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What’s the difference between CBD and CBG?



Close-up of cannabis leaves
There are over 100 different cannabinoids which make up the cannabis plant.

People have been exploring the benefits of CBD for years, but there are thought to be over 100 other cannabinoids which make up the cannabis plant – including CBG. 

Cannabigerol, or CBG as it’s more commonly known, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid typically found in low-THC and high-CBD cannabis strains, including hemp.

Like THC, CBG reacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and works to fight a number of ailments, including inflammation, pain and nausea. Research has also shown it can significantly reduce intraocular eye pressure caused by glaucoma, and high strains can be beneficial in treating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease. 


How does CBG compare with its better-known relative, CBD?

Firstly, it’s important to note that both variations are nonintoxicating cannabinoids, meaning that while they interact with the endocannabinoid system, they won’t make you high. The way the two differ, however, is the way in which they interact with the system, and the effects this causes. 

While research into CBG is fairly lacking, the limited studies out there do suggest it offers several benefits to users – though these differ to those provided by CBD. 

For example, according to a 2013 study on mice, CBG may reduce the inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease. While CBD has been linked to treating inflammation, it hasn’t been thought to specifically treat this condition – so news of the new remedy on the block will be warmly welcomed by sufferers. 

Researchers have also previously searched for a link between cannabinoids and improvement of bladder dysfunctions – and CBG has emerged as a frontrunner. A 2015 study looked at how five different cannabinoids affect the bladder and concluded that CBG shows the most promise when it comes to treating dysfunctions. 


One of the most crucial differences between CBD and CBG is the ambiguity of side effects in the latter. While research has looked extensively at the potential side effects of CBD – drowsiness, fatigue and reduced appetite, for example – very little is known about alternative effects CBG may have on us. 

So far, studies have shown that the remedy seems to be well tolerated by rats, but there isn’t enough knowledge to back up any potential side effects it might have on humans. 

There is also minimal research to demonstrate how CBG might interact with other medications, vitamins and supplements – an issue which has also been raised amongst CBD users. 

While it has been demonstrated that CBD may affect how our body metabolises medications, it isn’t clear exactly how or why, and specific effects remain unknown. Clarity over CBG’s relationship with other medications is lacking even further, remaining unclear if it has the same effects as the former.  

Ultimately, the main difference between CBD and CBG comes down to the level of research available. Studies into the effects of CBD have been growing for years – and continue to do so – while CBG remains fairly untouched.

Now that it is on the radar of consumers, research is only set to grow as we look for other alternative remedies to heal our conditions, aches and pains. 


Cannabis Health is a journalist-led news site. Any views expressed by interviewees or commentators do not reflect our own. All content on this site is intended for educational purposes, please seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about any of the issues raised.

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