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  • by Nicola Boulton September 16, 2022 4 min read

    What Is the Difference Between CBG and CBD?

    By now, almost everyone is into the hype with the popular ingredient in the market, cannabidiol, CBD. Cannabigerol (CBG) is also another interesting compound from the cannabis plant. Keep reading as we delve into the major differences between the two cannabinoids.

    The cannabis plant contains chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Historically, cannabis has provided various therapeutic benefits to animals and humans. As the popularity of cannabis products increases, so is the research on individual cannabinoids. While we know that THC and CBD have been in the spotlight, other minor cannabinoids, such as CBG, are also beginning to draw the attention of researchers and consumers. Preclinical studies indicate that both CBD and CBG are non-intoxicating. The two cannabinoids also exhibit neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. When used together, CBD and CBG may offer powerful therapeutic effects. When analyzing both of them, CBD and CBG display similar properties. However, CBG displays some unique properties that make it important as CBD. Learn more about will cbg show up in a drug test?

    What Is CBG?

    Cannabigerol (CBG) is a compound found in the cannabis plant. It is the precursor cannabinoid since all other cannabinoids are produced from CBG. These cannabinoids are derived from the acidic form of CBG known as cannabigerol acid (CBGA). When the acidic form of CBG is heated, it breaks down to CBD, CBG, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabichromene (CBC).

    CBG is obtained in smaller quantities compared to other cannabinoids.

    In most cases, the cannabis strain contains 1% CBG compared to 25% to 30% CBD or 20% to 25% THC. Therefore, more consumer products are derived from CBD and THC than from CBG. Younger cannabis plants contain higher amounts of CBG compared to fully developed plants.

    CBG is also known for its medical benefits, such as pain relief, anti-inflammatory benefits, and reduced anxiety. Besides, some studies suggest that it may be a potential solution for conditions like Parkinson's disease and glaucoma.

    What Is CBD?

    Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a naturally occurring compound derived from cannabis plants. Over the years, CBD has become a darling cannabinoid to many. Most cannabis consumers prefer CBD not only for its therapeutic properties but also for its non-psychoactive nature. When consumed, CBD does not cause a "high" feeling. CBD provides pain relief without any risk of impaired cognitive function. Studies have also confirmed several therapeutic effects of CBD, including anxiety relief, anti-nausea benefits, antioxidating properties, and anti-inflammatory effects. CBD has also been approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) under a drug known as Epidiolex.  Epidiolex is an approved medication effective for treating seizures caused by certain types of epilepsy, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), and Dravet syndrome.

    What Is the Difference?

    CBG is mostly referred to as the "parent" cannabinoid as most cannabinoids break down from its acidic form CBG-A. While there is much more about CBD, research on CBG is very limited.

    CBG and CBD have different molecular structures. Their carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms are arranged differently. Thus, CBG and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system in unique ways, posing different effects on the body. CBG binds directly to endocannabinoid receptors, such as CB1 and CB2 receptors, while CBD seems to activate CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors more indirectly. Furthermore, CBD has a lower affinity for cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). As to this, preliminary studies indicate that CBG may benefit several medical conditions. Atalay et al. (2020) suggested that CBG has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease. Borrelli et al. (2014) found that CBG could reduce the rate of cancer cell growth and other tumors.

    Another notable difference is the ability to stimulate appetite. Studies show that CBG increases appetite, while CBD tends to cause an overall reduction in appetite. Brierly et al. (2016) suggested that CBG increased food intake, predominantly via stimulation of appetite phase feeding behaviors.

    CBG and CBD have opposing bodily effects. CBD contains anti-nausea and anti-emetic effects, which CBG seems to oppose. According to Snell et al. (2021), "5mg/kg CBD suppressed conditioned gaping in rats and vomiting shrews, which were reversed by pre-treatment with all doses of CBG. CBG prevented the anti-nausea effects."

    In the meantime, other studies indicate that CBG may be effective in treating bladder dysfunction, glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, and other bacterial infections. Although many of the benefits of CBD and CBG tend to overlap, particularly regarding their pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory properties, Caroline, 2021 suggested that CBG has many other benefits that warrant further research into its use. These conditions may include autoimmune disorders, colitis, cancer, chronic illnesses, and neurodegeneration. Even with the potential therapeutic benefits of CBG, there has been trouble producing larger amounts of the substance, hindering further research and commercialization. This is because most hemp strains contain only 1% CBG compared to 20% to 30 % CBD in the plant. If you want to get the same amount as CBD, you must extract 20 times the extra amount of hemp strain which is difficult.


    As the popularity of cannabis-based products increases, so does the knowledge of the individual cannabinoids, which have captured the attention of researchers and cannabis enthusiasts. CBG and CBD are both non-psychoactive components of the cannabis plant. However, the two cannabinoids display differences in their molecular structure, bodily effects, and appetite stimulation. Even with limited studies, current findings show that CBG might be the next important cannabinoid for cannabis-based treatments. CBG can be purchased in various local and online stores. It is important to seek medical advice before using CBG products. Still a promising cannabinoid, a lot of research is needed to determine its safety, side effects, and interaction with other medications. Learn more about how much cbg should i take?


    Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2020). Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol. Antioxidants9(1), 21.

    Borrelli, F., Pagano, E., Romano, B., Panzera, S., Maiello, F., Coppola, D., ... & Izzo, A. A. (2014). Colon carcinogenesis is inhibited by the TRPM8 antagonist cannabigerol, a Cannabis-derived non-psychotropic cannabinoid. Carcinogenesis35(12), 2787-2797.

    Brierley, D. I., Samuels, J., Duncan, M., Whalley, B. J., & Williams, C. M. (2016). Cannabigerol is a novel, well-tolerated appetite stimulant in pre-satiated rats. Psychopharmacology233(19), 3603-3613.

    Snell, A., & Tesch, T. (2021). Cannabigerol Effects on Body and Liver Weights in Methionine-& Choline-Deficient Diet Induced NASH Mice Model.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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