CBG, short for cannabigerol, is a cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant. This cannabinoid, a cousin to CBD and THC, is present in only small amounts in cannabis. It’s also, by far, the hardest and most expensive cannabinoid to extract and isolate. However, several studies have shown that it may be highly effective at treating a variety of ailments, including glaucoma, Huntington’s disease, colon cancer, and many more. In fact, studies are so promising that many believe you’ll soon start hearing a whole lot more about it. CBG may, in fact, be the next sought-after cannabinoid.
Why CBG is So Expensive
CBG is not present in large amounts in the cannabis plant. This is how it works: Cannabigerolic acid, known as CBGA, is the precursor to all the cannabinoids. CBGA breaks down into cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). When exposed to heat or ultraviolet light, these chemicals turn into CBD, CBC, and THC. Anything that has not turned into one of those cannabinoids is then converted into CBG through a process called decarboxylation. This leaves just about one to two percent of CBG by volume. When compared to hemp strains that contain 20 percent CBD, it means that you need to extract almost 20 times the amount of biomass to get the same amount of CBG.
Not only is CBG present in such small amounts in the cannabis plant, but it’s also difficult to isolate. Due to such low levels present in the cannabis plan, the apparatus used to extract CBG needs to be as precise as possible. That means it’s much more expensive than the devices used to extract other cannabinoids. In fact, many cultivators don’t even have the specialized equipment it takes to extract and isolate CBG.
How Cultivators are Solving the Problems in Isolating CBG
Cultivators aren’t going to let these basic facts of cannabis biology hold them down. Currently, growers are experimenting with genetic manipulation to create strains that are higher in CBG. For example, if a cultivator finds a certain plant that has more CBG than the average plant, they can use that plant to breed more plants that are higher in CBG and continue crossbreeding them together. Eventually, they can create a strain of cannabis plant that’s naturally high in CBG.
Alternatively, cultivators can harvest a cannabis crop much earlier in the growing process to reap more CBG. If growers catch the plant at an early enough stage before much of the CBGA has been converted to the other cannabinoids, they can more effectively isolate the compound. While this is great news, it doesn’t quite eliminate the cost factor. Reaping the crop early means giving up the entire crop to processing and producing CBG and none of the other cannabinoids. While this doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, the demand for CBD is currently so high that it doesn’t leave much room for the production of CBG. In fact, according to Forbes, many companies have had difficulty obtaining a large enough volume of hemp to meet current production demands.
CBG Companies Already on the Market
Despite the setbacks, a few companies have already jumped onboard the CBG consumer market. AXIM Biotechnologies rolled out the first retail CBG products in 2015, including a toothpaste and beauty cream. Steve’s Goods released the first CBG tincture one year later. Today’s brands include Hemptown USA, Flower Child, and Plant People.
Why CBG Stands to be the Next Big Thing
Once cultivators learn how to isolate CBG more effectively and inexpensively, you’ll start to hear more and more about it. Not only will CBG become available on shelves and in dispensaries, but researchers will also have better access to the compound. Increased availability opens the door to an increase in studies, which could, in turn, increase its popularity should researchers continue to discover promising potential benefits. In short, CBG stands to be the next big thing in the cannabinoid market. Users who already use CBD or cannabis products will naturally turn to CBG once it’s more widely understood and distributed.
CBD was once a misunderstood and underappreciated cannabinoid. Only after studies were conducted that showed its efficacy and companies producing the compound began marketing to consumers did it become the sensation that it is today. CBG is positioned to have a similar trajectory. Cultivators will start to uncover better, more efficient ways of isolating the compound, more studies will be conducted, and consumers will catch on to the potential benefits of CBG.