March 24, 2021
Over one hundred different cannabinoids are found in cannabis, but the most commonly abundant are THC and CBD. While the regular cannabis consumer may know how each of these cannabinoids interacts with the body, even the most advanced consumer may not know of CBG, or Cannabigerol. CBG is considered a major cannabinoid in some cannabis strains, but for the most part, Cannabigerol is a minor cannabinoid, showing up in quantities less than one percent. But don't let that fool you - this cannabinoid is more important than you may think. What's most interesting about CBG is where it begins - with CBGA.
CBGA, or cannabigerolic acid, is often referred to as the mother of all cannabinoids. This is because it's the precursor to both THCA and CBDA, the acid form of the two major cannabinoids found in cannabis. During development, enzymes in the plant break down CBGA to turn it into either THCA or CBDA. But are THCA and THC the same thing? Not quite. THC and THCA may look similar, but they are different. THCA is not psychoactive; however, it slowly converts to THC over time or rapidly through decarboxylation, a process that occurs when you smoke or vaporize cannabis flower. The same process is applied to CBDA and any remaining CBGA, but because CBGA is converted into other cannabinoids, for a strain to be high in CBG, it would have to be low in THC and CBD. This is why CBG is rarely found in high quantities in today's cannabis strains. Currently, we're breeding cultivars for high THC and CBD, which means most of the CBG is another cannabinoid by the time we harvest the plant.
Unlike CBD, which is believed to block the breakdown of endocannabinoids in our body, CBG directly interacts with our CB1 and CB2 receptors, the two types of receptors found in our Endocannabinoid System (ECS). CB1 receptors are connected to functions like our mood, energy levels, and neurological health, while our CB2 receptors play a role in our immune system, dopamine regulation, and cardiovascular health. These receptors communicate with our ECS to keep our body in a state of cognitive, physiological, and emotional stability - or homeostasis. THC directly interacts with our body's ECS receptors, like CBG, but perhaps more aggressively. If THC is overconsumed, this intense interaction can cause paranoia, but CBG has been shown to counteract some of that feeling and help the body return to a more relaxed state.
To have a harvested crop high in CBG, cultivators have had to get creative by cross-breeding different strains with their desired cannabinoid levels and by identifying when in the plant's cycle CBG is most present. Since CBGA is converted into other cannabinoids, growers have discovered they can extract higher levels of CBG by pulling them from less mature plants. The medical strain Bediol, for example, is harvested at week six (in a usual eight-week flowering cycle) to maintain higher quantities of CBG.
Cannabis breeders have been working toward higher concentrations of CBG in their plants for a few reasons. Medically, the cannabinoid has a lot of promise in helping patients without the high that accompanies THC. In recent studies, CBG showed great cancer-fighting properties, specifically related to hindering cancer cell growth. Cannabigerol is also thought to be an effective treatment for glaucoma due to its intraocular pressure reduction, and even showed promise in decreasing inflammation caused by inflammatory bowel disease. Shown to be an effective antibacterial agent, CBG has done what many classes of drugs can't for MRSA, an infection caused by a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. As if that wasn't enough medical promise from a single cannabinoid, CBG, when purified of THC, is a great appetite stimulant, which could help fight the muscle reduction and severe weight loss that comes with late-stage cancers. Its anti-inflammatory and nausea-reducing properties can help even less severe patients, and as more studies come out, we can expect to see the list of CBG's great potential increase.
All of Hive Mendocino's strains have diverse cannabinoid and terpene profiles, and our potency tests include a full panel. While most of our strains focus on THC and CBD potency to best serve our market, ask us if you're looking for a cannabinoid in particular, and we'll send you recommendations from our menu. We also offer custom plantings for our wholesale partners, so if there is a strain your customers are demanding, reach out to us about the potential of working together.
*This post is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your doctor if using cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Photo by: Giving Tree Farms