If you’re dealing with pain and don’t want to take prescriptions, you might have already explored cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
But what about CBN and CBG? What are they, and are they beneficial for physical discomfort?
CBN and CBG are two minor cannabinoids, meaning, only small amounts of them are naturally found in hemp. But despite their small presence, they render some very substantial benefits.
In this article, we’ll discuss how CBN and CBG work for pain, and which is most effective (hint: they’re both effective, but for different things). We’ll also discuss how you to use these cannabinoids for maximum benefit.
What is CBN?
CBN stands for Cannabinol, one of more than 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids in the hemp plant.
CBN was discovered almost 100 years ago, but it wasn’t commonly used by itself until people realized that CBN-heavy THC flower gave them a mellower, drowsier high than regular THC flower.
The drowsy, slightly psychoactive effects given by CBN have made it a popular cannabinoid for both therapeutic and recreational purposes.
What is CBG?
CBG, or Cannabigerol, is also a cannabinoid that naturally occurs in hemp. It’s commonly referred to as “the mother of all cannabinoids” because it’s the cannabinoid from which every other is derived. Like CBN, it’s a minor cannabinoid.
However, CBG’s effects couldn’t be more different: it has coffee-like effects and promotes energy and focus, while CBN creates drowsy, relaxing, slightly sedating sensations.
Preliminary research indicates CBG may have benefits for anxiety, pain, inflammation, neurological disorders, and more – it’s a very multifaceted cannabinoid, with some people even claiming it’s better than CBD.
CBN vs. CBG: Key Differences
Before discussing how CBN and CBG work for pain, in this section, we’ll discuss the key differences between them.
CBN has a drowsier effect profile than CBG does.
When you take CBN, you’ll feel drowsy and relaxed, and you may even feel slightly high – firsthand reports vary, but most people conclude that CBN is slightly psychoactive.
CBG has more uplifting, energizing effects, and it may promote focus and mental clarity. As a result, many people have found it useful for ADHD. Most people compare CBG’s effects to drinking coffee – energizing and uplifting, but not overwhelming. CBG will not get you high.
CBG will not show up on a drug test, as it is not an analog of delta 9 THC. However, you may run into some problems with CBN.
Because it is chemically very similar to THC, and because of the way these cannabinoids are processed in your body, CBN may appear as THC to drug testing technology. Therefore, it may cause you to fail a drug test.
As a side note, any product labeled “full spectrum,” be it a CBD, CBG, or CBN product, may cause you to fail a drug test. This is because full-spectrum products contain small amounts of THC, in addition to other cannabinoids.
As of the 2018 Farm Bill, which made all hemp-derived cannabinoids legal, CBN and CBG are both federally legal.
However, CBN and CBG may be illegal in some states. Many states haven’t called out either cannabinoid in their laws, as the use of them is not yet widespread. Either way, it’s important to check local laws before purchasing either of these cannabinoids online.
Benefits of CBN for Pain
A small handful of studies have investigated the use of CBN for pain and found it to be effective. As one research review on CBN states, “CBN has been found to be potentially useful in the treatment of pain.”
Most studies showing that CBN reduced pain have been done on rodents, not humans. Still, the findings are promising, especially given the anecdotal evidence that also supports CBN’s relaxing effects.
Many people report that CBN is useful for pain, although their reasons for this vary. Some state that CBN is directly helpful for pain and inflammation, while others say CBN is good for sleep issues and anxiety, which often comes as a result of pain.
Scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests CBN’s drowsy effects make it beneficial for promoting restful sleep. This may help with the vicious cycle: less sleep means more pain, which means less sleep.
Overall, CBN may both indirectly and directly offer therapeutic support for physical discomfort. However, more research is needed before we know if it’s a viable treatment for pain, rather than just a natural supplement that may support balance.
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Benefits of CBG for Pain
Research suggests CBG has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects.
Studies have shown that CBG may help with the discomfort caused by inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), as well as peripheral neuropathy and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and autoimmune disorders.
Some research also suggests that CBG may perform similar functions as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which are used to treat inflammation and pain.
Anecdotal evidence is also strongly in favor of CBG for pain: many of our customers say that out of all the cannabinoids, CBG is the most effective for pain and inflammation.
Additionally, CBG renders uplifting and energizing effects that may boost your mood and generally improve the way you feel, as well as improve how you think about your condition.
Obviously, CBG is not a solution to the causes of many types of pain, and it’s not a proven treatment, either.
However, scientific and anecdotal evidence indicates that it has serious therapeutic potential to improve the quality of life for those struggling with pain.
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CBN vs. CBG for Pain: How They Work
CBN and CBG work via your body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a receptor system responsible for regulating most of your vital functions, including your pain, inflammatory, and immune responses.
The ECS’s main purpose is to keep your mind and body in a state of balance.
The two main types of receptors in your ECS are CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are responsible for regulating the mental effects of cannabinoids, while CB2 receptors are focused on the physical effects.
CBN interacts with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your ECS, with a higher affinity toward CB2 receptors. Through this mechanism, CBN is able to deliver mental and physical benefits, impacting the discomfort itself and how you feel mentally.
Similarly, CBG binds to both types of receptors, which is why it provides uplifting, energizing effects while also being therapeutically beneficial for physical discomfort.
CBN vs. CBG: Side Effects
Although CBN and CBG have many beneficial properties, you’ll also want to consider their side effects when choosing between them.
Potential side effects of CBN include:
- Grogginess the morning after (if you take too much)
Potential side effects of CBG include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased appetite
- Dry eyes
How to Take CBN and CBG for Pain: Best Products
There are many different ways you can take CBN and CBG. In this section, we’ll explore the different types of CBN and CBG products so you can choose the right one.
- Average Bioavailability — The percentage of a cannabinoid (in this case, CBN or CBG) you take that your body can use (in other words, how “efficient” a delivery method is. All of our dosage formulas are already adjusted for approximately 20% bioavailability.)
- Onset Time — How quickly you’ll feel effects after using a product.
Average Bioavailability: 10-20%
Starts Working In: 45 minutes to 1 hour
CBN and CBG edibles come in a variety of forms, with the most common being gummies.
The main upside of edibles is that they’re fixed-dose, meaning each piece contains the same amount of cannabinoids. This makes them great for routine-building, as you can easily take the same amount of CBN or CBG every time.
The downside of edibles is that, since they’re digested, they can take around 45 minutes to 1 hour to start working.
Average Bioavailability: 10-20%
Starts Working In: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Like edibles, CBN or CBG in capsule form can be taken in a fix-dosed manner.
Apart from the onset time (just as with edibles), the downside of capsules is that they can’t reasonably be split in half if you need a smaller dose than the amount that each piece contains.
Most capsules contain 25mg or more of CBN or CBG, so they may not be the best option if you want to take very small doses in the beginning (especially with CBN, which has mildly psychoactive effects for some).
Average Bioavailability: 20-30%
Starts Working In: 10 to 15 minutes
CBN or CBG oil is taken sublingually, or under the tongue, and it delivers cannabinoids straight to your bloodstream via the blood vessels in your mouth.
Due to its sublingual absorption method, oils work quickly – you’ll begin feeling effects in just 10-15 minutes.
Oils are also a great option if you want to take very small or very precise doses, as you can measure the amount you take down to the drop, using the metered dropper.
The downside of oils is that you have to measure your dosage each time, as opposed to just popping a gummy or softgel and being done.
Flower and Vapes
Average Bioavailability: 50-60%
Starts Working In: 10 to 15 minutes
There are a variety of hemp flower strains that contain high amounts of CBN and CBG. There are also CBN and CBG vapes.
The upside of inhalable consumption is twofold:
- You can take small amounts throughout the day, making them ideal for daytime therapeutic use.
- They have a high bioavailability and short onset time since they deliver cannabinoids straight to the lungs.
The downside of inhalable CBN and CBG delivery is the obvious health risk to your lungs and overall health. It’s all a trade-off.
Additionally, vapes and flower may not be the most convenient methods if you want to take a precise dose, as you can’t easily measure how much you’re inhaling.
CBN and CBG Dosage for Pain
The reason we recommend starting low for CBN is that, as it is psychoactive, it may be a bit overpowering in larger amounts for first-time users.
You can measure your starting dose of CBN with this formula:
(0.05) x (your body weight in lbs.) = your daily dose of CBN in mg.
You can measure your starting dose of CBG with this formula:
(0.3) x (your body weight in lbs.) = your daily dose of CBG in mg.
Once you’ve taken your dose several times, you can slowly increase or decrease it as needed until you achieve your desired outcome.
Conclusion: Which Cannabinoid Is More Effective for Pain?
Both CBN and CBG have benefits for pain and inflammation.
While CBN’s direct effects on discomfort may not be as strong as CBG’s, its mildly psychoactive and sedative properties make it beneficial if you’re dealing with anxiety and sleep issues, which commonly accompany pain.
CBG, on the other hand, is a robust therapeutic option for pain. Significant amounts of scientific research and anecdotal evidence suggests that it may be very effective at addressing pain and inflammation.
CBG’s uplifting effects mean it may also help with energy and focus, both of which may be affected by discomfort.
Both cannabinoids may render immense benefits — it all depends on what you’re looking for.
CBN vs. CBG for Pain: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions our customers frequently ask us about choosing between CBN and CBG for pain.
Which is stronger, CBN or CBG?
CBN has mildly psychoactive, drowsy, and sedative effects, while CBG promotes mentally uplifting effects. CBN is stronger than CBG. CBN’s high effects are about one-fourth as strong as those of delta 9 THC.
Is CBN better for pain?
Research suggests that CBN has analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties and that it also has therapeutic potential for sleep and anxiety. CBN is a great option for anyone looking for a milder alternative to delta 8 or delta 9 THC.
Is CBG best for pain?
Research shows that CBG has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, and it’s been studied for use with peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, autoimmune disorder, and many other types of pain. CBG is a good option if you’re looking for physical relaxation and energizing, uplifting effects.
Does CBG reduce inflammation or just pain?
The research on CBG is preliminary, and it’s not a confirmed treatment. However, many studies indicate that CBG has the potential to reduce inflammation, especially for arthritis and autoimmune disorders, rather than just targeting pain.