Public interest in the cannabis plant and its primary constituents is increasing all the time. So too is scientific interest. Studies into its many beneficial effects abound. The more we learn about cannabis, the better it seems to get.
We now know, thanks to an expanding body of research, that terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids all carry important therapeutic properties. Accordingly, consumer demand for their isolated forms is skyrocketing. The global market size for CBD alone is expected to reach $13.4 billion by 2028.
Today we’ll be focusing our attention on the mother of all cannabinoids—and no, I’m not talking about CBD. Nor am I referring to THC. That grand moniker belongs to none other than cannabigerol, also known as CBG.
CBG isolate is one of the lesser-known cannabinoids alongside CBN. Most discussions about cannabinoids revolve around the more popular CBD and THC. And while those two have certainly earned their keep, it’s time to give CBG its due credit.
Why is CBG known as the “mother of all cannabinoids”?
Like other cannabinoids, CBG is a chemical compound that naturally occurs in the cannabis plant. What makes it unique is that its acidic form—cannabigerolic acid (CBGA)—is the precursor of both CBD and THC.
CBGA is abundant in cannabis, and industrial hemp, too. When heated up, it undergoes a reaction whereby it breaks down and gives rise to CBG, CBD, THC, and another minor cannabinoid known as CBC (cannabichromene). Hence the nickname, the mother of all cannabinoids.
The overwhelming majority of cannabinoids generated by this process—nearly 100% —are either THC or CBD. Only 1%, and oftentimes less, are CBG. As the plant matures, its CBG content continues to decline. That’s why marijuana strains, with very few exceptions, contain high concentrations of THC or CBD or both, but only trace amounts of CBG.
Because of its scarcity in marijuana and hemp, CBG isolate is relatively hard to come by.
What is CBG isolate?
CBG isolate is a purified liquid concentrate manufactured in a way that eliminates the plant’s other ingredients, so that the end result is pure CBG. You can expect a high-quality CBG isolate product to contain upwards of 98% CBG. For this to happen, though, the plant will have to have been bred specifically for this purpose. Otherwise, there simply will not be enough CBG to extract.
Production of isolate CBG usually relies on the use of a solvent, such as highly potent alcohol (around 200 proof), glycerin, or MCT oil. The plant material is soaked in the solvent until the desired ingredient is extracted and isolated; this typically takes several weeks. Afterward, the remaining plant matter is filtered out, and what’s left is a purified form of CBG.
Another method of extraction makes use of carbon dioxide (CO2). For this, you need a special machine that freezes and pressurizes the CO2 until it becomes a fluid. Far more expensive and complicated than the old-fashioned solvent technique, CO2 extraction has become more popular in recent years.
How does CBG isolate work?
CBG isolate works in the same way that other cannabinoids work. That is, by interacting with your endocannabinoid system. Discovered in the ’90s, the endocannabinoid system is made up of molecules and receptors. It plays a significant role in regulating things like pain, appetite, sleep, mood, and immune system response.
There are two types of receptors in the endocannabinoid system: CB1 receptors, which are concentrated in the nervous system, and CB2 receptors, which are located throughout the body. CBG isolate binds to both of them; when it does, it’s thought that the system goes to work relieving pain, facilitating appetite, reducing anxiety, etc.
Like CBD, isolate CBG is non-intoxicating. For that reason, the two are often lumped together. But there are differences to note.
What is the difference between CBD and CBG?
As mentioned earlier, the biggest difference is that CBD is abundant in hemp and cannabis, while CBG is present in extremely small quantities. Therefore, CBD isolate is more widely available; it’s also the subject of far more scientific research.
Studies devoted to CBG isolate are very limited. We simply don’t know as much about its effects as we do about CBD’s. The small amount of research that has been done suggests CBG is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that may help treat:
- Bacterial infections
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Appetite loss
What is the best way to take CBG isolate?
The best way to experience the effects of CBG isolate is to use a high-quality oil extract. Place a few drops under your tongue and wait for the oil to be absorbed through your mouth; or you could try adding it to food or a drink. Some companies also sell CBG in powder form, which can be mixed into a beverage of your choice. Just as terpenes can be bought in bulk, manufacturers can buy wholesale CBG isolate for their products.
Remember that CBG is a scarce cannabinoid, which means making a quality CBG isolate product is a good deal more difficult than making a decent CBD or THC product. It also means that CBG isolate is inherently more expensive, so be prepared to pay a higher price.
As is the case with CBD, CBG is not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s your responsibility to ensure that you’re not throwing your money away on an inferior product.
A reputable company will be able to provide you with details about production facilities and laboratory testing. If they’re claiming their CBG isolate is 99% pure, ask them to prove it.
You may have noticed that some full-spectrum CBD products contain CBG. Just be aware that the concentration of CBG is likely to be remarkably low—nowhere close to what you will get from a CBG isolate product.
Does CBG isolate have any side effects?
The extent of CBG’s side effects, if there are any, remains to be seen. We’ll have to wait for the research into cannabigerol to catch up to the growing popular demand. Until then, use your best judgment when taking CBG isolate, and pay close attention to what other consumers are saying about adverse effects.
More lesser-known marijuana compounds
Now you know about CBG, take a look at some of our articles on other less common compounds in cannabis: