Why CBG is More Expensive and Exclusive Than Other Cannabinoids
With a nickname as grand as the “stem cell” and “mother” of all cannabinoids, CBG sounds like the cannabinoid to rule them all. However, quite paradoxically, it has largely resided in its “children’s” imposing shadows. And with that obscurity also comes a status of exclusivity and the price tag to match.
Let’s trace this paradox back to its roots and explore what the future may hold for this fascinating compound.
Where Does the Nickname Come From?
A nickname of such caliber raises expectations of a worthy origin, and CBG doesn’t disappoint. The reason it’s dubbed the mother and/or stem cell of cannabinoids is because all three major groups of cannabinoids – THC, CBD, and CBC – are synthesized from it as the cannabis plant matures.
But such a fundamental role doesn’t come without an inherent cost, or rather a trade-off.
Because all the major and more popular and sought after cannabinoids are synthesized from CBG, cultivators are faced with a difficult decision, a “Sophie’s Choice” if you will.
The first and much more popular choice is to cultivate plants with THC, CBD, and CBC in mind, using CBG merely as a starting point, a stepping stone to those cannabinoids. This means that most of the CBG in the finished strain will be gone, converted into THC, CBD, and CBC. This is the reason why CBG levels in most cultivars very rarely exceed 1%.
The second option for growers lies on the other end of the spectrum. They can cash out, so to speak, harvesting their plants at the very beginning of their development when CBG is at optimum levels in order to extract it in particular. However, this means sacrificing the more popular facets of the plants’ cannabinoid profiles.
And then, there’s a third option that hypothetically represents the happy medium – breeding strains that specifically for high CBG content. But this is easier said than done for a couple of big reasons.
One, such tailored cultivation, of any kind of crop, and especially one as nuanced and complex in chemical make-up as cannabis, doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes a good couple of years for growers to choreograph and pin down the right approach and step sequence. This is especially true in this particular case, with most strains having been consistently groomed to produce high THC and CBD content to satisfy consumer demand. Overcoming this handicap to grow CBG-rich strains would likely take even longer.
Second, to devote resources and energy to CBG, whether it’s to CBG exclusively or strains genetically edited for high CBG levels, instead of simply betting on the safe cannabinoids like THC and CBD, growers have to have buyers in place, a market with serious demand. And despite CBG’s surge in popularity, the demand for it isn’t close to the levels that are required for cultivators at large to be able to bet on it consistently and favor it over the other tried-and-tested options.
There’s also the danger of falling between two stools, creating strains that might be very well-rounded, but may seem as mediocre to the general public whose eyes automatically fall on THC and CBD levels.
All this respectively creates somewhat of a catch-22: until CBG has reached mainstream status, farmers can’t scale up their CBG-oriented operations and lower its production cost and respectively market price, and to reach such mainstream status, its price would generally need to be lower to begin with.
However, the way out of this catch-22 is consumer education, or in other words, scientific studies.
In most ways, CBG is reminiscent of CBD. For starters, it’s also non-intoxicating. Beyond that, it has displayed serious promise in some of CBD’s strongest domains – anti-inflammation, neuroprotection, and the battles with cancer and bacteria. Additionally, the mother cannabinoid has shown who THC takes after as an appetite stimulant and has also been explored as a treatment of bladder issues.
It’s worth noting that most of the studies on CBG’s effects have been performed on mice, so more research on humans is needed to bolster their positive findings and build on them.
Is the CBG Juice Worth the Squeeze?
So, if CBG has shown promise in areas that CBD and THC have already impressed, why bother with it at all, especially considering all the aforementioned hurdles surrounding it?
Well, for one, our reactions to cannabinoids tend to be highly individual and often unpredictable, so it’s entirely possible that someone who doesn’t really have a strong affinity for CBD feels that spontaneous chemistry with CBG.
Second, you simply can’t discount the mystique of a title like the mother/stem cell of cannabinoids, especially when you consider the entourage effect – being the single point of origin from which THC and CBD and their respective characteristics diverge from, it’s also possible that CBG triggers an entourage effect within itself, its properties being mutually synergistic. Of course, this is entirely in the realm of speculation, however, so were all cannabinoids’ powers not that long ago. Hopefully, more scientific spotlight falls on CBG and illuminates great potential in the future, thrusting it in its popular children’s footsteps.