CBD vs CBG – What’s the Difference and Which One to Use

Almost all of us are now familiar with the cannabinoid family. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most frequently talked-about ingredients, and quite understandably though. Both cannabinoids are super stars in the world of cannabis. These provide recreation (THC) and a range of health benefits (CBD) such as relief from joint pain, insomnia and much more. 

But wait! CBD and THC are not the only cannabinoids in the hemp plant. Another cannabinoid that has recently been gaining traction is cannabigerol (CBG).

Research is underway to unearth the health benefits of CBG but from what is or has already emerged, the cannabinoid is promising and set to make it as big as CBD in near future. Speaking of CBD, let’s check out the differences between CBD and CBG and find out which cannabinoid to use when.

CBD vs CBG – The Similarities and Differences

Cannabis Sativa contains hundreds of compounds characterized as cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. Cannabinoids are mainly the center of attention for their numerous health effects on the human body. CBD and CBG both belong to the category of cannabinoids. So, let’s discuss these exceptional chemicals a bit more.

What is CBD?What is CBG?
CBD, the contracted form of cannabidiol, is one of the two most researched components of the cannabis plant. It is the second most abundant compound; THC being the first. CBD is famous for its potential beneficial effects in multiple physical and psychological disorders. People use CBD in different forms like CBD oil, tinctures, gummies, edibles, vapes, etc.CBG is the newbie cannabinoid that has emerged onto the scene. It is the precursor molecule from which the other cannabinoids form. CBG-A, the acidic form of CBG, breaks down to create CBD, THC, and other derivatives of the cannabis plant. Found in traces in the cannabis plant, CBG is of great medical importance.


CBD and CBG are similar in the sense that both are non-intoxicating.

Consumption of either won’t get you high. 

Yes, you read it right.

CBD and CBG are non-psychotropic components of the cannabis plant and do not interact with the CB1 cannabinoid receptors. You do not need to worry about altered brain functioning. Therefore, you can carry out your routine tasks with mental clarity.

So, Where does the Difference between the Two Lie? 

Molecular Structure:

CBD and CBG have different molecular structures. Their carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms occupy different locations and they have different 3D shapes. They interact with different cannabinoids receptors in the body, thereby leading to different effects.

Concentration in the Cannabis Plant:

Another significant difference is the concentration of these compounds in the cannabis plant. CBG is found in small amounts as compared to other cannabinoids. For example, only 1% of CBG is present in an adult hemp plant compared to 20 to 25% of CBD and 25 to 30% of THC. Moreover, the production cost of CBG is higher, so manufacturers often prefer to produce CBD and THC over CBG.

Pharmacology/Interaction with the Body:

CBG and CBD have different pharmacology. It means that both these compounds have varying mechanisms of action. CBD activates a certain type of receptors (CB2) in the body while CBG blocks them. CBD has a weak bonding with these receptors and binds somewhat indirectly with these receptors. Contrarily, CBG binds directly with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain.

Appetite Stimulation:

A rat study revealed that CBD and CBG have opposing effects on appetite. CBG causes appetite stimulation while its sister compound CBD reduces it.

As discussed earlier, both CBD and CBG are non-intoxicating. So, both are federally legal. In addition, hemp is now an agricultural commodity after being removed from the list of Controlled Substances. Therefore, the products derived from hemp plants are legal as long as they do not contain more than 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive substance.

Health Effects of CBD

Various studies on animals and humans suggest several positive effects of CBD. People commonly take it to relieve their anxiety and other conditions.  CBD can be beneficial for 

  • Chronic pain and inflammation
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Neuropathy
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Dementia
  • Anxiety disorders and depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Insomnia/ Sleep disturbance
  • Nausea and vomiting

It is pertinent to understand that cannabidiol is not effective against all of these conditions, but the results from preclinical trials are promising.

Health Benefits of CBG

Although new in the market, CBG has a myriad of beneficial effects on human health. It may help improve the following health conditions:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Bladder dysfunctions. 
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Bacterial infections
  • Cancer 
  • Appetite loss

There is a lack of extensive research of CBG in humans. So, any of these positive effects are not confirmed. The same goes for its side effects. It did not show any potentially harmful effects in rats, but the safe use in humans demands further research.

CBD or CBG – Which One to take?

Now that we have discussed their slight differences, we come to the final question: which one to use?

There is no better between the two; since both CBG and CBD have unique effects. 

  • First, CBD is known to modulate the endocannabinoid system, whereas CBG works on the receptors. 
  • Secondly, CBG is associated with an energy boost, while CBD has a more calming effect on the body. 
  • Thirdly, CBG is effective against pain and inflammation. On the other hand, CBG is a good choice for neurological disorders.

The most important thing while choosing between CBD and CBG is understanding your need. As discussed earlier, CBD binds to the CB2 receptors, which connect to the body’s peripheral nervous system (PNS). The PNS reaches muscles, limbs, and the immune system. While CBG binds to the CB1, in addition to CB2, connecting the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). 

So, you need to select your cannabinoid based on your physical and psychological needs.

Can CBD and CBG be used in Combination?

Research advocates the use of CBD and CBG in tandem. The combination of two is found effective in stress management. CBD’s calming effect and CBG’s energy boost can reduce anxiety and other psychological disorders. However, no research suggests either compound as the sole cure for any ailment.

The End Note

Both cannabinoids, CBG and CBD, have positive effects. Their ultimate results depend on your body, its inner makeup, your lifestyle, and other physical factors. If you have to choose between CBD and CBG, then identify which best suits your needs. Looking for third-party lab reports is a wise step before going for any cannabinoid.