How well do you know your cannabinoids? There’s no doubt you’re familiar with CBD, or cannabidiol. With the rapid rise of CBD and the extensive coverage of its natural wellness properties, you’ve likely even tried it for yourself. But did you know that CBD is just one of many cannabinoids that are presently identified in the cannabis plant?
While CBD is clearly the most popular of cannabinoids, there are others you’ll want to be acquainted with if you’re interested in maximizing your experience with hemp oil supplements. Two such cannabinoids that deserve your attention are CBN, or cannabinol, and CBG, short for cannabigerol.
While CBN and CBG are lesser-known cannabinoids not present in as large quantities as CBD, research findings and anecdotal evidence suggest they too have some exciting natural health benefits that make them worth learning about.
Have you ever wondered– what’s the difference between CBN, CBG, and CBD?
Then you’re in the right place! In this article, we will provide an overview of each of these three cannabinoids — CBN, CBG, and CBD — while comparing their benefits and exploring how each can support you and your everyday wellness.
Cannabinoids – What are they?
Cannabinoids are a type of active chemical compound that are naturally found throughout cannabis plants, including hemp. Of the more than 480 different compounds present in the plant, it’s cannabinoids that are largely responsible for the various natural effects that cannabis has on the body.
These different cannabinoids, also often referred to as phytocannabinoids because they’re derived from plants, share a similar molecular structure to the cannabinoids your body makes on its own, called endocannabinoids, and are therefore able to interact with one of your body’s major systems– the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.
Cannabinoids positively influence your body’s endocannabinoid system, a regulatory network that is responsible for regulating a long list of body processes, including mood, immune system function, metabolism, anxiety, pain response, sleep, and more. They exert their effects by interacting with the endocannabinoid’s cannabinoid receptors, present on the surface of cells throughout your central nervous system, immune system, and more.
The two main types of cannabinoid receptors in the body are CB1 (cannabinoid receptor 1) and CB2 (cannabinoid receptor 2). Through interactions with these cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoids are able to alter the release of neurotransmitters to send signals that are aimed at keeping the body and its functions balanced.
The effects of cannabinoids depend on the area of cannabinoid receptors that are involved. For example, interactions with receptors within the mesolimbic system of the brain may alter reward response and have analgesic (pain relief) effects. Action on receptors within the immune system may influence an anti-inflammatory response.
Scientists have so far identified more than 110 such cannabinoids in the cannabis sativa plant and in the plant’s full-spectrum and broad-spectrum oils. CBD, CBN, and CBG are simply three of those that are among the most well-known and studied.
Despite the similarity in their abbreviations, CBD, CBN, and CBG each interact with cannabinoid receptors and thus influence the endocannabinoid system in unique ways. If you find yourself confused, not to worry! We’ll break down how they differ from each other, and explain how those differences present you with some opportunities to support your own health.
What is CBN?
First up is CBN, or cannabinol. CBN is known as the “sleepy cannabinoid” because it can help promote more restful nights.
While CBN is not at all intoxicating and won’t cause any likeness of euphoric-type effects of THC, it’s light sedative properties make it a great choice to use at nighttime to ease into a good night’s sleep and then wake up energized. In fact, researchers have found evidence that using 5 milligrams of CBN compares in its relaxing effects as 5-10 milligrams of Valium (diazepam).
CBN was first identified by scientists in 1940. Since then, researchers have learned that CBN has a direct effect on cannabinoid receptor sites. CBN interacts with CB1 receptors to promote sedation and relaxation. It also directly interacts with CB2 receptors to encourage more optimal immune system function. CBN also seems to have some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, suggesting it could play a neuroprotective role.
This “lock-and-key” interaction that CBN has with CB1 and CB2 receptors means that nutrients and information are more directly transferred into the cell, which explains why many notice that CBN “affects them” more than most other cannabinoids. What this means is that you may notice a particular sensation after taking CBN, unlike when using cannabinoids that don’t have such a direct interaction with receptors.
If CBN and it’s sleep aid benefits interest you, you can dive into our full exploration of CBN. Otherwise, keep reading to find out how CBN differs from CBG and CBD.
What is CBG?
CBG, short for cannabigerol, has several nicknames. It’s been called the “Rolls Royce of cannabis,” the “stem cell cannabinoid” and even the “mother of all cannabinoids.” While it’s been historically ignored for more popular cannabinoids like CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), new research has unveiled it too has unique benefits that deserve to be recognized.
CBG products are rare because it’s a compound that’s challenging to extract from the plant. Thankfully, new exciting research findings have sparked a race among cannabinoid firms to discover ways to extract CBG more efficiently.
Researchers first identified CBG in 1964. CBG is the non-acidic form of CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) and it’s the very first cannabinoid that cannabis plants produce during maturation. As the plant matures, enzymes convert CBG to other acidic cannabinoids, including CBDA, THCA, and CBNA, before converting over time to CBD, THC, CBN, and the rest.
Like CBN, CBG has a direct “lock-and-key” effect upon cannabinoids receptors, particularly CB1 receptors. It appears that CBG’s influence on the endocannabinoid system enhances the expression of Serotonin, the “feel good hormone.” It’s why CBG has been tagged as a potential mood enhancer, among other beneficial effects. CBG also shows promise in treating glaucoma, because of the way its influence on cannabinoid receptors reduces intraocular pressure.
CBG is also non-intoxicating, meaning it can be used as an everyday supplement without having to worry about any unwanted psychoactive effects.
Keep reading to learn how CBG is unique to CBN and CBD, or get to know CBG even better by reading our full breakdown on CBG and how it could likely be the next big trend for cannabis wellness.
What is CBD?
While CBD, or cannabidiol, doesn’t have a particular nickname like CBN and CBG, it’s among the most widely understood and researched of all cannabinoids. First identified by researchers in 1940, CBD is widely used by people across the world to promote overall balance in the body and support wellness.
Unlike CBN and CBG, CBD does not directly latch onto cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it’s considered an “allosteric modulator,” and it attaches to the cell’s ligand, where it has a powerful but indirect effect of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. It too is non-psychoactive and is free of intoxicating effects.
So while it’s likely you won’t feel any direct effects of taking CBD, supporting the endocannabinoid system with regular servings of CBD can have excellent long term health and wellness benefits. CBD has shown to have some exciting natural effects, both in scientific research and anecdotal evidence. For one, CBD has demonstrated anticonvulsant properties, suggesting it could be beneficial for managing epilepsy. In fact, a drug version of CBD, known as Epidiolex, was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of rare forms of epilepsy. Additionally, botanical CBD has also shown to influence vanilloid pain receptors (TRPV1 – TRPV8), making it potentially beneficial for those with chronic pain.
CBD, the non-acidic form of CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), is found most abundantly in the hemp plant, although it can also be sourced from marijuana. The two cannabis plants are of the same plant family, but there are distinct differences between hemp & CBD vs marijuana.
CBN vs CBG vs CBD – how to use them?
As you can see, CBN, CBG and CBD each have their own particular benefits that can help make you feel and function better every day. What sets them apart is which cannabinoid receptors they interact with, and how they interact with them.
It’s not that one of the cannabinoids is better than the other. Each plays an important role in assisting your body’s endocannabinoid system to operate even more efficiently, so that it’s better able to keep your body balanced and your array of functions performing optimally. Even if you’re healthy and feeling good, these cannabinoids and their positive impact on your endocannabinoid system can lead to long-term health and wellness benefits, without any adverse side effects.
So which should you add to your everyday wellness routine? You don’t have to pick just one! In fact, taking them together may even maximize the benefits they provide you.
There’s evidence indicating that cannabis compounds, when taken together, can actually enhance their natural effects. This “entourage effect” describes the synergistic effect that cannabinoids and other active components have when they’re used together.
How you incorporate the three cannabinoids into your day is up to you. For example, in the morning you may want to take with a serving of CBD tincture to help ensure you’re level and on balance as you start your day. Then, a serving of CBG in the afternoon could help uplift your spirits as the day progresses. Finally, in the evening before bedtime, you may use a serving of CBN to help encourage healthier sleeping cycles.
The demand for all three cannabinoids is quickly expanding as more people become familiar with their natural wellness benefits and uses. As a result, more and more companies across the globe are offering CBD-, CBN-, and CBG-dominant cannabis products. So, regardless of whether you decide to use just one of the cannabinoids or all three, it’s important that you keep a few things in mind to ensure only high-quality CBN, CBG, and CBD products get to your home.
First, only buy tinctures, gummies, capsules, and other cannabinoid products from manufacturers that utilize third-party quality and safety testing. These independent laboratories will check to make sure that products contain an accurate concentration of cannabinoids, and ensure that they are free from mold, mildew, fungus, yeast, E. Coli, Salmonella, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and residual solvents. CBN, CBG, and CBD products are only helpful to your body when they’re safe and reliable, so select a company that has in place rigorous quality control standards.
You’ll also want to avoid companies who partake in making irresponsible medical claims about their CBN, CBG, and CBD products. It’s also a good idea to choose manufacturers who are members of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA).
Final thoughts on CBN & CBG & CBD
A lot of focus has been placed on CBD and THC in recent years, but it is clear that cannabis can be a source for many more cannabinoids that also have a lot of potential and benefits. Today, you’ve learned about two such cannabinoids, CBN (cannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol), and how they’re unique to CBD (cannabidiol).
A daily wellness routine consisting of CBD, used to support overall balance and wellness, can be enhanced by also incorporating the “mother cannabinoid” CBG for better mood, and the “sleepy cannabinoid CBN” for more restful sleep. Now that CBG and CBN can be grown in sufficient proportions within different variants of hemp to be used for wellness purposes, it’s only a matter of time before researchers learn even more about these wonderful cannabis compounds.
There’s still so much to learn about cannabis. With roughly 480 different active compounds — from cannabinoids to terpenes to flavonoids and more — the plant holds so much potential for our wellbeing and health. Perhaps next to garner attention is the powerful, non-psychoactive cannabinoid known as CBC (cannabichromene), which is reported to promote neurogenesis and have antidepressant effects when used with other cannabinoids. In short, researchers have yet to discover the entirety of the plant’s therapeutic benefits, and it’s exciting to consider the future of hemp and its role in supporting our health.
We believe hemp is a human right and aim to move the conversation forward about hemp.