You’ve probably heard of popular chemotypes like Sativa and Indica, or the lesser-known Ruderalis, but did you know scientists have discovered a possible 4th chemotype? Research goes back as far as 1987, but more recently, studies in 2002 and 2005 have documented a fourth chemotype that features extremely large volumes of CBG and very low levels of THC.
Beyond its central role as the genesis of all other cannabinoids produced by cannabis, CBG has been shown to dominate an entire slice of the cannabis sativa genome. This phytocannabinoid was identified by a 2002 research study and confirmed by multiple follow-on studies as a potential fourth cannabis chemotype—in addition to the universally recognized sativa, indica, and ruderalis. In simple terms, a chemotype can be thought of as a sub-species.
Reported the study, “A rare, additional chemotype, characterized by a very low content of both THC and CBD and with CBG as the predominant constituent, was later identified.”
The topic of CBG categorization and the observance that it is not merely a random cannabinoid was further examined in a 2005 follow-on study by the same group of researchers entitled “The Inheritance of Chemical Phenotype in Cannabis Sativa: Cannabigerol Predominant Plants.” This study cited the fact that CBG typically (in sativa, indica, and ruderalis chemotypes) is present in percentages (in weight by volume) significantly under 10 percent.
CBG-rich chemotypes, however, have been observed to contain as much as 94 percent CBG. These same cultivars feature as little as 0.001 percent THC, the dominant cannabinoid in most modern cultivars that typically constitutes 8-25 percent of the flowers of the plant. These cultivars are believed to have evolved and still grow naturally in areas of high altitude that favor particular hemp strains that are acclimated to this type of microclimate.
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Future research may reveal that such regions have served as the genesis for CBG-heavy landrace cultivars (those that have evolved naturally, void of human intervention in the form of controlled breeding). Whether these varieties constitute a fourth chemotype of cannabis remains to be confirmed by further research studies. Still unnamed, this hypothetical chemotype would chemically compliment CBD. Like CBD, CBG delivers no overt psychoactivity, making it safe for children, seniors, and those in sensitive job positions.