CBD and anxiety research exists because cannabidiol is a far more prevalent. One study showed reduced public speaking stress in people with social anxiety. In a small PTSD study, 91 percent of 11 participants with anxiety improved on a consistent CBD regimen. CBD diminished sleep-related anxiety in 80 percent of participants. And a review of 49 studies suggests CBD could help with a range of anxiety disorders. Research also shows that CBD may reduce negative effects from THC, such as anxiety and paranoia.

CBG may be equally effective.

What Are the Benefits of CBG?

CBG benefits apply to a range of ailments. Research shows promise with psoriasis, MRSA, glaucoma, and gastrointestinal issues. And like CBD, CBG may have just as many implications for the mind. For instance, some studies show the mother cannabinoid could potentially be an effective defense against neurodegenerative disorders. 

CBG and Anxiety

CBG is a highly potent agonist for α2 adrenoceptor and a blocker of serotonin 5-HT1A receptor. This means it keeps serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with positive feelings, in the brain. CBG inhibits GABA reuptake, which could lead to muscle and tension relief, and a sense of calm in the body. GABA reuptake inhibitor drugs are prescribed to treat anxiety, so CBG could potentially do the same.  

Does CBG work better than CBD for Anxiety?

At this point, we don’t know if one or the other works better.

What we do know:

  • CBG is a potential neuroprotectant that is also a strong GABA reuptake inhibitor. 
  • CBD research shows a multitude of potential uses for general and clinical anxiety.
  • Both regulate the ECS, which affects mood. This may indicate both cannabinoids support mental health.  

With all cannabinoids, desired effects are dose-dependent and can vary from person to person. Age, weight, lifestyle, genetics, and other factors play a role in a person’s response. 

Does CBG Help Anxiety Immediately?

That depends on how you are consuming the CBG or CBD. For the fastest-acting method, a vape pen or dabbing a concentrate is the best choice. They are the most bioavailable, meaning cannabinoids are absorbed faster and at a higher rate. Edibles are the slowest acting method because cannabinoids must go through the digestive tract before the body absorbs the CBG. 

Also, pay attention to what is in your product; other ingredients could produce specific results. Terpenes, for example, control the effect of extracts, so be aware of these molecules as well.

Will CBG Help Me Sleep?

Many people report alertness and focus as common CBG oil benefits. But if anxiety is keeping you up at night, CBG’s anti-anxiety effects could potentially help you achieve a good night’s rest. CBN is one of the more popular products for sound sleep, however, cannabinoids interact with each person differently, so it is a matter of experimentation.

Where to Buy CBG Oil

Cannabigerol is rarer than CBD because there is far less of the compound in the hemp plant. It makes CBG difficult to find. We are one of the few companies that offer whole-plant CBG extractions as a tincture, isolate, capsules, gummies, and in a topical.

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