CBG vs. CBD: Differences, Benefits, Uses & More

As part of LoneCBDs continued goal of improving consumer knowledge around CBD, we want to help you answer your questions. Many people have been asking us, “what is cbg?”. We can help you determine if CBG is suitable for you and how it compares to CBD. Keep reading to learn if CBG can lower blood pressure or for answers to the question “does CBG get you high?”. We will discuss the differences between CBD vs. CBG vs. THC.

Introduction

CBG has broken new waves in the hemp industry, with many people now asking “What is CBG vs. CBD?”. And while CBD is quickly becoming synonymous with hemp just as much as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) once was years ago, and other cannabinoids are becoming more mainstream as well. Thanks to the research available and an ever-expanding, consumer-based CBD industry, people are becoming more aware of CBD, hemp, and the benefits of both. CBD isn’t the only beneficial component synthesized from the Cannabis Sativa plant. You may be surprised to find that CBD is even better when coupled with other cannabinoids, which is colloquially known as the “entourage effect” .

One of these “coupling” hemp compounds (cannabinoids) that are gaining more attention with more research is CBG. When analyzing CBD and CBG, both cannabinoids show similar characteristics. However, CBG carries a few unique qualities that make it desirable as a Cannabis sativa plant extract.

This article details a comprehensive breakdown of CBG vs. CBD, including comparisons and contrasts between them, their benefits related to pain, stress, anxiety, sleep, and legal status. Here’s a quick overview of what these two cannabinoids are precisely.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the leading compounds found in hemp, making up about 10 percent (or more) of high-quality hemp’s chemical composition. It’s a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid – meaning it’s a plant-synthesized component that cannot produce a “high” or euphoric feeling – that is commonly associated with another compound called THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is sometimes included in CBD products, but only in small amounts, up to 0.3 percent, the amount permitted by federal law. CBD products’ labels and lab reports will specify whether or not they include THC.

How does CBD Work?

CBD molecules work with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system (ECS) by binding primarily with CB2 cannabinoid receptors. These particular receptors are connected to our peripheral nervous system but appear in our muscles, immune cells, skin, and other organs. This built-in biological system catalyzes CBD benefits for health and wellness and creates the demand for a variety of CBD products that we now have available to us.

What is CBG?

CBG is the acronym for Cannabigerol, which is another non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid. This unique hemp compound plays a central role in developing products with other known cannabinoids besides CBD.

CBG is regularly referred to as a “mother cannabinoid” because it is the first phytocannabinoid synthesized from hemp that converts into other plant-based cannabinoids.

The compound starts in its 2-carboxylic acid form called cannabigerol acid (CBGA). As hemp matures, this component begins to convert into three other forms. These are tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA), Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA).

After the conversion into these forms, only a tiny amount of CBGA was left (less than one percent). When hemp begins its decarboxylation process, all those compounds drop their carboxyl acid and become the cannabinoids we commonly recognize, including THC, CBD, CBC, and CBG.

A mature hemp plant contains low levels of CBG. As a result, CBG extraction requires much more effort than CBD. Cultivators would either need to harvest hemp before it fully matures or grows enough hemp plants to yield a significant CBG during the extraction process.

How does CBG Work?

There hasn’t been enough research done to explain how CBG works fully. Current research indicates that CBG exerts its effects by influencing the endocannabinoid system and other body parts.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates stress, sleep, anxiety, mood, pain, immunity, inflammation, metabolism, and many other processes in our bodies.

Its overall goal is to maintain our bodies in a state of healthy balance known as homeostasis. You can consider homeostasis to be a pair of perfectly even scales. When one of the scales (such as anxiety, pain, or stress) is tipped, the ECS is activated to restore balance.

Cannabinoids produced naturally by our bodies (endocannabinoids) can stimulate the ECS via different cannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2).

Receptors are similar to locks found on various cells that only respond to specific keys; in this case, different cannabinoids.

Some enzymes specifically create and break down these endocannabinoids to regulate ECS activity.

According to research, CBG does not bind very strongly with either CB1 or CB2 receptors. However, it appears to reduce anandamide reuptake, one of the main endocannabinoids produced by your body, thereby increasing its levels.

CBG has also been shown in studies to interact with adrenergic, serotonin, and TRPV receptors, all of which play similar health-related roles in the body.

CBG vs. CBD Application

Both cannabinoids have similar applications for health issues because they reduce pain sensations in the brain. However, CBG is more effective than CBD for treating migraines and easing muscle soreness.

CBD, which has less psychoactivity than CBG, may be better suited for reducing inflammation. It is also more potent than CBG, so you can use less to get the same effect.

CBG and CBD have distinct therapeutic properties. However, their medicinal properties differ, and so do their side effects. CBG may cause dry mouth, increased heart rate, and lower blood pressure. On the other hand, CBD has been linked to tiredness and fatigue in some people. So if you’re looking to answer, “can CBD make you tired?”, the answer is yes. 

Furthermore, the medical cannabis industry is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. While CBD has been on many people’s radar for its therapeutic applications, CBG has a lot of potential as an anti-inflammatory agent and cell regeneration stimulant.

CBG vs. CBD – Similarities

Both CBG and CBD are cannabinoid compounds with medicinal properties. According to medical research, CBG and CBD may share some of the same benefits. For instance;

  • CBD and CBG both act on the CB2 receptor of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS is responsible for regulating emotions, cognition, and physical wellbeing).
  • Both CBD and CBG are relaxing but non-psychoactive; hence, neither is habit-forming nor addictive.
  • Research suggests that CBD and CBG may have anti-anxiety, anti-pain, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • CBD and CBG begin as CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) and are transformed into their final states as the cannabis plant matures.

CBG vs. CBD: How are they Different?

CBG is different from CBD in several critical ways:

  • Molecular structure

The molecular structures of cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidiol (CBD) differ. The number and arrangement of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen atoms that make up a cannabinoid are molecular structures. CBD and CBG have different three-dimensional shapes due to their other molecular systems. Thus, they bind to the body’s cannabinoid receptors and act on the body in different ways. The molecular structure of a cannabinoid also influences its bioavailability and degree of solubility in water.

  • Pharmacology

CBD and CBG both activate receptors in various ways. For example, a 2011 research published in Psychopharmacology evaluated the effects of CBD and CBG on the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor [1]. CBD appears to exert its anti-nausea benefits via acting as an agonist on the 5-HT1A receptor (activator). CBG, on the other hand, acts as a 5-HT1A receptor antagonist (blocker). The results demonstrated that pre-treatment with CBG prevented CBD’s anti-emetic effects, suggesting that the two cannabinoids bind to the same receptor but had a conflicting impact on this receptor.

  • Appetite stimulation

Another vital distinction between CBG and CBD is in appetite stimulation. According to research, CBG doses in rats encouraged the animals to eat more than double their usual food intake. Cannabigerol (CBG) did not affect feeding behavior in another study, but cannabidiol (CBD) significantly reduced total food intake [2].

  • Chemical Properties
  • Although both compounds are non-intoxicating cannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa, they are different in regards to their chemical properties:

 

Legal Status: CBG vs. CBD

Depending on genetics and growing conditions, cannabis plants produce different cannabinoids (CBD vs. CBG) in varying concentrations.

Some cannabis varieties produce more THC in warmer climates with more sunlight, while others produce less THC in colder climates with a shorter growing season.

Except for THC, hemp plant products such as fiber, CBD, and CBG have been legally extracted, distilled, or processed in all 50 US states since 2018.

CBG is not a controlled substance in the United States or elsewhere.

The UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances does not list CBG. In addition, in the United States, it is not considered a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The reason is that it is not produced from the controlled parts of the cannabis plant.

One final thing to remember is that the FDA hasn’t approved either of these cannabinoids (CBG and CBD) for their potential health benefits yet. As a result, you should always consult your doctor before using CBD or CBG, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a medical condition, take prescription medications, or have surgery.

CBG vs. CBD – Which is better for:

Stress

A recent survey indicated that CBD for stress is the top-rated reason why people use CBD oil or, at the very least, become interested in CBD as an option. The properties of CBD are quite attractive when combined with an overall stress management strategy that includes things such as meditation, exercise, a healthy sleep pattern, and other calming techniques. But what many people do not know is that CBG can also play a role.

Well, in considering both CBG and CBD for stress, CBG working alongside CBD may help boost CBD’s unique attributes with everyday stress because of the entourage effect. 

However, no concrete evidence supports one cannabinoid being better than the other regarding relieving stress or promoting a calmer demeanor.

Sleep

Nearly 70 percent of Americans report that they aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep, which is critical to good health. Using CBD for rest, especially as part of a calming evening routine, is becoming an alternative to conventional methods. 

But does CBD make you sleepy? Technically, when taken in average amounts, CBD helps indirectly; however, it works better when used with other substances like melatonin. Also, CBD in combination with THC may give you a bit of a tired feeling due to the inclusion of the THC, but there is only a tiny amount of THC in some CBD products, specifically those labeled as “full-spectrum.”

Also, drowsiness isn’t commonly reported when CBD products are taken as directed. 

But why do people associate the use of CBD with sleep? CBD may help promote a sense of relaxation and calmness, and with promising reviews, people feel confident using CBD products to help them maintain a healthy, regular sleep cycle. Reviews give us anecdotal evidence and help to develop an idea of consumer responses to specific products, like CBD sleep aids. 

In addition, when used with other things (like controlling the time and intake of caffeine and minimizing exposure to light sources during that crucial hour before bed), CBD sleep aids, which combine CBD with melatonin and other supportive botanicals, can provide sleep support you are looking for. CBD supports relaxation while melatonin – a natural sleep hormone – works to quiet you to sleep. 

Furthermore, because there isn’t much research available about CBG specifically, the jury is still out on CBG’s potential effects on your sleep. The perception is that CBG helps to support CBD through the entourage effect, and together they can produce better influence. 

Pain

Almost 40 percent of the people surveyed reported that CBD effectively dealt with minor discomfort caused by strenuous exercise.

The muscle groups and joints that we consistently work out during regular fitness routines make up part of our peripheral nervous system. Because CBD molecules communicate primarily with CB2 receptors connected to that system, CBD may help.

One of the best benefits of managing soreness with CBD is using both internal and external methods. With CBD topical (specifically those with proven pain relievers like menthol), you can apply them for targeted relief.

Or you could ingest CBD via CBD tinctures, soft gels, or gummies. Using these internal methods regularly in the morning or evening or both could help to reduce the amount of delayed-onset muscle soreness that is common with physical activities.

With the combination of CBG and CBD, like in many broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD products, you’re receiving two beneficial components. It is hard to say that either CBD or CBG is better than the other, but they may be more effective in combination.

Anxiety

CBG, as previously hinted, affects some of the same nervous system receptors as CBD.

However, unlike CBD, CBG can affect adrenaline uptake, a natural chemical associated with anxiety and hyper-vigilance.

It is debatable whether CBD or CBG has a more significant effect on anxiety symptoms, depending on the consumer’s body chemistry.

According to consumer research, many users who have taken CBD and CBG believe that CBG has a more substantial and faster-acting anti-anxiety effect than CBD. However, the final thought is that the arguments on which is best for anxiety between CBG and CBD are still on. So both CBD and CBG can potentially be good for anxiety.

CBD vs. CBG: Which Offers Better Benefits?

We previously spoke of how CBD molecules typically communicate with CB2 cannabinoid receptors, which connect to the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The PNS affects various muscles, limbs, skin, and biological systems, including the immune system.

CBG binds to CB2 receptors and CB1 receptors, connecting to our central nervous system (CNS), including our brain and spinal cord. To determine which cannabinoid provides the best benefits, consider which cannabinoid best fits your needs, focusing on the areas of most significant concern to you rather than which benefits are more potent than the other.

CBD and CBG both offer beneficial attributes individually. They also synergistically enhance each other’s benefits, which is why most CBD oils labeled as broad-spectrum or full-spectrum contain both cannabinoids – allowing for the entourage effect.

Keep in mind that isolating CBD from hemp is much more common than isolating CBG, which means that CBD is easier to research because it is more widely available than CBG. This is not to say that CBG is less valuable; instead, studies confirming CBG benefits are more scarce.

CBG vs. CBD – Which Is Better for You?

The results from using CBD, CBG, and other cannabinoids can vary based on our body types, lifestyle, and other physical qualities. Also, because these particular cannabinoids work best together rather than individually, it is better to determine which one more closely fits your needs when comparing CBG vs. CBD. Fortunately, the decision may be moot as combining them may be best. Many CBD products combine the two in their formulations.

They both naturally occur in hemp and share some of the same characteristics. However, they are still different and offer unique benefits based on limited research. 

The more knowledgeable you are about CBG vs. CBD differences, the more confident you will be when purchasing CBD or hemp-based products. Afterward, you can choose the CBD products that best suit your needs and achieve your personal wellness goals.

CBG vs. CBD: Why is CBG Less Popular?

Some people wonder why CBG (which has no intoxicating effects and a wide range of potential therapeutic applications) hasn’t gained the popularity of CBD.

The most significant roadblock to the widespread adoption of CBG products is the high cost of production. CBG is one of the most expensive cannabinoids to extract; in fact, industry insiders refer to it as the “Rolls-Royce of cannabinoids.” This is because it takes thousands of pounds of biomass to produce a small CBG isolate.

Most hemp contains negligible amounts of CBD, whereas some hemp strains may contain up to 20% CBD. In comparison, the CBG content of the same strain is only 1%, implying that 20 times as much biomass is required to produce the same amount of CBG oil.

When it comes to cultivation, CBG is also a challenge. The longer cannabis spends in the soil, the more likely it is that CBGA and CBG will convert to other cannabinoids. Manufacturers have two choices: grow less cannabis with more CBD or more cannabis with less CBG.

In addition to the problem of requiring a more immense amount of plant matter than CBD or THC extraction, CBG extraction necessitates the use of specialized production equipment. Because of the low levels of CBG in cannabis strains, the chromatography apparatus used by manufacturers to isolate CBG from other hemp compounds requires Swiss precision.

High-performance chromatography is more costly than regular chromatography.

Experts predict that CBG will remain significantly more expensive than CBD for a long time, but that as CBD prices fall, so will CBG prices.

Conclusion

As we continue to investigate the health benefits of CBD and THC, other cannabinoids, such as CBG, are gaining popularity among researchers and consumers.

According to preliminary research, CBG and CBD may share many properties. For example, both substances are non-intoxicating and have anti-oxidative, neuro-protective, and pain-relieving properties. When consumed together, CBD and CBG may provide powerful health benefits that are more pronounced than consuming either cannabinoid alone.

CBG was once one of the rarest and most expensive cannabinoids on the market. Things have slightly changed recently, with new genetics and the availability of high CBG hemp strains.

However, before CBG becomes more widely available and its prices fall further, it may be easier to find high-quality full-spectrum CBD extracts from hemp strains with higher-than-average CBG content. Just make sure to read third-party lab reports, and if you are taking any medications or have an underlying condition, consult your doctor first.

Citations

[1] Rock EM, Goodwin JM, Limebeer CL, Breuer A, Pertwee RG, Mechoulam R, Parker LA. Interaction between non-psychotropic cannabinoids in marihuana: effect of cannabigerol (CBG) on the anti-nausea or anti-emetic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in rats and shrews. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Jun;215(3):505-12. doi: 10.1007/s00213-010-2157-4. Epub 2011 Jan 18. PMID: 21243485.

[2] Brierley DI, Samuels J, Duncan M, Whalley BJ, Williams CM. Cannabigerol is a novel, well-tolerated appetite stimulant in pre-satiated rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2016;233(19-20):3603-3613. doi:10.1007/s00213-016-4397-4

Share this Post:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn