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CBD, CBN, & CBG: Understanding the Differences

Written By Andy Papilion Jul 20th 2022

With CBD available just about everywhere, adults of all ages are embracing hemp-derived products for relaxation, better sleep, relief after physical activity, and more. If you've been comparing your options, you might be tempted to grab the first reasonably priced tincture or topical you find at your local department store, vape shop, or pharmacy. If so, you could be severely limiting your options.

At CBDistillery®, you'll find an impressive selection of hemp-derived CBD products enhanced with just the right amount of CBG and CBN. Once you know how these intriguing minor cannabinoids contribute to the overall potency of hemp-derived CBD, their individual benefits, and their differences, it's easy to see why so many CBD users are fine-tuning their CBD experience with these popular cannabinoids.

What Is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of more than 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids in cannabis plants, active plant elements that function as lipid-based neurotransmitters.1 Anyone interested in adding the health and wellness potential of this bioactive plant component to their daily routine can choose between two possible sources, marijuana and hemp. As long as you're using hemp-derived CBD, there's minimal risk of intoxication because hemp plants produce only trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), 0.3% (by dry weight), or less.  

What Are the Benefits of CBD?

CBD mimics the effects of two similar substances produced as needed in your body, the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG. These essential neurotransmitters function as the messengers of the largest regulatory system in your body, your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Supporting ECS function with CBD helps restore essential balance (homeostasis) when stress, illness, or injury creates a demand for ECS messengers that exceeds the available supply.

What is CBG?

CBG (cannabigerol) is often called the "stem cell," "parent," or "mother" of all cannabinoids because it's the first of many to develop in the plant. As crops mature, natural plant enzymes, heat, and sunlight convert the acidic form of CBG (cannabigerolic acid) to CBD, THC, CBG, and CBC (cannabichromene). As the CBD concentrations of a plant increase, its CBG levels decline. By the time mature hemp crops are harvested, the overall CBG concentration is reduced to about 1% (or less).3

What Are the Benefits of CBG?

The potential benefits of CBG and CBD are quite similar. However, slight differences in their composition and molecular structure give CBG an "advantage" CBD doesn't have, the ability to bind with your ECS receptors. That binding ability makes several effects of CBG considerably more potent than CBDs. In a recent study conducted by CBDistillery, participants reported a significant difference in reduction of mild/temporary anxiety when they started using a 500mg CBG + 500mg CBD tincture. Feeling stress lately? A CBG product might be a great option for you to try.

What Is CBN?

Like CBG, CBN (cannabinol) is one of hemp's many minor cannabinoids, another active plant element typically found in only trace amounts. Identified long before CBD, researchers initially believed CBN was the cannabinoid responsible for the type of intoxication marijuana is known for. Although the theory was proven false once researchers identified and isolated THC, we now know that CBN is essentially a byproduct of THC degradation. Although its "parent" cannabinoid (THC) causes intoxication, CBN does not.

What Are the Benefits of CBN?

In a 2021 research study conducted by CBDistillery, 72% of participants said our CBN Sleep Synergy Tincture performed better than any other sleep aid and 81% said they achieved more quality sleep. Many people consider the cannabinoid's slightly sedating effect its most important contribution, a potential benefit achieved through its ability to bind with the same receptors in the brain as THC (CB1 receptors). Based on what the research shows so far, the soothing effect of CBN helps promote relaxation and improve sleep duration.5,6

How are CBD, CBN, and CBG Different?

There are many similarities between CBD, CBN, and CBG. All three cannabinoids interact with the ECS receptors throughout your body and brain, have a compelling list of potential benefits, and contribute to the overall effect of full spectrum (and broad spectrum) hemp-derived products. Together, they contribute to an "entourage" effect, a benefit unique to cannabis often used to explain the potency-maximizing effects of their synergistic relationship.7

Although CBD, CBN, and CBG have a lot in common, they have different molecular structures. That distinction gives each cannabinoid the ability to interact with the same chemical receptors in different ways. For example, CBD and CBG have opposite effects on your serotonin (5-HT1A) receptors. CBD activates your serotonin receptors, CBG blocks that activation.8

Similarly, CBN and CBG bind with your ECS receptors (CB1 and CB2), while CBD asserts indirect interaction through multiple pathways.9 Although most CBD users report favorable results while using full spectrum, broad spectrum, and pure CBD isolate products to support ECS function, you may want to consider fine-tuning your CBD experience if you could benefit from the potency-maximizing potential of CBG or CBN for rest and relaxation.

Are You Ready to Experience the Benefits of Synergy?

At CBDistillery®, we're keeping up with evolving consumer interests and exceeding expectations by offering hemp-derived CBD products featuring enhanced concentrations of several minor cannabinoids and a variety of functional supplements. If you're ready to experience some of the many potential benefits of full spectrum CBD enhanced with higher concentrations of CBN or CBG, two of the plant's most impressive minor cannabinoids, visit CBDistillery® to browse our Synergy Collection.

Every product in the Synergy Collection by CBDistillery® is formulated to marry the symbiotic power of CBD with functional ingredients. You can shop with confidence knowing that CBDistillery® products are third-party tested, US Hemp Authority® certified, and backed by a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. If you're not quite sure where to start, we invite you to take our CBD Product Quiz or schedule a Personal Consultation.

Sources:

1. Hemp Connoisseur. N Davies. (2018 January 08) The Endocannabinoid System.

3. CNBS. D Harris. (2022) What is CBG (Cannabigerol)?

4. CFAH. N Julia. (2022 February 25) What Is CBG? Uses Benefits and Effects.

5. Steep Hill. (2017 October 31) Cannabinol (CBN): A Sleeping Synergy.

6. The Sleep Doctor. M Breus. (2018 October 03) Is CBN the Next Big Thing in Cannabis Therapy for Sleep, Mood, and Health?

7. CNBS. D Harris. (2022) The Entourage Effect: The Science of Combining Cannabinoids.

8. CFAH. L Ashton. (2022 April 29) What Are the Differences Between CBG and CBD.

9. Frontiers in Pharmacology. K Walsh et al. (2021 November 29) Minor Cannabinoids: Biosynthesis, Molecular Pharmacology and Potential Therapeutic Uses.