CBD vs CBG: What’s the difference

When discussing cannabinoids, people think of CBD and THC, which are the two most discussed cannabinoids. 

THC is the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, the compound responsible for creating feelings of a high. That said, scientists and medical professionals have found valuable options for medicinal marijuana.

For the consumer market, non-psychoactive ingredients, such as CBD, are preferred. Cannabidiol is not the only effective non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Another option gaining popularity is cannabigerol or CBG.

When comparing CBD vs CBG, the two can seem similar. However, there are differences between the compounds. 

As a consumer, understanding the differences between CBG and CBD can help you choose the best option for you and your needs or symptoms. Additionally, we recommend you consult with a knowledgeable healthcare provider or cannabis specialist for accurate and safe advice.


What Is CBG?

Hemp and cannabis plants contain over 100 cannabinoids. Cannabigerol, or CBG, is one of many, and it was first isolated in 1964. 

While CBG is a minor cannabinoid because it only represents around 1% of cannabinoids in plants, it is quite potent and praised by CBD and CBG producers. The minimal supply of CBG in hemp and cannabis means it is somewhat rare, making products containing the substance more expensive.

What is CBG

Like CBD, CBG can affect the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates several primary functions and behaviors. The compound binds to neurotransmitters, potentially strengthening anandamide function.

While more research is necessary, studies point to its potential therapeutic benefits*. CBD can be useful in supporting

  • Chronic pain
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Cancer
  • MRSA

Ultimately, CBG is more profound than CBD because of its ability to bind to endocannabinoid receptors*. The binding suggests a more efficient delivery to the system.


What Is CBD?

CBD or cannabidiol was first isolated in the 1930s but received little attention until the 1970s when scientists proposed it may act as an anti-convulsant. Cannabidiol occurs in hemp and cannabis plants at high concentrations, and through the years, researchers have found many therapeutic uses for the chemical.

Like CBG, CBD is popular because it has no psychoactive properties. In addition to being an anti-convulsant, the chemical is effective and non-addictive. People use CBD products to reduce anxiety, relieve chronic pain, prevent nausea, and improve sleep.

The popularity of the compound raises some safety concerns, especially with unscrupulous and non-reputable distributors flooding the market. Consumers in the U.S. should only buy domestic products with a Certificate of Analysis. Also, only purchase CBD products from licensed dispensaries and certified retailers.


Difference Between CBD and CBG

CBG and CBD are similar therapeutically, but there are differences. For one, the molecular structures of the compounds are different, meaning the arrangement of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen varies. 

While it might seem like a negligible difference, the molecular structure affects how the compounds interact with the endocannabinoid system and impacts bioavailability.

If you look at how each compound interacts with individual receptors in the body, you also notice a distinct difference between CBG and CBD. For example, at the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, CBG inhibits a physiological response, and CBD invokes one. In other words, CBG acts as an antagonist, and CBD acts as an agonist.

A study on rats found that CBG is more effective for stimulating appetite than CBD*. According to the results, CBD can reduce food intake while CBG encourages consuming about two times the normal consumption patterns.



Advantages and Uses of CBG vs CBD

There is not enough research to speak on the specific therapeutic benefits of CBG. However, according to preclinical studies, some of the proposed therapeutic benefits* or advantages of CBG include:

  • Appetite stimulation
  • Antibiotic properties
  • Anti-cancer properties
  • Potential support in therapy for MRSA infections

We will probably learn more about the therapeutic potential of CBG over the next few years as the compound’s popularity grows. For now, studies and research remain limited.

While many CBD claims still require more study, the compound has the benefit of time on its side. Far more studies exist to support many CBD claims, including its benefits* for:

  • Pain relief
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Improved sleep
  • Neuroprotective properties

Most existing research is on animals, meaning human testing is necessary to propose concrete therapeutic claims. Still, the potential benefits of each compound suggest society is only scratching the surface of what CBG and CBD can do.


Can You Take CBD and CBG Together?

While people often worry about mixing medications, there is nothing wrong with mixing CBD and CBG. There are products on the market that include both cannabinoids.

The entourage effect suggests that taking a product like a full-spectrum oil can compound the effects of taking a CBD isolate product. The idea is that, when taken together, CBD and CBG balance each other. CBG binds directly with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, while CBD stimulates the system’s enzymes.

As is the recommendation when starting with any cannabinoid oil, use a low dose and work your way up to a higher dosage*. Also, before using any dietary supplement, consult your doctor.

Your primary care physician can help you decide whether the cannabinoid oil is a good fit for your health profile. They can also tell you if there are any conflicts with your current medications or conditions.

Finally, talk to a CBD and CBG producer or dispenser. They can help you determine the best product for your current experience level. Only trust the companies with a Top-Rating on Hemp CBD Scorecard.

CBD and CBG are both cannabinoids. While they have similar characteristics and therapeutic benefits, they are different compounds. If you want to try a CBG or CBD oil or a combined CBG and CBD oil, consult a healthcare professional. 

For more information on CBG vs CBD or on creating a healthy lifestyle, check out Healthy Living.


* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. Consult a medic before taking CBD or other related products.

Healthy Living

Written in partnership with Upstate Elevator.