CBG, cannabigerol, is a cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis that has recently seen more attention. With that comes questions of what is it, what are its effects, what are its properties, is it intoxicating? In this guide we’ll answer all of those questions. We’ll also take a look at why CBG-rich hemp flower is so highly sought after.
What is CBG?
CBG is also called cannabigerol. It’s another non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis plants. It’s found in higher concentrations in high-CBD, low-THC strains.
What is the Role of CBG in Cannabis and Hemp?
Consider CBG another of the “Jack of all trades” cannabinoids. Science indicates that it has multiple properties. One of those is being an aid to THC where paranoia is concerned when THC levels are exceptionally high.
Derek Du Chesne of EcoGen Laboratories said, “CBG works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Together, CB1 and CB2 receptors regulate 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.”
Not much research is available on CBG simply due to previous restrictions due to the legality of cannabis and hemp. Now that hemp is a legal agricultural crop, more information is expected to be available in the future.
In cannabis and hemp, CBG may support healthier responses to nausea, pain, inflammation and psychoactivity. These suggestions have not been confirmed.
The endocannabinoid system is designed to accept cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids from outside sources – this includes cannabigerol. The goal of the endocannabinoid system is to help the body maintain balance (homeostasis) and produce its own endocannabinoids. It isn’t always able to make enough of its own endocannabinoids though.
Anesthesiologist Perry Solomon, M.D. said, “We don’t know much about CBG. It’s not a common cannabinoid, and you have to get enough to be able to test it and study it. CBG is the precursor to CBD, CBC, and THC. CBGA (the acidic, inactive form of CBG) changes, is broken down, and becomes the base molecule that other cannabinoids form from.”
CBG is an important cannabinoid in hemp and cannabis. Its role hasn’t been exactly defined because it isn’t an abundant cannabinoid and, again, the restrictions in place regarding cannabis and cannabinoid research.
As CBG breaks down, it becomes THCA and CBDA. These are also non-intoxicating. Yes, THCA is non-intoxicating because tetrahydrocannabinolic acid has not been active by exposure to heat or UV light. THCA must be activated to become THC and “turn on” the intoxicating elements within the cannabinoid. CBDA, however, remains non-intoxicating once it’s been activated and becomes CBD.
The thing about CBG is – it breaks down somewhat quickly, which is why it’s vital to harvest, cure and sell or process hemp CBG flower quickly. When the idea is to take in more cannabigerol, and you want it in flower form, you’ve got to work fast. Delays in shipping due to shipping carriers and law enforcement agencies not being able to tell the visual difference between hemp and cannabis, along with the lack of appropriate testing equipment within these departments can leave some CBG flower shipments running a little late. At that point, the receiver (the company the shipment is intended for) has to send samples for retesting to have a new, accurate cannabinoid and terpene profile to share with their customers.
CBGA is CBG before it is activated. Essentially, a cannabinoid in its raw state. CBGA stands for cannabigerolic acid. When CBGA is activated (heated or decarboxylated), it converts to CBG.
If you juice raw cannabis or hemp, it’s likely that you’re getting a small amount of CBGA.
If you are able to access CBG hemp plants, you can also juice them and receive CBGA.
CBG-rich hemp plants are making their way into the spotlight. If you come across cannabigerol isolate that has been extracted from plants, it’s likely to be a lot more expensive than CBD or THC extractions – we’ll get into that a bit later.
What is CBG Flower?
You may have started seeing CBD hemp flower advertised online and in your local hemp/cannabis market. You’re seeing things correctly, it’s not a misprint meaning CBD instead – cannabigerol hemp flower does exist.
What happens is plants are specifically crossbred or modified to make CBG the dominant cannabinoid in the plant. THC is likely still present, at the same level as traditional hemp – 0.3% or less. This means that CBG hemp flower is legal to trade interstate and sell interstate – just like industrial hemp or hemp plants that are not identified with a specific strain name.
The concentration of CBG, as with any other cannabinoid, varies from strain to strain. Other factors that can impact the amount of CBG in a strain are the health and concentration of the parent plant, the cultivation method and when the plant was harvested. Plants have to be harvested at just the right time to preserve the cannabinoid and terpene profile.
How to Use the Flower
CBG flower can be used just like any other hemp or cannabis flower. It can be smashed to retrieve the resin (this is called live resin). It’s unknown if anyone has attempted this process with CBG flower yet.
The flower can be ground and utilized in a dry herb vaporizer and can also be used in a traditional bong, joint or pipe. Cannabutter can be made with this flower and the ABV CBG flower can be used to make tea.
There are multiple uses for CBG flower.
Why is Cannabigerol Isolate so Expensive?
If you do happen to see CBG isolate – be ready to shell out a pretty penny for it. Why? Because it takes a massive amount of biomass (the leaves and stalks of plants) to create a very small amount of CBG isolate.
Some strains of hemp, that have been crossbred or modified to produce larger concentrations of CBG may contain up to 20% of the cannabinoid.
There’s only a small window of time to decide whether a hemp crop is going to be used to produce CBG isolate or if it will complete its growth cycle and be used for CBD.
There is still so much to learn about this cannabinoid and what it might be able to help with. For now, what is known is that it won’t make you high and it’s a sensitive cannabinoid. It really is a race against the clock when it comes to harvest time, delivery and processing to maintain higher potencies of CBG. High CBG hemp strains are still rather new to the market, but when you can find them – it’s best to get your hands on them quickly.