CBG Vs. CBN: What’s The Difference?


The cannabis industry is broad and dynamic. Every year, we hear about different cannabinoids and their various effects. However, with the number of cannabinoids in a cannabis plant, it is easy to mix them up. 

Two cannabinoids that people often confuse are cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN), which isn’t surprising, seeing as they have several similarities. 

So, if you can’t seem to tell the difference between CBG and CBN, you have come to the right place. This article will cover all the factors that differentiate CBG and CBN.

Comparison Chart Between CBG And CBN

Chemical Structure Non-psychoactive Can be psychoactive
Effectiveness, and Intoxicating Effects Makes you more focused and more relaxed Effects not as potent as CBG 
Dosage Concentration Start with 5-10 mg dose Start with 2.5 mg dose
Laws Surrounding Them Legal since it’s hemp-derived Illegal if derived from marijuana
Cost Expensive Expensive
Effects on Drug Tests Trace amounts of THC can make you fail a test Trace amounts of THC can make you fail a test
Accessibility Limited Limited


What Is CBN?

CBN is not an abundant cannabinoid in cannabis. You can only find it in trace amounts. 

Newer cannabis typically has low CBN, but the CBN concentration will increase as the plant ages. That said, most cannabis users do not like the presence of CBN in their herb because it shows that the product might be stale and old.

History Of CBN

Despite not being as popular as others, CBN was the first cannabinoid found in cannabis. Robert Sidney Conn reportedly made the discovery in 1930. However, CBN does not occur naturally; instead, it forms when THC in a cannabis plant degrades due to aging or exposure to external factors like oxygen or heat.

Effects Of CBN

CBN has some psychoactive capabilities. Therefore, you will feel a bit intoxicated if you take CBN. However, CBN is not as potent as others. In fact, research shows that CBN is only 25% of the potency that CBN does.

This lack of strength is probably due to the fact that CBN does not bind to your cannabinoid receptors as effectively as others. So, you might take CBN and not feel high.

Potential Benefits Of CBN

CBN is known to have numerous potential benefits, which is why people opt for it. Here are some positive effects you might feel when you take CBN.

  • Sedation

One of the benefits of CBN is the entourage effect. The entourage effect can be defined as the combined effects of cannabinoids to produce more effective results. When you pair CBN with cannabidiol (CBD flower) tetrahydrocannabinol(THC flower), and other cannabinoids, you might feel some sedation which is quite helpful for people who struggle with insomnia. 

That said, some people believe CBN has some sedative properties on its own. However, there is not enough cannabis research to prove this, so we need more research before confirming this.

  • Induce Significant Psychoactive Effects

Taking a specific dosage of CBN can cause some psychoactive effects in you. Furthermore, this effect is not as strong as other cannabinoids, so it is optimal for people who want mild effects.

  • Pain Alleviation

Pain alleviation is a common benefit of taking many cannabinoids, and CBN is no exception. When you combine CBD and CBN, you might significantly improve your pain level. 

The combination of these cannabinoids aid muscle relaxation. Researchers believe that CBN and CBD working together can be beneficial in chronic pain ailments such as fibromyalgia.

  • Aids Bone Tissue Growth

A study showed that CBN could potentially reverse the effects of bone loss from osteoporosis. This reversal might help with new bone cell production. Ultimately, CBN has the potential to heal fractures due to osteoporosis and aging.

  • Potential Neuroprotective Benefits

Some researchers believe that CBN can protect the brain and nervous system from certain neurological conditions.

What Is CBG?

CBG is obtained from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which many consider the “mother of all cannabinoids.” Several cannabinoids, such as CBD, THC, and CBG, start off as CBGA and later break down into their various forms after exposure to light, oxygen, and heat.

Similar to CBN, CBG only occurs in trace amounts. Due to this rareness, extraction of CBG from cannabis is quite pricey, which is why CBG is not as popular or used as CBD. That said, CBG does have various health benefits.

History Of CBG

Raphael Mechoulam and Yehiel Gaoni were the scientists who discovered CBG. They made this discovery in 1964, and it was not an intentional act. These scientists were working with hashish when they made the discovery, leading to them believing CBG occurred in hash. 

However, in 1975, researchers disputed this theory when they found CBGA as the first cannabinoid in a fresh cannabis plant.

How Does CBD Work?

Cannabigerol works with CB1 and CB2 receptors in endocannabinoid systems (ECS). This connection could increase the anandamide function. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate aspects of our bodies and lives, such as pleasure, sleep, pain, motivation, and appetite.

Potential Benefits Of CBG

Here are some benefits of CBG:

  • Helps With Depression And Anxiety

According to researchers, CBG may be a Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) reuptake inhibitor. Also, it may inhibit serotonin receptors. These features make them beneficial for the potential treatment of depression and anxiety.

  • Helps With Glaucoma

Some studies show that CBG may be able to combat the intraocular pressure that comes with glaucoma. However, further research needs to be done before we can prove this.

  • Potential Neurological Health Benefits

CBG reportedly has some effect on neurological disorders such as Huntington’s disease, which is a genetic disorder that affects the nerve cells in the brain.

  • Other Benefits

Some other possible advantages of CBG include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Potential analgesic benefits based on dosage
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Fight bacterial infections
  • Treatment of bladder dysfunction disorder
  • Treatment of inflammatory bowel disease

Major Differences Between CBG And CBN

Despite having similar health benefits and other features, CBG and CBN have some major differences that you need to know about. Here are a few of these differences:

CBG Vs. CBN: Chemical Structures 

For the most part, CBG does not have a significantly different chemical structure from CBN. They both occur in cannabis sativa naturally and bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors to interact with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies. The main difference between these different cannabinoids is their appearance in the cannabis plant.

As mentioned earlier, most people regard CBG as the “mother of all cannabinoids.” This is mainly because it acts as the base that turns into other cannabinoids with the aid of special enzymes. 

Therefore, you would typically find CBG in small amounts in older hemp plants. So, if you want the most amount of CBG, it is best to harvest it when the plant is still new.if you want, you can also read about CBG vs CBD

On the other hand, CBN is derived from THC. However, you only get CBN when THC breaks down to exposure to UV light. 

Similar to CBG, you can only find small amounts of CBN in mature cannabis plants. CBN naturally occurs in cannabis plants as they grow under direct sunlight. However, you can still create CBN in the lab by exposing the plant to UV light.

CBG vs. CBN: Effectiveness And Intoxicating Effects

While both CBG and CBN interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors to produce results, these substances do not create the same effects in individuals.

Most people who used CBG likened its effect to that of coffee. However, they reported that they felt less anxious than they would when drinking coffee. Furthermore, these users noted that they felt more positive and had infrequent distractions. 

Therefore, most people who take CBG use it when they want to work, study, or focus on a specific task. Lastly, CBG does not have any psychoactive properties, so you won’t feel any intoxicating effects from taking it. Fortunately, CBG is not the only non-intoxicating cannabinoid; there are many more.

Conversely, CBN has some similarities to THC, seeing as it originates from the substance. Therefore, you might feel high from consuming it. However, most people report that the psychoactive effects of CBN are not as strong as THC.

CBG Vs. CBN: Dosage Concentration

You typically cannot overdose on CBG and CBN. However, it is best to take them cautiously to avoid any adverse side effects.

Various brands have specific concentrations, but the recommended dose for CBN and CBG is about 10 mg to 30 mg. With that said, we recommend you try a smaller dose if it is your first time using these cannabinoids. You can start with 5 mg and work your way up as your body adapts to the new substances.

Additionally, it is important to remember that CBN is obtained from THC, and while it is not as potent as THC, there is a chance you might get high from taking CBN. Hence, we suggest you do not take more than 40 mg CBN at a sitting.

CBG Vs. CBN: Laws Surrounding Them

CBG and CBN have different laws governing them due to the source of each cannabinoid. 

The use of CBG is federally legal, and most states allow the use of this substance. The allowance of CBG is because it is extracted from budding hemp plants. 

According to the 2018 Farm Bill, the creation and distribution of hemp and hemp-derived products including CBD capsules, edibles and tinctures are legal. It is considered legal because hemp (a cannabis plant) contains less than 0.3% THC, meaning it does not have any psychoactive effects. Seeing as hemp is legal both federally and in most states, all CBG obtained from hemp is legal. 

You can also find CBN in hemp. Therefore, you can consider these products legal. However, you need to be careful when ordering CBN. Some brands make their products using marijuana, and the use of this plant is illegal federally and in most states. Hence, if you want to use CBN, make sure to order products that have hemp-derived CBN.

CBG Vs. CBN: Cost 

Both CBG and CBN are quite costly, and most consider them to be two of the most expensive cannabinoids on the market. Two reasons cause the premium price of this substance. Firstly, they are rare, and you can only find them in small amounts, meaning the methods required to extract them for commercial use are tedious and require extra steps.

Secondly, CBG and CBN are still new on the market, so only a few brands produce them. Thus, no one has come up with techniques that can help to mass produce these cannabinoids and make them affordable.

CBG Vs. CBN: Effects On Drug Tests

Unfortunately, you can fail a drug test when you take either CBN or CBG. However, your chances of failing the test are higher when you take CBN.

A standard drug test looks for specific molecules in a sample and mostly detects THC. Due to its makeup, CBG is not chemically similar to THC, so if you only consume CBG, you might be able to pass a drug test. 

However, this is not always the case because CBG comes from hemp, and hemp contains a small amount of THC (0.3%), so there is a chance that your CBG product may contain some THC.

CBN is the byproduct of THC degradation, so they are structurally similar. Hence, a drug test will likely catch the CBN in your system.

CBG Vs. CBN: Accessibility

You can currently find CBG and CBN on the market. Nevertheless, they are not as easy to find as other cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.

One major reason why CBN is especially rare is that it is mostly derived from marijuana, which makes it illegal to sell in most states. However, some states have legalized the use of medical and recreational marijuana, so you should be able to find and use CBN in those states.  

Due to their rarity, we recommend that you buy your CBN or CBG online to save you the stress of going from store to store trying to find them.

Which Should You Pick? CBG Or CBN?

Neither cannabinoid is better than the other, and they both have various health benefits that many can enjoy. Hence, it is up to you to decide which one works best for you.

CBG works similarly to caffeine, so if you take it, you will feel stimulated and ready to carry out tasks. On the other hand, most users report that CBN calms them down and helps them relax and sleep.

So, if you do not want to feel the high that comes with cannabis, but want to enjoy its uplifting effects, then you should go for CBG. However, if you have had a busy day and want to relax, then CBN would work best for you. Remember that taking CBN might have some psychoactive effects similar to taking THC.

Conclusion: CBG Vs. CBN

Ultimately, CBG and CBN are not so different. They are both cannabinoids and have similar benefits, prices, and dosages. However, they have some differences, such as their appearance in cannabis and their psychoactive effects. 

Both cannabinoids have the potential to improve your health and make your day easier, but how you choose to go about it is up to you.


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