CBG vs. CBD: What’s the Difference?

The therapeutic benefits of cannabis have long been a topic of interest. As more people begin to seek natural alternatives to traditional medication, products utilizing the potential of cannabinoids like CBG and CBD are increasing in popularity.

What Are Cannabinoids?

There are over 100 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, all with different chemical structures and therapeutic properties (1). The major cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are popular and commonly used in cannabis-based products, like tinctures, oils, and gummies.

Minor cannabinoids include cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN), which are less popular among users. However, minor cannabinoids also come with many benefits, which can ease and assist various health conditions.

What Are CBG and CBD?

CBG is known as the “precursor” of all cannabinoids, as the acidic form of CBG, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), helps to form all other cannabinoids. Because of this, CBG is found in higher amounts in younger cannabis plants before CBD and THC are derived from CBGA in older plants (2).

In most strains of cannabis, CBG only makes up 1% of the total cannabinoids, compared to CBD, which makes up approximately 25% (3). Due to the difficulty of isolating CBG, cannabis-based products containing CBG can be rare and expensive. However, CBG has a lot of potential benefits to offer users.

CBD is the most common cannabinoid. Its rapid rise in popularity can be attributed to a driving need from health-conscious patients seeking a more natural and gentler approach to drugs and medication.

CBD is found in reasonably abundant amounts in cannabis, and due to this, there is a large variety of CBD-based products available for purchase. These products include CBD oils with CBD extract mixed with a type of carrier oil, like MCT; CBD tinctures; creams; ointments; capsules; and vapes.

The Therapeutic Effects of CBG and CBD

All cannabinoids, including CBG and CBD, interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) within the body. The ECS is a complex cell-signaling system that works to restore balance by regulating many body processes. Cannabinoid receptors are part of the ECS and are found throughout the body, immune and nervous system, and brain (4).

When cannabinoids bind to these receptors, researchers believe it enhances the function of specific neurotransmitters, which play a role in sleep regulation, appetite, mood, and pain relief (5).

Increased Sleep Quality

As CBG is relatively difficult to isolate, studies investigating the therapeutic benefits of CBG are limited. More long-term research is required before researchers can make any conclusive claims. Cannabinoids have long been associated with relaxation and improved mood (6). Both of these benefits can help you fall (and stay!) asleep. Because of this, CBD is a popular choice for those suffering from insomnia and sleeplessness.

Researchers have also pointed out the importance of the entourage effect (7). When CBD and CBG are taken together, this can enhance the calming properties to encourage a healthier sleep cycle.

Decreased Anxiety

Anxiety is commonly experienced by many, and the effects can be highly disruptive. Both CBG and CBD have been linked to strong calming effects, particularly CBD and its role in decreasing anxiety (8). Because both CBD and CBG bind to specific ECS receptors in the brain, they can have slightly different effects.

Researchers believe that CBG may have powerful anti-anxiety effects, as it binds to specific receptors that control and ease pain and anxiety. CBG has also been linked to higher levels of dopamine, which can help support healthy sleep and appetite (9).

Pain Relief

Pain can be complex and caused by various factors. However, pain is also commonly associated with increased levels of inflammation and oxidative stress (10). When it comes to pain relief, THC is the most researched cannabinoid. However, the psychoactive “high” it provides can be a deterrent for some.

CBG and CBD are both non-intoxicating and can provide a safer alternative for pain relief. CBD is a popular option for many chronic pain patients who want a natural and virtually side-effect-free option on top of their prescribed medication. CBG can assist GABA uptake, a neurotransmitter, to a greater extent, resulting in increased muscle relaxation and lowered inflammation levels. This can be particularly useful for conditions including seizures and chronic pain (11).

Side Effects

Both CBG and CBD are well-tolerated among most users. However, when taking any cannabinoid for the first time, users should monitor any side effects that may arise. While side effects are minimal, they can still be inconvenient (12). They include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite changes
  • Mood changes

If side effects persist or you are wondering if CBG and CBD are the right choices for you, talk to your health professional. Cannabinoids can also interact with some medications, so check if this may be an issue for you.


Cannabinoids are generally well-tolerated and versatile. As mentioned before, CBD can be found in various product types, and users can take it how they like, based on their preferences and needs.

CBG is commonly produced in oil, although pure CBG oils can be expensive, as they are relatively rare. A way to combat this is by using broad-spectrum CBD oils, which contain all the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, including CBG, without the psychoactive effects of THC.

When cannabinoids like CBG and CBD are taken together, this enhances the effectiveness of both synergistically (13).

The Bottom Line

CBG and CBD are both cannabinoids that provide therapeutic effects to enhance the wellbeing of the user. While they share many similarities, they are found in different amounts in the cannabis plant and may provide slightly different side effects to each user.

**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**

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