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CBD has undoubtedly gained a lot of traction in today’s cannabis wellness market.

Known for its calming, therapeutic effects, CBD has only grown in popularity since its 2018 debut.

Meanwhile, lesser-known cannabinoids, such as CBG, are more recently capturing interest from consumers and scientists alike. 

Although CBG and CBD have plenty of similarities, there are still a few distinctions. 

CBG and CBD’s unique molecular structures interact differently with our body’s cannabinoid receptors.

This difference means that both cannabinoids can have distinct effects and pharmacological uses.

Let’s examine these cannabinoids to see just how different they are. 

What is CBG?

…and what does CBG stand for?

CBG, or Cannabigerol, is a cannabinoid and precursor to other cannabinoids, like CBD, THC, and CBC.

As the cannabis plant ages and is exposed to heat and UV light, CBG slowly breaks down and becomes another cannabinoid.

Due to CBG’s natural scarcity, a few cannabis growers are trying to alter hemp plants with higher CBG content genetically.

Most growers now extract the CBG oil for sale purposes at a certain point during the plant’s growth cycle, when the compound is at its highest concentration.

Like CBD, CBG has no psychotropic effects, so it will not give you a high.

Also, like CBD, CBG’s beneficial effects are administered through interactions within the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the system responsible for helping us regulate bodily functions and maintain homeostasis (the state of stability and optimal functioning).

CBG works by interacting with the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), endocannabinoids, and the metabolic enzymes that make up our ECS. Cannabinoid receptors play a pivotal role in normalizing physiological processes like our mood, pain sensation, and hunger signals.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is a cannabinoid that makes up about 10 percent (or more) of high-quality hemp’s chemical composition.

Like CBG, it is a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid – a plant-synthesized component that cannot produce a “high” or euphoric feeling commonly associated with another compound called THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.

THC is sometimes included in CBD products, but only in small amounts since only up to 0.3 percent is permitted by federal law. 

CBD molecules work with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system (ECS) by binding primarily with CB2 cannabinoid receptors.

These receptors are connected to our peripheral nervous system but appear in our muscles, immune cells, skin, and other organs.

This built-in biological system catalyzes CBD benefits for health and wellness and creates the demand for a variety of CBD products that we now have available to us.


Though they offer very similar therapeutic properties, CBG and CBD do have some differences.

For example, the two cannabinoids have different molecular structures, meaning that the arrangement of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules is other.

Molecular structure impacts how the cannabinoid binds with receptors and also impacts bioavailability.

CBG and CBD are also unique in interacting with the cannabinoid receptors in our body.

One study looked at how CBG and CBD interact with the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor.

CBG behaves as an antagonist at that receptor, where CBD has strong anti-nausea effects, acting as an agonist.

So even though the two cannabinoids are similar, they have opposing effects on this specific receptor when bound to the same place.

CBG oil vs. CBD oil differs in how they stimulate the appetite.

A study on rats found that CBG encouraged the animals to eat twice their regular food intake.

But, a survey conducted on CBD found that the cannabinoid significantly reduces total food intake.

Therapeutic Benefits of CBG and CBD

Despite there not being a lot of research into the therapeutic effects of CBG, preclinical studies offer a little bit of insight into how the cannabinoid may interact with the body.

Like CBD, CBG may offer many beneficial therapeutic qualities, including:

  • Appetite stimulation
  • Anti-cancer properties
  • Antibiotic properties
  • Potential treatment for bacterial infections

As CBG hemp becomes more popular, we can reasonably expect there to be more studies being conducted on it very soon.

The hope is that more clinical studies and research will be undertaken to understand better CBG vs. CBD for pain and other common ailments.

With CBD, on the other hand, there is a lot more data available, But as with any cannabinoid, there is always more to learn.

So far, most studies have been conducted on animals, so human trials are crucial to precisely understand how they interact in the body.

Research has found that CBD may offer a host of therapeutic benefits, including:

  • Pain relief
  • Improved sleep
  • Lowered stress and anxiety
  • Neuroprotective properties

The Bottom Line

CBD and CBG are two similar yet unique cannabinoids that offer a variety of therapeutic benefits.

Even though CBD is one of the most studied and widely recognized cannabinoids, it is not the only beneficial component synthesized from the Cannabis sativa plant.

Lesser-known cannabinoids, such as CBG, capture the interest of consumers and scientists alike. Especially since initial studies show that CBG may have similar characteristics to CBD, both cannabinoids have no psychoactive properties.

Instead, they offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and analgesic properties.

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