You already know what CBD is. But what about CBG? What’s the difference between the two?
Like CBD, CBG is a hemp-derived cannabinoid that’s extremely versatile and has many benefits.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about CBG versus CBD so that you can choose the right cannabinoid for your situation.
What is CBG?
Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of more than 100+ naturally occurring cannabinoids in the hemp plant. It’s not as popular as CBD, but that’s rapidly changing as more people are discovering the benefits it has to offer.
What is CBD?
Like CBG, cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in hemp. It’s gained widespread attention and use because it’s beneficial for many different things, including anxiety, pain, and sleep support.
Are CBG and CBD Legal?
Yes. The 2018 Farm Bill made all hemp-derived cannabinoids, including CBG and CBD, legal on a federal level. Hemp-derived CBD and CBG products are defined as those containing less than 0.3% THC.
However, CBG and CBD may not be legal in some states — be sure to check state laws before traveling with these products.
CBG vs. CBD: What’s the Difference?
CBD and CBG are both cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. The primary difference between them is that CBD is a major cannabinoid, while CBG is a minor cannabinoid.
Here’s what this means:
CBD is very abundant in the hemp plant and is the dominant cannabinoid in many different strains. CBG, on the other hand, is typically only found in small amounts.
Most hemp plants contain CBG and CBD in a ratio of 1:20. So there’s roughly 20 times more CBD than CBG in an adult hemp plant!
The practical implication of this is that CBG products are often more expensive than CBD products because they require more hemp to produce.
There are a few main differences between CBG and CBD on a technical level, as well as in how they interact with your body to render benefits.
CBG vs. CBD: Where They Come From
CBG and CBD are derived differently. They both come from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). But for CBD, the CBGA first has to be converted into CBDA before it can become CBD.
CBG vs. CBD: How They Work In Your Body
Another technical difference between CBG and CBD is found in the way they interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system.
Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) is responsible for keeping your body in a state of homeostasis, or balance. It regulates a variety of bodily functions, including sleep, immune response, mood, inflammatory response, and more.
The homeostasis that your ECS promotes is essentially normalcy: a healthy mind and body.
Normally, your ECS functions fine on its own. But during times of bodily stress, it can become compromised. When this happens, introducing outside cannabinoids can help your ECS do what it’s supposed to do: keep your body and mind balanced.
There are two main types of receptors in your ECS: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are primarily found in the central nervous system and are responsible for regulating how cannabinoids affect the brain. They also control the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids.
CB2 receptors are found in tissues throughout the body, but not in the nervous system. They’re primarily responsible for regulating how cannabinoids affect the body.
CBG interacts with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, rendering full-body effects. CBD only interacts with the CB2 receptors.
However, CBD also has beneficial effects on the mind because it affects the way neurotransmitters (e.g. serotonin) work in your body. Additionally, CBD is thought to help prevent the breakdown of your ECS, further helping it promote mental and physical homeostasis.
Effects of CBG vs. CBD: How They Make You Feel
As you’ll find out in a moment, there is quite a bit of overlap in the benefits that CBG and CBD have to offer. However, they each produce distinct feelings, or “effect profiles,” when you use them.
CBG’s effect profile is uplifting and energizing, while CBD’s is calming and balancing.
Both cannabinoids also provide feelings of relaxation, but differently; Whereas CBD renders effects that most people would associate with relaxation, CBG helps replace negative thoughts or feelings with positivity and energy.
There is also a difference in the way that CBG and CBD deliver their physical sensations. Most people report that after taking CBG, they can “feel” it working.
On the other hand, CBD provides a far mellower sensation but is equally as effective at addressing discomfort — it works, but you won’t “feel” it working as intensely.
Side Effects of CBG vs. CBD
Though CBG and CBD render many positive effects, there are also potential negative side effects associated with using each.
Commonly reported side effects of CBG include:
- Dry mouth
- Dry eyes
- Increased appetite
Side effects of CBD may include:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
If you’re careful with dosing, however, you won’t feel most or any of these side effects.
Will CBG or CBD Get You High?
No. Neither CBG nor CBD will cause a head-high effect.
Technically, CBG and CBD are psychoactive, but all this means is that they may slightly alter your thought processes. But they won’t get you high as cannabinoids like THC will.
The Benefits & Uses of CBG
CBG has a variety of benefits, based on research and anecdotal evidence. Here are the main ones:
CBG Can Promote Energy and Focus
CBG is not as relaxing as CBD, but it can boost mental clarity, energy, and focus.
Many people who use CBG describe its effects as similar to coffee: energizing, but in a smooth way that helps them focus without being too overwhelming.
Others use CBG for sleep due to its mood-boosting properties, however, they typically combine it with CBD to balance out its energetic effects.
CBG, like many strains of delta 8 and delta 9 THC flower, helps to uplift the mind — but it does so without causing the mentally impairing high.
CBG Can Support a Healthy Inflammatory & Pain Response
Research suggests that CBG may have anti-inflammatory effects, and anecdotal evidence supports this as well.
Many people find CBG useful for various forms of pain and inflammation, as well as problems based on these issues.
Research and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBG may help with the discomfort from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Studies have also investigated the use of CBG for arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and other inflammatory conditions for which opioids and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are commonly prescribed.
CBG Can Support Neurological Health
Research suggests CBG may promote neurological health. CBG has been studied for use with Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, two conditions that erode the function of the nervous system and brain.
Studies so far indicate that CBG may be able to slow the progression of these diseases, however, more research is needed.
Anecdotally, we’ve seen customers (and heard testimonials from other hemp users) use CBG for damage caused by lupus and other neurological disorders, so it may have benefits in these areas, too.
The Benefits & Uses of CBD
CBD also has extensive benefits, many of them similar to what CBG has to offer. Here are the main ways CBD can help:
CBD Can Promote Mental Relaxation
CBD promotes relaxation without causing a head high. As a result, many people find it helpful for stress and anxiety, including social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
There’s research to support these benefits, too. One study found that CBD reduced anxiety in people subjected to a public speaking test.
Another study was done to see if CBD improves sleep and reduces anxiety. Of the 72 adult participants, 57 (79.2%) reported less anxiety during the first month of taking CBD — a clear indication that its properties are beneficial for mental health.
CBD Can Support Restful Sleep
CBD’s ability to support deep mental and physical relaxation also means it’s effective at promoting restful sleep.
It can directly promote relaxation, but it can also help you sleep by addressing problems that make getting good restful difficult, such as stress, anxiety, pain, and inflammation.
CBD Supports A Healthy Inflammatory & Pain Response
CBD, like CBG, may support health inflammatory and pain responses.
CBD has been studied as a treatment for arthritis. Although more research is needed before we know if it’s a viable treatment, anecdotally, CBD has helped many of our customers support their joint health and mobility.
CBD Supports Heart Health
CBD’s relaxing effects aren’t just for the mind — they’re also for the heart.
Using cannabinoids like THC may cause your heart rate to increase. But with CBD, the opposite may be true — studies indicate that CBD may be a vasorelaxant, meaning it can relax blood vessels and decrease blood pressure.
CBD also generally promotes heart health by addressing issues that commonly endanger it, like excessive stress and anxiety.
CBG vs. CBD For Anxiety, Pain, and Sleep
CBG and CBD are both immensely beneficial cannabinoids, and they share many of the same benefits. But how do they compare for anxiety, pain, and sleep?
CBG vs. CBD for Anxiety
Based on research and anecdotal evidence, CBG and CBD are, in essence, equally effective for stress and anxiety. However, as they have different effects, each cannabinoid helps with anxiety in a unique way.
CBD is more relaxing and calming, whereas CBG is more uplifting and energizing. As a result, the better cannabinoid for your specific situation will depend on the nature of your anxiety and the problems surrounding it.
If you’re addressing before-bed anxiety, for example, CBD may be better since it helps calm you down. But if you’re addressing the anxiety that’s keeping you from taking action on the things most important to you, CBG may be the right choice.
CBG vs. CBD for Pain
Both CBG and CBD have benefits for those dealing with pain, and science hasn’t confirmed which cannabinoid is more effective.
While CBG hasn’t been researched as much as CBD for pain (or for any other use), anecdotal evidence shows that it may help with various forms of inflammation and pain.
The main difference between how CBG and CBD work for pain is in the nature of their effects.
Most people report that CBG renders tangible, easily felt effects. On the other hand, CBD makes discomfort feel less extreme, but you may not be able to actively “feel” the effects.
Based on this, you may be able to decide which cannabinoid is best for your situation. If not, it’s worth giving both a try. Because of now, it’s hard to say which is better for pain and inflammation.
CBG vs. CBD for Sleep
While CBG and CBD both have favorable mental and physical effects, CBD is generally the better cannabinoid for sleep.
This is because CBD is relaxing and, in the right doses, slightly sedating. This makes it perfect for helping you ease off to sleep. CBG, on the other hand, is energizing and uplifting.
Though CBG has other benefits that make it effective for sleep, it’s usually only viable for nighttime use when combined with CBD — this prevents it from keeping you awake.
Can You Take CBD and CBG Together?
Yes — not only is taking CBD and CBG together completely safe, but it’s more beneficial than taking these cannabinoids on their own.
Using CBG and CBD together enables you to experience the entourage effect — a phenomenon where cannabinoids render more benefits when used together than they do when taken separately.
The entourage effect has two benefits:
- The benefits of CBD and CBG are multiplied. For example, taking CBD and CBG in combination renders stronger benefits for pain and inflammation than using either cannabinoid on its own.
- The downsides and side effects of each cannabinoid are reduced. For example, CBG is energizing, making it problematic to use before bedtime. But by combining it with CBD, which is calming, you can get the other benefits of CBG without worrying about the quality of your sleep.
In short, the entourage effect makes both cannabinoids more effective while reducing the potential downsides of each.
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Conclusion: How to Choose Between CBG and CBD
As you’ve seen, both CBG and CBD have lots of benefits, and neither cannabinoid gets you high. They’re also both legal.
CBD, in general, is relaxing, while CBG is uplifting. This means that each cannabinoid may be better to use at different times of the day. But they have many of the same benefits, including for pain, inflammation, and mood.
And remember that CBG and CBD work best when combined — so you don’t have to decide which one to try first.
CBG vs. CBD: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions customers frequently ask us about the differences between CBG and CBD.
What is the difference between CBG and CBD?
CBG (cannabigerol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are both cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBG is the precursor to CBD and all other cannabinoids, meaning that turns into other cannabinoids as the cannabis plant matures. Research suggests that CBG may have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-depressant properties. CBD, on the other hand, has a wide range of benefits. CBD may be able to address stress, anxiety, inflammation, and pain.
Is CBG more effective than CBD?
For some things, CBG is more effective than CBD. It has energizing and uplifting effects, making it great for focus and productivity. Like CBD, it has benefits for inflammation and pain. However, CBD is more effective for sleep than CBG is, so neither cannabinoid is better overall.
What is CBG best for?
CBG is best for inflammation and daytime energy and mental clarity. CBG is also commonly used for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), autoimmune disorders, and other inflammatory problems.
How does CBG make you feel?
Most people say that CBG makes them feel energized and that it provides effects similar to coffee. However, CBG will not get you high as cannabinoids like THC do.
Is CBG or CBD better for anxiety?
Neither CBG nor CBD is necessarily better for anxiety, as they promote two different types of feelings. CBG is uplifting and energizing, while CBD is calming and relaxing. This makes CBG better if you’re anxious about things you have to do, while CBD is preferable for social anxiety and other situations when you need to calm down.