Whether you’ve been incorporating cannabis into your wellness routine for years or are just learning about the potential benefits of cannabis consumption, you might be wondering: what is the difference between CBD and CBG?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) are both cannabinoids, a type of naturally-occurring compound found in the cannabis plant.
Unlike the more popular and thoroughly studied tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD and CBG aren’t known for causing the euphoric effects typically associated with a cannabis “high.” Both compounds have purported wellness benefits and each brings its own unique contributions to the cannabis plant’s overall ability to support individual wellness.
Read on to learn more about the differences between CBD and CBG, as well as how each compound could play a role in meeting your wellness goals.
CBD is one of the most prominent compounds present in the cannabis plant, typically second only to THC. In cannabis products classified as hemp or as being derived from hemp, which must contain a THC level of less than 0.3% by dry weight, CBD is typically the dominant cannabinoid.
Fortunately for cannabis consumers looking to focus on CBD, hemp flower and hemp-derived compounds are legal in all 50 states (though some states are tightening restrictions). There is a significant national market for CBD-only products that seems to only have grown since the federal government legalized hemp-derived CBD in the Agricultural Improvement Act, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill.
The Food and Drug Administration is still working on how to properly regulate this massive market. In the meantime, the lack of regulation has led to some deviations in dose consistency across products and brands.
It’s important to ensure any CBD products you purchase come from a reputable source. We recommend either buying directly from a farm with a good reputation or exploring your options on Jointly Matches. Either way, you can have your CBD products shipped directly to you in the mail.
Proponents of CBD typically tout the compound’s ability to help consumers deal with anxiety, insomnia, and pain, and researchers have pointed out that some preliminary studies on animals and human self-reports suggest CBD might be effective in these use cases.
Interestingly, a 2019 review of available literature covering the medical use of CBD notes that the best wellness-related outcomes for CBD use are frequently tied to higher doses of the compound, adding that the compound has little potential for abuse.
This is certainly true when compared to another common measure for treating pain: opioid medications.
As one study examining how individuals with fibromyalgia have found success in substituting CBD for other pain medications states: “CBD does appear to have a favorable side effect profile compared to other medications and very little abuse potential.”
The authors do, however, call for further study of how CBD affects pain and the impact of long-term CBD use on humans.
There is more conclusive evidence supporting the use of CBD for several specific medical conditions, and the compound has made its way into the world of pharmaceutical medicine in the form of Epidiolex (used to prevent seizures from certain medical conditions) and Sativex (an oral spray containing CBD and THC that has shown promise for treating symptoms of multiple sclerosis).
Studies have also shown that CBD can serve as a sort of balancing compound when consumed alongside THC. Jointly user reports indicate that consuming THC and CBD together might offset some of the potential negative side effects of consuming THC on its own, such as red eyes, paranoia, and overconsumption symptoms.
CBG is a cannabinoid like CBD and was first isolated from cannabis in 1964, but researchers report that this relatively under-studied compound has only gained a prominent presence in certain cannabis plant phenotypes since the late 1980s.
What makes this compound especially unique is how it acts as a precursor to other cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, playing a significant role in their synthesis while the cannabis plant grows. For this reason, researchers state, CBG itself tends to be found in very low quantities in cannabis plants at harvest time.
Consumers seeking CBG products might be in even better luck in terms of regulatory freedom than those searching for CBD, attorney Vince Sliwowski suggests.
Unlike CBD, CBG hasn’t been studied and approved for any pharmaceutical medications. According to Sliwowski, this means the FDA (and the federal government at large) has even less oversight of CBG products relative to CBD products.
“This domestic legal framework, alongside the fact that CBG can be lawfully produced and extracted from hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill, seemingly gives CBG a viable legal runway,” he writes.
CBG products are widely available online in the form of hemp flower, gummies, tinctures, and many other consumables. Like with CBD, we recommend either buying directly from a farm with a good reputation or exploring your options on Jointly. Doing so ensures you’ll receive a product with an accurate dose label and high purity.
Like CBD, CBG isn’t credited with causing the psychoactive effects sometimes associated with cannabis consumption. Still, CBG has lots to offer for wellness-oriented cannabis consumers.
While noting that published studies of CBG remain somewhat limited in quantity, the authors of a 2021 literature review report state the compound has potential for treating neurological disorders (such as Huntington disease and multiple sclerosis) and inflammatory bowel disease, adding that CBG has demonstrated “antibacterial activity” as well.
In 2022, another research team led by legendary cannabis researcher Ethan B. Russo conducted a self-report survey examining what wellness concerns active users were consuming CBG to alleviate.
“The most common conditions the complete sample reported using CBG to treat were anxiety (51.2%), chronic pain (40.9%), depression (33.1%), and insomnia/disturbed sleep (30.7%),” Russo and his colleagues state.
“Furthermore, 73.9% claimed superiority of CBG-predominant cannabis over conventional medicines for chronic pain, 80% for depression, 73% for insomnia, and 78.3% for anxiety,” the researchers continue.
“Forty-four percent of CBG-predominant cannabis users reported no adverse events, with 16.5% noting dry mouth, 15% sleepiness, 11.8% increased appetite, and 8.7% dry eyes.”
Jointly is the cannabis discovery app that makes it easy to find and shop the best cannabis and CBD products for your goals. Your matches are calculated from the real product ratings and experiences from hundreds of thousands of people using the Jointly app.
With Jointly, you can shop your top-rated products, and save lists of your favorites to share and bring to your local dispensary to help guide your shopping experience.
The Jointly app also helps you improve your cannabis experiences by uncovering what’s working and what’s not with reflections and personalized insights. In fact, the quality of your diet, how much you slept, who you’re with, and the time of day are just some of the factors that can impact your cannabis experience.
So if you're ready to find your best products and enjoy your perfect cannabis experience, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website. Discovery awaits.