Summary: Cannabidiol isn’t the conclusion of the worldwide hemp trend—far from it! CBN, CBG, and CBC are also all on the rise, and ground-floor opportunities won’t last forever.
Since the hemp industry is in a constant state of evolution, it’s hard to determine the exact point that cannabinoids expanded outside CBD and THC. Little does hardly anyone know, however, that there’s already a thriving economy surrounding “fringe” cannabis constituents like THCV, CBN, CBG, and CBC.
Most THCV formulations remain too unstable for mass-market applications, but CBN, CBG, and CBC, on the other hand, are less complicated to formulate and widely available. In 2018, GVB Biopharma became one of the first players to offer wholesale CBG biomass, distillate, and extract with CBN and CBC being added in 2020.
As such, GVB stands at the current pinnacle of worldwide cannabinoid processing and formulation. It’s wise to recognize that the general market hemp industry won’t stay limited to CBD for long, and it isn’t THC legalization we need to worry about—it’s the steady rise of CBG, CBN, and CBC distillate, extract, and biomass popularity that will prove to be the hemp dark horse in 2020 and beyond.
Technically, hemp “biomass” refers to any harvested hemp material, but it usually consists of parts that are discarded during processing.
All hemp contains some quantity of CBD, which is why the first CBD producers used nearly-inert biomass while they waited for breeding to catch up. Raw hemp biomass contains smaller concentrations of cannabinoids, but it is less expensive.
Even though breeding can now produce potent hemp with your pick of CBD, CBN, CBG, and beyond, the hemp parts that get left behind during processing shouldn’t go to waste. While producing high-concentration CBN biomass, wholesale CBG distillate, and other next-generation hemp extracts, GVB Biopharma makes sure to keep the discarded plant material for B2B hemp biomass.
Distillate does away with all the plant material in hemp extract, leaving only cannabinoids and terpenes behind.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have CBD, CBG, CBC, and CBN distillate. This type of hemp extract no longer contains any chlorophyll, lipids, oils, or other substances aside from the unique cannabinoids and beneficial terpenes present in hemp flower. After a purification process called winterizing, GVB Biopharma applies top-tier laboratory technologies to deliver pure, reliable distillate in an ever-widening palette of cannabinoids.
While the main advantage of distillate is purity, this form of hemp extract also offers better reliability. Even the best winterized cannabinoid extracts suffer from some variation batch-to-batch, but with distillate, you can achieve almost the exact same results time and time again.
While both “hemp distillate” and “hemp biomass” refer to specific types of refined cannabidiol products, any concentrated form of hemp can be considered extract. Just to summarize, let’s cover the main types of cannabinoid concentrate/extract:
Winterized hemp extract has been exposed to extremely cold temperatures that remove chlorophyll and other undesirable cannabis constituents. For years, winterized CBG, CBC, or CBN extract was considered to be the kingpin of hemp extracts. All things change, however.
THC, CBD, CBG, and CBC extract in distillate form is the current apex of the cannabis concentrate market. Affordable, reliable, and clean, distillates in all the eight major cannabinoids will soon be commonplace fixtures throughout international markets.
While isolate is still sometimes applicable in today’s cannabis market, cannabinoid distillate technology has nearly reached such a level as to make isolated THC, CBD, or CBG extract obsolete. The main advantage of cannabinoid isolate is reliability, but this comes at the cost of some of cannabis extract’s natural benefits.
A variety of factors will affect your decision. Here are a few examples:
Consumers are becoming increasingly wary of substances they ingest orally. Refined hemp extracts, like distillate, provide better results, and they’re more testable than biomass. However, kilos of crude biomass might be appropriate for large-scale implementation of a hemp topical brand.
Unless you have the facilities to process biomass, stick with winterized extract or distillate. Less-refined forms of hemp require more capital to formulate into finished products.
Hemp biomass costs less per volume, but it’s more costly to process into end products. Depending on the factors we’ve already listed above, your budget might constrain you in a variety of different ways as you balance your cash flow with your ambitions.
Cannabinol (CBN), a cannabis constituent that has been a covert darling of the international pharmacological community for decades, is one of the most exciting non-THC cannabinoids from an economic perspective. A 1975 paper entitled “Clinical pharmacology of nabilone, a cannabinol derivative” details a clinical study involving a CBN extract called nabilone.
There isn’t much information on the type of extract used, but since CBN-rich cannabis genetics were unheard of until a few years ago, the scientists involved must have used biomass. More than 45 years ago, pharma was already interested in CBN. Let’s take a look at a brief excerpt of the study:
“Administration of nabilone in single doses of 1 to 5 mg results in dose‐related pharmacologic effects in man. One and 2.5 mg doses of nabilone induced relaxant and sedative effects in all subjects.”
Cannabinol appears to exert mild relaxant effects. One noted difference between the two cannabis constituents is CBN’s pronounced sleep-modulating properties. Let’s move on to the long-term effects noted in this clinical study:
“The administration of nabilone at doses of 1 mg or 2 mg two times daily resulted in euphoria and dry mouth during the first two days of drug; thereafter tolerance developed to these effects but there was no apparent decrease in relaxation.”
Like THC, CBN may result in dry mouth. However, that was one of only a few minor side effects the researchers noticed. Cannabinol appears to be non-intoxicating and beneficial, which can only mean one thing—markets are about to descend in a frenzy.
The CBN angle can be summed up in one word: “Sleep.” CBN is the “sleep version” of CBD, which makes it the perfect addition to insomnia-oriented formulations. With awareness of the entourage effect growing worldwide, consumers increasingly demand combined cannabinoid product formulations. This theoretical synergy could be responsible for the enhanced effects many users report when using full-spectrum CBD products.
There isn’t much science supporting CBN’s appetite-modulating effects either way. What evidence there is, however, suggests that, like other cannabinoids, CBN appears to have an effect on human appetite.
The latest science indicates that oxidative stress is the primary mechanism of disease, aging, and senescence. In the future, this straightforward perspective may simplify our approach to the cannabinoids, but for now, suffice to say that CBN is like its molecular family in that it appears to modulate autoimmune function.
CBG, or cannabigerol, is already on its way to becoming a household name alongside CBD. The time to become aware of the CBG revolution was actually 2017, but it’s still early along in the development of this market.
In all likelihood, CBG won’t occupy the same verticals as cannabidiol. While CBG certainly has the same mild psychological and relaxant effects as CBD, its most potent attributes are its antibacterial and digestive qualities. Rather than serving as a competitor to cannabidiol, cannabigerol can associate CBD products with the ideas “healthy,” “sanitary,” or “antibacterial.”
Where CBD and CBG overlap, CBG is the obvious winner. It’s cannabigerol’s unique qualities that will win out in the end, and it’s worth mentioning again that the rising interest in cannabinoid synergy makes any product including CBG in addition to CBD an easy sell.
A 2013 animal study titled “Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease” discusses experiments conducted to determine CBG’s digestive effects. According to the researchers who conducted this experiment, CBG is unlike CBD in that it modulates the CB2 receptor, a cannabinoid receptor long-dominated by intoxicating THC.
The authors suspect that chemical and enzymatic effects exerted by CBG may affect digestion in seriously ill people. CBG research remains limited, but consumers everywhere are looking for this cannabinoid’s purported digestive benefits.
Like CBD, cannabigerol appears to modulate the oxidation-related aspects of the immune system. Some initial research suggests that we know very little about how CBG affects immune function, but all available cannabinoid studies indicate that most of Cannabis sativa’s unique compounds affect immunity in one way or another.
Many consumers are swayed by what they’ve heard about CBG and its effects on bacteria. Concrete research remains limited on these potential qualities. Nevertheless, the fact that CBG is associated with being antibacterial remains a salient marketing point that many brands successfully adopt.
Among the cannabinoids, cannabichromene is one of the least-researched. Some studies note CBC’s apparent effect on anandamide, one of the foremost endocannabinoids (cannabinoids generated in the human body). While research can be conflicting in emerging fields, it’s clear that cannabichromene strongly interacts with TRPV1, a critical pain neuroreceptor that CBD modulates less intensely.
Cannabichromene’s status within the emerging global cannabinoid economy is less clear, but in all likelihood, branding this cannabinoid as pain-modulating will yield excellent results over the next few years. Consumer confidence is up in the United States, and people want more cannabis. CBC’s novelty gives it instant value, and then there’s the entourage effect to consider.
All the major cannabinoids appear to affect oxidative stress in one way or another despite exerting mild systemic side effects while also generally modulating immune function. Regardless of CBC’s individual antioxidant effects, which aren’t supported by clinical evidence yet, remember that this cannabis constituent serves as a critical part of the tightly-interwoven cannabinoid synergy tapestry.
All current CBC research supports one point in particular—cannabichromene modulates TRPV1 activity in the brain. Also associated with the taste of spiciness, TRPV1 is keenly involved in the processes of inflammatory pain.
Therefore, any substance that beneficially modulates TRPV1 activity naturally boosts the body’s ability to fight pain. It’s too soon to outright confirm CBC’s TRPV1-modulating abilities, but global markets are hedging on this cannabinoid becoming a trending “pain cure” over the next few years.
Scientists have discovered hundreds of substances in cannabis, and among them are dozens of substances called “cannabinoids” for their uniqueness to hemp. The vast majority of these substances, however, are analogs of eight major cannabinoids, or they transform into these elite cannabinoids when exposed to certain stimuli.
Those searching for a single cannabinoid to add to CBD would do best with CBG or CBN. Once one or both of those critical cannabinoid synergy players are in place, however, an additional compound amplifies the existing relationship and modulates the effects of all the other cannabinoids present.
In the future, brands will experiment with varying concentrations and ratios of a whole medley of unique cannabinoids. 2025’s consumer won’t be content with CBD alone—the only path forward is an “ice cream shop” approach where it’s easy to get a scoop of any cannabinoid you like. Sprinkles optional.
Once you’ve solidified which cannabinoids you’re going to use, it’s imperative that you source your material from a reputable supplier. Given how hot the industry is, there are unfortunately companies making false quality claims on their extracts and even processing in illegal facilities that don’t meet manufacturing quality standards. Traceability and transparency are crucial, which is why working with a company like GVB is so important. They make it easy for customers to trace their extracts from seed to shelf with multiple stages of quality and potency testing.
When researching suppliers, here are a few essential questions to ask yourself and suppliers:
With state-of-the-art extraction techniques, proven quality, and access to more cannabinoids than the competition, GVB Biopharma is positioned to offer companies superlative quality extracts, but also the means of manufacturing a wide variety of products through their vertically integrated operations.
Good luck on your cannabinoid endeavors!
Featured Image by Julia Teichmann from Pixabay
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