CBG vs. CBD: What’s the Difference?


The world of hemp is full of acronyms since cannabinoids often have long and scientific names that don’t always indicate what they actually do. But many of these three-letter acronyms can sometimes make it even more difficult to figure out the difference between cannabinoids and their potential benefits.

CBG and CBD are very different cannabinoids, even though it may look as though they’d have a lot in common. Here are the details on what makes them so different.

How Does Hemp Create Cannabinoids?

There are well over a hundred different cannabinoids within the hemp plant, but the plant technically only starts with one — the remaining cannabinoids in the plant are all made from that first starting point.

The hemp plant organically creates cannabigerol and cannabigerolic acid, also known as CBG and CBGA. If the plant then needs to make cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it will turn to its stores of CBG and begin the process of converting it.

CBG is the mother of all cannabinoids, and the hemp plant would be powerless without it.

How Much CBG Is in Hemp?

Hemp makes a huge amount of CBG throughout its lifespan because it uses this compound for almost everything. This efficient utilization of CBG means that there isn’t much left by the time the hemp plant reaches full maturity.

CBG is considered a rare cannabinoid because healthy hemp plants barely have any left by the time they’ve reached the end of their life cycle. Their lifespan is over once they’ve depleted their stores of CBG, grown their flowers to full maturity, and enlisted the help of natural pollinators to help carry on their legacy.

How Much CBD Is in Hemp?

CBD naturally occurs in hemp in small amounts. Since CBD is one of the most desirable cannabinoids, cannabis geneticists have used selective breeding techniques to create varieties of hemp that produce a wealth of CBD.

Cannabis experts will analyze samples from their crops, take the plants that produce the most CBD, and breed them together. They keep multiplying these top producers until they’ve reached a point where the crop is consistently high in CBD.

There are a lot of variables at play here. There is no upper or lower limit to the amount of CBD that can be present in a hemp plant. The amount of CBD will vary from cultivar to cultivar, with some hemp plants reaching levels as high as 30 percent CBD by their dry weight.

Other cannabis cultivators prefer to cultivate plants for other characteristics, such as terpenes, delta cannabinoids, and other minor cannabinoids (like CBN, CBC, and CBDA). In these cases, their plans may contain a more well-rounded balance of other compounds.

What Does CBG Do?

Research into CBG and CBG products is still fairly new. Researchers haven’t reached any definitive conclusions about how CBG works, but they have a pretty good idea. They know that CBG binds to the cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and body, but they only have anecdotal evidence of what it does after it binds.

There’s a theory that CBG may interact with the body’s own natural cannabinoids.

The human body’s endogenous cannabinoid system makes at least two unique cannabinoids that medical scientists are still working to understand. One cannabinoid, called anandamide, seems to work as a neurotransmitter that helps to support homeostasis.

CBG may have an effect on the body’s ability to produce anandamide because of the neurotransmitters it supports. It’s kind of like CBG is the boss, and your neurotransmitters are the employees.

You can find this cannabinoid in the form of CBG oils, edibles, and more.

What Does CBD Do?

CBD is able to interact with your brain and nearly your whole body, so with that, CBD can influence nearly all the cannabinoid receptors throughout your body. It can work to ease feelings of tension, help support healthy immune function, support healthy sleep, and support feelings of relaxation.

To get into the pharmacology of hemp, CBD works by influencing your receptors. It doesn’t latch onto them and change the way they work — it interacts with them and helps your receptors get into gear.

CBD simply supports your body’s ability to perform its own natural functions. In fact, it isn’t actually the CBD that’s doing the work; your body is just doing what it normally does, albeit with a little nudge in the right direction.

There are many forms of CBD to enjoy, including CBD oils, tinctures, topicals, and even CBD gummies.

What Do CBG and CBD Have in Common?

Most cannabinoids have a few core things in common. Even though each cannabinoid has a unique benefit and effect profile, there are a few health benefits that they can all have when they interact with your body.

They all come from the same place, they all impact the same receptors, and they can all help support your overall wellness.

As you read through these benefits, it’s important to remember that cannabinoids are not designed to treat health conditions or chronic pain. If you think you may benefit from the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids, make sure to talk with your primary healthcare provider to make sure it’s a good fit.

They Come From the Same Plant

Both CBD and CBG are found in cannabis plants. They naturally occur in both traditional Cannabis sativa plants and cannabis plants designated as hemp.

All cannabis plants are the same type of plant. The only difference between traditional Cannabis sativa and hemp plants is the amount of THC they’re allowed to contain.

A cannabis plant is designated as hemp if it contains 0.3 percent THC or less by its dry weight. However, there is no maximum or minimum threshold for cannabinoids like CBD or CBG.

Traditional cannabis is typically grown to maximize its yield of THC, but hemp is typically grown to favor the production of other cannabinoids like CBG and CBD.

They Interact With the Same Receptors

All cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a series of receptors that exist from your head to your toes. You have them in your skin, in your brain, in your gut, and even within your immune system.

Your body makes some of its own cannabinoids, called endogenous cannabinoids, to stimulate this system. However, the receptors are also open to influence from cannabinoids derived from outside sources.

CBD and CBG both influence these receptors without binding to them or changing the way that they work. Basically, they can help encourage your body to work the way it’s meant to work.

They Both Support Cognitive Well-Being

Naturally occurring cannabinoids are called phytocannabinoids. They’re compounds that come directly from plants and may have some antioxidant benefits.

Antioxidants are natural substances that work to support the body. When used topically, they can help support your skin during exposure to environmental pollution and sun damage. Phytocannabinoids you ingest, like CBD and CBG, may be able to help support your brain and immune system as well.

Our bodies are exposed to free radicals on a daily basis, both inside and out. For instance, your body is temporarily exposed to free radicals during the process of digesting food or processing other substances. You’re also exposed to free radicals every time you go outside and come into contact with air pollution.

Free radicals are volatile molecules that are missing an electron. They’re about to die out, and in a last-ditch effort to save themselves, they attempt to steal an electron from another molecule.

Free radicals can damage or destroy your healthy cells by taking away their electrons, thus turning them into more free radicals. Healthy cells can implode under the effects of free radical damage.

Both CBD and CBG may be able to help support your overall wellness and cell health, even during exposure to free radicals.

Neither Has Intoxicating Effects

There are two types of cannabinoids: cannabinoids with psychoactive effects and non-intoxicating cannabinoids. The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) family of cannabinoids, like delta-8, delta-9, and delta-10, can have intoxicating side effects in large doses. These are the cannabinoids that latch onto your receptors and influence the way they send and receive messages.

CBD and CBG interact with these receptors without creating a functional bond. They’re gentle influencers that won’t override your body’s processes. You’re not going to experience any intoxicating effects when you use CBD or CBG, even at high concentrations.

CBG vs. CBD: How Are They Different?

CBG and CBD have a lot in common, but they’re similar in the same way that an apple is similar to an orange. Both apples and oranges are fruits that can be beneficial for your well-being, and both CBG and CBD can have therapeutic benefits for your well-being. But the way they work and what they offer your body in terms of support are vastly different.

Broad Focus vs. Narrow Focus

CBD can support overall wellness due to its ability to get along with most types of receptors in your body. CBG can work with the same receptors, but it typically doesn’t stimulate them very strongly. It’s more interested in working with the cannabinoid receptors in your brain to help support neurotransmitters.

CBG’s narrow focus can be helpful, but it is not as broadly helpful as CBD’s ability to work effectively with receptors throughout your whole body.

Greater Influence vs. Lesser Influence

CBD is a very versatile cannabinoid. CBG is far more limited in its ability to interact with your receptors. Researchers are still learning about the benefits of CBG, but at the moment, there isn’t much evidence that its stimulation is broad enough to have a significant influence.

CBG vs. CBD: Which Is Better?

People use cannabinoids because they want noticeable benefits. They like the way that cannabinoids make them feel, and they want to be able to experience these effects soon after taking their CBD products.

CBD can produce subtle but noticeable differences. These differences may even become more pronounced with regular use. You can count on CBD to help you relax, support your post-workout recovery process, and promote easy sleep at night.

With that, most people find that CBD works better for them in providing a wider variety of benefits. This doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate CBG into your wellness routine; it just means that you might want to try using it alongside your CBD versus choosing one or the other.

The Wrap-Up on CBG vs. CBD

A big part of our what we offer here at Blue Forest Farms is that we like to give the “minor” cannabinoids a chance to shine. While the world talks a lot about CBD and THC, there are hundreds of cannabinoids, and all of them are really special.

Each and every one of us is so individual, and we all benefit from slightly different formulas. We’ve found that about 55 mg of CBD daily serves as an excellent base, and then there are different cannabinoids with their special super powers that we can work into that, like CBN for sleep or CBG for brain power.

Blue Forest Farms products are designed to work with your body to naturally support overall wellness.

For more information on CBD and how it works, check out the rest of our blog.


Antioxidant Therapies for Neuroprotection—A Review | National Institutes of Health

Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System | PNAS Journals

Mechanisms of Action and Pharmacokinetics of Cannabis | The Permanente Journal