CBG: The Mother of All Cannabinoids
We always say that smoking weed shouldn’t be complicated. So don’t feel bad if you just want to sit back, tune-out and enjoy a good ol’ fashion toke. But if you’re diggin’ our stuff and want to dig in a bit further, why not let your mind get high on some higher education? On the occasion of us launching Mom Grass, we thought it would be a good time to bring you up to speed on exactly what is CBG, the main ingredient in our new joints and one of the rarest and most powerful molecules the cannabis plant has to offer.
Botanists and researchers call CBG the potentiator of all cannabinoids because it is the first to form as the plant grows. It’s the building block for many of the feel-good, plant-made molecules for which weed is world famous.
“I think it’s the next big thing,” says researcher Ethan Russo M.D., a cannabis expert and founder of CReDO Science, a medical cannabis think tank. “it’s one of those things the industry has slowly gotten around to looking at.”
We’re glad they have, because we’re big fans of it and we think it may just be the perfect recipe to help heal the body and soothe the soul.
Our friends we asked to try it say smoking CBG in our new pre rolled joints is a smooth experience that reduces their tension and sparks their calm.
“It has a nice mellowing effect on the body,” one friend told us after sampling Mom Grass. “I felt the tension of my shoulders melt away once I smoked it. Definitely got a nice happy feeling after, too.”
Just like a warm embrace from Mom herself.
What is CBG? Finding CBG Within the Weed Alphabet Soup
So what is CBG? Studies are still in their infancy, but we know she’s the parent molecule of CBD and THC, the two most prevalent cannabinoids unique to cannabis plants like hemp.
Wait, cannabinoids? Cannabinoids are molecules in cannabis that have psychological and physiological effects on the body. Both CBD and THC are cannabinoids, two of more than 100 identified thus far. Cannabigerol – say it “can-eh-bi-ger-ol” - is the third-most frequently occurring cannabinoid in most cannabis plants, botanist and executive director of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine Liz Rogan told us. And it turns out that CBG is the parent molecule of all of ‘em.
CBG forms in the stalks of cannabis plants. It’s there inside the plant before the hemp flowers or buds form. According to Project CBD, all cannabinoids start out as CBG. That’s why this bad mama jama is the building block, the main element of all that is great about weed. That’s why she’s the mother of all cannabinoids.
Finding Mama: Why We Chose Her
Sure, CBG seems like the new girl on the block. This molecule was relatively unknown in the marketplace until our genius farmers figured out how to grow a special strain of organic hemp that is absolutely chock full of this stuff. But CBG isn’t new. It’s kind of primordial, actually.
“This is the base from which the other cannabinoids derive, so it’s first in line,” said Dr. Ethan Russo, a global cannabis expert who has spent a lifetime researching and developing cannabis products around the world. He is not financially tied to Dad Grass.
“It’s a fascinating compound with a lot of medical attributes. It’s not intoxicating the way THC is, but it has shown activity in research testing that indicates that it’s good for inflammatory pain. It also seems to be a very strong anti-anxiety agent.” Russo has published multiple papers on the topic, and if you’re ready for more science we recommend you read up on what he’s said about CBG.
It's also not addictive, a useful attribute of any compound. Another plus? Unlike THC, CBG does not appear to be psychoactive, so it won’t produce freaky highs that’ll for sure derail your plans for the day.
Scientists have long been interested in studying CBG more in depth, but Uncle Sam makes it tough to study anything related to cannabis and hemp plants, no matter how pure the intent. CBG was first identified by a trio of chemists in Israel: Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Yehiel Gaoni and Haviv Edery. The same men identified THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the spun-out high increasingly associated with marijuana.
In all the excitement around trippy THC – and the discovery of the human endocannabinoid system – it seems CBG got largely overlooked.
“It was nothing too exciting and sort of sat on the shelf for decades,” Russo said. “Then there was an increase in research that happened maybe 15-20 years ago.”
So what do we know so far?
“It’s not intoxicating the way THC is, but CBG has shown activity in research testing that indicates that it’s good for inflammatory pain. It seems to be a very strong anti-anxiety agent without being addictive,” Russo shared.
Dr. Clifton S. Otto, a veteran opthamologist and cannabinoid medical specialist licensed by the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine, echoed Russo.
“There seems to be anti-inflammatory anti cancer properties from CBG,” Otto said. He is not financially affiliated with Dad Grass.
“Those are probably one of the two largest areas there’s medical interest in because just about everybody has pain and inflammation going on. A lot of diseases originate as inflammatory conditions and the base for cancer is inflammation; inflammation sets up an environment in the body which helps the formation of cancer cells.”
In addition to being useful for relieving chronic pain, inflammation and insomnia, CBG may be able to help treat prostate and breast cancer, Russo shared.
“It’s a great candidate to treat prostate and breast cancer cell lines,” he said. Russo is currently finishing up a study of CBG and preparing to publish a new scientific paper with his findings.
Mysterious Mama: How CBG Gives Birth to THC and CBD
The interior life of plants is complex…just like our own inner lives!. But Liz Rogan, a botanist and executive director of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine, was able to shed some light about where CBG’s found and how it develops. In the wild, she told us, CBG is more abundant in the thinner, narrow hemp plants that grow in jungle locations – think southeast Asia.
Cannabigerol initially forms as an acid in the hemp plant; at this point it is called CBGA. The plant’s own growth process then determines if the CBGA becomes CBG. It could also become THCA, the acid or raw form of THC, or CBDA, the precursor of CBD.
Which way it grows can depend on other enzymes as well as the selective breeding that went into the plant.
“If there’s more CBG enzyme available there can be more THC and CBD ultimately available,” she said. Rogan is not financially affiliated with Dad Grass. “It’s kind of like your genes. If you have two short parents you’re going to be kind of limited by that. Ya know? Like hey, just didn’t have the height gene in there.”
One way to get CBG is to harvest the hemp plant early on, before CBG synthesizes into other cannabinoids like THC. But this usually doesn’t give you CBG in a form that you’ll want to roll up into a joint.
“It’s found more in immature parts of the plant, and not as much in the buds. It’s found more in the stem,” Rogan said.
To obtain the hemp flower for Mom Grass joints, we work with our farmers to grow a variety of hemp plants that are actually bred to have a higher concentration of CBG. This is how we make sure that what you’re smoking has loads of CBG molecules - along with the other cannabinoids and a fragrant bouquet of terpenes - coating the sticky, sweet filaments of the flower’s trichomes.
Sure, there’s some CBG in our classic Dad Grass CBD Joints and Flower. But because CBG is a potentiator, it is less abundant in typical mature hemp plants. Unless you’re dealing with one of our super special Mom Grass hemp plants, the CBG’s usually morphed into other cannabinoids by the time the hemp is fully grown. That’s one of the reasons we describe it as rare and mysterious.
CBG Inside the Body: A Hug From Mom Grass
Our friends who have sampled Mom Grass tell us it’s smooth and mellow. That it conveys cognitive clarity and focus. Even that it’s energizing.
“My creative juices were flowing,” one pal told us. “I was focused and got lost in a piece of art I am currently working on.”
How does CBG work?
Our body’s own naturally occurring cannabinoids (surprise! Your body makes cannabinoids, too) bind to the endocannabinoid receptors and then send signals back to other systems within the body. A dearth of cannabinoids means a lack of signals and ultimately dysfunction within the body. This throws everything out of whack and conditions such as chronic pain, migraines, IBS, cancer, autoimmune diseases and fibromyalgia become a lot more likely.
Like THC, cannabigerol does in fact attach to the CB1 and CB2 receptors. But it does so weakly and so isn’t the likely explanation for why CBG is so beneficial, Russo said.
“What CBG has in common with CBD is multiple mechanisms of action,” he said. “Straight out of the chute it has less to do with the cannabinoid receptors and more with other systems. And that just highlights the versatility of the plant in treating a number of different conditions.”
Anti-inflammatory effects of CBG have been studied in animals with promising results. The anti-anxiety benefits of CBG have been so far mostly measured by how individuals say they feel after taking it. Like our friend who said he felt more relaxed and calm - yet clear minded - after sampling a Mom Grass jay.
Consider another scenario: after a lousy day at work during which the boss is on your case for hours, you feel jittery and nervous for the rest of the day. You’re on edge. Mind racing. Realizing it’ll be hard to sleep, you light up some Mom Grass.
Suddenly, there’s a mind shift. You know you had a bad day, but it feels less worrisome. And so you can calmly get ready for bed. You fall asleep. And with none of the side effects of big pharma’s anti-anxiety meds, you get to rest and realize all the potential of tomorrow.
Like Mama said, every day is a new day.