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Cannabis has been in the spotlight for a while now, and doesn’t seem likely to get out of it anytime soon. As we understand it more and more, we also understand the cannabinoids that make it up. For a long time, the most popular of those cannabinoids have been THC and CBD, which have had quite a good run of attention. However, other cannabinoids, lesser known but no less important, are beginning to enthrall both researchers and end users. One of these is CBG.

There have been a lot of pre-clinical studies of CBG, most of which suggest that it does indeed share most of the benefits that CBD isolate provides. Both of them are not intoxicating, and both have massive benefits, such as analgesic, neuroprotective, and anti-oxidative properties. When used together, they may prove to be a potent treatment for neuroinflammation, thanks to their combined anti-inflammatory properties.

As you can see, the potential synergy between these two compounds seems rather endless. But what more is there to know? In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into CBG and CBD, detailing their similarities, differences, and anything else that might matter about them.

What is CBG & CBG Isolate?

CBG, or cannabigerol, is one of the cannabinoids contained in cannabis. As it stands, there are over 120 of them, so there will be no shortage of new cannabinoids to grip the interest of researchers going forward. For now, however, CBG is the new hot thing. This ‘new’ hot thing was actually discovered in 1964, so researchers have known about it for quite a while. The research is still clinical, but considering all the findings of studies so far, there is a lot of therapeutic promise in this product.

CBG has formidable analgesic powers, which are more than likely to be stronger than those of THC, minus the intoxication. There is also a lot of promising evidence that CBG may have antibacterial, antidepressant, and anticancer properties.

The chemical precursor of the famous cannabinoids is cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA. As a cannabis plant grows and matures, enzymes in the system convert that chemical precursor into the three main cannabinoid acids: cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA).

CBGA is also turned into CBG, through a process known as decarboxylation. Once it has been turned into CBG, the cannabinoid can finally react with the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies. There has been plenty of research around this phenomenon, and it seems to suggest that CBG has an affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body. It may also be able to interact with receptors that control sensations such as heat sensitivity, inflammation, and pain.

What is CBD?

CBD seems to be all the buzz at the moment when it comes to wellness products. If you live somewhere where it is legal, it might feel like it’s gone absolutely viral. It used to be something you heard about occasionally. Now it’s everywhere. There are CBD facials in spas, CBD lattes in coffee shops, and beauty companies are looking to infuse CBD in their products in all sorts of ways, from lotions to creams. There are even CBD gummies for those suffering from arthritis!

So what’s the deal with CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it is one of the 120+ cannabinoids that are found in marijuana (type II THC/CBD dominant) and hemp (type III CBD dominant) plants.

Scientists have known about CBD for a long time. It was first isolated from cannabis sometime in the 1930s. Given the general hostile attitude toward cannabis at the time, however, not much research was sanctioned and it was neglected for a long time. As fate would have it, scientists took an interest in the substance again in the 1970s, and ignited research into it based on its reported ability to fight convulsions in epilepsy patients.

As mentioned earlier, CBD is naturally occurring in the flowers of the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant has a long history of medical use that stretches back to before Jesus. Today, CBD is being widely tested and its medical properties being confirmed all around the globe. Not only does it have great medical properties, but it is also non-addictive.

It’s important to mention here that CBD is related to another cannabinoid: tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is by far the most famous cannabinoid, as it is the one responsible for the famous high caused by marijuana. Together, THC and CBD are the most studied cannabinoids.

Both of these chemicals have powerful therapeutic benefits. The difference is that CBD does not intoxicate a person or get them ‘stoned’ like THC. The main reason for this is that the two interact with different receptors in the body and brain, and therefore act in different ways.

In fact, not only does CBD not intoxicate like THC, but it also neutralizes, or at least lessens, the effects of THC on our brains, depending on how much of each of those chemicals you consume. Many people actually want this. They want to reap all of the benefits of cannabis without having to go through the high, or at least without getting too high.

The mere fact that CBD is not intoxicating and is easy to take, even as an oil, makes it a very great option for treating various conditions for those who aren’t too eager to try marijuana.

Since the spate of research flared in the 1970s, CBD has been found to offer treatment for various conditions, including the most severe forms of epilepsy. It has also been found to have anti-nausea, sedative, anti-anxiety, and analgesic properties, among others.

In the past few years, CBD has gone viral, pretty much hogging the spotlight for itself due to all the benefits it has. As mentioned above, not only does it offer the benefits of THC, but also mitigates many of THC’s adverse effects, such as impaired cognitive function, paranoia, and anxiety. There has been plenty of research surrounding the combined use of the two, and much of it suggests that using THC and CBD together, so long as the proportions are right, can give even more powerful benefits than if you used either of them on its own. This effect is known as the “entourage” effect.

CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in your body, moving through many bodily pathways. It binds with many receptors in the endocannabinoid system, though it has a special affinity for the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The truth is, despite the vast body of research on CBD, the full extent of how it interacts with the body is not entirely understood.

So what are the differences between CBD and CBG?

While the two certainly share many similarities, as outlined above, they also have several significant differences. Below are some of the most prominent.

They have different molecular structures

CBG and CBD are very different at the molecular level. Since all cannabinoids are made of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, when we talk about molecular structure we are referring to the way those atoms are arranged at the molecular level.

Since CBD and CBG have different arrangements of atoms, and therefore molecular structures, they have very different 3D shapes. That means that they don’t bind with the receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system in the same way. In fact, they largely don’t bind on the same receptors. As a result, they act on the body in very different ways.

Another consequence of having a particular molecular structure is that it can affect how soluble a cannabinoid is in water, which can in turn affect how easily it is absorbed into the body. The ease with which a substance is absorbed into the body is known as its bioavailability.

They have different pharmacology

Let’s investigate the receptor story a little more closely. Remember we said that, due to their different molecular structures, they interact with receptors in the endocannabinoid system differently. Even when they do interact with the same receptors, they activate them in very different ways.

Studies have been conducted on how the CBD and CBG molecules interact with the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, and what their effects on it are. It has been found that CBD has a high affinity for this receptor, which may be the main reason for CBD’s anti-nausea effects. In technical terms, we say that CBD is an agonist, or activator, of the 5HT1A receptor.

CBG behaves very differently when it interacts with the 5-HT1A receptor. Rather than have an affinity for 5-TH1A, it blocks it. In technical terms we say it is an antagonist, or blocker, or 5HT1A.

The research showed that when you take CBG before CBD, it blocked CBD’s anti-nausea effects. This was interesting. While the two cannabinoids act on the same receptor, they clearly have different effects on it. As a result, they may have different pharmacological effects in some instances.

They affect our appetites in different ways

Another major difference between CBG and CBD is in the way they affect our appetite. Again, a lot of interesting research has been done in this area (on rats, however, rather than humans). The research showed that giving rats small doses of CBG encouraged them to eat more than twice what they ate on a normal day. In yet another interesting study, the effects of CBG were the opposite, where it had no significant effect on the appetite of the test subject. However, in the same research, CBD was found to significantly inhibit the appetite and feeding behavior of the subjects.

What are the benefits of CBG?

Now that we know a little more about this interesting chemical, what are its benefits?

The unfortunate news, for now, is that there aren’t any clinical trials on CBG that have thoroughly gone into the details of how it affects human beings. However, there has been plenty of pre-clinical research, which has given us valuable insight into the potential therapeutic benefits this wonder chemical might have.

One thing’s for sure: CBG won’t intoxicate you or alter your psychological activity like THC. In that sense it’s very much like CBD. It goes beyond that, though. It also won’t affect your mood much, so it has no anti-depressant qualities like CBD (yet another significant difference). However, it may have many other unique benefits that may help with a wide variety of conditions. Take the information below with a grain of salt, however, as more research and more particularly clinical trials are needed to verify it.

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It might be great for stimulating the appetite

As already mentioned above, CBG isolate has been shown in pre-clinical research to have a significant enhancing effect on the appetites of rats. Studies have emphasized the importance of these results, showing that purified forms of this cannabinoid may prove to be an effective treatment for such conditions as wasting, appetite loss, and cachexia. THC also has the ability to increase our appetite and drive hunger. However, THC is intoxicating, and not everyone that wants to increase their appetite also wants to get high. CBG can help in this department, giving us the same benefits without any of the intoxicating effects.


CBG has been found to have anticancer effects due to its potent ability to inhibit the abnormal division and proliferation of body cells. There has been interesting research in this area, showing that CBG might have some potent anti-tumorigenic qualities when applied to mice. There it has been shown to inhibit the formation and proliferation of melanoma cells on the skin.

Bacterial infections

One of the most interesting benefits of CBG is that it has been found to be a very powerful antibiotic. It has been tested by researchers on different bacterial cultures, most importantly MRSA. In fact, researchers didn’t just test CBG on MRSA – they tested 18 cannabinoids, of which CBG was one. They found that CBG overwhelmingly outperformed all the other candidates used in the test. In fact, it worked just as well as vancomycin, a well known potent antibiotic.


Interest in CBG is steadily on the rise, and with that interest will come more curiosity from the research community. With that, we can expect to hear even more about this interesting cannabinoid and all the benefits it has to offer.

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