While cannabinoids such as THC and CBD have occupied center stage in health research and product innovation, experts predict that the next wave of health and wellness developments and consumer trends will center on another class of compounds: rare cannabinoids. 

There are more than 100 different cannabinoids found in nature, many of which only occur in trace amounts (hence the label rare, minor or emerging.) Until recently, cannabis and hemp plants simply did not produce enough of these rare cannabinoids to adequately study their properties or produce them at scale. Luckily, biotechnological developments are now allowing us to maximize the capabilities of rare cannabinoids like CBGA, THCV, CBN, and CBC. 

One rare cannabinoid that has garnered particular focus and is already appearing in products ranging from tinctures and gummies to supplements, skin care products, and beverages is CBG.

What the science says about CBG (cannabigerol)

CBG is present in both cannabis and hemp plants, but like CBD, it is non-intoxicating (i.e., it does not get the consumer high). In initial studies, it shows a range of properties with exciting medical and cosmetic potential. 

Inflammation is a root cause of many chronic health problems, and CBG has been shown to have potential anti-inflammatory properties in numerous studies. Inflammation plays a role in neurodegeneration (the progressive deterioration of neuronal structures in the brain) as well as neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and dementia. One study noted CBG’s capabilities as a neuroprotective (protecting nerve cells against damage, degeneration, or impairment of function) as well as “a potential treatment against neuroinflammation and oxidative stress.” 

Because inflammation is also a root cause of many skin disorders, CBG has already appeared in numerous skin care products, And researchers are eager to explore the cannabinoid’s efficacy in managing common skin problems like dryness, rosacea, dermatitis and acne. Another study found that CBG offers potential value in alleviating the symptoms of psoriasis, a skin disorder that’s notoriously difficult to treat. 

Inflammation can contribute to gastrointestinal diseases as well, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In one study, CBG had such an impact on IBD that researchers called for it to be used in clinical experimentation with IBD patients. Inflammation is also painful, and famed cannabinoid researcher Ethan Russo pointed out in a 2008 study that “CBG has more potent analgesic…activity than THC.” 

Scientists are also excited about CBG’s antibiotic potential. Plant compounds with antibacterial properties could be well-utilized in basic consumer hygiene products such as dishwasher detergent or hand soap. Antibiotic resistance, however, is a looming public health challenge; annually, at least 2.8 million people in the U.S. get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and more than 35,000 of them die. Researchers are eager to find new sources for fighting infection, and CBG has demonstrated impressively antibacterial activities, including in a famous 2020 study where it was effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a particularly hazardous bacteria that is largely antibiotic-resistant. 

While we need more studies of CBG in humans, the studies done thus far show promise and an amazingly wide variety of potential applications. CBG may significantly reduce the intraocular eye pressure caused by glaucoma. (Medical cannabis has been used for decades to treat glaucoma, and it may actually be the CBG in the cannabis that’s responsible for reducing pressure on the optic nerve). Another study showed significant anti-tumor properties, and the authors of that study concluded that “CBG should be considered translationally in colorectal cancer prevention and cure”. 

Unlike THC, which is federally illegal and heavily regulated even in legal states, and unlike CBD, which inhabits a problematic, evolving legal gray area regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, CBG remains free of such complications—and legal.

The potential for creating functional CBG formulations could translate to many products across the medical, health, wellness and beauty spectrum—especially as consumers are increasingly demanding drug-free alternatives to synthetic skincare ingredients and disease management medications. Rapidly advancing research and technological capabilities mean that we will be able to better ascertain CBG’s capabilities—but based just on the studies we now have, it’s no wonder some consumer product experts have already dubbed CBG “the new CBD.

Rare cannabinoids are all the rage—but how do you source them? What should they cost? How can you make sure you’re getting best-quality products?

For a limited time only, book your free consultation with Jerry Griffin, Creo’s VP of Sales, to learn more about the new landscape of rare cannabinoids and how to navigate it successfully. Reach out now to book your consultation at info@creoingredients.com.

Words by

Roy Lipski

Creo Co-Founder, CEO Roy Lipski has led growing technology companies based on cutting-edge science for more than 20 years. Prior to founding Creo, he led Oxford Catalysts from a 2½ person start-up with 3 patent applications based out of the chemistry labs at the University of Oxford through an IPO, growth and the subsequent acquisition of US-based Velocys. Roy also founded Infonic, which became Europe’s leading Internet Research agency, helping clients including P&G, Merck and Unilever measure and manage corporate reputation online. Roy holds a degree in biochemistry from Cambridge University.