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Everything you need to know about CBG, the hottest new CBD alternative


TextSara Radin

Meet the mother of all cannabinoids

From organic pre-rolled joints and flavored water infused with CBG to tinctures, body butter, infused capsules, elixirs, skincare, and oils, products featuring CBG have been steadily rising, while wellness, pro-cannabis, and CBD brands on social media have been bringing new cannabinoids like CBG to wider consideration.

So, what is CBG? The lesser known ingredient is actually the mother of all cannabinoids and the building block for THC and CBD. Studies on CBG – which is short for cannabigerol – are still in their early stages, but the science leads us to believe that it can help heal the body and soothe the soul. Mallory Huron, a beauty and wellness strategist at trend forecaster Fashion Snoops, explains that its rising popularity stems from already-established CBD brands looking to diversify their offerings, and also from new brands entering the space looking to set themselves apart from the rest of the market.

“There are 113 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, the most famous of which is THC, which gets you high, followed by CBD, which chills you out, but without CBG, you wouldn’t have either – or any of the others, for that matter,” say Ben Starmer and Joshua Katz, the co-founders of Dad Grass, an LA-based company that sells legal, pre-rolled joints containing less than 0.3 per cent THC. “CBG is the building block that allows all other cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) to develop. That’s why scientists call it the ‘mother cannabinoid’, and, of course, why we call our CBG joints Mom Grass.”

CBG is just another cannabinoid like CBD. According to Huron, it is non-psychoactive and not mind altering, but, like many cannabinoids, it contains unique properties that make it a beneficial active ingredient for beauty and wellness applications. “CBG originates from the hemp/cannabis family of plants, and requires more precise extraction than CBD, making it a rarer cannabinoid,” she tells Dazed.

Expanding on the differences between the two, Huron adds: “CBD and CBG both have powerful soothing properties, but how they specifically do this results in different benefits. CBD focuses on boosting and regulating the naturally-occuring endocannabinoid compounds within our bodies, while CBG works on the endocannabinoid receptors themselves.” Both of these actions ultimately support mental soothing, pain relief, sleep support, and more, but they go about it in contrasting ways.

These two cannabinoids can be thought of as closely related but distinct family members. “While there are similarities, both CBD and CBG have similar calming and relaxing effects, but we find that our Mom Grass (CBG) joints have a grounding and focusing effect – plus a nice little body buzz – while our Dad Grass (CBD) joints bring on a more deep and total relaxation,” explain Starmer and Katz. “We like to think that Mom Grass is great for tuning in and Dad Grass is great for tuning out.”

“We like to think that (CBG) is great for tuning in and (CBD) is great for tuning out” – Ben Starmer and Joshua Katz, Dad Grass

“Though we’re just starting to learn about and feel the effects of CBG, what we’ve experienced so far is exciting and inspiring,” the pair continues. “Plus, we know from research on THC and CBD that these cannabinoids often work better together because of the entourage effect, so bringing quality CBG to the table just means our experience will be richer and more nuanced.”

According to Melany Dobson, the chief product officer at agricultural, manufacturing, and marketing company Hudson Hemp, the pharmacological effects of CBG described in the scientific literature include: anti-fungal, anti-insect, and anti-inflammatory activity; neuroprotective activity; stimulation of appetite and enhancement of the death process of cancer cells. There has not yet been much research into the effects of the compound; however, from the research there is, there have been a number of positive findings.

So far experts believe there are no health or skincare concerns to speak of with CBG, unless you are sensitive to cannabinoids in general. Some of the primary wellness benefits are pain relief, emotional soothing, and sleep support, as well as the topical benefits of inflammation reduction, skin hydration, and antibacterial properties. “In particular, CBG is an intriguing prospect for acne care, as – in addition to reducing inflammation, soothing topical pain, and inhibiting bacterial growth – CBG has also shown promise as an antimicrobial compound, which makes it an ideal active for treating acne,” Huron says. CBG has many of the same benefits of CBD, but because it works in a slightly different way chemically, it means that it may be beneficial for consumers who have tried CBD without success. If you’ve tried CBD for pain or daily balance but haven’t noticed any significant benefits, you might want to try a product that includes CBG along with CBD.

Discussing what makes CBG so appealing, Huron tells Dazed: “First, I think there’s a novelty aspect here – after so many years of CBD taking over the beauty and wellness sphere, it feels fresh and interesting to have a new option. Next, the idea of CBG offering different benefits may be intriguing to consumers who are already familiar with CBD, and are looking to explore what other cannabinoids have to offer.”

When it comes to examples, Fashion Snoops has been loving terra/form’s line of high-quality CBD-based skincare and wellness solutions. The brand adds CBG to several of its product options, including its body range which helps to soothe, hydrate, and restore the skin. In addition, terra/form also utilises CBG in its pain-relieving muscle roll ons, which combine the potent pain-fighting powers of CBD and CBD, along with cooling menthol, for the ultimate post-workout relief. As for internal CBG supplements, Fashion Snoops says it loves what High Falls Hemp is doing, not only with CBG but also other emerging cannabinoids like CBN. The company’s line of tinctures combines CBD with cannabinoids like CBG or CBN to achieve different desired results, like muscle soothing, sleep support, and more. 

Brands like Caring Sunshine, Murdoch’s, and Everest also offer combination blends that highlight CBG in tinctures and topicals – but when it comes to smokable CBG, Starmer and Katz say Mom Grass is one of the biggest names in the game. “Although not the first to offer smokable hemp products rich in CBG, we’re aiming to lead the charge by helping to educate consumers and mainstream media publications on a national scale to the massive benefits of the cannabinoid – while also providing the most quality, smooth-smoking product to enjoy.”

“In addition to reducing inflammation, soothing topical pain, and inhibiting bacterial growth, CBG has also shown promise as an antimicrobial compound, which makes it an ideal active for treating acne” – Mallory Huron, Fashion Snoops

They continue: “We have farmers to thank for bringing CBG goodness into our life. Even though CBG was discovered a long time ago, it’s the amazing hemp farmers who have only recently figured out how to cultivate hemp in a way that brings beautiful, high-CBG flowers to the people.”

Consumers are always looking for the next evolution of big trends. As we’ve seen CBD explode in popularity and proliferate every aspect of beauty and wellness, it’s natural that shoppers are eager for any newness in this area. “We’re going to see CBG enter the spaces that have been dominated by CBD for so long, both in terms of topical skin, hair, and body care products, but also in wellness tinctures, ingestible supplements, and more,” Huron says. “We expect to see CBD brands adding in new cannabinoids like CBG or even CBN to maximize and compliment the benefits of CBD.”

On a larger scale, Huron adds, it’s clear that consumers are continuing to become more comfortable experimenting with previously taboo substances: now that they’ve become accustomed to CBD and the concept of cannabinoids, they’re more open to branching out and exploring all that hemp and CBD have to offer. “We’re even seeing products with THC – the psychoactive compound within cannabis – being introduced, which is a testament to how far this category has come.” In the beginning, brands had to work overtime to explain and educate customers that CBD products did not include THC, but now not only are consumers looking for different compounds like CBG, but they’re even actively seeking out THC benefits.

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