What is CBG? Is it some new night club taking the place of CBGB? Did I accidentally type a G instead of a D (CBD)? Maybe it’s a new code for pot? Nope – CBG is short for Cannabigerol, and is a part of the full spectrum found in cannabis plants. I like to think of it as a rainbow, where the CBDs and THCs are all parts that work separately and together. But before I tell you the story of how Glinda and I got together, I’d like to share some info I’ve been learning about this multi-billion dollar burgeoning industry.
If you or people you know like to get high on marijuana, you may have heard them reference the term “420” (or 4:20 or 4/20, usually pronounced four-twenty). I’ve even seen Airbnb listings and job opportunities state they are “420 friendly.” April 20th has become an unofficial international holiday for those who smoke pot. Some myths of where it started include it being Bob Marley’s birthday or a police code. However, it turns out to have started with some high school kids in San Rafael, CA who called themselves “the Waldos” (hmmm, any connection to “Where’s Waldo”?). They started hanging out with the Grateful Dead, and the term spread from there. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant that gets you high. (Want to know more? Read “What is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)?” from Leafly.com)
The CBD boom
What is CBD? Like I mentioned earlier, it’s part of the rainbow spectrum of the cannabis plant, in this case typically a hemp plant. It’s the non-trippy part (non-psychoactive) that offers an array of healing properties. I first heard about it a few years ago, when friends (and some that were just social media ‘friends’) were offering “trustworthy” CBD oils for sale (and, more likely, to rope you into their MLM/pyramid businesses). CBD as a market has grown from $327 million in 2017 to a projected $22 billion in 2022! (Consumer Reports has great information. Click here for their research) CBD is now an ingredient in 100s of products from beauty products, to pain salves, to beer, coffee and water! It’s also in chocolate bars…but more on that later this month.
How to shop for CBD products
“How do you even begin to know? Even being in the industry, I look at the full shelves of CBD products (at the local market) I find it difficult to choose.”– Carrie Solomon, founder Greater Goods
My first time buying a CBD product was back when I was still living in New York. There was a small jar of cream for a big price tag. I had no idea what to look for, and just “trusted” that the store would carry decent product. Looking at all the claims on so many products, it’s easy to think CBD is just another form of snake oil. The federal government does not yet have guidelines. Carrie Solomon says to look for smaller brands as they are trying harder to be transparent with all the information, before regulation sets in.
Consumer Reports offers these eight points to consider (“How to Shop for CBD”) :
- Decide why you want to use CBD, and in what form
- Consider how much THC the product contains
- For products from hemp, find where it was grown
- Ask for test results (the COA, or certificate of analysis)
- Look for products that list the CBD amount (not just the whole container, but each dose)
- Know what other terms on the label may mean
- Avoid products that make sweeping health claims
- Watch out for vaping products with propylene glycol
A visit to a local hemp farm
Somewhere on a ranch
When you open yourself up to adventure, all sorts of wonderful opportunities pop up. A friend of mine connected me with a young woman (Alex) whose family grows hemp on part of their cattle ranch. We had talked of making plans for a girls’ weekend on the ranch, but that has been postponed due to the current “stay at home” orders.
While chatting with Alex, I asked her why she and her family took on the adventure of adding hemp to their crops. Their ranch is in southern Oregon , which has many cannabis farms (and even more hemp farms since the Farm Bill of 2018). With the new laws, they considered their options. They see adding cannabis to their crop rotation as a way of connecting with the local community. Alex tells me that the local cannabis farmers have a special bond that started years ago, even as far back as the late 1800’s! (Everyone thinks California is the epicenter of marijuana, but it turns out Oregon features quite prominently!)
An indoor farm nearby
Through another connection, I was able to tour an indoor industrial hemp farmer located in a warehouse a town over from where I live. While this is serious business, I felt like a kid who was doing something vaguely illegal. There were rows and rows of young hemp plants growing under very hot lights. I stood next to bags taller than I am filled with biomass (stalks and leaves after the flowers have been harvested). There may have been bags with trim or shake, which are terms I wasn’t familiar with when I visited. (Potguide.com offers a “Marijuana Glossary” which helps me with the long list of lingo! )
What is CBG?
Everyone, please meet Glinda, the Good Weed. She is a CBG plant that was given to me (after I checked to make sure it would be okay to bring her home). I was quite surprised when I was told of her specialty – I didn’t know there was such a thing as CBG! The quantity of CBG in her comes from the farmer naturally growing strains, using seeds that came from plants high in a certain chemical. After much testing, they now have plants that grow with a higher concentration this specific cannabinoid. Glinda is a clone from one of those plants. She cannot reproduce and will always stay female. (Did you know female hemp plants can become hermaphrodite under stress or other extreme conditions? It’s one of the risks hemp farmers take when investing in this category of plant).
The reason CBG is becoming more in demand is due to its potential medical benefits. Per Leafly.com, CBG could be helpful with treating glaucoma, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington’s Disease, colorectal cancer, an appetite stimulus for cancer patients, an antibacterial agent as well as an analgesic, therapy for psoriasis, and as an antidepressant. (To read more about the science and how it works in your body, check out “What is CBG (cannabigerol) & what does this cannabinoid do?” and “What is the endocannabinoid system and what is its role?” (which better explains how your body’s ‘bliss molecule’ system works!)
Glinda the Good Weed
My next steps in this adventure is to learn how to grow Glinda and keep her happy (no stress!). While I do have history successfully growing medicinal herbs (like St. John’s Wort and lavender), I am not quite sure I have a green thumb. I do know I need to transplant her into a bigger pot and give her more nutrients. When it gets warm enough (around mid-April in these parts, I’m told), I can plant her outdoors. She will need a fence around her to keep the chickens at bay (chickens eat lots of plants, or will scratch at the roots looking for yummy bugs). Harvest is supposedly early September. By then, I will have learned more about her benefits and the best way to use her biomatter!
Side note: I am not promoting CBD to cure any health issues. I am just stating my interaction. Also, the FDA has currently approved CBD only for a prescription epilepsy drug. This means they consider CBD a drug and not an approved ingredient for edibles or beauty products. There is a bill currently being considered by Congress to address this issue.