There are over 110 identified cannabinoids in the marijuana plant. Until recently, most of the focus centered on THC and CBD. The former, technically called delta-9-THC, is best-known for its intoxicating effects. CBD, or cannabidiol, is associated with potential therapeutic effects without causing a ‘high.’
However, several lesser-known cannabinoids are finally garnering attention, mainly based on exciting scientific research followed by an increase in marketing. CBN and CBG are two such compounds, and this article looks at the effects and benefits of both before offering a brief comparison to CBD.
What is CBN?
CBN, or cannabinol, is the cannabinoid created when THC degrades. You will typically find it in higher quantities in older marijuana. Although it comes from THC, you shouldn’t expect CBN to provide similar euphoric effects. Robert Sidney Conn, a British chemist, may have discovered it in 1930, although Adams and Todd established CBN’s structure about a decade later.
THC is produced in large quantities in marijuana, and there are also cannabis strains such as Charlotte’s Web specifically designed to have high levels of CBD. You will also find an abundance of CBD in hemp.
In contrast, there is limited CBN in marijuana or hemp since it is only produced when the plant ages. However, a growing number of manufacturers have developed extraction processes designed to speed up CBN’s natural oxidation process. Such companies also purify the cannabinoid to provide a high-quality CBN isolate for sellers.
What Does CBN Do?
Like THC, CBN can stimulate the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). However, it doesn’t provide the same potent effects as THC and is more closely aligned with CBD.
CBN is relatively new in the wellness world and we’re still exploring what exactly it can do for health and wellbeing. However, there is a lot of interest surrounding how the cannabinoid may help relax the body and mind. As such, it may improve sleep quality and help us get a better night’s rest.
Interestingly, users report that a combination of CBN and THC may be more effective at promoting relaxation than CBN alone. Furthermore, there’s a possibility that using CBN with melatonin together can go a long way in promoting better sleep.
Other possible benefits of CBN include:
- Help user’s relax
- Improve focus
- Help manage inflammation
What is CBG?
CBG, or cannabigerol, is the precursor to other cannabinoids. Indeed, its acidic form, CBG-A, is sometimes called ‘the mother of all cannabinoids.’ CBG-A breaks down to form THCA, CBDA, and CBCA, the three main cannabinoid lines.
Specific enzymes in the marijuana plant break the CBGA down and move it toward one of the main lines. These acids become THC, CBD, and CBC when exposed to UV light. In most cannabis strains, CBGA is quickly converted into CBDA or THCA. Strains with high percentages of THC have low levels of CBD and CBG.
As there is little CBG available in hemp or marijuana plants, breeders are experimenting with cross-breeding to create strains with higher levels of CBG.
When creating CBG products, manufacturers implement a chromatography process using CO2 or ethanol as solvents to extract the cannabinoid. Hemp or marijuana is dissolved in the liquid solvent during this process, which draws out the compounds. Next, the manufacturer evaporates the solution with heat beneath a vacuum to remove the solvent and leave nothing but high-quality CBG behind.
What Does CBG Do?
Like many other cannabinoids, CBG interacts with the CB receptors in the ECS. Doing so helps regulate functions such as appetite, pain, blood pressure, and inflammation. As such, it is associated with a host of potential medical benefits.
As is the case with CBN, there is still much investigating to do on the therapeutic effects of CBG. That said, many users report a sense of alertness and focus after using the cannabinoid.
Additionally, CBG may help support a normal inflammatory response, thereby aiding in pain management. Here are a few other reasons people might buy CBG products:
- Support a normal stress response
- Promote a healthy appetite
- Alleviate mental and physical discomfort
CBD vs. CBG vs. CBN
There’s a possibility that CBD, CBG, and CBN provide similar benefits. Although CBN comes from degraded THC, it is unlikely to alter one’s mindset, whereas the other two certainly won’t. Therefore, you can use all three safely in the knowledge that you will remain clear-headed.
Both CBN and CBG bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS, although CBG functions as a competitive agonist for CB1 receptors. In contrast, CBD has minimal binding affinity for either type of receptor, though it can antagonize them in the presence of THC.
In terms of legality, none of the trio are federally legal substances. You are best served using them only when extracted from industrial hemp with a maximum THC content of 0.3%. You can only use cannabinoids extracted from marijuana in states where the plant is recreationally legal or if you live in a state with a medical marijuana program, and have an MMJ card.
There is significantly more CBD in hemp and marijuana strains than either CBG or CBN. Therefore, you can expect CBG and CBN products to be more expensive and harder to find.
Finally, there is far more research into CBD than either of the other two cannabinoids. This doesn’t mean that CBN and CBG are ineffective. Indeed, the available research suggests that both have potential therapeutic promise. However, thousands of studies point out the benefits of CBD on humans.
Final Thoughts on CBN vs. CBG
There is no clear winner in the CBN vs. CBG debate. CBG is generally used to promote focus and alterness and may have merit as an analgesic due to its anti-inflammatory effects. CBN also aids in the fight against excessive inflammation but is generally used for its calming properties. However, you can also try it for appetite stimulation.
Those who prefer CBD products point to the greater body of evidence in its favor. Yet it is worth considering CBG and CBN products, or even items that combine the two. Another option is to buy products that combine CBN and CBD or CBG and CBD. Ultimately, you won’t know what works best for your specific needs until you experiment with different cannabinoids.