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CBD vs CBN vs CBG: What's the difference?

CBD vs CBN vs CBG: What's the difference?

At this point everyone has heard of the little powerhouse molecule taking the world by storm. And while CBD might have stolen the spotlight, its cousins CBN and CBG, are quickly becoming big players in the cannabinoid market and most certainly should not be overlooked. 


Let’s start at the beginning: what is a cannabinoid? 


There are more than a hundred compounds in the cannabis sativa plant known as cannabinoids, and the most common are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the famous psychoactive compound in marijiuana that produces a high, while CBD (and most other cannabinoids) produce no high at all. CBD oil boasts a number of potential health benefits for the body, everything from inflammation to rest to calming effects. Researchers believe it has very few side effects and has been found to be very beneficial to the body. To be legal here in the US, it must contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dry weight ensuring that it won't get you high.

But there are other cannabinoids that don’t get talked about or studied as much, until recently, that is. These are CBG (cannabigerol) and CBN (cannabinol). (In fact there are even more cannabinoid compounds currently being studied for healthful properties and may soon come to market as well.)

But what are the differences between these substances and what benefits do they hold for the consumer?



CBD is the most common cannabinoid next to THC. It is most often derived from hemp, although it is present in lower amounts in some marijuana strains. It’s a naturally occurring substance, non-psychoactive and used in oils, tinctures, and edibles, and has many beneficial properties. 



CBD has a whole host of potential benefits. The primary ones are mood enhancing, such as relaxation and calming effects. 


Meet CBG- the mother of all cannabinoids

Cannabigerol is the first cannabinoid that cannabis plants produce, meaning all other cannabinoids are made from CBG.


In fully developed plants with high concentrations of THC and CBD, you'll find low concentrations of CBG. This happens because most of the CBG has already been converted to CBD and THC as the plant developed. As a result, the most potent cannabis plants only have about 15% CBG. However, cultivars are already working to produce plants that naturally have more CBG as it continues to show promise.


As with CBD, CBG is not psychoactive. Therefore, many of the benefits experienced from CBD oil can also be found with CBG. But CBG does offer a few exciting advancements.



CBG has been studied extensively for its benefits in neuropathic and inflammatory pain, which were initially revealed in a 2008 study, and then replicated in a 2018 study. 

Some additional research has gone into the digestive benefits of CBG, particularly in combating the side effects of inflammatory digestive issues.

There has even been research into CBG that shows that it can be helpful in the fight against bacterial infections. 



According to the latest science, while the two substances share some common traits, it appears that CBG is more effective in the peripheral parts of the body. At the same time, CBD is focused on the central nervous system. 

This leads naturally to discussing the entourage effect of broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oil, which contains many additional cannabinoids (like CBG). 


The theory of the entourage effect is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; taking a broad or full-spectrum product that contains multiple cannabinoids will offer overall better health than trying to treat individual problems with individual cannabinoids. 


When all of the cannabinoids are present, they work together to supercharge each other, creating the entourage effect.    


WHAT IS CBN? Where does it come from?

While CBG is known as the mother of all cannabinoids as it is how they begin, CBN is created from the oxidation of THC. Even though it comes from THC, CBN is not intoxicating. CBN earns a place in the spotlight with its extreme calming effects and is best known for promoting restful sleep. 

CBD is abundant in the cannabis plant, CBG is present in small amounts, and CBN comes in minuscule amounts. 



Like CBG, CBN was included in the 2008 study that showed that it could be used for antibacterial applications. 

There is also a discussion of CBN as a neuroprotective application. 

Another potential benefit is as an appetite stimulant. THC has long been known to increase appetite, but studies show that CBN could do the same thing but without the psychoactive effects of THC. 


CBN has many potentials, but its rarity and lack of research still mean that its full treatment purposes are yet to be fully understood. Both CBN and CBD are used to promote restful sleep, and both have potential neuroprotective properties. For now, CBN needs more research, but it is quickly making its way to the mainstream. 



We hate to rain on your parade, but there’s no winner here. Each of these amazing cannabinoids boasts their own unique range of superpowers. Although the benefits listed above might just help you find an isolate supplement that feels right for you, we think that these powerhouses work best as a team like in full and broad spectrum cbd products.  There is still a lot of research left to do into cannabinoids, but there is so much that’s positive (though preliminary findings). CBD is definitely the easiest and cheapest compound to get and has received the most study. But the entourage effect is not to be underestimated and it may be that a combination of all three of these substances is just what is needed for maximizing the benefits.

As always, contact a medical professional before making decisions about a treatment plan. 


Are you ready to experience the entourage effect?