CBG vs CBD, What’s the Difference?

When it comes to CBG vs. CBD, it can be tough to distinguish between the two. Especially if you’re reading a product label, it might seem like they’re much the same thing. The truth is, both are cannabinoids, but their different properties mean they aren’t exactly alike. In the first two installments of our series on the chemistry of cannabis, CBDA Vs CBD: What Are the Differences? and THCA Vs THC: What Are the Differences?, it was explained how all of the cannabinoids present in cannabis are derived from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).

So which one should you choose, and when? It all depends. Consider CBG vs. CBD and the difference between the two here. 

CBD and Other Acronyms

You may already know about CBD and a bit about its chemical makeup. But did you know there are tons of other cannabis-related acronyms that also come up in the production of CBD gummies, tinctures, and other products?

Of course, not all of the cannabis-derived tinctures or edibles will get you high. 

CBD does not contain any THC, the substance that would make you high if you were to smoke marijuana. The hemp plant cannot make THC without the compound CBGA, also known as CBG. This means there cannot be THC in CBG or CBG oil tinctures, as it would not even be formed yet. 

Clearly, lots of misinformation exists about CBD, CBG, and other cannabis extracts. But these blends can have positive impacts on your health and lifestyle, and they’re worth learning more about. 

For starters, there are four strands of Cannabis. These include:

  • CBGA
  • THCA
  • CBDA
  • CBCA

There is no need to commit those to memory, though. The components are often transferred into the strains we know as THC, CBD, and CBG. These new acronyms can be a bit confusing, of course. But the good news is, CBD and CBG are more similar than you might have expected.

So, what is CBG, exactly? And what is the difference between CBD vs. CBG?

Keep reading to find out more.

What is CBG?

CBG is a cannabinoid called Cannabigerol. Because it is not usually present in large quantities, CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid. It is non-intoxicating. 

Because there is less than 1% of CBG in a fully grown hemp plant, it makes it much more difficult to extract from the plant (for obvious reasons). 

The way the compound breaks down is a bit complicated. Here’s a quick overview that’s a little easier to understand: 

  1. The compound starts as CBGA
  2. As the plant matures, this “mother cannabinoid” splits into three other strains: THCA CBDA CBCA
  3. The strains mature, and manufacturers extract them into THC, CBD, CBG, AND CBC. 

CBG attaches to the receptors in the endocannabinoid system, unlike CBD, which only connects to one. 

Because both are non-intoxicating, it makes them highly similar to one another. 

What is CBD?

CBD is a natural cannabinoid that producers extract from a hemp or marijuana plant. It is not like its cousin strand, THC, which is psychoactive. However, CBD is commonly used in marijuana products such as edibles or smokable marijuana to counteract the psychoactive nature of THC. 

The most common product you’ll find CBD in is oil. CBD oil comes from the hemp plant and is much easier to extract than CBG because of the large amounts of CBD in a hemp plant. 

CBD can be found in Hemp and Marijuana, though most people think that hemp oil may have CBD or CBG. Hemp oil actually does not have either CBD or CBG within it; it is simply extracted from a Hemp plant’s seeds, which makes it not connected to the compounds in the leaves. 

Many stores have popped up around the United States selling CBD products. These can come in forms like CBG/CBD oil tinctures, gummies, food, smoking products, and much more. If you want to try either CBG or CBD, you can’t go wrong with finding either a local provider or a trustworthy online retailer to buy your products from.

Main Differences

There are not many differences, in fact, between the compounds CBD vs. CBG. That’s because both compounds originate as CBG. Otherwise, there would be more of a difference in their chemical makeup. 

The main difference is that many people know what CBD is, while they may never have heard of CBG. Some people swear by CBD but are unaware there is another product just like CBD that may involve the same or similar benefits. 

Only CBG binds to both cannabinoid receptors, meaning it’s more powerful than CBD in many scenarios.

There is an abundance of CBD found in hemp, but because CBG is the first compound to be created with CBGA, less than 1% is left after the plant and compounds have fully matured. This process makes it much easier to extract CBD rather than CBG, so that is why CBD is more commonly known than CBD

Within the growing cycle of a hemp plant, CBG is the only compound present at the time of its growth and the only chemical within hemp that can convert into other cannabinoids. This factor is why it is not present in the mature plant as much––it has been converted to CBDA, THCA, AND CBCA. 

There is a lot more caution involved with taking CBG. This is not because it is inherently dangerous, but rather because researchers have not learned as much about this compound. It is not as well-understood as CBD. 

Some research, unfortunately, has shown negative consequences to CBG. Tests on lab rats showed a possibility of tumors or bowel inflammation after CBG use. However, these findings are preliminary and further study is needed to separate the facts.

CBG products on the shelves today are safe to use and must meet specific standards based on the formula and where it’s sold. Plus, many manufacturers use third-party testing to ensure the safety and potency of their CBG products. 

Benefits of CBD vs. CBG

Let’s break down CBD vs. CBG and their specific benefits. Keep in mind that as more research comes out, scientists may have even more insight on what these cannabinoids can do.


  • Utilized in pharmaceuticals like Epidiolex to treat seizures 
  • Attaches to the CB2 receptor, which reaches limbs, muscles, skin and even attaches to the immune system


  • Lowers psychoactive effects of THC on the body, helping a person to feel less “out of their head” and calmer
  • CBD and CBG can work together, as the two compounds will work together to affect the chemicals within your brain

Mixing the compounds may get you the most results, simply because there are more benefits when used together. With both CBG and CBD, both receptors are engaged, which means you may want to search for products that incorporate both. Or, you could choose separate products and take them concurrently.  

But neither chemical compound is psychoactive. They are both extracted from hemp and work with the endocannabinoid system. The benefits, as you have seen, are similar, yet slightly different. Yet you might choose one option over the other based on your specific health needs.

For example, using CBD in pharmaceutical-grade products may be beneficial for seizure conditions and other ailments. Who knew?

Final Thoughts: What’s the Difference?

With not much research done on CBG due to its small doses available within hemp plants, it’s tough to point to a long list of benefits just yet. But further study will likely reveal even more perks of incorporating CBG into your lifestyle. 

And the good news is that you can find CBG tinctures and a variety of other CBG and CBD products for purchase. No matter your motivation for turning to high-grade cannabis products, there’s an option that can meet your needs safely.