Cannabigerol (CBG), a rare compound found in the cannabis plant, is gaining popularity amongst researchers for its immense therapeutic properties.
It was first discovered in 1960s and is the precursor from which all other cannabinoids are synthesized, which has earned it the epithet of “mother” or “stem cell” of cannabinoids.
Companies like Avicanna Inc. have been quick to judge the saleability of CBG which has similar properties to CBD.
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Avicanna CEO Aras Azadian said: “We know through our own research that CBG has a higher affinity to the endocannabinoid system (EDC) receptors and is showing significant potential in many disease areas.” The molecule’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial properties help in the regulation of mood and eases disease-related pain.
CBG is also a potent neuroprotectant and is currently being tested for its ability to treat ailments like Huntington’s Disease. It also has cancer fighting properties.
Despite its multiple benefits, CBG has not replaced CBD or THC yet since it is difficult as well as expensive to produce, given that it is rarely expressed in common cultivars.
“It takes thousands of pounds of biomass to create small amounts of CBG isolate,” said Steve’s Goods CEO James Rowland to Forbes. “That’s because most hemp only contains minute percentages of CBG, whereas there are now hemp strains that contain 20% CBD in the crop.”
“If the CBG content of the same crop is only 1%, that means you need to extract 20 times the amount of biomass to get the same amount of CBG out.” CBG is, therefore, often referred to as the Rolls Royce of cannabinoids.
To solve this problem, innovative breeding techniques are being experimented with which will yield higher amounts of rare cannabinoids. American Hempseed is one such brand which recently announced an offer of certified feminized seeds with 15% CBG and compliant THC levels to global markets and farmers.
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Stuart Matthews, a spokesperson for the company said, “Years of breeding excellence has allowed us to breed out THC levels, and increase the levels of CBG in what is now a stabilized genetic ready for the 2020 harvest”.
“It’s definitely gaining momentum,” said Rowland. “We have personally administered CBG to thousands of people at over 50 events. It’s the most requested product on our website and we provide education to thousands of receptive people both in person and online every month.”
The Covid-19 outbreak has led to a crunch in the demand-supply curve of many products, including cannabis. In states where marijuana has been legalized, either for recreational or medicinal consumption, dispensaries has seen a surge in demand for products but reduced workforce and movement restrictions have made it difficult to meet the demand.
“The demand we are seeing in our Illinois Sunnyside stores is very strong—on par with what we were seeing at the launch of recreational sales in January, but because of the social distance process we have implemented, we are not able to meet that consumer demand on a daily basis,” said Jason Erkes, a Cresco Labs Inc. spokesman.
The increased interest extends to premium seeds as well and American Hempseed is gearing up to offer CBG products to the market. As the new harvest season nears, companies are trying to figure out how to increase the yield of CBG.
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“Demand has consistently outpaced our internal production of hemp,” says Joseph Nunez, President and COO of EcoGen Laboratories, who are trying to modify CBG’s genetic profile. Other laboratories across the country are also looking at various cultivars which will have higher percentages of CBG content.