CBG or CBD: which is best?
Unless you’ve been living underground for the last few years, you’ve probably heard of CBD! Derived from hemp plants, this chemical compound has become one of the most popular wellness ingredients on the market. Now, it’s facing competition from a lesser-known cannabinoid called CBG, but which one is best? In this article, we’ll explain the differences between CBD and CBG so you can decide.
What are CBD and CBG?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) are both chemical compounds called cannabinoids. They’re found in plants from the cannabis family, like hemp and marijuana, along with lots of other cannabinoids and phytochemicals.
CBG is actually a precursor to CBD. Young plants produce lots of CBG, which is then broken down and turned into CBD and other cannabinoids like THC (the chemical responsible for getting you high when you smoke cannabis).
CBG and CBD products are both made by extracting oil from the hemp plant. CBD products are made from more mature hemp plants, in which most of the CBG has been converted to CBD and other chemicals. CBG products, on the other hand, are usually made from younger plants with higher CBG content.
How do they work?
When you use a product made from the hemp plant, like CBD oil or CBG oil, you also ingest the cannabinoids it contains. They then act on a system in your body called the endocannabinoid system, or the ECS.
The ECS was only discovered in the 1990s, but scientists quickly released that it’s one of the most important systems in the body. It’s involved in everything from appetite, mood and sleep, to fertility, immunity and metabolism, making sure everything stays in a constant state of balance.
It does this with its own cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids, which travel around the body and attach to receptors when something needs to be done. Plant cannabinoids like CBD and CBG have a very similar chemical make-up to our own endocannabinoids, so they can affect the ECS in a similar way. This is where CBG and CBD differ.
CBG attaches to both types of receptor, CB1 and CB2, which are found all over the body and in the brain and nervous system. It also stops your body from breaking down one of your own endocannabinoids called anandamide. Nicknamed “the bliss molecule”, anandamide is heavily involved in pleasure, motivation, mood and lots of other things. CBG helps to prolong its effects.
CBD we’re not so sure about. Researchers know that it doesn’t bind to endocannabinoid receptors like CBG and THC do. They also know that it affects other receptors that aren’t involved in the ECS. Scientists’ best guess so far is that it interacts with the receptors and/or enzymes in some way. Regardless, we do know that it has lots of benefits.
What are the benefits of CBD?
Since the ECS was only recently discovered, there’s still a lot we don’t know about how CBD affects it. That said, there’s some evidence that it might help with pain-related conditions like sciatica, arthritis, neuropathy, muscle spasms and chronic pain. It’s also been found to relieve inflammatory pain and reduce pain perception.
CBD is also reported to help with anxiety. The US National Institute on Drug Abuse says that it reduces signs of anxiety and stress, while a scientific review found that CBD reduced anxiety symptoms in a number of clinical anxiety disorders. This study and this study both found that CBD relaxed the areas of the brain responsible for emotional processing, helping to relieve anxiety and, in one study, improve sleep.
By reducing anxiety, researchers think that CBD can indirectly help with related conditions like insomnia, depression and low libido. Remember though – this is all early research so we can’t promise you’ll experience the same benefits from taking CBD.
What are the benefits of CBG?
Believe it or not, CBD is very well-researched compared to CBG! However, early research suggests that it could have similar painkilling effects, reducing inflammation associated with conditions like vasculitis, periodontitis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis. This is possibly thanks to its enhancing effect on anandamide, which can help to ease inflammation and regulate pain perception.
By preventing your body from getting rid of anandamide, CBG is also thought to prolong its positive effects on mood. In one study, scientists found that the world’s happiest populations all had a genetic mutation that lowered their levels of the enzyme that breaks down anandamide. Because of this, researchers are investigating whether CBG can help with problems like anxiety and depression.
Other benefits of CBG might include protecting against neurodegenerative diseases like Huntingdon’s, treating the vision disorder glaucoma, and even limiting tumour growth. (You can read more about these benefits and the evidence in our article The Benefits of CBG.)
So which is best?
In terms of health and wellness benefits, it seems that both CBD and CBG could help with pain and mood. We can’t tell you this for sure though, so it’s best to do your own research into the benefits and decide if they’re right for your specific needs and goals.
- Scientific support
Speaking of research, you’ll find that there’s a lot more out there about CBD than CBG. This isn’t necessarily a reflection on which one is best. It’s just that CBD has been known for longer and there’s lots more interest. However, if scientific backing is important to you, you’ll probably prefer CBD, at least for now.
CBG tends to be more expensive than CBD. That’s because in a mature hemp plant, most of the CBG has been turned into CBD and other cannabinoids. There’s about 20-25% CBD, compared to only 1% CBG, so you need to harvest much more hemp to make CBG oil, for example, than you would for the same quantity of CBD oil. CBG is also a bit harder to extract. As hemp farmers cultivate strains with more CBG, expect the price to go down, but for now it’s still the costlier option.
CBD has been around a bit longer as a wellness product, so you can find anything from oils and creams to teas and toothpastes. CBG, on the other hand, is hard to track down in anything but oil form. If you prefer oil, though, this won’t be a problem for you!
Both CBD and CBG are safe for the majority of people and we’re not aware of any major side effects or adverse reactions. Both can affect how your body processes medications though, leaving you with too much or too little in your system. If you’re taking medication, or if you have a pre-existing condition, check with your doctor before using either.
If you’re on a tighter budget or you’re looking for something other than an oil, CBD is probably the better option for you. However, if neither of these are a factor for you, we think both CBD and CBG are equally great. There’s a little more scientific support for CBD, but we’re confident that CBG is going to catch up as it becomes more popular. Ultimately, it comes down to what benefits you’re hoping to gain. As always, do your research to find out which one best suits your particular needs and goals.
Where can I buy CBD and CBG?
Visit our online store now to check out our range of CBD products and CBG oil.