By now, most people have experienced or at least heard of CBD. We see it everywhere, from anti-inflammatory topicals to delightful gummies. We’re adding it to our morning coffees, baking it in our cookies and cakes, including it in our salad dressings; even our cats and dogs are getting in on the CBD act.
But what if we were to tell you that another three little letters are coming up on the rails and beginning to steal the CBD thunder? CBG, or cannabigerol, is entering the scene and commanding attention. Now consumers are beginning to ask, what’s the deal… is there any difference between the two and is one better than the other?
So in this article, we’re going to take a look and try to understand if there’s any difference between CBD and CBG.
Table of Contents
Firstly, what Is CBG?
To understand what CBG is, you need to know where it comes from and how it develops. Cannabinoids exist in an acidic state when in living plants and start as CBGa before they break down into THCa, CBDa, CBCa. Eventually, when exposed to heat or ultraviolet light, these acidic forms turn into what we know as THC, CBD and CBC.
While they are maturing, hemp and cannabis plants are full of cannabigerolic acid or CBGa. As a result, CBGa is like a plant version of a caterpillar that over time emerges into a butterfly; this is because within the plant, CBGa transforms into various acidic cannabinoids: cannabidiolic acid or CBDa, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid or THCa, and so on. It’s for this reason that CBG is known as the “mother cannabinoid.”
Because CBGa converts into all these other cannabinoids, fully mature plants only contain relatively small concentrations of CBGa. Typically mature hemp plants consist of only about 1 per cent CBG as opposed to 20 per cent CBD. For this reason, CBG isn’t as widely known or as readily abundant as the more familiar CBD. Despite it not being so well known as CBD, CBG is beginning to get more and more attention primarily because of the unique health and wellness benefits it might offer us.
What do we know so far about CBG?
Much of the significant difference in CBD vs CBG boils down to the amount of research we have at our disposal. But what we know so far is promising. We know, for example, that CBG and CBD parallel in many ways, but each is thought to possess nuanced characters. Likewise, we know both cannabinoids are non-intoxicating; plus, unlike THC, they both interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a recently-discovered cell-signalling system located throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. It’s made up of endocannabinoids, receptors the cannabinoids stick to, and enzymes that divide the cannabinoids down to elicit a bodily reaction.
Similar to how a cup of strong caffeinated coffee helps boosts your focus or how an overly sweet cookie can create a happy feeling in the brain, each endocannabinoid delivers its individual response in the ECS.
Though it is not fully understood, research does suggest that the ECS plays a role in regulating sleep, mood, memory, appetite and reproduction. Both CBD and CBG interact with the receptors CB1 and CB2 and are thought to be anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and can help balance mood and anxiety. However, CBG and CBD do have slightly different molecular structures, resulting in different behaviour when taken.
Is there a cost difference between CBD and CBG?
Yes. Probably, the most apparent difference consumers will notice between CBD and CBG is the price tag. The reason for this is because, in the hemp industry, raw plant material is used to extract CBD together with all other cannabinoids, and as mentioned, earlier while CBD is the most abundant hemp compound, of around 20 per cent of the plant’s total composition CBG delivers less than 1 per cent.
As a result, producers require almost 20 times more biomass to extract the same amount of CBG as a typical CBD yield. Hence, CBG tends to be significantly higher in cost than CBD because of this process and the increased production time.
Is CBG better than CBD?
So now you know there are various similarities between CBD and CBG, you might still be thinking, is it worth the additional cost?
At this moment, the jury is still out on the overall CBD vs CBG debate. But what we do know about the difference in CBG is very promising. We know, for example, that CBG offers potential uses that differ slightly from CBD, as found in research on cannabinoids and Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Glaucoma. Furthermore, available studies on those who have experimented with the ‘mother cannabinoid’ have reported positive benefits.
So, if you’re looking for an alternative to CBD for any number of reasons, then it’s got to be worth experiencing CBG to see what it can do for you.