Since Congress legalized industrial hemp in 2018, consumers have been given access to a dizzying array of hemp-derived products. By this time, most of us have heard of CBD, but perhaps you haven’t found out about one of the newest cannabinoids in the spotlight—CBG.
What is CBG?
Researchers call cannabigerol (CBG) the “Mother of All Cannabinoids.” Younger hemp flowers contain an abundance of CBG, but as the plant ages, the molecule transforms into other cannabinoids, including delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabichromene (CBC).
You may compare the process to what happens when you decarb hemp and cannabis flowers. During decarboxylation, the acidic forms of THC (THCA) and CBD (CBDA) break down into their usable forms, CBD and THC. But when the acid form of cannabigerol (CBGA) metabolizes, the molecule transforms into several completely distinct cannabinoids.
The Challenge of Growing CBG Flower
Although scientists isolated and identified CBG in the 1960s, the compound remained largely out of the spotlight due to its scarcity in mature hemp and cannabis flowers. CBGA does produce a small amount of usable CBG when it metabolizes, but it typically leaves only around 2% in hemp plants while the rest turns into CBD, THC, and CBC. This behavior presents a unique challenge for breeders who want to grow hemp for CBG content.
Once the medical marijuana community started realizing the benefits of CBG, scientists began experimenting with extracting the compound. While manufactured CBG extracts met with some success, they were prohibitively expensive for the general public. Furthermore, breeders found it nearly impossible to produce flowers with high CBG contents until recent years.
Although producing high levels of CBG in hemp is still tricky, consumers now have access to several varieties of CBG hemp flower. Hemp cultivators have used a variety of techniques to make high-CBG flower possible. Expert hemp breeders have managed to cross genetics to produce plants that yield higher overall CBG levels. Hemp farmers have also started harvesting the plants earlier before the CBGA starts to convert into other cannabinoids. With all of the experimenting being done today, consumers can expect some exciting innovations in CBG flower strains in upcoming years.
CBG versus CBD
Many consumers understandably ask the question, “Which is better, CBD or CBG?” But when it comes to cannabinoids, one is not necessarily “better” than any other. It’s mostly a matter of considering your individual needs and deciding which cannabinoid(s) will be more suited for you.
Although neither cannabinoid is inherently better than the other, the two compounds do have some distinct differences. CBD tends to stimulate endocannabinoid receptors in an indirect manner. In contrast, CBG can interact more directly with CB1 and CB2 receptors, making the compound more suitable for people with conditions that are normally treated with traditional high-THC cannabis, such as glaucoma.
On the other hand, some people may benefit more from CBD flower, infused edibles, and concentrates. Each individual has a unique metabolism and body chemistry. Most seasoned herb lovers choose to stock up on a range of flower types for different needs and situations.
Is CBG Intoxicating?
Although CBG stimulates endocannabinoid receptors more directly, the compound does not produce intoxicating effects like THC. Similar to CBD flower, you won’t have to be concerned about overwhelming psychoactive effects like anxiety or paranoia. Since CBG flower comes from legal industrial hemp plants, the buds contain less than .3% THC, which is far less than the amount needed to produce any intoxication.
Depending upon your standpoint, you may consider the non-intoxicating nature of CBG flower as a pro or a con. If you’re looking for something with more of a stoney feeling, you may want to try Delta-8 THC Flower.
What Are the Benefits of CBG?
From a strictly recreational standpoint, CBG has some of the same relaxing qualities as CBD. Most hemp enthusiasts consume CBG flower to ease everyday stress and promote a positive outlook. Additionally, people in states that have legalized cannabis report that CBG can take the edge off the intense psychoactive effects of THC.
Apart from the compound’s enjoyment factor, scientific research has discovered a host of potential therapeutic benefits of CBG. Cannabigerol binds directly to CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors, activates ɑ2-adrenoreceptors, and inhibits GABA reuptake. These abilities could imply a vast clinical potential for CBG in the future.
Please note that this information is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for proper medical evaluation or treatment from a licensed physician. Medical science still has much to learn about cannabinoids before we can understand the full effects of CBG on the human body.
CBG May Help with Glaucoma
Research has shown that CBG helps to reduce intraocular pressure in the same way that THC does. Since other non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBD don’t seem to produce the same effect, CBG may be a useful treatment for glaucoma patients who wish to avoid the intense psychoactive effects of THC.
CBG Has a Calming Effect on Inflammation
Like its sister cannabinoids, CBG has been shown to have profound anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers are especially interested in CBG’s ability to reduce the inflammation associated with intestinal disorders such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS).
CBG May Help Relieve Body Aches
Since inflammation is at the root of most painful conditions, CBG’s anti-inflammatory properties may suggest the compound’s ability to ease everyday aches and pains.
Scientists expect that CBG may play a significant role as an analgesic in the future due to its specialized ability to bond with endocannabinoid receptors and affect GABA levels.
CBG Fights Bacteria
Several sets of lab results have concluded that CBG exhibits a potent ability to combat gram-negative and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Researchers hope to develop CBG-based drugs to reduce the spread of pathogens like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSRA) in health care facilities.
CBG May Help Uplift the Mood and Relieve Stress
Like many cannabinoids, CBG has shown marked anxiolytic properties. Similar to its sisters, CBG helps the body preserve high levels of the two most abundant endocannabinoids, 2-AG and anandamide. These endocannabinoids occur naturally in the human body, and both contribute to essential balance and positive feelings.
CBG also makes a unique contribution to mental well-being by inhibiting GABA reuptake. GABA is an amino acid in the brain that functions as a neurotransmitter. When GABA attaches to neuroreceptors, the compound produces a calming sensation and helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
CBG Could Help with Seizures
CBG’s ability to inhibit GABA reuptake may also make the compound useful in the treatment of seizure disorders. Additionally, CBG joins its sister cannabinoid, CBD, in possessing strong antioxidant and neuroprotective capabilities.
CBG Could Help with Bladder Disorders
An Italian animal study tested the effect of various minor cannabinoids on spastic bladder disorders. The researchers found that CBG was the most efficient cannabinoid for reducing acetylcholine-induced contractions. Repeating the study with human subjects, the scientists found that CBG seems to have the same effect on the human bladder.
CBG May Help Shrink Tumors
Like most cannabinoids, CBG seems to induce programmed death in cancer cells, a phenomenon called apoptosis. In particular, researchers have closely studied CBG’s ability to shrink tumors in colorectal cancers.
CBG Could Help with Huntington’s Disease
As we’ve mentioned, CBG exhibits strong neuroprotective and antioxidant properties, which may help with neurodegenerative disorders. Although much more research is needed, animal studies have shown promise for CBG’s potential to treat Huntington’s disease in mice.
Advantages of CBG Flower Over Concentrates
Although both raw hemp flowers and concentrates are viable ways to include CBG in your daily routine, CBG flower offers a number of unique benefits.
CBG Flowers Allow You to Take Advantage of the Entourage Effect
When you choose hemp flowers, you can be sure you’re getting all the beneficial compounds of the hemp plant. Most experts agree that cannabinoids like CBG work better in conjunction with other active hemp compounds, such as flavonoids, terpenes, and alternative cannabinoids. Scientists call this whole-hemp theory “the entourage effect.”
CBG Flowers Offer the Ultimate in Versatility
You can use CBG flowers in a variety of ways, including:
- Dry-herb vaping
- Cooking homemade edibles
- Making oils and tinctures
- Creating creams and other topical products
CBG Flowers Are Economical
When you buy CBG and CBD concentrates, you’re paying for expensive extraction methods. Since CBG flowers don’t need any further processing once they’re harvested and cured, they’re significantly less costly than CBG concentrates.
No Residual Solvents
Most manufacturers make hemp concentrates using chemical solvents. They’re generally considered safe as long as the manufacturer rids the final product of any residual solvents and conducts lab-testing to prove the purity of their concentrates. With CBG flowers, you’ll never need to worry about any contamination from solvent residue.
Is CBG Legal in the United States?
All alternative cannabinoids are federally legal as long as they’ve been extracted from industrial hemp plants that contain less than .3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). All of the hemp flower and CBG products you buy from reputable companies will be legal on the federal level.
You can double-check the THC levels by consulting the product’s lab results listed on its Certificate of Analysis (COA). You’ll also find the product’s levels of CBG on the lab report. If a company doesn’t provide you with COAs, either through their website or upon request, we suggest that you avoid buying from them. Their products may contain more THC than legally allowed or even include dangerous contaminants like pesticides or heavy metals.
Even though Congress has legalized hemp and hemp-derived products nationwide, you will still need to investigate your local regulations. Some state and regional authorities maintain stricter laws regarding hemp.
Will CBG Flower Show Up on a Drug Test?
Drug tests don’t usually screen for CBG, so you aren’t likely to trigger a positive from consuming CBG alone. That said, it is theoretically possible for other compounds in hemp flowers and full-spectrum hemp products to show up on a drug screening.
If you expect to be submitted to a drug test, you may be better off trying products made with isolated CBD or CBG. Another option is to inform the testing authority that you have been consuming legal hemp products and bring a copy of your COA’s to your screening.
How to Select High-Quality CBG Flower
If you’re new to the hemp and cannabis scene, you may be wondering how to choose the best products. Hemp flower can be particularly baffling for newbies, so let’s check out a few things you should look for when you shop for CBG Flower.
Freshness is key when it comes to selecting high-quality hemp and cannabis flowers. Hemp flowers can have top-notch genetics, but if the buds are old, improperly stored, or incorrectly cured, they’ll be less potent and tasty.
The best way to test the freshness of hemp flowers is to examine the buds physically. If you don’t have access to a local brick-and-mortar hemp outlet, you can try out different strains by purchasing hemp flower sampler packs online. Some of the freshness factors you should look out for include:
- Color: Fresh hemp flowers can present a rainbow of colors ranging from light and emerald greens to magentas and dark purples. You should avoid brownish-colored flowers. Brown buds are a strong indicator of age or lack of freshness.
- Texture: Fresh hemp buds will be well-trimmed and slightly spongy. If you see compressed buds with stems and seeds, you’re looking at low-quality hemp flowers.
- Trichomes: Trichomes are the glands where hemp flowers store cannabinoids like CBG and CBD. They’ll appear like a layer of crystals to the naked eye. Individual strains will have more or less trichomes depending upon their genetics and the way they were grown. In general, a thicker layer of trichomes means more potent hemp flowers. Even outdoor-grown hemp should have a light layer of crystals. An uneven or non-existent layer of crystals usually means that the flowers are old or were mistreated.
- Fragrance: The best fragrance for hemp flowers is mainly a matter of opinion. Just like with foods or perfumes, different fragrances appeal to different people. That said, hemp flowers shouldn’t smell like cut grass, hay, or mold. This kind of smell usually means that the buds weren’t harvested, cured, or stored correctly.
All reputable hemp flower retailers provide current third-party lab reports in the form of Certificates of Analysis (COAs). Lab data will tell you a range of important facts about the hemp flower you’re buying.
First, official COAs will ensure that the CBG flower you buy is entirely free of dangerous chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals. Secondly, the lab report will tell you the percentages of each cannabinoid in the flower. You’ll know exactly how much CBG the flower contains, and you can make sure that the flower has a legal THC content of less than .3%. Some lab reports will also include advanced information like terpene profiles, which can help you select among different strains.
These days, most top hemp and CBD brands provide links to their COAs directly on their websites. If you can’t find the COA for the product you’re interested in, a reputable company will be happy to provide you with a copy upon request. We suggest that you avoid buying from sources that refuse to provide lab results for their hemp flower.
You can find out more about a company by reading through its website and searching for some online reviews. You may want to keep some questions in mind during your research, such as:
- Does the company adhere to organic growing methods?
- Do they practice sustainable farming?
- How is their customer service?
- Does the company provide easy access to official lab reports?
Top 5 CBG Flower Strains
- Jack Frost: Jack Frost features 13% CBG and genetics from some of the most iconic strains, including Jack Herer, White Widow, and Northern Lights. The strain’s calming effects, frosty buds, and refreshing pine aroma are reminiscent of a peaceful winter morning.
- White CBG: Praised for its thick layer of trichomes and creamy flavor, White CBG features balanced genetics, a citrus aroma, and an average of around 12% CBG.
- John Snow: Named after the pioneering English physician, John Snow combines genetics from Jack the Ripper and Philly Sour Diesel. The sativa-dominant hemp buds impart sweet, earthy flavors, a pungent diesel aroma, and up to 20% CBG.
- Super Glue CBG: With its purple-tinged buds, Haze genetics, and up to 22% CBG, Super Glue can be a real treat for hemp flower fans. Unfortunately, Super Glue can be difficult to find, so pick some up when you can.
- Lemon Cream Diesel: Lemon Cream Diesel is a crowd-pleaser with its sweet citrus flavors and gassy aroma. With moderate CBG levels, the strain makes an excellent all-purpose choice with its combination of upbeat, creative energy and relaxed body buzz.