Farming CBG vs. Farming CBD

If you’re involved in any facet of the hemp agriculture industry, you’ve probably heard about CBG, a cannabinoid that’s becoming more talked about as initial research indicates a high potential for medical uses. This kind of buzz helped to make CBD a household name a few years ago, and many cannabis farmers are now rushing to get in on what might be the next big cash crop. However, if you’re thinking about growing CBG, we recommend you proceed with caution and don’t shift completely away from farming CBD. 

What is CBG, and why is it getting so much press?

CBG, or cannabigerol, is actually the parent molecule of all other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. It is present in greater amounts during the early stages of growth. As the plant matures, the CBG undergoes chemical processes which convert it into CBD, THC, CBN, CBC, and so on.

The few studies that have been carried out seem to suggest that CBG could be effective at providing pain relief, fighting inflammation, treating glaucoma, and even hindering the growth of cancerous tumors. Another reason the compound has so much potential is that it interacts directly with receptors in the endocannabinoid system, unlike CBD which elicits its therapeutic effects through indirect interactions. 

What are the issues with growing CBG?

While breeding efforts are underway that will ultimately lead to stable plants yielding high concentrations of CBG, there’s still a long way to go. Compared with CBD genetics, CBG is still in the early stages of development, and plants are very sensitive to environmental inconsistencies. A less-than-perfect daylight schedule, for example, can cause plants to flower early or hermaphrodite, creating a pollination risk which could result in your entire crop getting pollinated and seeded out. 

Aside from cultivation issues, it can also be very difficult to monetize your CBG crop. Plug Supply CEO, Brad Menard, estimates that in 2019, as much as 20% of the hemp biomass wholesale market was dedicated to CBG, but only around 3% of that was monetized successfully. Due to limited supply, the few CBG farmers that have been able to sell their product have done so at a much higher price than CBD, and unfortunately, this has set the bar for the entire industry. With higher prices and a scarcity of buyers, even a successful CBG crop could go unsold, leading to financial disaster for the farmer.

How to respond to the rising demand for CBG

The success of our farmers has always been at the heart of everything The Plug Supply does, and that includes protecting them against financial losses. That’s why we are recommending that you continue primarily farming CBD, which has only just recently become stable enough to cultivate and monetize successfully. There is just too much uncertainty to go all in on CBG, even though it’s tempting to be able to get in on the ground floor of something that could take off and potentially even surpass CBD in popularity and market share someday.

If you’re anxious to start learning how to grow CBG so that you can be prepared if and when the market takes off, you could dedicate an acre of your land to the project, but we wouldn’t recommend any more than that for the 2020 season. The Plug Supply is in the process of developing a stable CBG cultivar called Transparency, and we’d love your help in making successive generations more viable. As with all our cannabis seeds, Transparency is nearly 99% feminized, but that won’t necessarily stop it from hermaphroditing if the growing conditions aren’t just right. If that happens, you must be prepared to destroy those plants before they start to pollinate your CBD crop.

The future of CBG

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the future of everything is uncertain. The commercial viability of farming CBD is perhaps the strongest yet, because cultivation is getting easier and there is still a rising demand for CBD products. We may see CBG surpass that at some point, but it won’t be this year. If you can afford to dedicate a small portion of your land and resources to farming CBG, then by all means give it a try. Even if the attempt doesn’t yield an immediate payoff, you will be gaining valuable knowledge that puts you at an advantage for future seasons.

With all of this in mind, if you’re still interested in growing CBG, contact us to learn more about how The Plug Supply can support you!