Understanding CBG And Its Hefty Price Tag

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As weed stores in Washington D.C. sell cannabinoids, companies extract them. At a rapid pace. With the popularity of cannabidiol isolate, or CBD, ambitious brands are isolating other cannabinoids too. Studying them. Adding them to shelves. Since cannabinoids exist in their hundreds, this is a real challenge. One of them, cannabigerol, or CBG, is perhaps the most important of all.

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Identified in the 1960s, CBG is the “mother” cannabinoid. All other cannabinoids originate from this one. All of them. CBG is their precursor, converting into other cannabinoids at different phases of the plant’s lifecycle. This makes CBG unique. It also hints at huge therapeutic value, exciting doctors, scientists, and users alike. As the National Institutes of Health explains, it is highly medicinal.


What Is Cannabigerol, or CBG?

As with all cannabinoids, CBG interacts with the body’s own endocannabinoid system, specifically its CB1 and CB2 receptors. This triggers a physical response. What we call its effects. These receptors work very hard to govern neurohormones, which has a direct effect on mood, pain perception, sleep, appetite, metabolism, and more. While research is in its infancy, CBG is obviously very valuable.

Studies support this too. CBG is powerfully anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It offers likely very extensive health benefits. This cannabinoid is non-psychoactive. Instead, the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggests that it stimulates the production of anandamide, or the “bliss” molecule. It is also a GABA reuptake inhibitor with strong neuroprotective effects, ideal for treating neurological issues.

What is more, CBG looks highly promising in the fight against cancer. Further, because of its strong antibacterial effects, the Journal for Natural Products insists it is strong enough for even the dreaded antibiotic-resistant MRSA. Even so, there are hurdles. The biggest obstacle to its widespread use is its insanely expensive price tag. Called the “Rolls Royce” of cannabinoids, almost nobody can afford it.


Why So Pricey?

For just a little CBG, you need mounds of weed. Pounds and pounds of it. Thousands of mounds. More than you will likely ever have. Hemp is the preferred choice for extraction, and it only offers trace amounts. If a crop has, say, 15 percent CBD and one percent CBG, then you need 15 percent more plants to acquire the same volume of CBG. That is a lot.

·         Enter Industry

What is more, growers must harvest their crops very early, when plants are still young and growing, before their CBG converts into other cannabinoids. This is only one challenge, however. Genetics is another. Since CBD is incredibly popular, and because most people want to buzz, breeders select for the highest levels of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as they can. CBG falls to the wayside.

·         Supply and Demand

Until now, breeders were not thinking about CBG. The sheer volume of cannabis needed only partly explains its expense, though. Production is pricey, but consumer demand matters too. People want it. They want more than there is. Frankly, there is just not enough CBG to satisfy demand. There are not enough plants. Demand is likely to grow too. It might well become even pricier.

·         Costly Equipment

Now that hemp is legal in the United States on an industrial scale, more farmers are planting it. Supply is increasing. Even so, these are not the only factors influencing price. Equipment is another. It is very, very expensive. Specialized chromatography comes with an eye-watering price tag, but luckily, there are cheaper ways to extract it. Arguably, genetics still has the biggest influence.


Bringing the Price Down

If CBG levels in plants are higher, then extracting it will become cheaper. You will not need as much. Breeders are creating plants with more CBG at the genetic level. If cultivars express CBG as the dominant cannabinoid, it will become more economically viable. More commercially available. Cheaper too. Extraction and purification will become easier. Currently, it is hugely challenging.

Some farmers are always busy at it. Some hemp plants express levels of CBG around 10 percent these days. Those that harvest early, before conversion of CBG into other cannabinoids, are also able to produce larger quantities and, hopefully, cheaper production. Harvesting cannabis plants when they are still very young is the best time for CBG extraction. However, it sacrifices THC and CBD.

One should also consider quality. Some extraction methods, especially those using the latest technologies, do not use solvents. Others do. Residual solvents linger. They are always present in the final product and prove impossible to remove. You do not want these toxins, but solventless extraction costs way more. Further, tests are also pricey, but the law requires them for quality.


CBG In the Future

Reducing costs is possible. However, companies are unlikely to bring their prices down for some time yet. Equipment is major. Some companies are rushing to streamline extraction processes, but equipment is still expensive. Furthermore, these companies are fierce when it comes to their intellectual property. Perhaps one can perfect, refine, and quicken the chromatography process.

For example, some companies scale their chromatography equipment. They then extract this cannabinoid from full spectrum oils. Production increases, costs fall. Others are trying to reduce material costs by engineering specialized equipment for isolation and purification. Even so, when thinking of all this, it seems availability and affordability remain unattainable for some time yet.

What is more, people know very little about cannabinoids. The fact that they differ confuses some. Others do not know THC from CBD. Almost nobody knows about CBG. Heightening the confusion with yet another acronym might prove counterproductive. Generally, people do not know more about cannabinoids than their existence. Education is paramount.

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With knowledge comes popularity. Scientists, researchers, universities, doctors: All are studying cannabinoids and how to best utilize them therapeutically. To treat medical issues. Clever people are discussing CBG with regulators, taking some of the focus off CBD and THC, and spreading that love around. Ultimately, it will be consumer demand, even medical need, that brings CBG prices down.

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