A couple years ago virtually no one besides master growers and research scientists even knew what CBG was. Times have changed, however, and today this special trace cannabinoid is enjoying some time in the spotlight.

Why? It turns out that CBG has some very distinctive health benefits. Before we get into those, though, let’s look at what CBG actually is. 

What is CBG?

CBG, or cannabigerol, is a minor phytocannabinoid that grows naturally in hemp. 

CBG is sometimes referred to as the “mother cannabinoid” because it’s the very first cannabinoid, chronologically speaking, to be produced by the plant. All other cannabinoids (whether psychotropic ones like THC or non-psychotropic ones like CBD) come from it.   

As a practical example of this timeline, just imagine venturing out into a field of young hemp plants and eating a few of their leaves. You wouldn’t be getting much, if any, CBD — you’d be getting CBGa, the acid form of CBG.  

By the time a hemp plant is fully mature, its CBGa content has been almost entirely converted to CBDa. Most cultivars contain less than 1-2% CBG by dry weight. This makes harnessing CBG’s health benefits logistically difficult...but more on that later.

What does CBG do?

After being overlooked for so long, scientists are now flocking to CBG. Its antimicrobial qualities are especially interesting to researchers.

Indeed, CBG appears to be the most antibacterial cannabinoid there is. One recent study suggested that CBG may kill harmful bacteria like MRSA. "CBG proved to be marvelous at tackling [pathogens]," confirmed the study’s lead scientist. "These findings suggest a real therapeutic potential for cannabinoids as antibiotics."

CBG may act as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, too. One study highlighted CBG’s ability to reduce neuroinflammation.  It appears that CBG reduces oxidation, as well...not surprising when you consider the two go hand in hand. 

It’s been known since around 1990 that CBG may not only protect against glaucoma, but it also may stimulate appetite and reduce muscle spasms.

How is CBG made?

CBG can be harvested from hemp in one of two ways. The first method involves extracting CBG directly from the young hemp plants most rich in it; this method is actually pretty uncommon. 

The more common method involves separating built-up CBG out of large-scale CBD extractions. A thousand conventional CBD extractions might yield enough CBG to really do something with. If you’re ever wondered why CBG is so pricey...this is why. 

Is CBG legal?

CBG is legal, per the 2018 Federal Farm Bill we mentioned earlier. Just like CBD, however, CBG should technically be derived from hemp extractions, not from cannabis. 

Where can one find CBG products?

Many of the CBG products on the market today are of dubious quality. Even responsibly sourced CBG products can run into a serious logistical problem: when the large volume of hemp required to source CBG is extracted, normally-trace toxins and solvents can really build up. 

For these reasons, those interested in CBG may do best to simply trust nature and opt for a Full Spectrum hemp product that contains small amounts of CBG already. More isn’t always better, after all.