CBD vs. CBG: All You Need to Know

Published: 29.05.2023

Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) are two of a variety of compounds present in cannabis and hemp plants and key ingredients in CBD-infused coffee and CBG-infused coffee blends. They are categorized under the family of compounds which are known as cannabinoids. However, while they do share some similarities including both being non-psychoactive compounds, they are very different from each other. 

The most significant dissimilarity between these two cannabinoids is their chemical structures. First of all, CBD is noted for having a bigger molecular structure and consists of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 1 oxygen atom. On its part, CBG presents a smaller molecular structure and comprises 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and a single oxygen atom.

Scientifically speaking,  the chemical structure of cannabigerol is thought to be the “parent” or precursor to cannabidiol since the former is the very first cannabinoid that forms in the cannabis plant. Another key difference between these two compounds is just how they interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

How do CBD and CBG interact with the endocannabinoid system?

The ECS is an intricate cell-signaling system that is involved in regulating a wide range of physiological processes including mood, immune function, appetite, sleep, and pain to mention but a few. The ECS comprises 3 major components, which are the endocannabinoids, receptors,  and enzymes. The first naturally occur in the body and bind themselves to cannabinoid receptors.  The two main endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). 

Cannabinoid receptors are present throughout the body including in the brain, immune system, and even peripheral tissues. The two key types of cannabinoid receptors are CB-1 and CB-2. The first variety is mainly found in the brain and central nervous system and is involved in regulating pain, mood, appetite, and memory. On the other hand, CB-2 receptors are chiefly found in the immune system and the peripheral tissues and are involved in regulating inflammation and immune function. 

Lastly, enzymes are involved in breaking down endocannabinoids after they have served their purpose.  The two key enzymes involved in the ECS are fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol (MAGL). The former breaks down anandamide, while the latter breaks down 2-AG.

Cannabidiol and cannabigerol are said to interact with the ECS differently because of their distinct chemical structures. CBD is known for its low affinity for cannabinoid receptors. In other words, it does not bind itself directly to CB-1 or CB-2 receptors. Rather, it is believed to interact with other receptors including serotonin and adenosine receptors that are involved in the regulation of mood, anxiety, and pain perception. Cannabidiol also blocks the breakdown of anandamide, which lets more levels of it accrue in the body, and enables it to produce its effects.  

Conversely, cannabigerol possesses a high affinity for CB-2 receptors such as the 5-HT1A receptor, which plays a key role in regulating anxiety and depression. 

While both these cannabinoids interact with the ECS, they do it in different ways and go on to produce distinct effects. CBD’s interactions with the ECS are thought to be complex and multifaceted and involve both receptors and enzymes. Alternatively, CBG’s interactions with the ECS are primarily specific to the CB-2 receptors and are more centered around regulating inflammation and immune function.

What are the health benefits of CBD?

  • Among other health benefits of CBD, there is growing evidence that cannabidiol can help alleviate pain by interacting with the ECS along with other receptors that are involved in regulating pain perception. 
  • CBD is thought to possess anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties through its interactions with serotonin and adenosine receptors that are involved in mood regulation.
  • Cannabidiol has been shown to possess neuroprotective properties and is believed to help protect the brain against damage attributable to neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
  • CBD is said to possess potent anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation and swelling associated with conditions such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
  • The FDA has approved this cannabinoid as a remedy for epilepsy, and in particular two rare forms of the condition; Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
  • There is evidence that CBD possesses potential skincare benefits. Its anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to reduce inflammation and itching linked to acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Cannabidiol also has antioxidant properties and can help protect the skin from free radical formation, which contributes to premature aging. This cannabinoid has been shown to possess moisturizing properties and can help hydrate and soothe dry skin too. CBD can be a potential treatment for sun damage since it reduces inflammation and promotes healing.

What are the health benefits of CBG?

  • There is evidence that cannabigerol possesses anti-inflammatory effects that help minimize inflammation and swelling associated with conditions such as irritable bowel disease. 
  • CBG is thought to have the potential to treat glaucoma, a condition that can ultimately result in blindness. 
  • Cannabigerol possesses anti-depressant properties through its interactions with the 5-HT1A receptor that is involved in mood regulation.
  • This cannabinoid has been shown to possess antibacterial effects, which can help to combat bacterial infections.
  • Research done on the subject suggests that CBG might have anti-cancer properties and may be useful as a treatment for colon cancer.
  • Cannabigerol is said to deliver a range of skincare health benefits of CBG in more ways than one. This includes being a potential treatment for acne and having anti-aging properties. It is as well believed to hydrate and soothe dry skin, protect against skin irritation, and even as a potential treatment for skin cancer.

What is the effect when CBD and CBG are consumed together?

While cannabidiol and cannabigerol have varying properties, and interact with different receptors in the body, when they’re taken together they are said to work synergistically to deliver a wider range of health benefits. This effect is referred to as the “entourage” effect. The entourage effect happens when different compounds in the cannabis plant work together to boost each other’s effects.

 These cannabinoids may be taken in diverse ways including tinctures, capsules, edibles, topicals, and inhalation through smoking and vaping. In recent years, CBD-infused and CBG-infused coffee have gained much popularity among cannabinoid and coffee enthusiasts. While CBD coffee is more widely available in the market, CBG coffee is fairly new, but still packs a punch in terms of the potential health benefits it can deliver.


CBD and CBG are trendy cannabinoids that interact with the endocannabinoid system to bring about a variety of health benefits. While they do share a number of similarities, their distinct chemical structures give rise to different mechanisms of action and ultimately result in different effects on the body. CBD has potential benefits for pain relief, anxiety, and depression, neuroprotection, anti-inflammation, and epilepsy. 

Alternatively, CBG possesses potential benefits for inflammation, glaucoma, depression, and its antibacterial and anti-cancer effects. Both of these cannabinoids have potential benefits for the skin including dealing with acne, dry skin, sun damage, and skin irritation, and their anti-aging properties. When consumed together, CBD and CBG work in synergy to enhance each other’s health benefits. 

If you are interested in trying out cannabinoid-infused coffee blends, Ott Coffee offers a variety of options including the ever-popular CBD-infused coffee and CBG-infused coffee products. These blends provide a convenient and enjoyable way to integrate cannabinoids into your day-to-day routine. However, it’s always prudent to consult your healthcare provider before adding any of these products to your regular diet.

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