CBD vs CBG vs CBN vs CBC: A Guide To Cannabinoids


CBC, CBN, CBD, and CBG - oh my! With so many different cannabinoids gaining popularity, it can be hard to keep up. Luckily, we've compiled everything you need to know about these popular cannabinoids below.

Key Takeaways

  • CBD is a major cannabinoid that has received substantial research on its potential therapeutic effects like anti-inflammation
  • CBG is a minor cannabinoid gaining popularity for its antibacterial effects and potential ability to reduce symptoms of both neuropathic pain and inflammatory pain
  • CBN is a minor cannabinoid created through the chemical conversion of THC, possesses very mild psychoactive effects, and is currently being researched for its potential sedative and neuroprotective properties
  • CBC is a minor cannabinoid and the third most abundant cannabinoid found in most cannabis strains, known for its potential analgesic and neuroprotective effects
  • Each of these cannabinoids is still being researched and is not meant to definitively treat, cure, or prevent disease or illness

Understanding the difference between these cannabinoids is crucial. Not only will this knowledge help you understand each chemical compound a little better.

But it will help you better navigate the world of CBD products overall. So, without further ado, let's jump and see what we can find out about all of these unique cannabinoids!

See Related: How Much CBD Chocolate Should I Eat?

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    Understanding cannabinoid classes

    First, it's important to break down these multiple cannabinoids into their respective subcategories:

    • Major cannabinoids include CBD and THC
    • Minor cannabinoids include CBC, CBG, CBN, and CBDL
    • Other cannabinoids include CBE, CBT, and CBL

    All cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system. This system is a network of regulating functions that connect all our vital systems together.

    But different cannabinoids interact with this system in different ways, depending on the cannabinoid receptor they bind to.

    Our cannabinoid receptors can be broken down into two types: CB1 and CB2. Our CB1 and CB2 receptors send messages to different parts of the body and can affect memory, cognition, psychomotor performance, pleasure and reward, and even pain.

    What is CBD?

    CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the more popular cannabinoids out there. In fact, it is the second-most cannabinoid in abundance in the cannabis plant.

    And the most abundant cannabinoid in the hemp plant. In the cannabis plant, you can find CBD oil as well as THC, which is known for its intoxicating effects.

    But CBD itself does not possess an intoxicating effect. This is partly why CBD products are so popular since users don't need to worry about any psychoactive effects.

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    Potential therapeutic effects

    CBD has received the most attention in cannabis research due to its popularity. While research is still ongoing, CBD has been found to possess a vast array of potential therapeutic effects.

    Studies show that CBD may act as an effective antiemetic in adults struggling with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. And short-term use of CBD may similarly improve patient-reported spasticity symptoms in those with multiple sclerosis, or MS.

    CBD has also been researched for its ability to potentially treat those with anxiety disorders. That being said, further research is still underway.

    May address symptoms of inflammatory pain

    Many CBD users claim that its anti-inflammatory properties make it the perfect product for soothing sore muscles and aching joints, like through the use of a CBD topical rub.

    In fact, CBD has largely gained traction as a potentially viable treatment for chronic pain across numerous health conditions, according to a recent study. With its lack of psychoactive effects and abundance of potential therapeutic effects, CBD has made a name for itself as a promising cannabinoid.

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    What is CBG?

    CBG is one of the latest cannabinoids to rise in rank, rivaling CBD. While the two cannabinoids have been reported to possess similar effects, internally they interact with the body's cannabinoid receptors through very different mechanisms.

    CBG comes from the precursor cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, which is known as the mother of all cannabinoids. THC, CBG, and CBD begin as CBGA but then are later broken down into their final forms after exposure to ultraviolet light and heat.

    Like CBD, CBG contains no psychoactive properties, making CBG products ideal for those who don't want to test positive on a drug test.

    But CBG is not as abundant as other cannabinoids in the hemp and cannabis plants. In fact, it typically accounts for less than 1% of the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, making its extraction a very expensive endeavor.

    Still, this hasn't stopped folks from researching the potential effects of CBG and all it has to offer.

    Potential antibacterial effects

    Through preliminary research, CBG has been identified for its potential antibacterial effects. More specifically, CBG has been studied for its ability to combat MRSA strains that are resistant to other classes of antibiotics.

    Each cannabinoid offers unique benefits that are possible benefits still being researched alongside traditional painkillers and stem cell research

    May address symptoms of inflammatory conditions

    Initial research has found CBG to act as an agonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Furthermore, CBG has been researched as a potential GABA reuptake inhibitor, meaning that this cannabinoid may have a relationship to both neuropathic pain and inflammatory pain.

    Bonus: How To Smoke A Pre-Rolled CBD Joint

    What is CBN?

    High concentrations of CBD and CBG can be found in certain cannabis sativa strains. But CBN is a completely different story.

    As THC degrades through heat and light, CBN, cannabinol, emerges through chemical conversion. Because of this, the chemical structure of CBN is more similar to that of THC than CBD.

    CBN is considered a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, though there is some disagreement as to whether CBN may be mildly psychoactive. Still, since CBN is only found in trace amounts in freshly dried cannabis, its potential psychoactive effects are minuscule at best.

    Furthermore, CBN binds less effectively to cannabinoid receptors than any other cannabinoid we've previously discussed. So it's unlikely to cause a high.

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    Potential sedative properties

    Many have reached for CBD as a natural sleep aid but have ultimately reported mixed results. On the other hand, CBN has been studied for its sedative properties and has even been compared to the pharmaceutical diazepam.

    Still, additional research is needed to corroborate these claims.

    May contain neuroprotective qualities

    Similar to CBG, CBN has been researched for its potential neuroprotective qualities, specifically in relation to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. While CBD, CBG, CBN, and other cannabinoids travel through different neurochemical pathways to the endocannabinoid system, this study suggests that every other cannabinoid may also contain at least some neuroprotective quality.

    What is CBC?

    CBC is the third most abundant cannabinoid found in most strains of cannabis. In fact, some argue that CBC is one of the most important cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.

    CBC is formed through the breakdown of cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, through heat or ultraviolet light, and contains no psychoactive properties. It is said that large levels of CBC can be found in landrace strains in India.

    Potential analgesic effects

    Research on CBC remains relatively new. But preliminary findings have discovered how CBC binds most effectively with the vanilloid receptor (TRPV) in the endocannabinoid system.

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    TRPV is often referred to as the third cannabinoid receptor and interacts with the transient receptor potential ankyrin 1, or TRPA1. Both of these receptors are in charge of how we perceive pain, which has greatly informed research on CBC going forward.

    May contain neuroprotective properties

    One study has suggested CBC's ability to promote the formation of adult neural stem progenitor cells. An increased concentration of these cells could reduce one's likelihood of developing neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's disease.

    But there has been no conclusive evidence to suggest CBC as a viable treatment for such conditions.

    FAQs on CBD vs. CBG vs. CBN vs. CBC

    Is CBG better than CBD?

    It's clear to see that CBD, CBG, CBN, and CBC all produce synergistic effects. But that's not to say that one compound is better than the other.

    Ultimately, each of these cannabinoids is still being researched for its unique properties. So as research develops, there will be a better understanding of how these cannabinoids ought to be used and for what.

    Is CBN stronger than CBD?

    CBN can be more psychoactive than CBD but is significantly less psychoactive than Delta 9 THC. As we said earlier, CBN is only found in trace amounts so any psychoactive property it may possess ought to be considered inconsequential.

    CBD used to be the only non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis plants but that has changed with these new cannabis compounds

    For reference, CBN is typically considered about 1/6 to 1/10 as strong as THC. CBN activates the CB1 affinity receptor, but not enough to cause intoxication.

    Can you take CBD and CBG together?

    Yes! When it comes to combining different cannabinoids, it is said to boost the synergistic effects of each. This is otherwise referred to as the entourage effect.

    Our CBG & CBD Optimal Wellness Tincture is the perfect example of how these cannabinoids may be combined. With equal parts CBG and CBD, this tincture aims to bring you the best properties of each compound for a restorative and rejuvenating experience.

    Final thoughts

    There's a lot to keep track of in the cannabis world. But we hope this guide to CBG, CBD, CBN, and CBC helps you understand their differences and similarities a little bit better.

    Ultimately, it's important to know what cannabinoids are in your products so you know what to expect. As you can see from everything we listed out, all cannabinoids are still undergoing various types of research.

    So as you continue along in your CBD journey, read up on what cannabinoids are used in your formula. This is the best way to find the products that work for you.

    And it offers you a unique experience to learn what cannabinoids work best with your body. From all of us here at Clean Remedies, we wish you the best of luck on your CBD journey and can't wait to see where it takes you!

    Keep Reading: Hemp Seed Oil For Skin: A Complete Guide


    Clean Remedies is a woman-owned, independent family business that uses USDA Certified Organic Hemp Extract to create products that are free from harmful chemicals, cruelty-free, and made in the USA, meant to benefit your well being and meet our own high standards of efficacy. For CBD facts, product discounts, and more, follow us on InstagramFacebookYouTubeLinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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