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CBG (Cannabigerol) is a rising star in hemp, rivaling CBD as the next non-psychoactive cannabinoid to dominate the low-THC market. Not only does CBG exhibit therapeutic benefits, it’s also unique in that it acts as a chemical precursor to every other cannabinoid in the plant including CBD and THC.
As the market begins to understand CBG’s value, the demand is rising. But the supply doesn’t exist yet, which means CBG’s price per kilo is much higher than the cost of CBD. So is now the right time to consider moving away from the low-cost, saturated CBD market and start growing CBG hemp instead? Let’s explore further.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CBG?
While CBG-specific studies are still in their infancy, animal studies indicate that CBG may be a neuroprotective agent that also promotes bone health and pain relief, to name a few. CBG has also been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and antibacterial properties, while contributing to bladder and skin regulation. And that’s just the tip of iceberg. More research is needed but CBG shows great potential to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. In fact, the US government is also curious about this cannabinoid. In 2018, The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) announced plans to research lesser known cannabinoids such as CBG for pain management.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CBG VS CBD?
Similar to CBD, CBG cannot get you high, but it can help relieve emotional and physical ailments that plague many patients. Both CBD and CBG can ease symptoms of PTSD and OCD, for example, by combating stress, anxiety and depression. These are some of the most common reasons that patients take CBD, along with pain management and inflammation–which CBG can also support.
Perhaps the most proven medicinal use for CBD is seizure prevention, marked by an FDA-approved pharmaceutical drug to treat children’s Epilepsy. Initial research indicates that CBG may also treat this condition. While more research is needed, initial studies indicate that CBG may offer very similar therapeutic value as today’s most popular non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
HOW DOES CBG WORK?
Like CBD and other cannabinoids, CBG interacts with chemical receptors in the body, which make up the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The two primary receptors are called CB1 and CB2, which are found in nearly every system of the human body. CB1 receptors are primarily in the brain and nervous system while CB2 receptors are more prevalent in the immune system. CBG interacts with these receptors to help regulate a variety of functions including pain, appetite, hormones, inflammation, and blood pressure. This process is what defines CBG’s ability to promote healing.
ARE THERE HIGH CBG STRAINS (LIKE CBD)?
The short answer is yes they exist, but hemp and cannabis naturally produce CBG in much lower quantities than other cannabinoids. Due to that, along with the fact that the market is just starting to demand this cannabinoid makes high-CBG strains much harder to find. But as CBG becomes more popular, hemp cultivators are starting to learn how to breed high CBG plants that may serve medicinal and recreational customers. A few new cannabis strains have hit the market, such as Mickey Kush, created by TGA Genetics Subcool Seeds. But Mickey Kush is also high in THC, which means it will produce psychoactive high effects.
Another example is Blühen Botanicals, a hemp biomass processing and extraction company in Tennessee. Blühen sourced seeds from a local grower and accidentally discovered that one was high in CBG. Starting with just two plants, Blühen now has hundreds of high CBG plants which it sells in two varieties at up to 10% CBG.
WHAT IS THE RANGE OF CBG THAT CAN BE FOUND IN HEMP PLANTS?
CBG, like all cannabinoids, comes in different forms. CBG starts in its acidic form known as CBGA (cannabigerolic acid), which can naturally shift to its neutral form, CBG, throughout the plant growth process. CBGA also transforms into CBG when heat is added from sources such as the flame from a lighter, a vaporizer, or heat from an oven. This process is known as decarboxylation, which is required for CBG to achieve maximum therapeutic value.
Interestingly, CBGA isn’t just the acidic precursor to CBG. It also acts as the acidic precursor for all the other cannabinoids’ acidic forms. That means CBGA is responsible for hemp’s full spectrum of cannabinoids and corresponding potency. Under the right conditions, CBGA becomes either CBG or one of the hundreds of other acidic precursors that transform into therapeutic and psychoactive cannabinoids.
For example, THCA, CBDA, and CBCA all begin as CBGA. Once CBGA naturally transforms into these acidic precursors, the chemicals eventually become potent forms of THC and CBD, to name just two. These chemicals can then change again over time, turning cannabinoids like THC into other cannabinoids like CBN and Delta-8 THC. And it all starts with CBGA.
HOW IS CBG MADE?
CBG is made through hemp’s natural growth process. It also occurs as a result of heating, which breaks down CBGA from its acidic form to its neutral form. CBGA may also break down to CBG as a result of exposure to UV and light. Due to these common occurrences, most strains don’t naturally exhibit high concentrations of CBG.
One way to try to cultivate a crop with more CBG is to genetically modify by cross-breeding different cannabis varieties. Through the process of selective breeding, or genetic engineering, its possible for hemp cultivators to produce strains with significant levels of this valuable cannabinoid. Cannabis research companies are also studying ways to produce high CBG strains, which will inevitably bring products to market in the future. Until then, the best method to produce high CBG hemp is to experiment with different seeds, providing the chance to become one of the first cultivators in the industry.
HOW IS CBG MEASURED?
CBG is measured through potency tests in the same way that CBD, THC and other cannabinoids are measured. ACS Laboratory’s protocol uses Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) machinery to measure CBG potency in flower, edibles and extracts. HPLC is the preferred instrument for these products due to its ability to test samples at room temperature without requiring heat. Heat breaks down cannabinoid precursors into different forms (as discussed above) and skews the potency information. HPLC accurately tests both CBGA and CBG for precise results.
HOW DO I EXTRACT CBG?
CBG is extracted through a chromatography process that uses superfluid liquid solvents like CO2 or ethanol to extract the cannabinoid. During the extraction process, hemp is dissolved in the solution, which draws the cannabinoids and terpenes out of the plant. The solution is then evaporated with heat under a vacuum to remove all the gas and leave a high purity CBG concentrate behind. Once extracted, CBG products should be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight to preserve potency.
WHAT DOES CBG COST PER KILO?
Currently CBG is one of the most expensive cannabinoids due to the high-demand, low-supply issue. While the price may vary from supplier to supplier, the average cost appears to be about $30,000 – $50,000 per kilo. But according to a recent Forbes article, as CBG becomes more widely available in the market, the price will inevitably drop. In the article, Derek Du Chesne, Chief Growth Officer at EcoGen Laboratories noted that CBD isolate used to sell for $20,000 per kilo and now it sells for $2,000 per kilo.
WHAT ARE CBG CRYSTALS?
CBG crystals are natural crystalline products that are nearly 100% pure. This is the purest form of Cannabigerol available to the market today. How does it work? The CBG crystals are extracted from hemp or cannabis plants using CO2 solvents. CBG crystals look like powdered sugar and can be melted under the tongue, sprinkled in smokeable flower or mixed with oils. Some people may also use this pure powder as a dietary supplement by mixing it in smoothies or juices.
CAN YOU MAKE CBG KIEF?
You cannot make CBG-only kief. The process of creating kief uses special sifting machinery to sift powder from the plant’s trichomes. Although you can isolate CBG via extraction, it’s not yet possible to have CBG only flower, so the kief you create will contain CBG along with the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes.
CAN YOU SMOKE, VAPE OR INGEST CBG THROUGH AN OIL TINCTURE?
Yes. Like CBD and THC, CBG can also be smoked in flower form, vaped in an oil or wax, or ingested sublingually using a tincture. However, it’s important to note that CBG has a low boiling point and may require a special vaporizer to preserve its potency.
WHY TEST FOR CBG?
At ACS Laboratory, we test hemp and cannabis products for CBGA and CBG because of the incredible potential to ease pain, inflammation, anxiety and more. CBG is one of the most important cannabinoids that determines the plant’s entire chemical profile. Additionally, CBG’s non-psychoactive properties may allow it to replace CBD one day as the industry’s most popular hemp-derived compound.
We’re excited that customers are starting to understand the value of this healing compound and that hemp companies are starting to create high CBG strains. We’re confident that CBG potency tests are vital for brands to successfully market their products. Contact us today to learn more.
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