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CBG Distillate Explained: What It Is, What It’s For, and How It’s Made

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Written by Alexandra Hicks
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When it comes to medicinal cannabis products, the best way to get potency, accurate dosing, and purity is with distilled products.

If you’re trying to manufacture a product with a very specific amount of any cannabinoid in it like medication that would require accuracy down to the milligram, cosmetics, supplements, and the like, you will need a product that’s as pure as possible. Enter cannabis distillate.

In this article, we will be discussing CBG (cannabigerol) distillate, which is one of the purest forms of CBG available on the market.

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What is CBG?

CBG (cannabigerol), or rather CBGA, was discovered in the 1960s by none other than Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli Professor who dedicated his life to medical cannabis research. He is currently studying the use of cannabinoids in killing fighting cancer. Following the discovery of THC and CBD, Mechoulam and his partner Yehiel Gaoni isolated CBG for further research.

CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) is the version of CBG that is present in raw cannabis, meaning it has not been exposed to heat and still has its carboxyl acid group. It’s one of the most important cannabinoids in existence because it’s a precursor to all other cannabinoids. As such, CBG has been rightfully dubbed, the Mother of All Cannabinoids.

CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) is a direct line to the three most abundant and important cannabinoids: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA). Once exposed to heat or light in process known as decarboxylation, THCACBDA, and CBCA will shed their carboxyl acid group and become THC, CBD, and CBC, respectively. When it comes to CBGA, certain enzymes break it down and it is immediately converted to THCA, CBDA, or CBCA. This is why more THC means less CBG, because of the unique way these compounds interact and are synthesized.

Because of this, plants that do covert to CBG will have their highest cannabigerol content early in the flowering stage. In most cultivars, CBG will be converted to other cannabinoids by the time the plant reaches maturity, so it’s normally found in younger plants. However, as mentioned above, some hemp strains naturally produce high amounts of CBG rather than CBD or THC, and they’re becoming highly sought after.

Medical Benefits

CBG has many potential medicinal benefits. Research has found it to be neuroprotectant, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. It’s also believed to help treat gastrointestinal disorders, glaucoma, and might also have a positive effect on cancer – although more research is needed to fully verify these statements. 

Using Cannabigerol (CBG) To Destroy Tumors

2008 study found CBG to be beneficial in the treatment of MRSA due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Its neuroprotective properties may help people with Huntington’s disease, while further research has looked into its potential to treat bladder dysfunction. A more recent study has found CBG to be effective for increasing appetite.

CBG is also being used as a safe and effective antidepressant and its effects mimic those of SSRI medications. It’s also believed that CBG can boost production of the endocannabinoid Anandamide, a compound in our bodies that increases dopamine levels and regulates various functions including sleep, mood, and appetite.

What is CBG distillate?

The scientific definition of distillation is that it is the act of purifying a substance usually through a collection of heating and cooling methods. The end result of a distillation process is known as a distillate.

CBG distillate is a highly concentrated extract derived from hemp and cannabis plants, although the latter is not very common. CBG distillate typically has upwards of 90% cannabidiol and it’s considered one of the purest and cleanest extracts available on the market.

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Distillate retains a minimal amount of other compounds like plant waxes, vitamins, antioxidants, terpenes, and some minor cannabinoids. Whether it contains trace or illegal levels of THC depends on whether it was extracted from cannabis or hemp, although most of the time, hemp is preferred. This makes it great for anyone who needs accurate dosing but also needs the medicinal benefits the come from the entourage effect.

Another reason to choose distillates is that, because of their purity, patients often don’t need as much product to feel the effects. This can be economically advantageous for anyone who needs to use CBG daily but has been roadblocked by the fluctuating but generally high costs of purchasing these products.

How is it made?

cbd extraction
Photo courtesy of Green Mill Supercritical

CBG distillation is a complex refinement procedure that separates the cannabinoid from raw plant material. The process is broken down into a few different steps.

  • Initial Extraction: The first step in the process of creating CBG distillate is to extract the cannabidiol from the hemp plant matter. There are a few different ways to do this including CO2 supercritical extraction, solvent extraction, or the rinsing and sifting method (physical) method.
  • Winterization – This step removes the unwanted impurities that are inadvertently extracted from the hemp plants during step one. During winterization, the extracted solution is placed into an extremely cold (winterized) environment for 24 to 48 hours. At this point, any impurities congeal and separate from the rest of the solution. The impurities are thrown out and the remaining product is filtered.
  • Decarboxylation – Before being exposed to heat or oxygen, cannabinoids exist in an acidic state (CBDA, THCA, etc.). To convert the plant cannabinoids into their active state, the extracted solution is heated thoroughly.
  • Distillation – The final process of distillation, the solution is vaporized and collected in a distillation cooling system. Each compound in the plant can be separated because of the variations in volatility, or boiling point, so the result is a relatively clean product.

The final product is a golden, thick solid product with a consistency that’s similar to honey crystals.

Cannabinoid Distillate: The Future of Medical Cannabis

Distillation allows users to decide how much they want an oil to stray from the original plant extract. So, if you’re making edibles for example, you would want an oil with little to no flavor, so that your edible tastes like food and not cannabis. If you’re creating a vape oil that is supposed to mimic the smell and taste of cannabis, you can reintroduce some of the terpenes that have been removed using a method known as mass spectrometry. Basically, products using distillate are highly customizable.

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Not only that, but in the case of medicinal products, reliable, consistent results are extremely important. “If you’re a doctor recommending a treatment, you’re not inclined to suggest something that has a lot of non-medicinal dissolved plant matter in it,” says Summit Research founder Elliot Kremmerman. “Medications have proven, tested chemical profiles, and distillation is letting us create them for cannabis products.”

He continued: “The purity, potency, and long shelf life of distilled cannabis oils mean they have some of the best margins to be found on the modern cannabis marketplace. In the coming years, there are a lot of consumers who aren’t going to be looking for the best flower, but for the best profile that you can put together mathematically.”

Where to get CBG distillate

We have partnered with some leading suppliers of EU GMP CBG distillate and isolate. Both products are, as you probably guessed, GMP and certified by the EU, and available for export globally. We offer the best pricing and have the ability to accommodate extremely large orders.

To place an order, or if you need more information contact us directly at [email protected] and subscribe to the CBD Business Weekly Newsletter for more deals and updates.

About the author

Alexandra Hicks

Alexandra is the managing editor at CBD Testers. She has always been interested in alternative and natural remedies, and the versatility of cannabis as a healing plant is something that greatly appeals to her. It's for this reason that she decided to work as a cannabis industry journalist and editor, to help spread accurate information about the benefits of this plant.

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