CBG vs CBD: Differences, Benefits, and Effects

CBG is much harder to find than CBD and therefore tends to be more expensive. 

This could be because the molecules appear at different times in the plant’s growth cycle. CBG, or cannabigerol, is one of the first molecules to develop in the marijuana plant. 

This article will discuss two of these non-psychoactive elements of the hemp plant: CBD and CBG. 

Learn about the differences between CBD and CBG, their legal status in the U.S., and discover the medical benefits of the two compounds. The article will also cover some side effects of CBG and CBD and how they interact when taken together.

What are the Differences Between CBG & CBD

Cannabis contains over 400 chemicals and over 60 different cannabinoid compounds. CBD is the most predominant in hemp, while THC is the most abundant in marijuana. 

Both CBD and THC are made from CBG in the cannabis plant. 

CBG develops early during the growing cycle, within the first 3-4 weeks. As the plant matures, CBG converts into CBD, THC, and other minor cannabinoids, which is why it’s given the nickname “the parent cannabinoid.” After just a few weeks, though, the CBG compound disappears almost entirely.

CBD arrives in the scene later in the growth cycle and throughout harvest time. The exact time that the CBG converts into CBD depends on the plant strain. 

Comparing the Differences Between CBD & CBG

CBD (Cannabidiol) CBG (Cannabigerol)
Cost $$$ $$
Legality Legal in all 50 States Legal in all 50 States
Effect on Pain Moderate Pain Inhibition Strong Pain Inhibition
Effect on Appetite Decreases Appetite Increases Appetite
Concentration in Hemp <1% 1–20%
Concentration in Marijuana <1% 1–20%

Which is Stronger: CBG or CBD?

CBD tends to be the stronger compound. 

CBD has a more powerful effect on inflammation and is a pain inhibitor. It may also be more effective for sleep support. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is more abundant in mature hemp plants and is the most commonly harvested compound for extracts. So, users are more likely to feel the effects of the CBD cannabinoid. CBG, on the other hand, is harder and more expensive to source, which means that it makes up a smaller portion (if any) of the most commonly found hemp products. 

What Is The Legal Status Of CBG and CBD?

Like CBD, CBG that comes from a hemp plant (as opposed to a marijuana plant) is completely legal. 

CBG and CBD are extracted from Farm Bill compliant hemp. This type of hemp contains less than 0.3% THC and is non-psychoactive. Therefore, it’s legal to buy and use these compounds in the USA.

You can check the legal status of CBD (and CBG by proxy) in your state or region with this search tool.

Since CBG and CBD products are legal in the U.S., they are available in most states, though some states have their own regulations. Users can order CBD and CBG online or buy them in-store. Users can travel with  CBD from state to state and ship it from one state to another legally. Plus, you do not need a prescription to buy or use CBG or CBD products. 

Is CBD or CBG Psychedelic?

CBG and CBD are non-psychoactive. Only the marijuana products that contain the THC compound will induce psychoactive or psychedelic effects.

Consuming cannabigerol or cannabidiol does not give users the sensation of getting high. On the contrary, CBG may even interfere with the psychoactive effects of THC. 

CBG does not induce psychedelic effects because it does not activate CB1 receptors the same way the chemical compound THC does. Since CBG is the precursor compound that transforms into THC, it is a less mature molecule. Not only is CBG not psychotropic, but it reduces the psychoactive effects of the more mature molecule, THC. 

CBG is also the precursor compound to CBD. It transforms during the growth process into CBD (and later THC or CBC if UV lights are used.)

Some forms of CBD (like full-spectrum) tend to be more potent due to ‘the entourage effect.’ By keeping the full spectrum of natural hemp plant compounds together, users experience the power of plant synergy. This makes its medicinal effects comparable to that of using the plant in its most natural form. 

These extracts are made from hemp products with less than 0.3% THC. So, full-spectrum CBD is not psychoactive, but it does encompass more hemp plant compounds than CBD isolate or a purely CBG product. 

While THC activates endocannabinoid receptors, CBD prevents the breakdown of those endocannabinoids. So, the two do not stimulate the same reactions in the body. In as much, CBD will not get users high

CBD vs. CBG Health & Medical Benefits

image of hemp plant

Many researchers are investigating the possible use of cannabidiol and cannabigerol as medicinal treatments for various health concerns. 

Since CBG and CBD are interrelated molecules (CBG converts into CBD), they have similar molecular makeups. Therefore some of their health benefits are also interrelated. CBD and CBG share anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. CBG and CBD may also support childhood health concerns such as ADHD, autism, childhood epilepsy, and more —  though more research is still needed.

CBG is present in the early stages of the growth of the cannabis plant, so it is akin to a stem cell. This creates some unique health benefits like anti-cancer and anti-glaucoma properties. Cannabigerol is also protective on the cellular level. It plays a defensive role against nerve damage and nerve degeneration. 

CBG has the following attributes:

  • Antibacterial properties
  • Reducing intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma 
  • Potent anti-inflammatory effects specific to the colon
  • Increases appetite
  • Mild pain inhibition
  • Anxiety relief

CBG is also particularly effective as an appetite stimulant. While in contrast, CBD decreases appetite. Either could potentially be used to achieve specific dietary concerns.

Cannabidiol has a powerful effect on pain inhibition and is sleep-supportive. CBD also interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. It contributes to an organism’s ability to maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis is the physiological process an organism undergoes to find balance.

CBD is studied for its benefits towards a variety of medical conditions and symptoms. 

The current research is looking at the possible therapeutic benefits of CBD for some of the following health concerns:

  • Arthritis
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Insomnia
  • Mood disorders
  • Nausea
  • OCD
  • Schizophrenia

Why Is CBG So Expensive?

CBG comes with a higher price tag than CBD and THC. This may be because collecting CBG requires experience and know-how. 

Cannabigerol is the first molecule to develop in the hemp plant. It begins to appear around week three in the growth phase. If the CBG is not harvested by week six, it will convert into CBD, THC, or another element. By the end of the growing cycle of the hemp plant, there is less than 0.1% CBG.

Growers must harvest and extract the CBG before the plant enters the flowering phase (around week 6.) This method preserves the most CBG from each plant.

To harvest THC, growers wait until the flowers are ready. In contrast, the process to harvest CBG depends on specific knowledge of harvesting times. If growers wait too long to harvest CBG, it may have already transformed into a different compound. 

Harvesting CBG also disrupts the plants’ natural growth process. Once the CBG is collected, the remaining plant parts cannot be used, and growers must replant. This costs more money and takes more time, which adds to the higher price tag associated with CBG.

CBG is also more expensive because it is newer to the market. CBG only arrived on shelves within the last five years, so it’s not as widely available yet.

Should I Use CBD & CBG Together?

Cannabidiol and cannabigerol are safe to use together. They balance each other well. In moderate doses, they oppose each other at the 5-HT1A receptors to regulate nausea and vomiting.

They also share anti-inflammatory properties and work together to reduce bodily inflammation.

In combination, CBD and CBG have effective anti-cancer or cancer-fighting properties

The entourage effect also offers an important synergy for users. The plants ‘ most natural healing effects can occur by combining CBD, CBG, and other hemp plant elements or compounds. 

Common Side Effects of CBD and CBG 

There are a few short-term undesirable side effects from CBD and CBG. The most common side effects of both are dizziness and fatigue. 

Let’s cover some of the more specific side effects of each of these cannabinoids. 

The potential side effects of CBD (cannabidiol) include: 

  • Decreased appetite 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Skin rash

The good news is that these side effects will wear off as the effect of the CBD wears off. 

There are long-term side effects of CBD use, though they take a little more time to present themselves.

In contrast, CBG has few known short-term side effects. CBG tends to inhibit some of the effects of THC. This includes psychoactive effects, anxiety, and paranoia.

The potential side effects of CBG (cannabigerol) include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Sedation

The Bottom Line: CBD vs. CBG

CBD tends to be a more well-known and more commonly used compound from the hemp plant. It offers sleep support, anti-anxiety effects, and provides anti-inflammatory healing for the body. 

CBG has promising and, in some cases, parallel health benefits to CBD. It is anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety. It stimulates appetite and provides protective support at the cellular and nerve levels of the body. 

Neither CBG nor CBD are psychoactive, but CBG can inhibit the psychoactive effects of compounds like THC.

The bottom line is that both CBG and CBD are good for the body. They are legal in the U.S., offer therapeutic benefits (especially when used together), and can help different users address the body’s unique needs.

Sources Cited in This Article:

  1. About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD. March 05, 2020. [1]
  2. Amy Abernethy, Md, PhD., Principal Deputy Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health And Human Services before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. July 25, 2019 [2]
  3. Peter Grinspoon, MD, Contributor. April 15, 2020, [3]
  4. Lah, T. T., Novak, M., Pena Almidon, M. A., Marinelli, O., Žvar Baškovič, B., Majc, B., … Nabissi, M. (2021). Cannabigerol Is a Potential Therapeutic Agent in a Novel Combined Therapy for Glioblastoma. Cells, 10(2), 340.  [4]

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