Whispers of a new hotshot cannabinoid have been spreading like wildfire in the hemp industry.
Fears of “testing hot,” FDA warning letters, and a saturated CBD market have caused a stir in the hemp industry, and farmers are ditching their CBD biomass in favor of a new, hot cannabinoid on the scene: cannabigerol (CBG).
But before you switch your crop from CBD to CBG, there are a few things you should know.
On the surface, CBD and CBG seem pretty similar: like CBD, CBG is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid with an impressively long list of potential applications. But that doesn’t mean their applications are the same, and it certainly doesn’t mean you should bail on your CBD crop before doing your homework on CBG, and on the customer profiles of those who are seeking it out. Early research has shown that CBG might have appetite-stimulating properties, which runs directly counter to one of CBD’s oft-touted benefits of appetite reduction. This is only one example, but it’s going to go a long way in differentiating market segments. As more research emerges about both compounds we’re going to see their applications better differentiated in the near future.
You might already be aware of the recent FDA crackdown on CBD companies. In a nutshell, because CBD is an active ingredient of FDA-approved drug Epidiolex, CBD falls under the FDA’s jurisdiction– and cannot be marketed as a food additive or supplement in animal or pet products designed for ingestion.
On the other hand, CBG does not fall into this category. As far as the FDA is concerned, CBG is fair-game for marketing as an additive for virtually any application, so long as no overt medical claims are made about it. Not that one could even make any claims about it at this point– we just don’t have the research yet.
In the hemp world, 2020 is shaping up to be the year of CBG. Consumer demand is high for products that are purported to help relieve chronic pain and anxiety, two things which initial research suggests CBG might be uniquely good at doing (but again, we have no scientific proof just yet). As to how it actually compares to CBD, the jury is still out.
But what we do know is that, while research is going to be playing catch-up with an exploding market, we can safely predict that the wellness industry will be the end target for your high-CBG biomass.
With that in mind, it’s important to know that consumers are catching on to the benefits of the entourage effect. In other words, consumers are looking for full-spectrum (as opposed to isolate) products.
This trend underscores the need for certifiable high-CBG genetics (not just purified CBG from any plant cut at the budding phase, or pure CBG grown from a vat of brewer’s yeast) and premium, resinous crops. Just like growing hemp for smokeable flowers, growing CBG for wellness markets is going to require a lot more labor. But being able to leverage the benefit of the entourage effect in your hemp biomass is what will ultimately set you apart from GMO and yeast-based production of isolated CBG in the future.
Federal hemp regulations are loose at best, and nonexistent at worst. Fraud is rampant– as more and more farmers have been trying to get rid of old CBD biomass and seeds by labeling them as CBG and selling them for 6-10 times the price of CBD seeds.
Don’t muck up the game for everyone else with integrity. Faking certificates of analysis is a great way to go out of business.
Today, just being compliant with USDA guidelines for THC levels isn’t gonna cut it: consumers are demanding full-profile certificates of analysis (CoA’s). And rightly so: wouldn’t you want to verify that a product you’re taking is proven to be uncontaminated by toxic heavy metals? Wouldn’t you want to confirm that the contents of a product you’re ingesting matches what’s on the label?
If you claim your hemp biomass is pure, clean, and has measurable CBG content– you better be able to prove it. Not only is testing your hemp the right thing to do, it adds value to your product.
If you want to grow CBG-rich hemp biomass for the wellness industry, go for it. But if you’re a farmer, and you’ve decided to grow CBG, make sure you know who you’re growing it for and make damn sure you know the source of your seed.
If you can’t prove your seed stock contains stable CBG genetics– don’t plant it. If you can’t prove your biomass is free of contaminants– you’re gonna have a hard time selling it.
And if you decide to stick with CBD, don’t worry. At the end of the day, CBD isn’t going anywhere.