The Differences Between CBN vs. CBG

Want your mix energizing or sedating?

Most people are familiar with CBD or THC, but the so called minor cannabinoids should never be overlooked for their influence in the entourage effect. For example the second most common cannabinoid in cannabis sativa is cannabigerol (CBG), which is said to give a boost of energy against the stereotype of a sleepy experience after using cannabinoids. Another very common naturally occurring cannabinoid is cannabinol (CBN), which is said to be a sleeping aid and attributes to couch-lock and ultimately sleep. Are these marketing myths or is there some truth behind the claims? Hopefully this question will be answered in this article.

What is CBG?

CBG is one of the most commonly found naturally occurring cannabinoids and it is highly important for the plant. CBG is primarily found in the plant as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).

It is found in both hemp and marijuana in differing quantities often it is called the mother of cannabinoids. In the bio-chemical production by Cannabis sativa of both CBDA and THCA, their precursor CBGA is required. CBGA with heat or other catalysts will slowly lose the carboxylic acid and become CBG, this chemical reaction occurs quicker with exposure to sunlight or heat, which is called decarboxylation. So when you see on a potency test result done for cannabis flower you will typical see a majority of the acid cannabinoid present with smaller amounts of the decarboxylated cannabinoid. CBG occurs naturally in most varieties of cannabis sativa and is crucial for the plant to make CBD or THC as it matures.

What is CBN?

CBN is another minor cannabinoid commonly found to naturally occur but likely is not made by the plant intentionally. Interestingly enough CBN was the first cannabinoid to be identified and isolated from cannabis in 1899. CBN is naturally found as a result of chemical process that converts Cannabinolic acid (CBNA) or THC into CBN. Just as CBGA this process is called decarboxylation where CBNA is reduced to CBN. THC with similar catalyst over time will also degrade into CBN. While THC and CBN are both naturally occurring neither is actually made by the plant. While not intentional nature left us with another cannabinoid type with many unique benefits. One should note that although CBG, CBN and THC are all related, CBG will not give a false positive on a THC drug test while CBN often will.

Is CBG psychoactive?

CBG along with CBGA are often referred to as non-psychoactive in their effects, while this is generally true it is not the full story. In a recent study CBG was found to significantly modulate cb2 receptor, while much weaker at cb1 receptor, there was a slight effect but is more likely to potentiate THC at the receptor. The cb1 receptor being the commonly held “psychoactive” component, minimal action there does not necessarily make CBG psychoactive but seems to have a positive contributing effect to THC. While strong action is indicated at cb2 similar to CBDA/CBD, there are some unique benefits to CBGA/CBG.

Is CBN psychoactive?

CBNA and CBN are often referred to as mildly psychoactive in their effects. CBNA/CBN has been noted to add to the entourage effect in cannabis flower, often said to lend to a more sedative effect. In a peer reviewed study CBN was found to have about 1/4th the potency of THC at cb1 receptor, while stronger at the cb2 receptor. CBN does in fact have a psychoactive component to it while unfortunately not useable by those who are drug tested. CBN can bind to both endocannabinoid receptors, while it is stronger with cb2.

What will CBG do for me?

CBG has many important benefits and a noted increase of energy is in fact one of the most commonly reported attributes. People often report the effects on social media and energy is the most common attribute mentioned. CBG offer similar general benefits similar to CBD, including the following purported properties; anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, metabolism support, cardiovascular health and protection against COVID being an impressive quick list. By all means this list is not exhaustive but does indicate the value CBG can add. Do not forget that it also contributes to the entourage effect, potentiating other cannabinoids. CBG is powerful cannabinoid that can offer the consumer many possible benefits and energy is one of them.

What will CBN do for me?

CBN has many important benefits and a noted sedative effect is in fact one of the most commonly reported attributes by peer reviewed studies as well as personal experience reports. Often people who experience difficulty sleeping think of CBN as a lifesaver. The sleepy aspect always attributed to cannabis, likely is the effect of aged or mishandled flower that has higher amounts of CBN. CBN offers general benefits similar to CBD and shares some similarities with THC, including the following purported properties; anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant, anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic and anti-viral. By all means this list is not exhaustive but does indicate the value CBN can add. Do not forget that it also contributes to the entourage effect, potentiating other cannabinoids. CBN is powerful cannabinoid that can offer the consumer many possible benefits and needed sleep is one of them.

Two very different but similar cannabinoids CBN and CBG are the definition of. Both cannabinoids occur naturally, both have affinity for the cb2 receptor, while CBN has higher affinity for the cb1 receptor. CBG is a very important precursor produced by the plant while CBN is a product of degradation. CBG will be found in high amounts in marijuana, second only to THC, while hemp plants typically are CBD or CBG dominant. CBN can only occur naturally in any quantity in marijuana. The exception for hemp is a very small amount of THC can result in a tiny amount of CBN. While all these similarities the biggest and most important effects are that CBG does indeed normally feel more energetic while CBN has proven to be a sedative and help increase rest and sleep. Depending on your desired effects both of these cannabinoids offer benefits that are invaluable and should not be overlooked.

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