There is a hot new cannabinoid on the market that has farmers, processors, and consumers jumping for joy as we continue to ride the hemp tidal wave. Cannabigerol (also known as CBG) has previously been known as a minor cannabinoid (produced in small amounts) in hemp plants but has made a big splash into the hemp space this growing season (2020). Now, CBG is the cannibinoid people are clamoring for, based on a myriad of reasons.
But first, what is CBG?
CBG is referred to as the “grandfather” of cannabinoids because it is a precursor molecule to other cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. Based on genetics and molecular mechanisms, cannabis plants turn CBG into either predominantly CBD or THC (and other cannabinoids); this genetic code determines whether the plant will be a hemp plant (non-THC dominant) or a marijuana plant (THC dominant). CBG dominant plants are bred to have the molecular pathways stop at CBG production, and go no further.
I’m a Farmer, Why Should I Grow CBG?
Farmers looking to grow hemp in 2020 can utilize CBG as a way to diversify their crop and potentially have a higher value product than CBD biomass. CBG hemp plants also provide a tool to farmers for easy compliance checks; most of these plants can be grown full term while maintaining 0.3% total THC compliance. In fact, the plant named PANAKEIA™ produces 0.00% THC, which is not only a huge cost savings for processing (no THC remediation needed) but also puts farmers’ minds at ease to grow a compliant crop.
While CBG is ripe for opportunity, farmers face an unknown genetics landscape that resembles the wild west. CBG genetics have a reputation for being tricky to breed and unstable overall; seed populations can have a tendency to have large phenotypic differences. Even today farmers have an issue finding quality CBD seed, and those plants have been grown for years in hemp-friendly states. (However, this is mostly due to poor breeding and lack of research before the seed hits the farmer’s hands). For CBG, farmers need to be aware of falsified COAs (to combat this, you can verify the COA with the testing lab) and promises that seem too good to be true—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
So as a farmer, should you completely jump into the CBG boat while leaving CBD behind? The short answer is no. Our recommendation would be to split your crop between CBD and CBG, whether that’s 50/50, 80/20, or some other combination. CBG is a potentially lucrative market, whereas CBD is less valuable but more proven. Ultimately, it is a decision based on weighing unknowns and making educated business decisions.