CBD vs. CBG: What is the difference?

It is easy to mistake CBD for CBG, but they are not the same. While CBD makes up about 25% of the cannabis plant, CBG is found at only about 1% concentrations of the plant.

CBD and CBG oil

Key takeaways:

  • CBD and CBG are both chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, but they have some major differences.
  • CBG differs from CBD in the mode of interaction, concentration, and structure.
  • People are starting to consider CBG as an alternative to CBD, as they believe that it can help treat medical conditions like inflammation, glaucoma, and skin problems.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the over 550 chemical compounds in the cannabis plant.It’s a popular health and fitness supplement praised for its countless benefits. CBD products may be everywhere, but there’s a new contender - CBG. 

Cannabigerol (CBG) is also a cannabinoid that has recently been popularized as an alternative to CBD with more health benefits. While CBD and CBG are extracted from the same plant, they differ in how they interact with your body and their potential benefits. In the following sections, we’ll look closely at the features that distinguish CBD from CBG to help you decide which is right for you. 

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound extracted from the hemp plant. It’s usually used as a supplement and in various forms, such as CBD oil, to help improve several conditions, such as:

  • Pain 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression 
  • Muscle aches 
  • Sleep disorders
  • Substance abuse 

Despite its popularity, CBD isn’t approved for treating any of the above health problems. In 2018, Epidiolex (a CBD medicine) got FDA approval and has remained the only cannabis compound to do so. It treats seizures in people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). 

What is CBG?

Cannabigerol (CBG) is an active compound in the cannabis plant. It’s not as well-known or well-researched as CBD, but it has lately become the subject of interest among researchers and health professionals. Some users see CBG as an alternative to CBD and may use it to manage:

  • Glaucoma 
  • Inflammation 
  • Skin problems 
  • Bacterial infections 
  • Irritable bowel disease 
  • Neurological disorders

CBD Vs. CBG: What’s the Difference?

CBD and CBG belong to the family of compounds called cannabinoids that act through the endocannabinoid system. This system is crucial for memory, appetite, sleep, and pain management. This explains how CBD and CBG produce their effects. They bind to special receptors in your brain and throughout your body (CB1 and CB2), just like the cannabinoids your body produces naturally.

Does this make CBD and CBG the same? 

No, and we’ll examine how different or alike they are. Below are some similarities and differences between CBD and CBG:

1. Concentration

CBD is often found at high concentrations of up to 25% in the cannabis plant; hence it’s a major cannabinoid. On the other hand, CBG is a minor cannabinoid making up about 1% of the plant. 

2. Structure

CBG is the precursor for CBD and THC, earning it the name “the mother cannabinoid”. Chemically, CBD (C21 H30 O2) has a different molecular formula from CBG (C21 H32 O2). Their carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms are also arranged differently. For instance, while CBD has two 6-carbon rings, CBG has one. These structural differences cause their chemical properties to vary and influence how they interact with receptors in your body.

3. Psychoactive Property

Neither CBD nor CBG is addictive or psychoactive. You’re unlikely to get intoxicated from using either of these products. THC, another cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, is responsible for its psychoactive property. 

4. Side Effects

Most users respond well to CBD and CBG use. You may get a few minor side effects that reduce as your body gets used to the supplement. Some common adverse reactions people experience when using CBD are:

  • Fatigue 
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness 
  • Reduced appetite

CBG may cause similar side effects as CBD, but some users may get dry eyes and an increased appetite.

Don’t mix CBD with your medication, as it may interfere with how your body processes them. CBG use also poses this risk, but not enough is known about it. Hence you should discuss CBD and CBG with your health provider before use.

CBD vs. CBG: Summary table

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabigerol (CBG)

It constitutes about 25% of the cannabis plant.

It is found in smaller amount: makes up about 1% of the cannabis plant.

The molecular formular is C21 H30 O2.

The molecular formular is C21 H32 O2.

It has 6-carbon rings.

It has one carbon ring.

It may cause mild side effects like fatigue, diarrhea, dry mouth, drowsiness, and reduced appetite

It may also cause dry eyes and an increased appetite.

According to the 2018 Farm Bill in the US, hemp and its derivatives containing less than 0.3% THC are legal federally; this covers CBD and CBG.


Some states have additional regulations on cannabinoid use. 

In Nigeria, cannabis and all its extracts are illegal except under medical supervision. This means that you have to speak with your health provider before trying CBD or CBG. 

Does CBG Have as Many Health Benefits as CBD?

There’s no conclusive answer on which cannabinoid is most beneficial. Some people choose CBD for anxiety and neurological problems, while CBG might be better for gut health and pain relief. 

Presently, CBD is popular because more information is available. But CBG could become the future of cannabinoids in health and wellness if further researched. Scientists are exploring the possible health benefits of CBG for metabolic syndrome, neurodegenerative conditions, and gastrointestinal disorders.

How do you choose between CBD and CBG? 

Several factors, such as your health status, doctor's advice, and personal experience, determine which cannabinoid is best for you. Once you’ve settled on one, start with a low dose and modify it as your body adjusts. Whichever one you are using, it may be best to do so under the supervision of a medical practitioner.

Is it safe to take CBD and CBG together?

Absolutely! You can use CBD and CBG together without trouble. In fact, you might get a stronger response by combining them due to the entourage effect, which is the combined effect of cannabinoids when taken together.

In this case, CBD and CBG work together, each amplifying the effect of the other. One study found that combining CBG with CBD boosted its anti-inflammatory properties.

Wrap up

Choosing between CBD and CBG is tough. They’re both non-psychoactive cannabis extracts offering health benefits. Nevertheless, they have different structures which affect how they interact with your body. These slight differences in structure make them better suited for specific situations. 

Combining CBD and CBG may produce the most significant results, as each compound amplifies the effects of the other. Whether you choose CBD, CBG, or both, speak with your doctor. Take note of how your body responds to these supplements and if you have severe adverse reactions, stop them immediately.


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