CBD vs CBG: What You Need to Know
12.28.21 - 4 min read
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In recent years, the popularity of CBD has rapidly expanded throughout the U.S. Legal in all 50 states, it’s widely available, easy to access and familiar to an ever-growing number of Americans.
If you’re interested in CBD, there’s a chance you may have also heard of CBG. Scientists and consumers alike are becoming increasingly interested in this cannabis compound and its potential benefits.
So, wondering how CBG compares to CBD? Read on and we’ll give you a better understanding of both compounds, including key differences, pharmacology, potential medical applications and legal status.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabis compound that can be derived from both cannabis and hemp plans. CBD was first discovered in 1940 when it was isolated from a hemp plant. The discovery laid the foundation for isolating other cannabinoids and, soon after, THC was discovered. Since that time, scientists have identified a system of receptors that react to CBD and THC named the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid receptors can produce a great variety of effects when stimulated or suppressed. While researchers are still working to better understand the endocannabinoid system, it has been known to impact sleep, mood, appetite, memory, and even reproductive health. While THC has been used to isolate endocannabinoid receptors, much of today’s research focuses on the study of CBD for potential clinical applications.
Part of the reason that many scientists have chosen to focus on CBD over THC is that CBD, while still having mild psychoactive effects, does not produce the intoxicating “high” associated with THC. Basically, this means that CBD products are less likely to impair individuals. [Source]
CBG, or cannabigerol, is also a type of cannabinoid. Like CBD and THC, cannabigerol can be obtained from the cannabis plant. However, while CBD and THC are relatively abundant in cannabis (with most strains containing around 25% CBD and 25-30% THC), CBG comprises only about 1% of the average cannabis strain. [Source]
CBG was first discovered in 1964, along with over 100 other strains of cannabinoids, when researchers initially began to study cannabis.
CBG was nicknamed “the mother of all cannabinoids” because it is the precursor of both CBD and THC. This means that, on average, younger cannabis plants have more CBG while, in older plants, CBG has likely been already converted into other cannabinoids. Like CBD and THC, CBG can stimulate receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
Because CBG is rare in both hemp and cannabis plants, it has been difficult to harvest in large quantities. However, growers have been experimenting with crossbreeding to meet the increasing demand for CBG. [Source]
There are several differences between CBD and CBG including their pharmacology, molecular structure and potential benefits. Want to dive into the science behind these compounds? Let’s explore some highlights of current research around CBD, CBG and their possible applications.
The molecular formula for CBD and CBG is fairly similar. (After all, CBG is a precursor to CBD.)
CBG’s chemical formula is C21H32O2, meaning that it is composed of twenty-one carbon atoms, thirty-two hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms.
Meanwhile, the formula for CBD is C21H30O2, meaning that it is composed of twenty-one carbon atoms, thirty hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms.
While CBD and CBG have a very similar chemical formula, the extra hydrogen atoms found in CBG mean that the two substances have a slightly different chemical structure.
Both CBD and CBG are derived from cannabigerolic acid or CBGA. Most of the CBGA is converted to CBDA and then to CBD via decarboxylation inside a maturing cannabis plant. However, a small amount is decarboxylated into CBG. [Source]
Both CBG and CBD can interact with receptors within the endocannabinoid system. Specifically, CBD has been shown to interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors within the endocannabinoid system. At high concentrations, CBD has also been shown to activate 5-HT1A receptors, which are a type of serotonin receptor. These are the same receptors that are activated by anti-anxiety, anti-depression, and anti-psychotic medication.
CBD can be taken via a variety of methods including gummies, tinctures, oils, and even vaping. These all vary in terms of concentration, so it can be helpful for individuals to begin with low doses and build from there.
Like other natural and pharmacological substances, CBD has potential adverse effects including drowsiness, fatigue, dry mouth, and diarrhea. Likewise, CBD may also interact with certain medications such as blood thinners, which is why you should consult your doctor before taking CBD, especially if you are taking medication.
Likewise, studies on CBG have shown that CBG interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, research has also shown that it may have unique interactions with certain other receptors such as alpha-2 adrenoceptors. This may cause users to feel calm but can also lead to a feeling of feeling energized.
Unlike CBD, which has been extensively studied, CBG has not undergone extensive evaluation.
While scientists are still researching both CBD and CBG, several studies have shown evidence of potential medical applications for both CBD and CBG. However, it is worth noting that CBD has been studied much more extensively compared to CBG. Read on to learn more about potential medical benefits.
CBD has been shown to support chronic pain and inflammation reduction via its interaction with endocannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters throughout the body. Some studies have also shown that a combination of CBD and THC may be effective in managing the pain related to arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
CBD has shown potential to comfort patients suffering from anxiety and depression. In one study, 300 mg of CBD was effective at reducing anxiety. Other studies have shown that CBD may have positive effects on depression. Due to its relatively mild side effects, CBD, namely CBD oil, has been shown to be effective for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and insomnia in children.
Because CBD can be effective in calming inflammation, it is being explored as a potential solution for acne. However, more research is needed in this area.
The legality of both CBD and CBG has varied significantly in recent years.
The 2018 Farm Bill has removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Per the bill, hemp products with no greater than 0.3 percept THC per dry weight are not considered controlled substances under federal law. This means that CBD and CBG derived from a hemp plant that meets the above criteria are considered legal on a federal level and can be purchased online and in stores.
However, CBD and CBG that are derived from marijuana are still illegal at the federal level. While some states have legalized CBD and CBG that are derived from marijuana plants for recreational use, others still have limitations on CBD, CBG, or both.
If you are looking to purchase CBD or CBG that is specifically derived from marijuana plants, we recommend checking your local and state laws to ensure that it is legal or purchase marijuana-derived CBD or CBG in your state.
CBD has some very mild psychoactive effects according to some studies, which have shown that CBD can bind to CB1 receptors in the brain to produce a sense of euphoria. While CBD might cause some sleepiness and drowsiness, it generally does not give you the same level of intoxicating effects that are commonly associated with THC.
Like CBD, CBG has been shown to have mild psychoactive effects, mostly linked to a sense of calm and euphoria. And similar to CBD, CBG does not produce the intoxicating effect linked with THC.
Because CBG and CBD have only mild effects and do not produce intoxication, some sources may list them both as non-psychoactive. However, others argue that because CBD and CBG act on brain receptors, they should still be treated as mild psychoactive compounds.
There is little scientific data about what happens when CBD and CBG are used together. While both may be found together in hemp and cannabis plants, taking the two together as isolated substances (and with minimal THC) may have a different effect.
Some theorize that when taken together, CBD and CBG may balance each other out. (For example, while CBD can potentially make some users feel energized, CBG might elicit some drowsiness.) Others think that taking both CBD and CBG may have a cumulative boosting effect with extra benefits.
Interested in taking CBD and CBG together? If you’re a medical patient, t’s probably a good idea to consult with your doctor, especially if you are currently on any medications. Also keep in mind that with a combined dosage, taking too much of either cannabinoid will increase the likelihood of side effects.
For some final words of wisdom, remember to start low and go slow—CBD and CBG interact with everyone differently, and it may take a little experimentation to find out what works best for you.
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