How to Interpret a COA

Jesse Freund

Here’s a familiar scenario: You get a package on your doorstep from your favorite hemp company. You’ve been expecting it and cant wait to get to the goods inside. Packaged inside with your flower is a paper with what looks like some scientific jargon on it you don’t understand. You know this is a COA, or test result of the flower, but you just don’t know exactly what everything means. There’s clearly information about a lot more than just the CBD and THC levels, so what does it all mean?

 

First off, lets look at what exactly a COA is and how the results on it are determined. In order to ensure that their flower is compliant with the farm bill (under .03% Delta 9 THC), growers and vendors send off samples to one of the many laboratories across America to see exactly what the cannabinoid levels are. The most common method of testing at these laboratories is called High Performance Liquid Chromatography or HPLC. HPLC measures cannabinoids by mixing cannabis flower with a solvent like ethanol. That solution is then pumped through a tube, where different compounds of cannabinoids travel at different speeds, and a machine detects those speeds to identify and calculate the quantity of the compounds in the flower.

 

While there are over 113 different cannabinoids in cannabis, most HPLC tests look for a primary group of 10 or 11 different cannabinoids that are most sought after by users, and are also found in the highest concentrations. When you look at a COA or test result for hemp flower, you’re obviously looking for CBD (cannabidiol) levels. This is usually listed in two categories, CBD and total CBD. Total CBD is CBDA, CBDV, and CBD combined, while CBD is the total potential CBD levels once decarbed (heated to a point that the cannabinoid is psychoactive when ingested). CBDA, or cannabidiolic acid, is actually separate from CBD, but is found in only small concentrations and is usually converted to CBD once its heated and decarbed. CBDV, or cannabidivarin is one of the most rare cannabinoids that you will encounter, because not only does it only occur in very small, almost non-detectable concentrations in flower, it also is only prominent in a few very isolated pockets of cannabis found in Asia.

 

Secondly, you’re going to be looking for THC levels, either to see if they’re low enough or high enough for your standards. These will come up as THCA, THCV, Delta-9 THC, and Delta-8 THC. You will see a category for each, as well as a “total THC” column, which is all of these combined. Delta-9 THC is the most well known and psychoactive compound in cannabis. It is also whats illegal and regulated, and must fall within a certain threshold for hemp to legally be labeled hemp and not regular marijuana. THCA is a precursor to Delta-9 THC and is non-psychoactive. It may have its own benefits if isolated and used. THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a very promising cannabinoid. It is similar in molecular structure as Delta 9 THC, but has its own suite of unique effects and properties. Unfortunately, it is often only found in small concentrations. Delta-8 THC is very interesting. It is the most similar to Delta-9, but produces slightly different effects which most find to be a bit more mild than its full fledged big brother.

 

Next to the different categories of THC results, you may see the abbreviation “LOQ”. LOQ stands for Limit of Quantitation, or basically the limit or lowest amount of a given compound that can be detected. Usually test results will say that a given cannabinoid, usually THC, is under the Limit of Quanititation, meaning its not detectable past a certain point. In laymens terms, that means that there is very little to the point it is practically undetectable and obviously within the “legal” threshold for hemp flower.

 

You will often see a column or measurement for CBC, or cannabichromene. CBC is another cannabinoid that is often found in small concentrations in flower, and is not psychoactive. CBC does not bind well to receptors in the brain, but it does bind well with receptors in the body. CBC is undergoing research and shows that it may have potent effects for treating certain symptoms and ailments.

 

Continuing down the list of analytes, or compounds that are searched for and quantified, you will probably see a result for levels of CBN. CBN, or cannabinol. Like the others on the list, CBN is only found in small concentrations. While not psychoactive, it has some of the most perceivable effects of all the non-psychoactive cannabinoids, and is quickly becoming popular for its beneficial effects.

 

At last you will come to CBG and CBGA. You might be more familiar with CBG, as its use and popularity has exploded, and it is quickly catching up to CBD as far as demand is concerned. CBG is the “mother of cannabinoids” because it is the starting point of all the others while the cannabis plant grows and develops. CBG has its own very important uses and while once rare and hard to find in useful concentrations, strains of cannabis have now been bred to produce very high concentrations of this useful cannabinoid. CBGA, or cannabigerolic acid, is one of the very first compounds that appear in a cannabis plant, and while it can convert down to CBG, it often converts into THC or CBD. CBGA not only regulates some of the plants growth and self manicuring for maximum growth potential, research is showing that in higher concentrations, CBGA may have promising medical properties. CBGA is non-psychoactive.

 

Sometimes, but not always, COAs may include a terpene report. Terpenes are the aromatic compounds produced not only in cannabis, but in many, many plants, fruits, and vegetables as well as insects. Terpenes are what is responsible for many organic things having a “smell”, and cannabis is no exception. Terpenes are what give different strains of cannabis their distinctive and unique scent profiles. Some laboratories have the equipment to test for and measure the individual terpenes in a flower sample. This is not guaranteed in a COA, so if you get a terp report with your flower, consider it a bonus.

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A Quick Strain Guide

Jesse Freund

Cherry Wine (The Wife x Charlottes Cherries)

 

Cherry Wine is a hybrid strain that smells reminiscent of its name. Many users report feeling more indica like effects, but it can be different for everyone. Cherry Wine usually has dense, dark green flowers with bright orange pistils and is moderately resinous. Good all day or evening strain.

 

Matterhorn CBG

 

CBG tends to bring more sativa like effects for most users, and Matterhorn is no different. Most will feel a very clear headed and uplifting effect after using Matterhorn CBG. The flowers are covered in solid white trichomes and has a citrusy lemon-lime scent profile. All day and morning strain.

 

Elektra (ACDC x ERB)

 

Elektra is a nice hybrid cross that gives a variety of effects to different users. Some find it sedating, others uplifting. Elektra has varying phenotypes but the nicest visually is a dark purple with bright green sugar leaves and a smell like grape candy and berries with a hint of pine and sometimes a touch of gas. All day and evening strain.

 

Hawaiian Haze (DC Haze x ERB)

 

Hawaiian Haze is a particular strain, because it is a very hybrid cross, yet for many people gives heavy indica like sedative effects. Many vendors claim that Hawaiian Haze has a tropical smell, but often times once dried and cured it has a sweet, piney smell as opposed to any kind of tropical or citrus smells. This strain can often times be very resinous and is a good yielder. Best for night time use, although some find it to be good for daytime use as well.

 

Lifter (SH50 x ERB)

 

Lifter is probably the single most popular and common strain of hemp flower currently available. Like it’s name suggests, it’s typically reported to have very uplifting and energetic effects. Typically bright green, some phenotypes are a deep purple. Lifter comes with a distinct sweet and cheesy smell. Good for morning and all day use.

 

Sour Space Candy (Sour Tsunami x ERB)

 

Sour Space Candy has the single most unique and identifiable scent profile of any hemp strain currently available. Most people describe the smell as being exactly like Sprite or other lemon lime soda. Sour Space Candy is a hybrid, and is reported to have both uplifting and relaxing effects. All day and evening strain.

 

Special Sauce (Special Sauce x ERB)

 

Special Sauce was one of the first commercially available strains on the market, and has become a favorite for many users. The flowers are ample sized and sticky to the touch, and smell of sweet berries and piney, skunky funk. Special Sauce is a hybrid that can be used all day and into the evening.

 

Suver Haze (Suver #8 x ERB)

 

Another hybrid, Suver Haze is so special to some people that they swear by it. It comes in a variety of phenotypes and scent profiles, but usually has a funky sweet smell. Suver Haze gives a bit of a cerebral feeling accompanied with some effects in the torso, arms and legs. Can be used all day.

 

White CBG

 

The most prolific and popular CBG strain available, White CBG provides extremely clear headed and uplifting effects. Characterized by its incredibly distinct look, the all white trichomes of White CBG give it its name and makes it very visually distinguishable from other hemp strains. White CBG has a unique creamy, citrusy, lemon pastry scent. Great for morning and all day use.

 

C5 (Cherry Wine x Sour Space Candy)

 

A cross between Cherry Wine and Sour Space Candy, Cherry 5 is a potent strain with dense flowers. It's indica dominant, so expect relaxation and waves of relief throughout your body. Very potent strain with very prominent effects. C5 has dense, dark flowers that exhibit a funky cherry like smell followed by some pine. Good evening and night time strain.

 

C4 (Cotton Candy x Shishkaberry)

 

C4 has fluffy, sticky flowers, that range from purple to bright green. An indica leaning hybrid, C4 has prominent, potent effects that you can feel in your body. C4 has a dank but sweet piney smell. Good evening or night time strain.

 

Abacus (OG x Purple Urkle x Unknown High CBD Cultivar)

 

A favorite of connoisseurs, abacus is a indica leaning hybrid with OG genetics which provide some potent body effects. This flower is typically dark purple and covered in trichomes, with some light green sugar leafs. The smell is great to match the looks, with a dank skunky grapey and gassy smell, which is very prominent in some phenotypes. Abacus is a good evening or night time strain.

 

T1 (Afghan Skunk x The Wife)

 

T1 is a hybrid strain that carries many qualities of its pure indica parent Afghan Skunk. It has a usual scent profile comprised of a mix of skunky and sweet citrus smells. The flowers are a darker green and covered in sticky trichomes. Most people find this strain good for later in the day and the evening or even before bed.

 

Cherry Blossom (Berry Blossom? x Unknown)

 

Cherry Blossom is a hybrid strain with unknown genetics. It’s speculated that one of the parents is Berry Blossom, but there’s no way to know for sure. Cherry Blossom has light green flowers with sometimes pink pistils, and has a light, sweet, piney smell to it. Although it’s a hybrid, some people report it having more sativa like uplifting effects that creep up on you. Good all day strain.

 

Charlottes Cherries (Charlottes Web x Colorado Cherry)

 

This strain has two very high profile parents, the famous Charlottes Web from the Stanley Bros in Colorado, and the classic Colorado Cherry. Charlottes Cherries smells kind of like freshly picked cherries with a touch of funk. This is a hybrid strain, with typically hybrid effects reported by many users. Effects start first in the head with a cerebral feeling, then can be felt throughout the body. Good all day strain. Very potent but without a nagging thought changing feeling.

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All About Organic Hemp

Jesse Freund

“Organically Grown”, “Certified Organic” are just some of the labels you will see on hemp flower or websites of growers of hemp or vendors that sell it. Its an often overlooked label but in hindsight, I think we can all recall seeing that off to the side somewhere. Whats the significance? Is organic farming practices really better than other methods? Is it worth going out of the way to look for? Is organically grown cannabis better than cannabis grown using synthetic nutrients?

 

According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, organic farming is an “agricultural system that uses ecologically based pest controls and biological fertilizers derived largely from animal and plant wastes and nitrogen-fixing cover crops.” In laymens terms, this means that pest control and fertilization is only done with substances derived from other organic compounds, and not artificial chemicals. The idea of organic farming in modern times (obviously for most of human history we didn’t have access to synthetic fertilizers) came about in the early 1900s, but unfortunately was eventually overshadowed by corporate greed. Using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is just cheaper than organic methods. In recent times, there has been a large resurgence of organic growing and farming methods.

 

Non organic farming produces bigger crops for less money. Using pesticides and synthetic fertilizers is cheaper and more effective, but comes at a big cost to our bodies. Pesticide” is an umbrella term that includes any agent or technique used to control pests; the term includes antimicrobials, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, insect growth regulators, and rodenticides, among others. There are numerous pesticides registered in the United States, though the 5 most often used in agriculture are the herbicides glyphosate, atrazine, metolachlor-S, and 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic (2,4-D) acid, and the fumigant dichloropropene. The most commonly used insecticides in agriculture are the organophosphates chlorpyrifos and acephate, while the most common for home and garden–use are carbaryl, acephate, and pyrethroids. These are all toxic to the human body, and most have been found to be carcinogenic and linked to numerous forms of cancer such lung, pancreatic, bowel (colon and rectal), prostate, brain and bladder cancer, melanoma, leukaemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

 

When talking specifically about cannabis, there is a raging debate over whether it should be exclusively grown organically or not. There are many growers that swear by synthetic nutrients and pesticides. After all, they do absorb into the plant faster or kill pests more efficiently, often time with less effort and overall lower cost. They are also able to be formulated exactly for specific needs and stages of growth, which can lead to overall better harvest and higher cannabinoid levels. For some growers, these benefits themselves are enough to stop them from converting. However, since cannabis is destined to be ingested, whats put into the plant is eventually put into our bodies. There hasn’t been enough research done, but many synthetic nutrients and pesticides commonly used in cannabis grows are certainly toxic for our bodies and potentially carcinogenic. The production of synthetic nutrients is also terrible for the environment, as they are not made from renewable resources.

 

Aside from the potential danger to our bodies, synthetics pose their own threat to the cannabis plants themselves. Nutrient burn is a common problem, where synthetic nutrient feeding overloads the plant with chemicals and causes it to wilt, have stunted growth, or even die altogether. Synthetic nutrients also cause salt build up in the soil or medium that the plant is grown in. This degrades soil and overtime leads to nutrient runoff, where the soil can no longer absorb and hold the nutrients so it just flows out. This is wasteful, obviously not helping the plant, and bad for the environment. There are many in the industry who will argue that synthetic does not necessarily mean “unsafe” because they are refined from naturally occurring minerals and processed to remove toxins, but that's only for the plants, and we don’t really know if smoking those will have any long term negative effects on our health.

 

Have you ever lit up a joint that crackled as it burned, and you know there isn't any seeds or stems in it? Maybe you’ve smoked some top shelf flower and it tasted or smelled “off” besides having a perfect cure and trim. Those are both signs that the flower was grown with synthetic nutrients which are still present in the flower. That is direct evidence that ingesting flower grown with synthetic nutrients also means you are ingesting the synthetic nutrients as well. This effect is even more intense when dealing with concentrates, as separating the contaminants from concentrate products is time consuming and requires chemistry to do. Most growers or vendors just don’t put that kind of effort into their product.

 

Organic growing is a great choice for the plant, the end user, and the environment. Organic growing methods include using alfalfa meal, worm castings, manure, bat, chicken, or other bird guano or scat, fish emulsion, bone meal, fish meal, blood meal, and other plants processed into a food that is beneficial to living plants. All of these are renewable forms of material, and don’t leave residual contaminants in the plant. There are drawbacks to organic growing, such as the price. Organic materials must be harvested or collected, usually from animals in some way or a biproduct of other agriculture, and packaged and sold. This leads to a higher price than synthetic nutrients that can be processed in large amounts in laboratories. Organic nutrients also take a bit longer to absorb into the plant, as they have to be broken down in the soil before the plant can uptake it. Overall though, the pros far outweigh the cons. Organic methods are better for the plants, the environment, and the end user. Plus, its easy for those of you growing at home to make your own organic nutrient mixes for your plants.

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Indoor Vs Outdoor Hemp Floewr

Jesse Freund

Anyone new to the cannabis world, whether it be traditional high-THC strains or high-CBD hemp flower, will quickly discover that cannabis flower is generally grouped into and sold as two distinct categories: Outdoor and Indoor. These two are often sold at a different price point, with different marketing, branding, and packaging. Is there really any big difference between the two since they’re both just cannabis flower, and is the price difference and categorization necessary? Lets take a look at what distinguishes one from the other so you can make an informed decision.

 

Traditionally, cannabis is grown like any other plant, in a soil medium kept moist with fresh water and placed under the sun until the seasons change and the plant develops flowers which are eventually harvested. Cannabis was probably the first domesticated plant by humans, and they grew it this way for millenia. Only recently, in the last few decades, have growing techniques greatly improved and people found that growing cannabis inside in a controlled environment with artificial light can be an easier way to greatly improve the quality of the end product.

 

Outdoor can certainly be good flower. It can also be bad. Why? Well for one, by nature, nature is volatile. Humans have no control over the amount of sunlight there is, wind, precipitation, or the temperature. All of these things can factor into the quality of cannabis flower. If temperatures are too low, a frost can kill or severely stunt a plant, leading to a smaller or less pretty harvest. If there is not optimal sunlight at all times, the plant can stretch itself to get as much sunlight exposure as possible. This causes the nodes of the plant (the spots where new growth and eventually flowers pop up along the stems) to get further and further apart, which will cause the flowers to be loose and airy, which for most people is not visually appealing. A windy environment is great for a plant to have a strong, robust stem, but it also means the plant will put energy into weathering itself instead of growing as densely and lush as possible. This will effect both the quality and quantity of the end product.

 

Too much precipitation can also lead to the demise of a plant or harvest. Obviously plants love water, and rain water is always an awesome choice for watering plants as it usually has none of the adulterants or pollution that our tap water or sourced water can have in it. However, when a plant is in full flower and has dense buds growing, the moisture from rain can get trapped inside and cause something called bud rot. Bud rot is exactly what it sounds like, basically the calyxes and plant material inside buds becomes inundated with water and dies, then starts to rot, which spreads like an infection. Pests also can be a problem with outdoor growing. Different insects like to feed on cannabis leaves and flowers, and some are parasitic and actually use the plant as a food and energy source.

 

Growing outdoors also opens up the chance for another problem: pollination. Pollination is when the pollen released by male cannabis flowers flies onto a female flower and fertilizes it, leading to seed production. When cannabis flowers make seeds, they take energy away from producing cannabinoids and terpenes, leading to a slightly less potent end product. Seeds are also cumbersome and take away from smokable flower when sold by weight. This is why seedless flower or “sinsemilla” has more value.

 

So with all these potential issues, you might be wondering why do people still grow outdoors? How can outdoor bud still be “good”? For one, growing outdoors often comes with less space restrictions. Having an entire yard, garden, or even entire acres of fields can allow more plants to grow and grow to their full potential size wise, with plants in optimal conditions growing over 10 feet tall! These massive plants can grow POUNDS of flower each, and that’s something that just generally can’t be done indoors. Also, its hard for artificial light to rival the raw power of the sun, and sunlight is what cannabis needs to grow big and strong. Growing outdoors definitely has its own distinct advantages.

 

Growing indoors allows the grower to have complete control over the environment and conditiions the plants are in. This takes away many of the stressors that effect plants outdoors, which usually leads to a much better product. There is little worry for pests, CO2 levels can be controlled (plants grow better in an environment with more CO2, that’s kind of what they “breathe”), plants can be grown in other mediums besides soil like hydroponics, where plant roots are directly suspended in water and nutrients instead of living in a soil medium. In these perfected environments, cannabis can be grown to a near perfect and flawless state, where all of the best parts of the genetics can shine through. Indoor flower is often denser, has more trichomes, and smells better because of the extra energy the plant put into producing terpenes instead of weathering itself.

 

So, is indoor better? It would seem so, and in most cases, yes. However, outdoor can be grown to near perfection like outdoors. Grown en masse (like with an outdoor commercial grow) its pretty much impossible to do, but with a small personal grow, lots of time, care, and attention can be given to a small batch of plants, that can produce flowers indistinguishable from indoor if done right and by an experienced grower. As previously stated though, those conditions and care cannot be met outside of a personal grow, which is why outdoor is usually inferior to indoor in a bag appeal aspect. When talking about potency though, cannabinoid levels in outdoor flower can definitely match that of indoor flower, and often do. The indoor vs outdoor debate is usually dealing with looks, smell, and taste, and not so much with potency.

 

In conclusion (cliche, I know), outdoor flower CAN be as good as indoor but is usually not. Outdoor flower can be grown in much larger amounts for much less money, and the end product and price reflects this. Indoor flower has to be grown in smaller batches and much more money is invested into perfecting the grow conditions, and the end product and price also reflect that. Which is better is all up to personal preference. Some people prefer outdoor, some prefer indoor. The best way to find out what you like is to go out and grab some of both and make an informed decision.

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CBD Oil, CBD Hemp Flower, & Drug Tests

Jesse Freund

“Will CBD and other hemp products show up on a drug test?” is probably one of the most asked questions by potential users right now. There is no definite answer to that question, so I will leave you with a “maybe”. It’s definitely possible, but not guaranteed, so it’s best to err on the side of caution if drug testing is something you're worried about. There are multiple factors that contribute to it, which we’ll go into deeper.

 

Currently, there aren't any known tests that test specifically for CBD, and there aren't any known jobs or employers that test for it, however that doesn't mean that there absolutely aren't any, so do your research before risking anything. Remember, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, so most employers or government agencies don’t have a focus on it. THC is the main concern, and that's what drug tests are looking for. Hemp flower does have THC in it, but only in small amounts. That doesn't mean that it wont make you fail a drug test though.

 

Legally, and for hemp flower to qualify as “hemp” and not “marijuana” to the federal government, it must have .03% Delta9 THC content or lower. Compared to traditional high THC cannabis flower, this is an extremely small amount, but it can still show up on a drug test, depending on many different factors that determine how long those trace amounts of THC and its metabolites are stored in the body.

 

Drug tests don’t actually look for the drug itself, but rather metabolites from your body processing it. Both CBD and THC are oils that are fat soluble, meaning they absorb into your body's fat instead of passing quickly through your urine. When you consume cannabis, the cannabinoids in it are metabolized by your body and broken down into over 80 metabolites. This process begins in the liver, where THC is broken down into these metabolites. One of the main metabolites it is broken down into is 11-OH-THC(11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and THCCOOH

nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). These metabolites are specifically what most drug tests are looking for.

 

Since cannabis metabolites are fat soluble, they are absorbed into the body's fat stores and take much longer to exit the body than other substances that are water soluble. This is why you can test positive for cannabis weeks after using it. How long it exactly stays in your system is dependant on many factors such as the potency of the flower you used, how much you used, the method of ingestion (edibles, tinctures, smoking, vaping), how fast your metabolism is, your weight and height, and how active of a lifestyle you have. If you occasionally use an average amount of hemp flower, the chances of failing a drug test is slim to none. The minuscule amounts of THC are too small to build up in most people. If you are someone that frequently uses hemp flower (daily use for example), the chances of the trace amounts of THC staying in your system goes up.

 

There are different methods of drug tests that can also impact the chances of you passing or failing the test. The most common form is a urine test, which tests for drug metabolites in your urine. This is the most cost effective test used, but it can also come with false positives. Its also easier to flush your system of THC before taking it. Another popular method of testing is a hair follicle test. In this test, the test administrator collects a sample of hair from your scalp to test for signs of drug metabolites. This test is easier to fail because it can show drug use for up to 3 months. The hair follicle test is more accurate than the urine test but it’s still not 100%. Some factors that influence the results can be the quantity of substances used, the pigment of your hair, how much you sweat, and if you’ve bleached or colored your hair recently.

 

The least common and most expensive method, but also the most accurate is the blood drug test. With this test, the test administrator directly draws blood from your veins and tests it. Its not commonly used because of its high price and invasiveness, also because of its short window of detection. Blood tests can usually only detect substances used within the last 6 hours, however, blood tests can detect the actual parent parent substances or drugs, and not just the metabolites like with other testing methods.

 

There are things you can do to potentially influence the results of your drug test, especially a urine test. Since urine tests look for drug metabolites in urine, one way to ensure a negative test is to drink lots of fluids so that the urine is diluted past the point of testing. Drink plenty of water, and while you do, there are theories that vitamin B-2 might color your urine yellow, since watery urine may be a sign of someone trying to beat it. There are many rumors and products of potential “cheats” but none are truly proven and some may even be dangerous, so use at your own risk. Also make sure to never give a urine sample with your first urination of the day, as metabolites tend to build up in your urine while you sleep. Exercising frequently prior to the test administration may help you clear out your system, as metabolites can be flushed out of the body via sweat.

 

In summary, there is no definitive answer to whether or not using hemp flower will you make you fail a drug test. There are just so many factors that contribute to every variable that its impossible to give blanket answers for everyone. Remember to take into account the amount you use, the frequency of use, the potency of the flower, how active you are, and what kind of test is being administered. The risk is ultimately up to you.

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What is CBG?

Jesse Freund

Here at Eight Horses Hemp, we frequently get asked about what the difference is between CBG and CBG.


Currently in the hemp industry there are two major players at work, CBD and CBG. They are both cannabinoids with their own benefits and uses, but how exactly do they differ? What uses do you have for each and who could really get more relief from one more than the other?


Lets look at what we know.

What is CBD?

 CBD has exploded in popularity around the world, now becoming as popular as THC, its long famed counterpart that gets you “high”. CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of at least 113 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, along with THC and CBG. Many people currently enjoy the benefits of CBD, which include increased appetite, help with anxiety, help with epilepsy, insomnia, PTSD, pain management, nausea, and its proven particularly beneficial to children with ailments because of its low psychoactivity. Between this and THC, what more could one need? That’s where CBG comes in.

What is CBG?

Cannabigerol, also known as CBG, is considered the “mother cannabinoid” to some because it is the precursor to all others. When cannabis plants are still developing, they produce CBG first. CBG starts off as CBGA (the raw or “acidic” form version of the compound).  CBGA then combines with enzymes to render THC, CBD or CBC (also from their acidic forms) later in the flowering cycle. Up until recently, CBG was the most expensive cannabinoid to extract since its only naturally produced in very small amounts inside cannabis plants. We have now cultivated strains of cannabis that are high in CBG throughout their life cycle, and CBG is now very affordable and accessible to anyone. 


Benefits of CBG:

So what are the benefits of CBG? While CBG has many of the same benefits as CBD (anti anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc), it’s built its own reputation as a powerful anti inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and most recently, an anti-bacterial. Its effects are also described as being more stimulating and clear than CBD. Its anti inflammatory properties are very promising, as many people report that upon using CBG, they instantly feel their muscles relax, bone and joint pain subside, and headaches melt away. This is extremely unique because although other strains of cannabis and certain cannabinoids also help in this way, nothing quite does it the way CBG does. 


CBG has also been found to be a potentially excellent anti-oxidant. Oxidative stress and inflammation in the human body causes neuronal cell death, which triggers and amplifies even more problems called neurodegeneration. Neurodegeneration leads to neurodegenerative diseases or disorders, some you may be familiar with like Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and PD-related disorders, Prion disease, Motor neurone diseases (MND), Huntington’s disease (HD), Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA), and Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Current research is being done to see if CBG can help treat and even prevent some of these ailments. 


How does CBG Work?

How does CBG accomplish all this and why hasn’t it been in use longer? Well, the “why” is simple. Because of prohibition and the drug war, we haven’t been able to properly research cannabis and all of its properties until recently. With the passing of the farm bill, low THC cannabis is now legal to cultivate and study. The emergence of CBG is because of that freedom. The “how” is a little more complicated. 


CBG interacts with receptors in our body and brain in a way some other cannabinoids don’t. One receptor is called the “alpha-2” receptor. This receptor is involved with the “calming” and “exciting” part of our nervous system, as well as regulates blood vessel dialation. When CBG binds to this receptor, it lowers blood pressure and decreases stress and anxiety. CBG also reacts with a part of our own endocannabinoid system, anandamide. Anandamide is known as the “bliss” hormone, and CBG blocks its reuptake, causing it to last longer, which leads to more, well, bliss.


The way that CBG works as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant is even more complicated, so we’ll spare you the scientific jargon. In a nutshell, CBG basically blocks and reduces certain oxidative markers that attack cells and cause neurodegeneration. Those oxidative markers are what cause the neurodegenerative diseases mentioned previously in this article. These are called neuroprotective properties and hopefully further research will unveil even more of these properties and develop them into effective treatments for patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

CBG v CBD

All of the technical stuff out of the way, its worth mentioning that CBG in its flower form looks different from CBD dominant flower. If you hold up a bud of CBD dominant flower and a bud of CBG dominant flower, you will notice a stark contrast in appearance. CBG flower looks like it has been snowed on, or left overnight and developed a layer of frost. This is because the trichomes on CBG flower stays completely white. Trichomes are glands full of resin with bulbous heads that appear on the flowering parts of the cannabis plant. They are commonly known as “crystals” due to their crystal-like appearance. 


Taking a whiff of some CBG dominant flower will also leave you with a unique experience. Contrary to the traditional “weed smell” that most cannabis has, CBG has what most describe as a creamy and lemony scent profile, much lighter and less pungent than other cannabis varieties, but still pleasant in its own right. Some users will find that mixing CBG and CBD together at one time provides a unique experience of effects all over the “spectrum” of cannabis psychotropic range. 


Overall, CBG and CBD are both great cannabinoids with their own suites of benefits and noticeable effects. With the freedom to cultivate and explore given from the Farm Bill, CBG is emerging as a promising cannabinoid for both medicinal and recreational use. Its price is dropping and availability is skyrocketing, and accessibility is easier than ever. Next time you’re looking for a new strain to try out, maybe think about trying a different cannabinoid in general. Perhaps you may benefit from CBG more than you know. 

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