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CBG vs. CBD - What's the Difference?

Published October 5, 2021

It’s no surprise that CBD has such a large fan-base, with many consumers finding it to be the perfect addition to their life or the lives of their loved ones. But what about the cannabinoid CBG? CBG is one of many naturally occurring cannabinoids in hemp that researchers have found to offer different effects.

So, what exactly makes CBD and CBG different, and which one should you choose? Keep reading as we break down CBD vs. CBG and what these cannabinoids can offer you.

What is CBD?

what is cbd

Throughout the years, researchers have conducted in-depth studies on how CBD affects and interacts with the human body.  CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a hemp-derived compound that shares a similar chemical makeup with THC.

You may be familiar with THC, which is a compound that can be derived from hemp as well. However, THC has more prominent and noticeable effects than CBD, due to the slight differences in their chemical arrangement. Although CBD and THC share some similarities in their chemical makeup, CBG and CBD only share a few properties in this regard.

What is CBG?

what is cbg

Cannabigerol (CBG) also known as the ‘mother cannabinoid’ is a compound that stems from its chemical precursor called cannabigerol acid (CBGA), which is located in hemp. CBGA is critical in cannabinoid production because the higher amount of CBG in your crop, the greater the concentration for other cannabinoids.

In the early stages of plant growth, CBGA can be extracted out of the plant and, through decarboxylation, will become CBG. However, if you let the plant mature, CBGA will be converted into cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA).

The Differences – CBG Vs. CBD

Although you would assume that CBD and CBG would have many similarities, there happen to be more differences. But first, let’s discuss their chemical formula.

Chemical Properties

While there is only limited research on CBG, we know that the two compounds interact with the human body differently. When you look at CBG’s chemical formula, it does not share the same molecular structure as CBD. For example, because they have a different arrangement of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen atoms, they have their own three-dimensional shapes, which means they bind to the body’s cannabinoid receptors (CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors) differently.

CBD predominantly binds with the CB2 receptors, but CBG has been found to bind with both CB1 and CB2 receptors. Although CBD and CBG both don’t cause acute effects, they have been known to produce similar results, such as calmness and relaxation. But there are some reports that CBG has promoted energy and motivation.

NOTE: The effects listed above vary from person to person. Your experience may feel different.

Concentration in Hemp

Although CBG is located in hemp, it is referred to as a minor cannabinoid because it has extremely low concentrations – sometimes, less than 1% by weight. In contrast, hemp can have up to 20% concentration of CBD. From a financial standpoint, most farmers tend to focus on CBD production because it has higher profit margins. However, growers have found a way to yield larger quantities of CBG through selective breeding.

Growing CBG vs. CBD

There are two options for hemp growers who are looking to produce CBG for consumer products. The first option is to harvest the plant before it matures, as the highest levels of CBG are present in the early stages of plant development. There are two downsides of this method:

  • Harvesting the plant early will prevent growers from producing other cannabinoids.

  • It will take a large amount of hemp to achieve a sufficient yield of CBG. 

The second method is waiting for the plant to reach maturity. Although there will be less CBG in the crop, it will hold a variety of other cannabinoids. All in all, the best method depends on the farmer and the goal of their harvest.

Can CBD and CBG Be Taken Together?

Yes, they can be taken together. Some enthusiasts have suggested that when you use both of them, rather than one, you may have a better experience. Although there are no guarantees that you will experience this, it may be worth trying.

Legalities of CBD and CBG

At the end of 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump. Under this bill, hemp was removed as a Schedule l drug from the Controlled Substances Act. As of October X, 2021, the production, possession, and sale of hemp products are federally legal. Since this bill, most states have legalized hemp and its derivatives such as CBD, Delta 8 THC, and CBG.

According to federal law, hemp-derived products that comply with federal regulations can be purchased online and shipped across state lines to customers living in applicable states. A product may contain up to 0.3% of hemp-derived Delta 9 on a dry weight basis. To find out if hemp is legal in your state, check your state legislature’s website.

Which is Better for You?

Choosing which cannabinoid is best for you depends on many factors, such as your lifestyle, body type, and what you hope to gain. Because there is limited research on CBG and its effects, it is difficult to determine a hard line between the two. Overall, it is known that these compounds work better together than individually, but if you are looking for a product that has years of research, you may prefer CBD.

In Conclusion

Choosing between CBG vs. CBD may be difficult, but as the cannabis industry continues to grow, so will the research. In the meantime, look over peer-reviewed studies and only buy hemp products from authorized retailers. If you have any concerns if CBD or CBG is the right fit for you, seek advice from your physician.

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