Why Everybody Wants a Piece of the CBG Hemp Flower Pie
If 2018 was the year of CBD, 2020 is gearing up to be the year of cannabigerol (CBG)—more specifically CBG hemp flower. Ever since 2009, when a few cannabis industry experts got together and decided to introduce cannabidiol (CBD) to the world, we’ve been discovering that there’s more to cannabis than THC. A lot more.
Some of the well-known cannabinoids are thought to have a wide range of therapeutic benefits. Preliminary evidence suggesting that CBD, THC, CBG, and other cannabinoids have the potential to treat anything from anxiety to inflammation to insomnia is mounting. Human clinical trials are finally being initiated to test cannabinoids for their safety and effects in a variety of instances. CBD, even, has made it all the way through the FDA gauntlet as a treatment for untreatable forms of epilepsy.
It’s not just consumers that are demanding CBG. Farmers and manufacturers are scrambling to figure out how squeeze more of this coveted cannabinoid out of the cannabis plant and into the market. Breeders are desperately trying to get out in front of the problem to find a solution. And it looks like there are …
But what is it that makes this CBG cannabinoid—and CBG hemp flower specifically—so desirable?
In this article, we’re going to answer that question by looking at three characteristics of cannabigerol (CBG):
- CBG is known to have therapeutic effects
- CBG is rare
- CBG is quite possibly the alpha in the cannabinoid world
So, without further ado, let’s discuss the potential health benefits of CBG.
What Are the Benefits of CBG?
Reason number one for the demand of a cannabinoid, of course, is the most obvious: in this case it’s CBG’s potential therapeutic and health benefits. If consumers demand it, manufacturers will want to make it, farmers will want to grow it, breeders will want to make it rain CBG, and scientists will want to continue researching it. This is a whole ecosystem of demand that is already happening.
So, what are the potential benefits of CBG?
So far, science has shown us that cannabinoids work through activating receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Although studies show that cannabinoids can interact with many kinds of receptors in the body, CBG seems to be partial to the two main cannabinoid receptors–CB1 and CB2. I say “seems to be partial” because studies are ongoing, and more and more is being discovered about cannabinoids and their effects on the ECS as time goes on.
CBG interacts with cannabinoid receptors similarly to THC—but has very different effects. Because CBG cannot get you high like THC, researchers are eager to discover if CBG can produce the benefits of THC without the intoxication. Many people already using high-CBG strains say that it can.
Like CBD, CBG can also increase anandamide levels. Anandamide is your “well-being” endocannabinoid. It weighs in on things like mood, appetite, sleep, and memory.
In the brain, CBG is believed to keep gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) around longer. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for reducing excitability (anxiety and fear responses).
CBG is also thought to antagonize serotonin receptors, meaning that CBG could help treat depression.
It’s important to keep in mind that in the field of research, cannabinoid science is still in its infancy. While scientists have been exploring the world of cannabinoids for over a century now, human trials have been limited because restrictions, until recently, have made them pretty much impossible to conduct, in the U.S. especially.
However, a substantial amount of preclinical studies on cannabinoids have been carried out. “Preclinical”, as you probably know, means not in humans, but instead studies carried out in animal models or human tissue in a laboratory. Some promising results from preclinical studies on CBG include:
- Results from a 2007 study showed that CBG can stimulate the stem cells of bone marrow. Therefore, CBG could be helpful in healing fractures and forming new bone.
- A review article published in 2009 showed that CBG and other cannabinoids inhibited the growth and progression of various cancer cells and tumors.
- A study conducted in 2015 on animal models of Huntington’s disease showed that CBG acted as a neuroprotectant.
- It has been proven that THC can have positive effects on patients suffering from depression. CBG has shown similar effects but without the accompanying psychotic effects that THC is known for. A 2016 report has suggested that CBG and other non-psychotic cannabinoids could effectively treat depression and anxiety.
- A study conducted in 1990 has shown that when treated with CBG, animals with glaucoma had a 2-3 times increase in their aqueous flow, which can relieve glaucoma.
- CBG may reduce inflammation by acting on special molecules that trigger the inflammatory processes in many disease states such as cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and pain syndromes.
- Other potential therapeutic benefits include treatment of overactive bladder and skin treatment.
Why Is CBG Rare?
Imagine there’s a field of hemp growing along your favorite walking path. You walk by it nearly day. What you don’t know is that one day, after the hemp plants reach a tall, slender height, almost mature but still too young for harvest—on that day each plant in the field will contain only cannabigerolic acid or CBGA, and virtually no other cannabinoids.
But on one of your next walks, you’ll be passing by mature, flowering plants that are loaded with a variety of cannabinoids, including CBD, THC and CBC … but very little CBG.
CBGA, and the potential for CBG, comes and goes just like that! This short window for CBG that doesn’t yield nearly as much extract as the cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), has posed challenges for cultivators who want CBG. For example, if one farms to produce CBG, they forego all other cannabinoids … because in natural cannabis plants, without CBG, there aren’t substantial amounts of other cannabinoids. When you take CBG, during the window of its abundance, none of the other cannabinoids have come on yet.
CBGA: Where Other Cannabinoids Come From
During the evolution of the cannabis plant, it appears that CBGA was chosen to be the mighty morphing cannabinoid that parents all other cannabinoids. It’s been called the “Mother” or the “Granddaddy” cannabinoid, but probably its most fitting nickname is the “Stem Cell” cannabinoid. As you probably already know, stem cells are the shape-shifting building blocks of the human body that can amazingly change into other cells.
From CBGA, it only takes a little decarboxylation to make CBG. Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that causes raw, inactive cannabinoids to drop something called a carboxyl group, release a little CO2, and—voila! Active cannabinoids like CBG, THC, etc. are born. However …
CBGA, in “normal” cannabis plants, does not make much CBG at all. Instead, after some mingling with cannabis enzymes, it redirects into three lineages from which other cannabinoids cascade into the cannabinoid pool. Those three lines are:
- THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)
- CBDA (cannabidiolic acid)
- CBCA (cannabichromenic acid)
These are the precursors or inactive forms of THC, CBD, and CBC, respectively. Cannabis expert Dr. Ethan Russo calls CBG “a way station on the path to these other cannabinoids.”
So, if CBG is so rare, how do we even have CBG hemp flower?
Where Does CBG Hemp Flower Come from?
Mutation or Happy Accident?
In the race to raise CBD, it’s been discovered that, although rare, some cannabis plants lack sufficient enzymes needed to put CBGA on the path to cannabinoid parenthood. The result of this mutation or happy accident is high CBGA hemp flower, which, when harvested, can be decarbed into CBG.
But don’t think that breeders are waiting around for nature to deliver into their hands this rarely occurring plant. Cannabis breeders have been working in recent years to develop CBG-rich strains. And that could mean that CBG might just be the alpha of all cannabinoids …
CBG—The Alpha Cannabinoid?
I know. CBG is a minor cannabinoid … so how can it be an alpha cannabinoid? Given what you’ve just learned about CBGA, think of it like this: CBG is alpha similar to how Bill Gates is alpha. Gates is directly responsible for the creation of things that allow a whole lot of other major things to happen.
There are benefits to the selective breeding of CBG varietals, one of the greatest and most immediate being that it can guarantee a hemp product that falls below the legal .3% limit of THC. Some breeders believe CBG will surpass the demand for CBD. But even more impressively, because CBG holds the secrets to making CBD, THC, and CBC, it could be tweaked to be farmed either way. Which means that not only is CBG the alpha—or first expression of cannabinoids in nature—but that it can be bred to be the operating system (going back to the Gates metaphor) in large-scale farming of all cannabinoids. Essentially, taking what nature already gifted CBGA and expanding it.
In a stage when farmers are having a hard enough time getting feminized hemp seeds acclimated for American soil that won’t bust the legal THC limit, genetic options are looking good.
Manufacturers Want CBG Flower to Make Isolate
It takes a lot of biomass to make a small amount of CBG extract. Like thousands of pounds of biomass. Biomass, by the way, is the leftover organic matter (stalks and leaves) after flowers or seeds have been harvested from the hemp plant.
In traditional farming, biomass is waste. But in hemp farming, biomass has value. While cannabinoids like CBD are most abundant in the flowering tops of hemp plants, they are also in the stalks and leaves. Instead of throwing it away, biomass can be used to extract CBD for CBD oil.
According to a recent Forbes article, modern hemp plants are often around 20% CBD, which makes it a worthwhile, even profitable, endeavor to extract it from biomass. The percentage of CBG in most hemp plants, however, is much lower. A plant that has only 1% CBG requires 20 times more biomass to extract the same amount as you could of the CBD.
In addition, expensive equipment is needed to extract the CBG, making it even less appealing for extractors to produce.
Selectively bred CBG hemp flower could eliminate these challenges.
Meeting Demand in the Increasingly Popular Hemp Flower Market
Smoking and vaping hemp flower has become popular. People that use CBG hemp flower say that it amplifies the positives of the other parts of the cannabis plant. It elevates mood and creates a confident calm without getting you high. These effects are powerful and immediate when raw CBG flower is inhaled.
In the hemp and cannabinoid world, consumer demand seems to be outpacing production.
Developing CBG genetics appears to be the key to meeting that demand, both within the industry and the market. Production costs are a problem because CBG is inefficient and expensive to extract, and because demand is high.
Large-scale farming of CBG-based hemp crops, in which CBG is the dominant cannabinoid, is on the horizon. Not only will hemp strains with a high-CBG yield help set the stage, but so too will other genetic developments, like removing most of the terpenes in CBG hemp. That may put a sacrilege ring in your ear, but sticky terpenes gum up the machinery and hinder the production needed for large-scale cultivation. Experts suggest that terpenes and even additional cannabinoids can be added back into the CBG once it has been extracted, in order to restore full spectrum goodness to the final product.
Keep in mind, though, that will not work for the raw CBG hemp flower market. Raw hemp flower enthusiasts will likely want the full spectrum of cannabis compounds available, including those sticky terpenes. Such a demand ought to encourage artisanal growers to continue cultivating the full hemp flower experience for connoisseurs who want that powerful, full body, all-natural “farm-to-table” hemp pilgrimage.
Hemp Flower at The Hemp Haus
We’re excited to announce that The Hemp Haus now features its own brand of hemp flower—Stardust—available in several unique and outstanding varietals. Shopping hemp flower can be a fun personal adventure, and The Hemp Haus team is always available to guide you through our line of exceptional hemp bud.
After collaborating with farmers in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and California to offer a carefully curated line of raw hemp flower, The Hemp Haus is pleased to introduce some of the first CBG hemp flower available.
First up is Jack Frost CBG. As the name suggests, this hemp flower is frosted with silvery trichomes. Its aroma is fresh, sweet, and earthy and it finishes with smooth flavors of pine and citrus.
Jack Frost CBG can shift your perspective into a calm confidence, uplifting and settling you into a cruising altitude of focus and clarity that brilliantly manages the daily grind. Anxiety, aches and pains, and work stress have no say on this hemp flower’s watch.
People are enjoying hemp flower because they can harness all the whole plant nutrients of cannabis without the intoxicating effect. And CBG hemp flower is no exception. Our clientele describes it as uplifting and giving an open feeling that helps them relax. Think of how fresh mountain air can both invigorate and calm. But there is almost zero THC, so you won’t get high. Relieve anxiety without having to sacrifice your focus … Tell your inflammation to take a hike so you can take a hike. Leave the negative behind so you can move forward in your day.
Smoking and vaping hemp flower is a way to get a significant amount and range of cannabinoids into your system fairly quickly. With this form of consuming hemp CBG, there is an appreciable absorption rate through the lungs, and you can simply inhale more right away if you need it.
And with hemp flower, you can be certain you’re getting the full spectrum of cannabinoids and whole plant nutrients because it hasn’t been processed to remove anything. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to watch out for quality.
Hemp is a bioaccumulator, which means it leeches impurities from the nearby soil. If your hemp was grown around heavy metals, pesticides, or other contaminants, they will certainly be in your hemp and in you if you ingest it. Always vet your hemp product and make sure that it comes with a certificate of analysis (COA) which is an analysis of what is in your hemp (from cannabinoid amounts to impurities) that is performed by a third-party lab. It is important to know that your hemp flower is safe.
The hemp industry is still making its way toward unified regulation. Because of how hemp legislation was enacted, states have varying practices for monitoring hemp cultivation and production. And, honestly, poor quality hemp is slipping through the cracks from a lack of education and oversight. The safest and highest quality products will come from growers and producers that put forth the time, energy, and expense to self-regulate.
At The Hemp Haus, education about high-quality cannabinoids is our first priority. Access to these products and understanding their effects is second, because they don’t exist without a safe, high-quality product.
Even if you do not use our products, we want you to have the knowledge to make an informed decision about purchasing safe, high-quality cannabinoid products that will positively affect your life. We are always available to discuss hemp and cannabinoids and answer any questions you may have.
You can learn some quick, simple tips on our website that will ensure you are getting only high-quality cannabinoid products.
People also find the sensory effects of hemp flower alluring. It often looks, smells, and taste like good old-fashioned bud, but without the psychoactive effects. And CBG goes one step further, by putting a pretty perk in your step. Some say it alters their perspective and helps them focus, but again without any trippy or couch-seeking effects.
We’ve found that people think of CBG flower to get through the grind of the day. Stress, anxiety, aches and pains, and general work tedium can fade to the background, allowing an uplifted, clear, and chill self to stand and be counted.
Some people who use cannabis like to mix in hemp flower to moderate the effects of a high-THC product. We’ve also heard reports that CBG hemp flower can extend the effects and duration of other strains of hemp flower. That makes sense, considering that cannabis compounds are thought to work synergistically and CBG is the parent of most other cannabinoids.
The Nature’s Breakthrough educational resource is just one of the ways The Hemp Haus practices its sincere commitment to and passion for educating people about CBD and helping them find the right, high-quality product based on their needs.