CBG vs CBD

Anthony Pellegrino
June 23, 2021

The information is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve readers of their obligation to obtain qualified medical, legal or other professional advice.

What you will learn in this post:
(Click any of the section titles below to jump right to it)

Cannabis has been experiencing a surge in popularity in recent years. Amid this boom, some have started to investigate the other cannabinoids that are found within the plant beyond CBD and THC. One, in particular, has caught the attention of many marijuana connoisseurs -- CBG, or Cannabigerol. CBG has gained some serious traction in the marijuana and CBD industries, but we still don't know much about its genuine effects.

CBG is undergoing research to determine potential medical benefits.

In several ways, CBG is a very comparable compound to CBD. The chemical structure and range of effects of the two are nearly identical. Neither of the two causes the psychoactive or intoxicating effects associated with THC. 

Both CBD and CBG have the potential to be used medicinally for a variety of ailments. In fact, a 2019 study found that while CBG offered less of an anti-inflammatory benefit than CBD by itself, combining the two offered the greatest outcome. In this article we’ll be taking a look at how the two compare and when/where you can get the most benefit from each.


What Is CBG?

First and foremost, what is CBG? CBG is an acronym for Cannabigerol. It's one of the many cannabinoids in marijuana. CBG, along with every other cannabinoid, can be obtained from CBG's acidic form: cannabigerotic acid, or CBGA. All cannabinoids essentially start out as a form of CBGA. As you can imagine, CBG can be found in large amounts when marijuana plants are young. Once the plants reach full maturity, the CBG content of a plant is only around 1% because it has been converted into other cannabinoids. This is in stark contrast with the 20-30% of CBD and/or THC you'll find in an adult plant. 

Most people have never heard of CBG. CBD is the cannabinoid that makes all the headlines. As such, the research conducted on CBG is currently minimal. What has been done however suggests CBG can be used as medicine like CBD. Not only that, CBG may even be more effective at relieving anxiety than CBD. But as we mentioned, this is not the case concerning the anti-inflammatory effects when used without CBD. Contemporary research also suggests that CBG may provide muscle relaxation without the intoxicating effects of THC. The only potentially negative side-effect detected so far is an increase in hunger -- although this can be a considerable positive for certain conditions like anorexia or cachexia.

CBG is not as available as CBD, yet.

The research on CBG, thus far, has been limited to discovering its pharmacological qualities and possible effects in treating certain diseases. Colitis, or inflammation of the colon, is one example of this. This means that, while researchers may be beginning to understand the pharmacology of CBG, its true effects on human beings have yet to be conclusively determined.


How Is CBG Similar To CBD?

CBD assists in the regulation of endocannabinoids. Because of the importance of the endocannabinoid system in regulating bodily functions such as sleep, mood, hunger, and recall, it's not surprising that CBD may provide medicinal benefits in these areas. 

CBG also works on the endocannabinoid system. The compound attaches itself to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the nervous system and immune system, respectively. 

Long story short, CBD and CBG affect the same receptors in the endocannabinoid system, but in slightly different ways. This might explain why they seem to work so well in conjunction with each other.

CBG, like CBD, does not cause psychoactive effects.

How Does CBG Differ From CBD?

CBG and CBD differ in a few ways, as well. First and foremost, they both have different chemical structures, being different molecules and all. In other words, both cannabinoids have varying arrangements of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen atoms. Because of this, CBG and CBD bind to the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain in different ways. Their effects are distinctive from one another because of this. 

The pharmacology of both compounds also differs. This is unsurprising considering they bind to these receptors distinctly. For instance, CBG and CBD bind to the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, which helps relieve nausea in a completely opposite way. CBD acts as an activator, or agonist, to this 5-HT1A receptor; whereas CBG acts as a moderate antagonist, at the 5-HT1A receptor. 

Another significant difference between CBD and CBG is how it affects the appetite. Studies conducted in laboratory rats found that doses of CBG increased the hunger of the rats by nearly 2 times. CBD, on the other hand, seemed to have the opposite effect.


CBD And CBG: Better When Used Together

With its recent popularity and potential benefits, many people wonder if they should use CBG instead of CBD. Truth be told, there's no reason to choose one or the other. The limited research that we currently have to rely on suggests that both compounds work their best when used alongside one another. Their molecular structures are such that they are, indeed, different but ultimately complementary. So, if you're looking for the best-case scenario with CBG use, consider taking some CBD simultaneously.


The Takeaway

CBD and THC have experienced their biggest boom in recent years. Now, many people are interested in other cannabinoids, such as CBG. Many within the marijuana industry hope that its medicinal effects can be demonstrated as it has, more or less, for CBD. The initial results of the few studies that have been done give reason to be optimistic, especially when used in conjunction with CBD. 

Nevertheless, more studies need to be completed before any definitive conclusions can be made. What we know so far is that CBG has promise in its capacity to treat a variety of ailments. It can potentially act as an appetite stimulant, analgesic and even an antidepressant. But, ultimately, more work needs to be done to confirm these theoretical benefits.

Want to talk to a knowledgeable medical marijuana doctor about how CGB may fit into your current health routine? NuggMD's state-licensed physicians are always here to help! No appointment is ever necessary!



Anthony Pellegrino
Anthony Pellegrino is a freelance journalist, writer, and content marketing strategist. He is currently studying to get his B.A. in philosophy at Fort Hays State University. He is a content creator for several marketing agencies, brands, and tech startups. His writing is focused on content marketing, technology, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, politics, career planning, and of course, cannabis. Academically, Anthony is focused on A.I., Consciousness, Social Sciences, and Philosophy.

Accessing Cannabis Has Never Been Easier

Get your medical marijuana card today!

Learn More