CBG vs CBD: What's the Difference?

CBG vs CBD: What's the Difference?

4 minute read


In recent years, products containing CBD have become incredibly popular. And for a good reason: cannabidiol has a host of reputed benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. As a result, it's become a popular ingredient for wellness products, skincare lines, and more.

CBD is the primary non-intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant. It's abundant in familiar cannabis strains, easy to isolate and ideal for translation into commercial products. It's not the only non-intoxicating cannabinoid, though. Cannabigerol (CBG) is also starting to hit the cannabis scene. Although it is less abundant than CBD, CBG is reported to have many of the same effects, including the ability to reduce inflammation and ease pain.

Although CBG and CBD share a similar name, there are some critical differences between the two compounds. Today, we're going to break down what you need to know about each. 

Let's dive in.

First Things First: What is CBG?

CBG is present at low levels - typically less than 1% – in most cannabis strains. Because of its minimal concentration, CBG is labeled a "minor cannabinoid." to produce CBG, cannabis plants must first produce cannabigerol acid (CBGA). CBGA is the precursor to the three primary cannabinoid lines, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid, or CBCA.

Once CBGA is produced, enzymes within the plant break it down and give it a job. In other words, they transfer it into one of the three lines. When the acid is exposed to ultraviolet light and heat, it becomes the cannabinoids most people are familiar with: THC and CBD.  Mostly, CBGA is converted immediately into either CBD or THC. 

Thanks to its purported therapeutic properties, though, breeders are trying to develop strains with higher levels of CBG. They're doing this by cross-breeding various plants and manipulating the genetics of certain strains. Scientists have also found that it's possible to extract higher levels of CBG from plants in Bud by identifying the ideal extraction time, which is generally about six weeks into the plants eight-week flowering cycle.

While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of CBD, preliminary studies suggest it acts on a variety of physiological systems, including the ocular nerves, digestive tract, nerve cells, and more.

How is CBG Different Than CBD?

CBG is commonly referred to as "the mother cannabinoid." In fact, all cannabinoids begin as CBGA.  It is only after CBGA starts to break down and reach maturity that it converts to CBD. Although the cannabinoids are similar, they are not the same thing. 

In fact, CBG and CBD have completely distinct chemical structures. Additionally, CBD has been more extensively studied than CBG. Because CBG  is only present in Trace Amounts in dried plant material, manufacturers have only recently begun to study how to optimize CBG levels in products that typically contain CBD oils.

In time, the scientific community will continue to launch studies and the unique effects of these two compounds, and the potential benefits they pose for people interested in wellness and health. Currently, studies are focusing primarily on how CBD and CBG work as individuals. There is some evidence, however, that they can be used together to promote the "entourage effect." 

More than likely, this continued research will eventually find that the cannabinoids are most effective when used together. 

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Should you try CBG?

In the question of CBG vs CBD, which comes out on top? The answer is that both compounds likely provide a series of health benefits for users. Still, we're learning more about these cannabinoids every day, and there is no way to say for sure what benefits science will discover down the road. 

For now, it's essential to focus on purchasing high-quality CBG if you're interested in exploring the compound. If you want to avoid the psychoactive effects of cannabis, look for non-THC blends. Additionally, make sure you're always buying from a reputable distributor since the Cannabis industry remains unregulated. When you follow these simple tips, you'll be well on your way to experimenting with CBG blends and determining whether you like the compound.

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