JUL 02, 2020 7:36 AM PDT

What is the Difference Between CBD and CBG?

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Like cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG) is a cannabinoid. Both compounds are found in cannabis plants. Both are also non-intoxicating, meaning they won’t make you high. So what’s the difference between CBD and CBG? 

CBG is the precursor for other cannabinoids. When heated, CBG-A, the acidic form of CBG, breaks down. It doesn’t only form CBG, though. It also forms CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabichromene (CBC). 

While there is comparably a lot of research available on CBD, research on CBG is far more limited. We nevertheless know how the two interact differently in the body. 

While CBD has a relatively low affinity for cannabinoid receptors and interacts mostly with the endocannabinoid system on an indirect basis, CBG is thought to interact directly with the brain’s CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. 

As such, preliminary research suggests that the compound may be useful in treating multiple conditions. According to a 2013 study conducted on mice, the compound may be able to reduce inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease. Another study in 2014 found that it may even be able to reduce growth rates of cancer cells and other tumors in rats with colon cancer. 

Meanwhile, other research has found that the substance may also be useful in treating glaucoma, bladder dysfunctions, Huntington’s Disease, and bacterial infections.

Despite its therapeutic potential, difficulty in producing large quantities of the substance has both hampered further research into it and its commercialization. 

“It takes thousands of pounds of biomass to create small amounts of CBG isolate,” says James Rowland, CEO of the Colorado CBG brand Steve’s Goods. 

“That’s because most hemp only contains minute percentages of CBG, whereas there are now hemp strains that contain 20 percent CBD in the crop. If the CBG content of the same crop is only 1 percent, that means you need to extract 20 times the amount of biomass to get the same amount of CBG out.”

Although a promising compound, due to limited research on its longterm effects, and how it interacts with other medications, experts recommend caution when using the product until further research is available. 

 

Sources: Healthline, SFGateAnalytical CannabisForbes, Ministry of Hemp

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
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