CBG. No, it’s not a typo, it’s one of the most noteworthy cannabinoid compounds, and its acidic form CBGA is the precursor from which all, specifically THC and CBD, are synthesised from. There are many fantastic healing properties associated with certain cannabinoids and CBG itself can thank CBGA for it. So why isn’t it being mass-produced to help the people who need it? Well, it’s expensive, and it has a lot to do with society’s increased demand for the more widely-known CBD and THC. So, if those are the only issues, solve it, and the world will become a better place? There’s more to it than that, but first, we’ll start with the basics.
What is CBG?
There are two forms in which cannabinoids can take; non-acids and acids. THC and CBD are non-acidic however THCA and CBDA are acidic. The acidic forms (THCA and CBDA) are what is found in the raw cannabis plant. We get THC and CBD from heating the plant; a process called decarboxylation which releases the medicinal effects most commonly associated with these compounds.
But before you get comfortable with this concept, we need to include an integral part of this process that leads us to CBG. Now the reason as to why the acidic forms even exist is due to CBGA! It utilises the plant's enzymes to create the other acidic compounds THCA and CBDA. When you're ready to light that bud or stick that cake in the oven, you release THC, CBD and CBG.
Summarised: CBGA utilises plant enzymes > Creates Acidic Cannabinoids, e.g. THCA and CBDA > Apply Heat, i.e. Decarboxylate > Releases THC, CBD and CBG.
Every time you consume cannabis-based products, you will ingest a very minuscule amount of CBG. For many years people have been selectively breeding the cannabis plant for higher yields of THC and CBD content. The strive for higher THC and CBD concentrations has led CBG to drop to as low as 1% in modern cannabis plants. But the plant’s resurgence in recent years has subsequently led to a new interest in this mysterious “mother” of all cannabinoids. Since it’s in its early stages of research, there is a growing understanding of its potential medicinal benefits.
Why Should We Care about CBG?
As a descendant from the compound CBGA, also known as the “stem cell of cannabis”, it has many similar benefits to its neighbouring compounds. First, CBG is not intoxicating and will not inhibit your mental capacity and is even believed to interrupt the psychoactive effect from THC, preventing people from having a “bad trip”. So why should you be interested in a compound that’s as little as 1% of the makeup in the cannabis plants used today? The reasons are plentiful:
Another study suggested CBG’s ability to prevent the growth of tumours; additionally, researchers proclaim its ability to act as a neuroprotectant. CBG also exhibited possibilities of protecting neurons in mice with Huntington’s disease.
A paper published in 2014 noted CBG-derived products might have the ability to suppress the body’s immune response and act to reduce the impact of autoimmune disease on the body.
Another research study conducted in 2013 examined how CBG would affect an Inflammatory Bowel Disease experimental model — establishing CBG to have properties which are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
The miraculous compound has also provided evidence of being an active antibacterial agent.
The future is bright for CBG as it slowly steps into the limelight on the world stage. As it’s only in the early stages of testing. Researchers are still making breakthroughs that might aid to prevent and fight diseases. But for now, reading about it is all that we can do.
Struggles facing CBG derived products
CBG is now slowly gaining more attention from the scientific and broader cannabis community. As mentioned before the cannabis plants of today have been selectively bred for a higher content of THC or/and CBD, which has subsequentially led to lower CBG. To achieve a higher amount of CBG the THC or CBD needs to decrease and since these compounds are at the centre of a booming industry today, CBG won’t be happening on a mass scale anytime soon.
So not only is the overall market demand for CBD and THC affecting CBG’s emergence in society but also the compound’s extraction method. CBG is notoriously expensive and has been pinned as “the Rolls Royce of cannabinoids”. Due to hemp only containing a finite amount of CBG, around 1% for most hemp strains you would need substantially more hemp plants to extract CBG than if you were to extract CBD. On top of that, a grower needs to make a critical choice: acquire pure CBG by processing and producing it before its conversion into other cannabinoids and give up their entire crop for it. Or, standby until it’s time to harvest hemp and loose most of the CBG as it's converted into other cannabinoids.
CBG is a complex compound that has so much potential; it will be exciting to see what happens next. Great things never come easy, and CBG will be a game-changer when its time comes.
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