cbg vs cbd

CBG vs CBD: 6 Key Differences (Benefits, Effects & FAQs)

Cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidiol (CBD) are easy to confuse. 

But not because their names are similar. 

Then why?

Both CBG and CBD are naturally-occurring cannabinoids — aka phytocannabinoids.
They are also non-intoxicating and can reduce your stress and anxiety. 

So what’s the difference between CBG and CBD?

We’ll break down all the CBG vs CBD differences — their health benefits, chemical structure, side effects, and more. 

Also Check Out:

  • Explore the 7 key differences between CBD and THC in detail. 

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CBG vs CBD: Here is the Low-Down

Use this chart to understand CBG vs CBD in under a minute:

Extracted from CBG is extracted from young cannabis plants (hemp or cannabis) CBD is extracted from the stalks, leaves, and flowers of hemp plants. 
  • Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) becomes CBG during plant growth. 
  • CBG has 21 carbon atoms, 32 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. 
  • CBG interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) by binding with the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptor to increase dopamine levels.
  • CBGA breaks down to cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which then becomes CBD during plant growth. 
  • CBD has 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms.
  • CBD doesn’t bind as strongly to your CB1 or CB2 receptor. Instead, CBD may prevent endocannabinoids from breaking down.
How they make you feel  CBG is a non intoxicating cannabinoid that makes you feel energized, focused, and alert. CBD is a non intoxicating cannabinoid with a subtle psychoactive effect. It makes users feel relaxed, calm, and balanced.
Health benefits  

CBG can:

  • Promote a healthy appetite 
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improve eye health 
  • Reduce inflammation

CBD can:

  • Provide anxiety and stress relief
  • Relieve joint and muscle pain
  • Ease sleep disorder
Potential side effects
(at high doses) 
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness 
  • Anxiety 
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
Legality   Legal in UK and US Legal in UK and US 

Difference #1: What Are They?

A. What is CBG? 

First discovered in 1964, cannabigerol (CBG) is a minor cannabinoid (present in smaller amounts) in cannabis and hemp plants. 

It’s usually extracted from young cannabis or hemp plants, which contain more CBG than mature plants. 

Now you’re probably thinking: why do mature cannabis plants have low CBG levels?

The short answer:

  • Young cannabis plants produce cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) — the raw, acidic form of CBG. 
  • As the plant grows, CBGA breaks down into other chemical compounds. Consequently, the amount of CBG in the plant reduces.   

So it’s harder to extract CBG (if any) from fully developed cannabis or hemp plants.  

Fun Fact: Did you know CBGA is called the “mother cannabinoid”? 

Most common cannabinoids, including CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), are derived from cannabigerolic acid.

B. What is CBD? 

First discovered in the 1940s, CBD is a major cannabis compound (present in larger amounts) in hemp and cannabis plants.  

Putting it into perspective: 

Most cannabis or hemp plants contain about 1% CBG compared to 20-25% CBD

What’s more?

CBD is commonly extracted from hemp plants, as they have a lower THC concentration (usually less than 0.2%).

Side Note: Cannabis plants have many varieties — sativa, indica, ruderalis, etc. Hemp is a sativa plant with a low THC concentration. 

Difference #2: Chemical Structure 

CBG and CBD have different molecular structures, giving them different properties. 

The CBG cannabis compound comprises: 

  • 21 carbon atoms
  • 32 hydrogen atoms
  • 2 oxygen atoms

The CBD cannabis compound contains: 

  • 21 carbon atoms
  • 30 hydrogen atoms
  • 2 oxygen atoms

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Difference #3: How Do They Make You Feel? 

Both CBG and CBD have psychoactive properties since they influence your mood, thoughts, and other mental functions.  

Wait, are they psychoactive like THC?

Unlike THC, CBG and CBD do NOT have an intoxicating effect — they won’t make you feel “high.” 


A. Effects of CBG on the Body

Usually, CBG can make you feel invigorated.


Our body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates our appetite, sleep, mood, and other bodily functions. 

CBG binds to the CB1 receptor (directly affecting your nerve cells) and CB2 cannabinoid receptors (responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects) in the endocannabinoid system. 

As this minor cannabinoid binds strongly to both receptors, you feel more focused and energised.   

B. Effects of CBD on the Body

CBD has a grounding and calming effect. 

Users who take CBD products report less mind-chatter, anxiety, and relief from physical pain.


CBD doesn’t interact with your endocannabinoid system the same way CBG does. 

What’s the difference?

Research is still ongoing, but preliminary studies suggest CBD doesn’t bind strongly with the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2). 

Instead, it prevents your body’s molecules (endocannabinoids) from breaking down — resulting in calming effects.   

Read More: Want to know even more about the effects of CBD? Learn How CBD Oil Makes You Feel.

Difference #4: Health Benefits 

Some therapeutic benefits you can expect from CBG and CBD include: 

A. Benefits of CBG

Research on CBG is limited, but studies show it has immense therapeutic potential: 

  • Stimulates healthy appetite: Animal studies indicate CBG can increase appetite by stimulating hunger and preventing intestinal pain. 
  • Reduced stress and anxiety: CBG is one of the many cannabinoids with potent relaxation effects.
  • Eases inflammation: CBG’s anti inflammatory properties could help treat conditions like inflammatory bowel disease. 
  • Bladder dysfunctions: Thanks to its antibacterial qualities, CBG has shown promising results in treating bladder dysfunctions.
  • Promotes eye health: CBG may help regulate eye pressure, which helps treat conditions like glaucoma. 
  • Combats Huntington’s disease: CBG could slow down the progressive breakdown of brain nerve cells caused by Huntington’s Disease. 

B. Benefits of CBD:

Here are some of CBD’s potential benefits: 

Difference #5: Potential Side Effects 

Here’s the deal:

Both CBD and CBG are generally safe to use. 

But they can cause unwanted side effects when taken in extremely high dosages. 

A. CBG Side Effects

Here are some side effects of CBG when taken in high doses

  • Dizziness 
  • Dry mouth
  • Anxiety 
  • Nausea 

B. CBD Side Effects 

CBD may cause these side effects when taken in hefty doses (more than 100mg/day):

  • Fatigue 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth 

Bottom line: Find your optimal dosage before using a CBG or CBD product. 

Difference #6: Legality 

Is it legal to buy and use CBG and CBD in the UK? 


CBG and CBD are completely legal in the UK, as long as the products do NOT contain any THC. 

Psst… THC is prohibited for sale and use in the UK under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1992.

What about the USA?

The FDA legalized both CBD and CBG in 2018. However, these products must contain less than 0.3% THC.  

Read More: In the UK, CBD is legal, but CBD flower is not. Find out why CBD flower products are illegal in the UK.

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CBG vs CBD: Product Types 

Some commonly available  CBD and CBG products include:  

  • Topicals: CBD and CBG topicals can be applied directly on the skin. These include CBG and CBD creams, balms, and lotions. 
  • Oils: CBD or CBG oils come in dropper/spray forms. You can take the oil under your tongue or add it to edibles and drinks. 
  • Tinctures: A CBG or CBD tincture also comes with a dropper. But unlike oils, these products contain cannabinoid extract in an alcohol-based solvent.  
  • Edibles: The most common CBD and CBG edibles include gummies, drinks, and chocolates.

But wait… we aren’t done yet. 

Do you know about the different types of CBD or CBG?

Manufacturers use one of these types while making CBG or CBD products:

  • Isolate: A CBD or CBG isolate is a pure cannabinoid extract — no other cannabinoids, terpenes (aromatic compounds), or other cannabis plant material. 
  • Broad spectrum: A broad spectrum CBD or CBG product contains other cannabinoids and plant compounds — but no THC. 
  • Full spectrum: A full spectrum CBD or CBG product typically contains multiple cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant, including THC.  
Important: To be sold legally in the UK, a CBD, CBG, or hemp product should be 100% THC-free (THC is the cannabinoid with the intoxicating effect).

CBG vs CBD: Best Products to Try

Here are some of our favourite CBD and CBG products:

A. 3 High-Quality CBD Products 

B. 3 Great CBG Products 

7 FAQs About CBG and CBD

Some commonly asked questions about CBG and CBD are:

1. How Much CBG or CBD Should I Take?

Various factors determine the perfect dosage for you, including: 

  • Amount of CBD or CBG in the product
  • Body weight
  • Metabolism 

GreenBox recommends: 

If you’re new to CBG and CBD treatment, start on a low dosage (20-25mg/day) and work your way up. 

2. Can CBG or CBD Get You High?


Both CBD and CBG are non intoxicating cannabinoids — although they have subtle psychoactive properties. 

3. What does CBGA Turn into? 

The CBGA molecules are the first acidic cannabinoids formed in young cannabis plants. 

They then break down into other cannabinoids, including: 

  • Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)
  • Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA)
  • Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA)

4. What are Some Other Popular Cannabinoids?

Apart from CBD, THC, and CBG, there are many different cannabinoids:

  • Cannabichromene (CBC): CBC is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid with anti inflammatory effects. 
  • Cannabinol (CBN): CBN has sedative properties that could help combat insomnia. 
  • Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC): HHC is a lesser-known cannabinoid that may help with anxiety and inflammation. 
  • Cannabidivarin (CBDV): CBDV is a minor cannabinoid with anti-nausea effects. 

5. Can I Take CBG and CBD Together? 


Taking CBG and CBD together may give you the entourage effect (the combined effect of cannabis compounds). This can amplify their overall benefits.

You can either:

6. Why Are CBG Products So Scarce?

Here’s why:

  • Scarcity: CBG is found in much smaller quantities in hemp, making it scarce and expensive to extract. It takes thousands of pounds of biomass to produce small amounts of CBG isolate! 
  • Popularity: Most people don’t know about CBG. So manufacturers prefer producing CBD products as they are more popular.  
  • Production costs: CBG is one of the costliest cannabinoids to produce with many dubbing it the “Rolls Royce of cannabinoids.” The extraction method is much more complicated than the extraction of CBD, which adds up to the cost.

7. How to Choose a Safe and Legal CBD/CBG Product? 

Follow these tips while buying CBD or CBG products:

  • Tip 1: Ensure the product comes with a certificate of analysis. This document details third-party lab results regarding THC and other harmful ingredients. 
  • Tip 2: Buy from high-quality brands like Love Hemp, CBDfx, Vitality CBD, etc. 
  • Tip 3: Avoid full spectrum products as they contain trace amounts of THC and are illegal in the UK and other countries. 

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CBG vs CBD: The Final Verdict 

CBG and CBD are two similar, yet different cannabis plant compounds. 

Now that you know the differences, similarities, and therapeutic effects of CBG and CBD, choose the product that works best for you.

Looking for the best CBD products?

Head to GreenBox! Shop CBD products, including CBD oils, topicals, and gummies from trusted brands in the UK.