CBD vs. CBG: The Many Unique Ways They’re Similar & Different

CBD vs. CBG: The Many Unique Ways They’re Similar & Different

CBD and CBG are among today’s most popular cannabinoids. But for people who are just starting to learn about hemp, it might be challenging to understand the key differences between CBD and CBG. Both cannabinoids have a unique history, composition, and function — even their benefits and side effects are slightly different. While it might be hard to digest all of this information, especially when multiple sources are providing different insights, people need to know what they’re putting into their bodies. To make mindful decisions about health and wellness, consumers have to learn everything there is to know about CBD vs. CBG.

The History of CBD vs. CBG

While CBD and CBG are common cannabinoids to talk about today, these nutrients were around long before the 2019 Farm Bill legalized hemp. Scientists discovered CBD and CBG decades ago, but society can be quick to forget and neglect the rich history of these cannabinoids. To shine a spotlight on these nutrients’ background, here is a brief overview of the history of CBD vs. CBG. 


In 1940, a chemist named Roger Adams was the first person to successfully extract CBD from the cannabis sativa plant. At first, he was unaware that he had extracted a chemical compound. However, years later, Adams and other scientists realized what he had done, and began researching the potential benefits of CBD. 

But 1946 was arguably the biggest year for the chemical compound. It was the year that Dr. Walter S. Loewe conducted tests on animals that proved CBD does not cause an altered mental state (i.e., a “high”). Additionally, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified CBD’s three-dimensional structure. 

The research continued for decades. Dr. Mechoulam made another breakthrough in 1980, when he conducted a study showing that CBD could be beneficial for people with epilepsy. And the research into this cannabinoid continues today. 


Researchers are still trying to learn the history of CBG. There’s not much context on the cannabinoid’s background. However, like CBD, the cannabinoid has been around for quite some time. 

CBG was first discovered by Yehiel Gaoni and a familiar name from CBD’s history, Dr. Mechoulam. Japanese researchers later discovered that CBG starts as CBGA (cannabigerolic acid), and becomes an active cannabinoid over time or when exposed to heat. The rest of CBG’s story is still to be determined. 

But the history of CBD vs. CBG — specifically, the details that researchers already know — is still fascinating because it shows that these two compounds are not a part of a recent trend or health fad. CBD and CBG have been around for decades, and researchers have always been curious to learn more about the cannabinoids and unleash its therapeutic properties. 

How Are CBD and CBG Made?

CBD and CBG both come from the same plant: hemp. However, CBGA, commonly known as the mother cannabinoid, is what one might call the “parent” acid that converts into other cannabinoids depending on its surrounding conditions. Here’s a better explanation of how CBGA turns into CBD vs. CBG.


CBGA is the precursor to the three main cannabinoids: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA). The cannabis plant has specific enzymes that break down CBGA, forcing it to go in one of the three directions. Once the acids are exposed to ultraviolet light or heat, they become the two most familiar cannabinoids that people know today: THC and CBD. 


As mentioned above, CBG is the non-acidic form of CBGA. While CBGA usually synthesizes into CBDA, THCA, and CBCA, it can also convert to CBG. However, this does not happen very often. 

Recently, cannabis breeders have begun experimenting with genetic manipulation and plant cross-breeding to obtain more CBG. Scientists have  discovered that they can yield higher amounts of CBG from budding plants that are about six weeks into the flowering cycle. CBG levels are highest at this time because CBGA has not yet converted into the other compounds, making it easy for scientists to obtain more of the nutrient.

However, while CBG comes from the same cannabinoid as CBD, a big question is whether or not it interacts similarly or differently with the endocannabinoid system. 

The Endocannabinoid System: CBD vs. CBG

CBD and CBG have quite similar interactions with the endocannabinoid system. For a brief understanding of how each one works in this bodily network, here’s an overview of CBD vs. CBG. 


CBD binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors, acting as an antagonist whenever it does. Antagonists, also known as blockers, dampen these receptors’ signals, which is the main reason why CBD can counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. 

However, CBD has also been shown to block the FAAH enzyme, the compound responsible for breaking down anandamide. Anandamide is excellent at producing a calming effect when FAAH doesn’t break it down, making it a useful endocannabinoid for relieving anxiety. Thus, when CBD blocks FAAH, anandamide has the opportunity to provide its therapeutic effects. 

Additionally, because CBD can bind to humans’ CB1 and CB2 receptors as effectively as endocannabinoids that are naturally produced by the human body, researchers are discovering that CBD can offer many therapeutic properties to alleviate a variety of health conditions. 


CBG acts similarly to CBD in the endocannabinoid system. CBG is also a CB1 antagonist, dampening the receptor’s response by blocking it. Studies also suggest that CBG binds with CB2 receptors, but the effects of this process are not yet known. 

However, like CBD, CBG inhibits the FAAH enzyme, and therefore, may help to increase levels of anandamide in the body. CBG can also influence other bodily systems. For example, CBG acts as an antagonist to 5-HT1A receptors, which manage the release of serotonin. The cannabinoid might also influence the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine, and studies indicate that CBG can act on a vanilloid receptor, which regulates the body’s response to environmental stimuli. 

With how CBD and CBG affect the body and its systems, both compounds have the potential to have significant therapeutic benefits. But exactly are the advantages that each compound offers?

Therapeutic Properties of CBD vs. CBG 

CBD has been studied extensively as a possible therapeutic option for many common conditions. Research suggests that it has the potential to help people that struggle with depression, anxiety, cancer, acne, and chronic pain. 

CBG, on the other hand, has very different therapeutic properties. Researchers and consumers believe the cannabinoid might help increase energy levels, digestion, psoriasis, and MRSA. 

To understand this better, here is the research that scientists have published on the therapeutic properties of CBD vs. CBG. 

CBD for Depression and Anxiety

The potential for CBD to help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety is possibly one of its most popular characteristics. In a study of 57 men who received either oral CBD or a placebo 90 minutes before a simulated public speaking test, researchers found that the men who were given CBD experienced significantly lower anxiety levels. Research also suggests that CBD oil can safely relieve anxiety in children with PTSD. Additionally, it has shown effects similar to antidepressants in many animal studies.

CBD for Cancer Symptoms and Cancer-Treatment Side Effects

Firstly, it is important to note that CBD is not a treatment for cancer. However, researchers think the cannabinoid may help relieve the symptoms related to cancer and cancer treatment side effects, such as pain, nausea, and vomiting. In a study of 177 people who were experiencing cancer-related pain, and finding no relief from pain medication, the effects of CBD and THC were examined. The group that was given both THC and CBD experienced a massive reduction in pain compared to the group that only received THC. 

Researchers also believe CBD has the potential for reducing chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting. CBD and THC were given to 16 people in a recent study, and researchers found that the combination — in addition to traditional treatment for the side effects of chemo — reduced both nausea and vomiting more than the conventional treatment alone. 

While CBD has not been proven to treat cancer, some animal studies show that it may have anticancer properties. One study found that CBD causes cell death in human breast cancer cells, and a study on mice indicates that CBD blocks the spread of breast cancer cells. 

CBD for Acne

Acne is a common skin condition that affects a significant percentage of the population. It might be caused by genetics, bacteria, hormone imbalances, inflammation, and an overproduction of oil (sebum). However, research suggests that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to reduce the production of sebum, making it a possible remedy for acne. 

CBD for Chronic Pain

Scientists think CBD might help reduce chronic pain because of its anti-inflammatory properties. 

In a study on rats, researchers discovered that CBD injections reduce pain at surgical incisions. Another study found that oral CBD helps reduce sciatic pain and inflammation. Even more interesting, studies indicate that a combination of THC and CBD are effective solutions for arthritis and multiple sclerosis pain. 

CBG for Energy

While the evidence for CBG and energy is anecdotal, it is still exciting. At Kat’s Naturals, we have found that our CBG product, Metabolize, improves focus and clarity.

Additionally, we’ve noticed that it improves energy levels in a similar fashion to caffeine but without the jitters.

CBG for Digestion

In a study on mice, researchers sought to determine the efficacy of CBG for colitis. When the scientists produced colitis in the mice, they found that CBG can reduce the effects of colitis, and could, therefore, be a therapeutic option for gut disorders, such as IBD. 

CBG for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that affects many people today. It is also characterized by epidermal keratinocyte hyper-proliferation. However, in a study that examined cannabinoids, researchers discovered that the nutrients — one being CBG — inhibited keratinocyte growth.  


MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a resilient, drug-resistant family of bacteria. A research team from McMaster University discovered that CBG is both antibacterial and effective in treating mice with MRSA. The researchers found that CBG stopped the bacteria from forming biofilms, which are groups of microorganisms that attach to each other and to surfaces. CBG also destroyed biofilms that were already formed, as well as cells that were resistant to antibiotics. 

Given the amount of research on CBD and CBG, it makes sense that consumers are curious about the compound. But when people decide to try either CBD or CBG for their therapeutic properties, they need to consider one thing: dosage. 

CBD vs. CBG Dosage

For both cannabinoids, the best dosage depends on the person. 

With regards to CBD, the average individual may only require 10 to 20 milligrams of CBD per day. However, people battling serious health conditions might use up to 120 milligrams of the cannabinoid. 

With CBG, on the other hand, finding the best dosage might require a bit more testing since there’s still so much to learn about the nutrient. Two people at Kat’s Naturals, one of whom was the founder, tried CBG for the first time. They both took 14 milligrams after hearing it was a good starting point. 

For one team member, 14 milligrams made him feel great, and he has slowly been increasing his dosage from there. However, for the founder of Kat’s Naturals, 14 milligrams was too much and led to shortness of breath and other unpleasant symptoms. When she tried CBG again, she decreased her dosage to seven milligrams and found that five to seven milligrams work best for her. 

Ultimately, dosage mostly depends on an individual’s body and tolerance. But how much is too much? What are the side effects of CBD vs. CBG?

Side Effects of CBD vs. CBG

When people start using CBD, they may try to keep increasing their dosage. However, the body can only absorb so much CBD before it dumps the cannabinoid out of its system. Additionally, taking too much CBD can lead to adverse side effects, and the symptoms can vary from person to person. Some users might feel nauseous or get a headache. Others might feel sleepy or very alert and struggle to fall asleep. 

More research needs to be done on the side effects of CBG, but currently, the team at Kat’s Naturals has found that taking too much of the compound has similar effects to drinking too much coffee. A consumer may feel jittery and experience a racing heart. However, as with coffee, over time, people may build up a tolerance and stop feeling those effects. 

But this overall uncertainty is one reason why it’s crucial to increase doses of CBD and CBG slowly so that the body has time to adjust. 

CBD vs. CBG: Similar, But Different

CBD and CBG have a few similarities, especially in how they interact with the endocannabinoid system in the body. However, the two compounds can have very different effects on consumers. The most important thing for people to consider when it comes to CBD vs. CBG is the reason they are using the cannabinoids and how the nutrients interact with their bodies. Equipped with all of the information in this article, individuals should have an easier time discerning why they want to use CBD and CBG and understanding what they’re putting into their endocannabinoid system.  

Want to find organic products with CBD and CBG? Check out Kat’s Naturals’ sublinguals, edibles, and topicals to find a therapeutic remedy for you!

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