By now most people are familiar with CBD, and CBD products, its uses, and its effects. Did you know there are also many similar compounds in the cannabis plant? A lesser-known cannabinoid called cannabigerol or better known as (CBG). While not present in large quantities in most cannabis strains, is nonetheless worth learning about for a great number of reasons.
CBG: The “Stem Cell” of Cannabinoids
While the cannabis plant grows, it produces cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). This is the first cannabinoid that forms within the plant. It serves as the precursor to three major cannabinoids. Cannabigerolic acid has the remarkable ability to transform into either tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), or cannabichromenic acid (CBCA). Through activation by heat and light, these compounds are transformed from their acidic state into THC, CBC, and CBD. The conversion takes between 6-8 weeks during the plant’s flowering cycle.
Because of its transformation cycle, CBG is frequently referred to as the “stem cell” of cannabinoids. This find is driving exciting new research and applications.
How Does CBG work in our bodies?
CBG works by interacting with our endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS functions to support homeostasis which is the self-regulating process that helps our biological systems remain stable.
There are three key components of the endocannabinoid system:
- Cannabinoid receptors – the CBG interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors
- Endocannabinoids – CBG is believed to boost anandamide receptors. These are messenger molecules that play a role in pain, depression, appetite, memory, and fertility.
- Metabolic Enzymes – CBG is thought to interrupt the metabolic activity that produces the psychoactive effects of THC
CBG’s potential benefits
The human body’s built-in endocannabinoid system (ECS) works to keep the body in a balanced state. There are specific details about how the endocannabinoid system performs different functions specific to each area of the body. For example, at an injury site, the ECS can help regulate immune system cells to aid in stopping inflammation.
CBG Has Shown to Provide Naturally Strong Healing Properties
Researchers have gathered much information, to show that CBG has some remarkable healing properties.
CBG is Anti-Inflammatory
Studies suggest that CBG has many strong anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it a potential option for formulating topical treatments for arthritis, and muscle and joint pain.
CBG is Antibacterial and Antifungal
Like all major cannabinoids, CBG exhibits antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties.
CBG is an Antioxidative
CBG has been shown to aid in delaying or preventing some types of cell damage. Its antioxidant properties reduce damage-causing free radicals and raise the body’s own naturally occurring antioxidants, superoxide dismutase.
CBG is Neuroprotective
A 2015 study examining CBG found that it was “extremely active as a neuroprotectant. Thus meaning it has properties that help protect and help heal our nervous system.
CBG is an Appetite Stimulant
CBG has been observed to be an effective appetite stimulant. It interacts with several molecular targets that are known to be involved in the regulation of appetite.
Most strains of cannabis only contain trace amounts (less than 1%) of CBG; however specific hemp strains are being cultivated to produce higher concentrations of this critical cannabinoid. Many hemp farms that have primarily focused on producing high-quality strains of CBD. They are now turning their attention to cultivating CBG-rich plants.
Plant breeders or farmers are experimenting with cross-breeding and genetic manipulation to produce higher concentrations of CBG.
Therefore since industrial hemp produces CBG, and CBG can become CBD, CBC, or THC in the future, the mass production of the major cannabinoids may primarily rely on cultivating hemp.
The CO2 method is the most popularly used extraction. It involves extracting and distilling oil from the plant material to separate it from the non-active elements. The CBG oil that is produced from this method can be used in different ways – for instance ingesting. CO2 is often favored because it does not leave behind residue. This method ensures that the final product is pure. It is a method that has been deemed safe and has been standardized for herbal supplements and foods.
Some producers prefer ethanol as an extraction method; however, it is more expensive and time-consuming. It involves soaking hemp flowers in alcohol, agitating, then filtering separate cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. Then the mixture is heated to cook off the alcohol. The CBG oil that is produced from this method contains the healing qualities of the entire plant.
A Promising New Method of Extraction This is a newly-patented method of CBG extraction. It was presented by Phytoplant Research S.L. It is promising to help producers scale production using inexpensive equipment. The company plans to revolutionize traditional CBG extraction methods with a groundbreaking new technique. This new patented method is the first ever that purifies CBG without the use of chromatographic techniques. It permits scaling up the production of pure CBG using non-expensive equipment. The result is a more efficient purification process. This is cost-effective and environmentally friendly. This new extraction method is the result of a 4-year effort to improve the productivity of their CBG plant varieties. This also helps find new, efficient purification methods. These efforts have also resulted in the success of developing the most productive CBG-rich cannabis plants in the world.
The Future of CBG
We are witnessing a thrilling time in cannabinoid research history. Without a doubt, the unique transformative properties of CBG will continue to place it at the forefront of cannabinoid research. Global studies continue to reveal data leading to new ideas for potential uses. This will continue to fuel innovation based around production and extraction methods, and the development of brand new products.
In the US, the passage of the Farm Bill legalizing the production of hemp and hemp-derived compounds. Thus having the potential to make the market for cannabinoids like CBD and CBG grow exponentially.
In 2018, the market for CBD alone topped $600 billion. Thus making it an attractive option for many of the country’s commercial crop farmers. The enthusiasm for cultivating and producing cannabinoid products shows no sign of slowing down.