Cannabigerol (CBG)

We’ve already mentioned that raw hemp doesn’t contain much CBD. Going a step further...did you know that very young hemp plants don’t even contain much CBDA? 

Instead they contain a single cannabinoid that eventually provides the building blocks for all others: CBG. You probably haven’t heard of CBG yet, but expect it to become more popular soon. Some experts even think it’s the cannabinoid of the future. 

What is Cannabigerol (CBG)?

CBG is a phytocannabinoid naturally present in developing hemp. It’s known as the “mother cannabinoid” because all other cannabinoids are formed from it — including both THC and CBD. CBG is being studied for its promising potential as an antibacterial agent, appetite stimulant and muscle spasm inhibitor. 

How is CBG formed? 

To answer that one, let’s look at how hemp grows and develops in chronological order. 

Like so many other plants, hemp begins with a seed. This seed sprouts, grows, and via photosynthesis produces increasingly specialized compounds using the energy it obtains from the sun. These compounds aren’t only good for us humans — they’re good for the hemp too!

One of the first compounds generated is called olivetolic acid; this simple molecule helps hemp eventually form CBGA (raw CBG). 

At this point the path splits a little. High-THC cannabis plants begin converting their CBGA to THCA, a process that is usually fully complete by the time plants are ready for harvest. High-CBD cannabis (hemp), on the other hand, begins converting its CBGA into CBDA. Long story short...CBG is important for all types of cannabis plants! 

CBG may be heavily present in young hemp plants, but only a trace of it remains by the time hemp is ready for processing. Nonetheless, this trace CBG likely contributes to hemp’s overall entourage effect and increases the strength of other cannabinoids. 

What does CBG do?

And CBG does more than just promote the entourage effect. It also seems to have some exciting properties of its own. Like CBDA, CBG may counter the activity of harmful microbes; one study showed improvements in IBS symptoms in mice. [1] Another mice study showed neurological benefits. [2

Though more human research is needed, CBG’s future looks pretty promising. “CBG is currently a more exciting frontier than CBN because for a long time, it was hard to isolate,” cannabis expert Bob Kaufmann tells Leafly. [3

“Now that we’re able to produce enough of it, we’re starting to look and see what kind of effects has [...]. So far, the results of animal studies are extremely encouraging.”