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CBG Flower By now, most people familiar with cannabis have heard of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) and their effects, but did you know there are many similar compounds in cannabis? A lesser-known cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG), while not present in large quantities in most strains, is nonetheless worth learning about for a number of reasons.
By now, most people familiar with cannabis have heard of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) and their effects, but did you know there are many similar compounds in cannabis? A lesser-known cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG), while not present in large quantities in most strains, is nonetheless worth learning about for a number of reasons.
Specific enzymes in the plant break CBGA down and “direct” it toward one of the three lines. The acids are exposed to ultraviolet light or heat, and voila, they become the cannabinoids we know: THC and CBD. In most strains, CBGA is immediately converted to either THCA or CBDA. Thus, more THC means less CBG and CBD (and vice versa) by nature of how these compounds are synthesized.
To obtain higher yields of CBG, breeders are experimenting with genetic manipulation and cross-breeding of plants. For example, Subcool Seeds is crossing strains to produce higher CBG contents. Scientists can also extract higher levels of CBG from budding plants by pinpointing the optimum extraction time, about six weeks into an eight week flowering cycle. A medicinal strain called Bediol is produced in this fashion by the Dutch company Bedrocan BV Medicinal
Sometimes the most minor of molecules are the ones with the greatest impact. Such appears to be the case with CBG—the “first” cannabinoid that develops in cannabis. This seemingly insignificant cannabinoid is actually responsible for the creation of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids catching the attention of scientists and consumers the world over.
Usually found in concentrations of <1% in most hemp strains, it’s no wonder this compound hasn’t received as much attention as others. However, that is quickly changing as more information is being unveiled about this once-overshadowed cannabinoid.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at CBG and the role it plays in the production of other cannabinoids. We’ll also explore its unique effects on the body, and how it differs from other hemp-derived cannabinoids.By the time cannabis is harvested, dried, and processed, it usually contains only trace amounts of CBG (below 1%). Hence, it is generally labelled a “minor” cannabinoid.
However, CBG—or rather, its acidic form, CBGA—is actually the first cannabinoid acid to develop in the cannabis plant. As such, it is sometimes referred to as the “stem cell” of cannabis. It is found in its highest concentrations in flowering cannabis plants. The acidic form is simply CBG with an extra carboxyl group—the “A”.
As plants continue to grow, enzymes convert CBGA into either THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), or CBCA (cannabichromenic acid).
Following harvest, plants are usually dried and processed. The heat or UV light used in these scenarios breaks down these acidic cannabinoids into their non-acidic counterparts, such as THC, CBD, and CBC. This phenomenon is known as decarboxylation—the removal of a carboxyl group.
Decarboxylation also produces many other cannabinoids (at least 100), all of which originally stem from CBGA.
Most of the cannabis strains on today’s market are bred to be high in THC and/or CBD; and the more THC or CBD present in a plant sample, the less CBG. Hence, strains usually contain only small amounts of CBG.
However, some breeders are experimenting with crossbreeding, genetic manipulation, and even unique harvesting patterns to create strains that contain higher levels of this cannabinoid.
Bedrocan BV Medical Cannabis in the Netherlands, for example, has began harvesting some of its plants earlier to create a final product with higher levels of CBG.
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