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CBD or CBG: 5 Things That Help You to Understand It Better

Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) are two of the most popular naturally-occurring phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant. But while cannabidiol enjoys more widespread popularity than cannabigerol, CBG plays the most crucial role in the natural development of cannabinoids. 

CBG is often termed ‘the mother of all cannabinoids’ or ‘the parent cannabinoid.’ That’s because the compound is the primary precursor to all other cannabinoids. Note that all marijuana’s over 100 cannabinoids will exist as cannabigerol at some point in their developmental stage. 

In this post, we narrow down our focus to cannabidiol and cannabigerol by highlighting five crucial aspects of these cannabinoids. 

Top 5 Things to Understand About CBD and CBG

Both cannabidiol and cannabigerol offer immense benefits. But before choosing either product, you’d do well to understand the core differences between them. The following section sheds more light on that.


The first difference between CBG and CBD is with regards to their origin. Both cannabidiol and cannabigerol come from the cannabis plant. However, these compounds exist in their respective acids before being transformed to either CBD or CBG. 

Cannabidiol comes from cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), whereas cannabigerol comes from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). As the cannabis plant undergoes average growth and development, cannabidiolic acid changes to cannabidiol while cannabigerolic acid changes to cannabigerol. 

The conversion of CBDA to CBD or CBGA to CBG may also be expedited by exposing the acids to a specific temperature, air, and light conditions. This process is known as carboxylation and is usually the first step when preparing cannabis-based products from freshly-harvested extracts from the plant. Decarboxylation helps activate CBDA and CBGA to their more potent constituents – CBD and CBG. 

However, note that you don’t need to decarboxylate cannabinoid acids to enjoy the medical and recreational benefits of the resultant compounds. Although less potent than CBD or CBG, CBDA and CBGA can still deliver several health benefits. 

Molecular Structure

Cannabidiol and cannabigerol have different chemical structures and compositions. CBD has a molecular formula of C21H30O2, with a molar mass of 314.47 grams/moles. Cannabigerol has a molecular formula of C21H32O2 and a molar mass of 316.48 grams/moles. 

Some cannabinoids, such as the primary psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), exist in isomers. However, there’s little research pointing to any CBD or CBG isomers.

Pharmacological Applications

Both cannabidiol and cannabigerol can offer several health benefits. Cannabidiol is mainly associated with pain relief. The compound mitigates pain by affecting the performance of the endocannabinoid receptors involved in pain signaling. 

CBD may also help treat various inflammatory disorders, such as acne and arthritis. The compound mainly fights inflammation by blocking the activation of inflammatory markers like cytokines. 

Anxiety is another medical condition that cannabidiol might help treat. When consumed, CBD increases serotonin signaling. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness. Some studies also indicate that cannabidiol might inhibit cortisol, the principal stress hormone. This mechanism could also go a long way in keeping anxiety at bay. 

The following are some additional medical conditions that CBD might treat;

  • Neurological problems like epileptic seizures
  • Sleep disorders like insomnia and REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD)
  • Sexual performance issues like erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Metabolic disorders like diabetes
  • Skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis

On the other hand, cannabigerol is mainly prescribed for inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The compound combats inflammation in the same manner as CBD – preventing the activation of inflammatory markers. 

CBG has also demonstrated a potential for treating glaucoma. That’s due to its ability to reduce intraocular pressure. 

People battling bladder diseases may also benefit from incorporating cannabigerol-infused products into their lifestyle. A 2015 study found that CBG could treat bladder dysfunctions more effectively than other cannabinoids. 

Here are a few other medical conditions that you can treat using cannabigerol;

  • Neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s disease
  • Appetite loss
  • Bacterial infections, particularly those caused by the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria

Psychoactive Abilities

Both cannabidiol and cannabigerol have no psychoactive abilities. In other words, these compounds won’t get you high. Marijuana’s psychotropic properties mainly come from tetrahydrocannabinol. Perhaps your next question is – why will THC get me high while neither CBD nor CBG will? 

All cannabinoids affect the body via the endocannabinoid system. But the difference lies in the specific receptors these compounds interact with. 

Non-psychoactive cannabinoids generally interact with receptors located further from the brain, known as CB2 receptors. That explains why these compounds won’t trigger euphoria. On the flip side, psychoactive cannabinoids like THC activate receptors expressed around the brain and central nervous system (CNS). In the process, these compounds can induce a host of psychedelic properties, such as hallucinations and euphoria.


The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp-derived cannabidiol federally legal in the United States. However, such products will need to contain a maximum THC concentration of 0.3%. 

Note that tetrahydrocannabinol (and, by extension, the potential for suffering psychedelic effects) appears to be the biggest hindrance to cannabis legalization. Therefore, it’s logical to infer that CBG is equally legal. That’s because, like CBD, CBG doesn’t cause intoxication. However, be sure to check your local marijuana laws. Cannabis regulators are generally outspoken about CBD and THC but silent on the other cannabinoids.

Final Words

Cannabidiol and cannabigerol are similar in several ways. But these compounds also have legitimate differences. Choosing one cannabinoid over the other depends primarily on your desired effect and the compound’s legality in your jurisdiction.

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