CBN vs CBD vs CBG: What REALLY is the difference?
So you’ve recently discovered the amazing products of gummies, tinctures, and maybe a salve or ointment on cannabis’s rockstar compound – CBD. But let me tell you, there is a whole world of equally beneficial compounds other than CBD.
Hemp, a variety of cannabis and a plant mostly used as the source for the commercial utilization of CBD, THC, and more, houses over 100 compounds that share an almost similar set of properties with CBD. Although the similarities strike these other minor cannabinoids as slight copies of CBD, they have their own unique set of effects CBD might not have in its arsenal.
Some products smartly take advantage of the so-called entourage effect which happens when CBD, in combination with other compounds and vice versa, synergizes together creating a full-bodied, magnified effect. We’ll learn more about this as you read on.
In this article, get to know more about CBD, and minor compounds – CBG, and CBN, their differences from one another, and what happens when the trio is combined. But before we dive in, let’s do a quick rehash on their compound classification – cannabinoids.
What Are Cannabinoids?
First discovered by Israeli researchers in the 1950s, cannabinoids are compounds present in the flowers, specifically contained in the resinous glands of the cannabis plant (hemp and marijuana).
Scientists define cannabinoids as the compounds responsible for eliciting the effects felt when one consumes cannabis in any form (through smoking, tincture-form, topical, etc.). Each cannabinoid yields unique sets of benefits but they can also work synergistically together when combined.
To date, researchers have uncovered at least 110 cannabinoids in cannabis. Science aims to isolate more unknown cannabinoids as cannabis’s molecular structure starts to get unraveled.
Two of the most well-known cannabinoids today are CBD and THC. CBD is touted for its therapeutic potential while THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is known for causing the high you experience in consuming cannabis products.
What is CBD?
CBD, in short for cannabidiol, has revolutionized the way people used to look at cannabis. CBD challenged the stigma that cannabis is only for recreational use. Currently, CBD has a huge library of scientific research dedicated to uncovering CBD’s therapeutic potential in different medical conditions.
In fact, on June 25, 2018, the FDA (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved a CBD-based drug called Epidiolex for two of the most difficult spectrums of Epilepsy in pediatric cases.
What is CBG?
CBG or cannabigerol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. It’s dubbed as the mother compound from which CBD and THC came through a metabolic reaction happening inside the cannabis plant.
CBG is also believed to quicken the effects of other cannabinoids, which makes it an ideal supplemental cannabinoid if one wants to achieve an entourage effect.
The majority of cannabis strains have little CBG of only around 1%. Though little in concentration, CBG isn’t less valuable compared to major cannabinoids like CBD.
Through CBG’s interaction with the human endocannabinoid system (particularly to CB1 and CB2 receptors) and its modulating act of the GABA uptake in the brain, CBG helps support some of the crucial physiological processes of the body like sleep. On top of that, CBG has been mentioned in several novel research such as colon carcinogenesis, intraocular pressure, and more.
What is CBN?
CBN which stands for cannabinol is another cannabinoid borne out of THC’s degradation. When THC is exposed to oxygen, heat, or when a cannabis plant ages, CBN naturally gets synthesized. Although CBN is derived from THC, CBN is significantly less psychoactive.
CBN’s influence on the endocannabinoid system is less extensive compared to CBG and CBN but CBN’s collection of research documentation on sleep is at par with that of CBD’s.
Studies suggest CBN prolongs sleep time among animal subjects.
CBN has also been investigated for its role in bone tissue regeneration.
Research implies that CBN supports the activation of stem cells, an action needed for bone growth.
CBN vs CBD vs CBG: What’s the Difference?
CBD, CBN, and CBG might be co-existing within the same plant but they have slightly varying effects. For example, CBD is popularly touted for its versatile effects which may change according to the formulation used (whether in isolated, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum extract type), your body’s unique chemistry, what the product was meant for, and more.
- One application CBD is fiercely associated with is adjunctive pain management practices.
- CBD has also been extensively studied in the neuropsychiatric field.
On the other hand, CBG and CBN are known for their role in supporting relaxation sessions as purported by studies and anecdotal evidence.
Reports on CBN hailed for its supporting role in sleep garnered impressive positive comments compared to reports from people who have consumed CBD hoping to achieve sedation.
Combination Effects of CBD & CBN
CBD and CBN together are interesting. Science sees both of them as good adjuncts for a good night’s rest but has quickly learned that CBN is slightly psychoactive while CBD in its pure form is not.
So you can just imagine how the mixture will turn out: CBN flutters you to a dream world while CBD pulls the effects slightly down, balancing everything out.
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Combination Effects of CBD + CBG & CBN
So far, there is no scientific body of work investigating the combinatory effects between CBD + CBG & CBN. The most decent discussion on this is from blogs and anecdotal reports of people who have tried consuming products that offer a 3-in-1 cannabinoid combination.
One of the most explored topics on combinatory cannabinoids is the theory of the entourage effect. Simply put, the entourage effect describes a phenomenon where the combination of cannabinoids works best compared to only one cannabinoid exerting its influence on the human body.
One of the ways of trying the entourage effect for yourself is by consuming cannabis products labeled “full-spectrum” and “broad-spectrum.” Full-spectrum products use a formulation where the full cannabinoid profile of the plant is preserved. Broad-spectrum extract types contain most of cannabis’s cannabinoid profile too but with the absence of THC.
For those who are worried about the inclusion of THC in the formulation, THC as mandated by the 2018 Farm Bill cannot go beyond 0.3% in the total cannabinoid concentrations of cannabis products. Thus, expect legally-produced cannabis products to not cause significant bouts of psychoactive effects if they weren’t designed to elicit such effects.
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CBD, CBG, and CBN: Final Thoughts
Cannabis is a complex plant that has over 400 compounds naturally-occurring on its flowers, stalks, leaves, and even roots. 100 of these compounds are believed to have a huge therapeutic potential thanks to research uncovering each one of them every day.
Most of the spotlight shines on CBD. However, there is scientific evidence that minor cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN deserve our attention too.
CBD, CBG, and CBN offer their own unique set of benefits and when combined, might yield an even greater experience. This is because each contributes to helping the body process cannabinoids more efficiently. It’s also the reason why full-spectrum and broad-spectrum tagged products are seen as superior and more marketable nowadays.
Understanding how each cannabinoid works and knowing how their combinations affect you as a consumer brings you one step closer to being one hell-of-a-wise cannabis shopper.
“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”