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Chances are you’ve seen cannabidiol (CBD) products everywhere from your local convenience store to luxury beauty lines. Now, another cannabinoid (the chemical component found in cannabis) is rising up in the ranks. Known as the “the mother of all cannabinoids,” cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychoactive derivative that breaks down to form other cannabinoids, CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) included.
Formulated in everything from tinctures to edibles, CBG is favored for its medicinal benefits. It’s often blended with CBD to form an “entourage effect” (the idea that combining cannabis compounds creates a different physical or psychological impact than a single compound by itself) of anxiety-eliminating relaxation. So what’s really the difference between the two? Wendy May Real, founder and CEO of Pure Bloom, which uses CBG in some of its products, compares choosing a cannabinoid to browsing a wine cellar—it’s all about personal preference. “Different cannabinoids are kind of like the Pinot, the Chardonnay, the Cabernet,” she says.
But be prepared to pay up for CBG: it is pricier than its offspring due to costly extraction equipment and scarcity, typically accounting for less than 1 percent by weight in cannabis strains (CBD, in comparison, can be 20 times that). Whether it’s worth it—well, that depends on whether you prefer Pinot or Chard.
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CBG was discovered in 1964, but researchers only began studying its physiological effects recently. Some believe it may be the most diverse therapeutic cannabinoid due to the range of conditions—such as osteoporosis, glaucoma, and depression—that early studies suggest it may treat. A 2013 study published in Biochemical Pharmacology found CBG positively impacted mice with inflammatory bowel disease, while research published in the journal Carcinogenesis the following year showed CBG hampered the progression of colon cancer in vivo. However, experts are quick to note these findings are preliminary.