You’ve probably heard a lot about CBD and its many benefits, but have you heard of its lesser-known relative, CBG? The use of CBG is increasing in popularity, and it's easy to see why. This hemp-derived compound has a variety of applications and many unique benefits of its own. So what is CBG, how do you use it, and how does it compare to CBD? Let's take a closer look.
What is CBG?
CBG is short for cannabigerol, a cannabinoid found in specially-cultivated hemp plants. Cannabinoids are naturally-occurring compounds produced in the Cannabis sativa plant, and CBG is one specific subtype. Other types of cannabinoids are Δ9-THC, CBD, and CBN. CBG is not known to be psychologically active, meaning that intoxication is not a side effect of CBG use.
Hemp plants produce an acidic precursor known as cannabigerolic acid, or CBG-A. Think of this acid as the parent from which most cannabinoids are born. Throughout the flowering cycle, plant enzymes begin to break down CBG-A. Most of it converts to THC-A or CBD-A, which are the precursors to THC and CBD, respectively. This conversion leaves behind trace amounts (usually less than 1%) of CBG-A, which can be decarboxylated to create CBG.
CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid because of its typically low concentration. These days, however, many breeders and growers, including us at Luce Farm Wellness, have developed processes for maximizing CBG production.
One method of increasing CBG yield involves cross breeding certain Cannabis sativa strains to produce favorable genetics for a CBG-dominant cannabinoid profile. Another method to increase CBG production is to harvest hemp crops earlier than one would when creating CBD. The optimal harvest time for CBG is about six weeks into an eight-week flowering cycle.
How are CBG products made?
There are several possible methods of extraction when it comes to hemp-infused products. Many hemp extractors use chemical solvents like butane to separate cannabinoids from their raw hemp plants. Luce Farm Wellness prefers a more natural approach to ensure the highest quality hemp extracts.
As a company that employs organic and sustainable practices from seed to final product, our extraction process uses supercritical CO2, not chemical solvents, to extract CBG. The use of supercritical CO2 helps to retain the essential vitamins, omega fatty acids, and terpenes that naturally occur in hemp.
You may be thinking, “CO2? Isn’t that hurting our environment?” In this case, no. While an abundance of CO2 in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is an area of environmental concern, our supercritical CO2 exists in a closed-loop system and is recollected and reused during the extraction process. It’s considered significantly more sustainable than butane extraction. Butane is a highly-flammable petroleum byproduct.
In a professional laboratory setting, raw plant material is added to an extraction chamber. Supercritical CO2, which is held at a specific heat and pressure to retain the properties of both a liquid and a solid, is then added to the chamber. The CO2 acts as a chemical-free solvent to separate the resinous cannabinoids from the fibers of the plant matter. These lipids float to the top of the chamber and flow out into a collection chamber.
The supercritical CO2 is re-collected within the system to be recycled. The remaining product is activated, purified, then infused with a carrier oil, typically MCT oil, coconut oil, or olive oil. The result is a potent and effective CBG product that you can use in a number of ways.
How to Use CBG
Perhaps the most popular method of using CBG is to carefully measure a serving with a calibrated dropper bottle and drop the extract under the tongue. Most users will hold the extract under their tongues for one to two minutes before swallowing. This allows the cannabinoid to pass through the thin membrane in the mouth and directly into the body, which allows for quick absorption.
For an easy way to enjoy a serving of CBG, it can also be mixed into food and beverages. Consider adding CBG to a smoothie, hummus, or even a basil pesto to enjoy with your favorite type of pasta. It’s important to note that cannabinoids can degrade at high temperatures, so avoid heating your CBG over 250°F for best results.
CBG vs. CBD: What’s the difference?
At present, CBG has not achieved the level of mainstream popularity that other cannabinoids like CBD and THC have, but don’t overlook this lesser-known and mighty compound.
CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid, while CBD is found much more abundantly in cannabis plants. In typical hemp plants, CBD can account for up to 20% of cannabinoid content, while CBG is a mere 1%. This means that, under normal circumstances, one would have to extract 20 times as much hemp to acquire the same amount of CBG, which is why CBG is often more expensive than CBD.
Luckily, companies who grow and extract their own hemp, like Luce Farms Wellness, have developed methods of production that are making CBG more affordable. Our full-spectrum hemp extract with 1000 mg CBG is very similar in price to our CBD-dominant full spectrum hemp extract.
Unlike the psychoactive cannabis compound known as THC, both CBD and CBG are considered non-intoxicating. According to promising research and anecdotal reports, CBG has many similar potential benefits to CBD. And with more clinical research, we’re likely to find that CBG has many of its own unique medical uses.
What Does CBG Do?
Cannabinoids, including CBG, interact with the human body via our endocannabinoid system. This neuromodulatory system plays important roles in the central nervous system, in synaptic plasticity, and in how the body responds to internal and environmental imbalances.
The body naturally produces at least two endocannabinoids, known as anandamide and 2-AG, which interact with cannabinoid receptors. Interestingly, cannabinoids interact with these receptors in very similar ways, and research has suggested that they may be helpful in regulating a number of crucial internal functions.
While more research is needed to confirm the long-term benefits, users are already enjoying promising results from the use of CBG. Early research includes a 1990 study of the influence of cannabigerol on glaucoma and a 2013 study on rats to explore the impact of CBG on inflammatory bowel disease. You can even check out studies on how CBG is being used for cancer research.
We invite you to do further research on the benefits of CBG to learn about the many ways this powerful cannabinoid can benefit your wellness. And as always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.