What’s the Difference Between CBN and CBG?

CBN vs. CBG product

CBN is best for pain, inflammation, and neuroprotection, while CBG is best for anxiety and stress. CBG is possibly better than CBN for sleep since CBN’s sleep benefits are overstated and not verified through modern science. However, recent research suggests CBN might be an effective appetite stimulator.

CBN vs CBG: The main differences

CBN and CBG are chemical compounds produced in cannabis plants. CBN is produced from oxidized THC and is commonly found in aged cannabis plants. CBG is produced from CBGA and occurs in both young and mature cannabis plants. CBG and CBN do not cause a euphoric high but do have some unique effects and benefits when consumed separately and together. 

CBNCBG
Good for appetite stimulation, arthritisGood for anxiety, eye health, combating glaucoma
Also good for pain and inflammationAlso good for pain and inflammation
Doesn’t get you highDoesn’t get you high
Produced from oxidized THCProduced from CBGA
Similar molecular structure to THCSimilar molecular structure to CBG and CBC
  • CBN and CBG have different molecular structures. CBN has a similar molecular structure to THC, while CBG has a molecular structure similar to CBD and CBC.
  • Both CBN and CBG directly interact with your cannabinoid receptors. CBN more so than CBG (CBN has a quarter the strength of THC at CB1).
  • CBN and CBG separately and together are best for pain and inflammation.
  • However, CBN on its own is uniquely beneficial for appetite stimulation and arthritis, while CBG is especially good for eye health, combating glaucoma, and anxiety (with CBD).
  • Hemp-derived CBG and CBN is federally legal in all 50 US states and protected under the 2018 Farm Bill.

What is CBN good for?

CBN oil product
CBN oil spray. Photo courtesy: Rare Cannabinoid Company

Cannabinol (CBN) is a mysterious cannabinoid and not much data exists on what it’s good for. However, limited preclinical studies and anecdotal evidence suggests CBN might be good for several health and wellness benefits, either alone or in synergy with other cannabinoids and terpenes. Some health and wellness benefits CBN could be good for include:

  • Appetite stimulation (with THC, great for eating disorders)
  • Pain relief and inflammation, particularly for arthritis (with CBG, CBD, THC, and delta-8)
  • Neuroprotection 
  • Sleep and insomnia (scientific data is lacking)

What is CBG good for?

CBG flower product
CBG-rich hemp flower. Photo: Zola Costa/Oracle

Cannabigerol (CBG) is good for various health and wellness benefits, especially when paired with other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBC, delta-8, THC, and terpenes. CBD might also be good when combined with CBN as well, though not much data exists on how they could complement each other. Some health benefits CBG might be good for include:

  • Anti-anxiety and anti-stress (with CBD)
  • Pain relief and inflammation (with CBD, CBN, THC, and delta-8)
  • Relief from sleep problems and insomnia (with THC and delta-8)
  • Relief from eye problems and glaucoma 
  • Tumor growth reduction 

Is CBN stronger than CBG? Does it get you high?

The strength of CBN compared to CBG is unknown. We know that CBN is roughly one-tenth to one-quarter the strength of THC when binding to cannabinoid receptors, meaning it won’t induce a noticeable euphoric high. CBG won’t cause a euphoric high either. 

CBN vs CBG for sleep

Neither CBN nor CBG is particularly great for sleep on its own. While CBN is often touted as a sleep-inducing sedative, this theory is based on old research papers with very little recent scientific verification. CBN might work well as a sleep aid if combined with THC and sleep-promoting terpenes such as myrcene, pinene, and linalool. CBG is also said to be good for sleep but only when paired with other cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. 

CBN vs CBG for anxiety

CBG is better than CBN for anxiety and anxiety-related symptoms, especially when consumed with CBD. No studies on CBN’s anti-anxiety capabilities exist. 

CBG and CBD possess potent anti-anxiety and stress-relieving benefits. CBG and CBD act as GABA reuptake inhibitors, which means they boost GABA levels in your body. GABA is a special neurotransmitter released in your brain and central nervous system, resulting in potent anti-anxiety and anti-stress properties. 

CBN vs CBG for pain and inflammation

CBN and CBG might be effective pain relievers and anti-inflammatories when taken separately or together. 

CBN in combination with CBD targets TRPV-2 receptors acting as agonists (activators). Activation of TRPV-2 releases CGRP proteins, which are beneficial neurotransmitters responsible for pain relief and modulating pain perception. These effects are dependent on CB1 receptors. 

Is CBN produced in the same way as CBG?

No, CBN is not produced in the same way as CBG.

CBN is a degraded form of THCA when exposed to light and oxygen over long periods. This is why percentages of CBN are at their highest in aged landrace cannabis strains. A landrace cannabis strain is a variety of cannabis left to grow in its natural environment without human interference or genetic manipulation. 

CBG, on the other hand, is synthesized from its acidic precursor CBDA via heat and natural cannabis enzymes. It naturally occurs in both young and mature cannabis plants. The percentage of GBGA and CBG in young cannabis plants is roughly 5% (combined), while mature cannabis plants carry up to 1%. 

Can you take CBN and CBG together? What are the effects?

Yes, you can safely take CBN and CBG together. Many hemp-derived oils and capsule products are combining the power of CBN and CBG. When consumed, CBN + CBG products might enhance or balance out each other’s anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, or pain-relieving effects. 

Conclusion: Is CBN better than CBG?

CBN isn’t better than CBG, per se, and neither is CBG better than CBN. What it comes down to is what you want to use either of them for. 

CBG is a fantastic cannabinoid for several health and wellness benefits and really shines as an alternative anti-anxiety treatment when combined with CBN and CBD. CBN, on the other hand, could be a great addition to your health and wellness regime, especially when taken with CBG, CBD and other cannabinoids for pain and inflammation. 

If you’re interested in taking CBD and CBG together, there are many hemp-derived products out there blending the two together in oil or capsule form. It might be best altogether to take a good quality, Full-Spectrum CBD product that has these cannabinoids + CBD and Terpenes in them.