CBN, CBG and CBD differences
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What are CBN and CBG? How are they different from CBD? In this article you will find information about the differences and properties of these cannabinoids.


What is CBN and CBG?


CBN and CBG are cannabinoids, i.e. chemical compounds found in hemp plants.

CBN (cannabinol) is one of the main cannabinoids in cannabis, also known more commonly as the “sleep cannabinoid”. It is formed from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) as a result of oxidation when cannabis is exposed to air or light for a long period of time. CBN is also believed to have sedative and sleep-promoting properties. Based on research, CBN is also antibacterial and can help reduce inflammation and improve appetite. (1)

CBN is also the first cannabinoid ever isolated from hemp, isolated by American chemist Roger Adams in the 1940s. (2)

CBG (cannabigerol) on the other hand, there are cannabinoids that appear first in hemp. First comes CBGA, which forms compounds including CBG, THC, CBD and other cannabinoids are later synthesized. (3)

CBG has a versatile action profile and has been associated with several potential therapeutic properties, such as anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, as well as antibacterial properties . CBG is not a psychoactive compound, i.e. it does not cause a narcotic effect. (4) In addition, studies show that CBG has effects that reduce tumors and cancer cells (5).

CBG was first identified in 1964 by Raphael Mechoulam and Yehil Gaon. (6)

Both compounds, CBN and CBG, have received increasing attention in cannabis research due to their potential therapeutic benefits. However, it is important to note that studies on the effects and application of these compounds are still in progress and more information is needed


How do CBN and CBG differ from CBD?


CBN, CBG, and CBD are all cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, but they have slightly different chemical structures and effects. A few differences between these compounds are highlighted below:

CBD or cannabidiol does not cause an intoxicating or psychoactive effect. It does not alter consciousness or cause a feeling of euphoria. Also, CBG is not a psychoactive compound, and it does not cause a narcotic effect at all.

CBN is formed when THC breaks down over time with oxygen, heat and time. The CBN content of hemp increases as the THC breaks down and disappears. Because CBN is formed as a result of the oxidation of THC, it has been found to have mild psychoactive properties. Together with CBD, however, the psychoactivity is reduced to non-existent, as CBD has antipsychotic effects. Many CBN products also contain CBD. (1)

CBG (cannabigerol) in its acid form (CBG-A) is the first cannabinoid from which other cannabinoids are also formed.


Therapeutic properties of cannabinoids


CBD, CBN, and CBG have various potential therapeutic properties. The effects may also vary depending on individual characteristics and health status. The cannabinoids in question work to the internal cannabinoid system either directly or indirectly.

CBD is known to have properties such as anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, anxiety-reducing and spasm-reducing. (7)

CBN is believed to have particularly sedative and sleep-promoting properties.

CBG acts through CB1 and CB2 receptors and has been found to have antibacterial, appetite improving, pain and inflammation relieving, and antioxidant effects. CBG is also believed to have mood-enhancing effects, as it increases the amount of serotonin in the body. (8)

According to recent studies, CBG has been found to have positive effects on certain diseases such as cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), bacterial infections and Huntington’s disease. (9, 10, 11)


Cannabinoids in hemp. Image of an article about the differences between CBN, CBG and CBD.

Hemp field in the flowering phase.


Cannabinoid concentrations in hemp


Cannabinoids such as CBN, CBG and CBD occur naturally in hemp in varying amounts. The amounts vary greatly in different varieties. The growing season, environment and other conditions can also affect the concentrations formed in the plant. More than 120 different cannabinoids have already been identified in hemp, and it is known that cannabinoids work together better than individually (see Entourage effect ).

CBD is generally more abundant in hemp plants than CBN or CBG. CBN, on the other hand, is formed as a result of the oxidation of THC over time, so it is usually less present in young plants. CBG is the main cannabinoid in the early development phase of cannabis, the presence of which decreases significantly towards the end of the growing season.

There are many varieties of hemp with different cannabinoid profiles. Nowadays, varieties are also being bred that can contain a certain amount of a particular cannabinoid, being very different from the averages in terms of their cannabinoid profile compared to other common hemp varieties.


What are cannabinoid acids such as CBGA, CBNA and CBDA?


The cannabinoids found in hemp are always initially in acid form, such as CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) and CBDA (cannabidiol acid). The letter A after the name of the cannabinoid refers to its acid form (Acid).




CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) and CBNA (cannabinolic acid) are acid forms of cannabinoids that occur in hemp before they are converted to active compounds such as CBG and CBN through acid decarboxylation or oxidation.

CBGA is the acid form of CBG, the first cannabinoid formed in hemp. CBGA is usually present in the cannabis plant in large amounts in the early growth phase, before the plant produces any other cannabinoids. CBGA is converted to other cannabinoids, such as CBDA (cannabidiol acid) or to THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), over time, through oxidation or carboxylation reactions.




CBNA, on the other hand, is the acid form of cannabinol acid that is present in the cannabis plant before it is converted into the active compound, CBN. CBNA is formed from the THCA of the cannabis variety as a result of oxidation. When THCA is exposed to air or light over time, it oxidizes and turns into CBNA. This process can occur when the plant is stored for a long time or poorly stored in non-airtight packaging.

CBNA and CBGA act as precursors from which other active cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN are formed, which are known to affect the body in many different ways.




CBDA is a precursor to CBD and according to research it is a powerful antioxidant. CBD has versatile effects, the most significant of which are e.g. the following:

  • Anti-nausea (12)
  • Anti-inflammatory (12)
  • Pain reliever (12)
  • Cancer prevention (13)

In addition to these, CBDA has antimicrobial, antiproliferative, and antibacterial properties.




CBD, CBN and CBG are the most well-known cannabinoids, which are found especially in the leaves and flowers of hemp plants. These cannabinoids have a balancing effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system, and although they resemble each other, each of them has its own special properties. All cannabinoids are first formed from CBGA, which is the precursor or acid form of cannabigerol (CBG).

Cannabinoids have versatile effects that vary individually depending on the characteristics and health status of the user. According to research, different cannabinoids are more effective together than individually, and this combined effect is also called the Entourage effect.

It is important to note that the information presented in this article is based on general observations and research results. Research into the effects of cannabinoids is still ongoing, and their full potential and all the possibilities of its use are not yet completely clear, because it is a very versatile and unique plant.




  1. L Bianco. 2018. GB Sciences Inc. Exploring the Lesser Cannabinoids – The Happy Accident of CBN. . Referred on 07/13/2023
  2. R. Pertwee. 2006. Cannabinoid Pharmacology: the first 66 years. Br. J Pharmacol. Referenced 07/14/2023
  3. Tahir M. et al. 2021. The biosynthesis of the cannabinoids. Journal of Cannabis Research . . Referenced 07/14/2023
  4. RG. Pertwee. 2010. British Journal of Pharmacology. Evidence that the plant cannabinoid cannabigerol is a highly potent a2-adrenoceptor agonist and moderately potent 5HT1A receptor antagonist. Referenced 07/14/2023
  5. F. Borrelli ym. 2014. Carcinogenesis. Colon Carcinogenesis is inhibited by the TRPM8 antagonist cannabigerol, a Cannabis-derived non-psychotropic cannabinoid . . Referenced 07/14/2023
  6. Gaoni, Y., & Mechoulam, R. 1964. Isolation, Structure, and Partial Synthesis of an Active Constituent of Hashish. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 86(8), 1646–1647 . . Referred on 07/13/2023.
  7. EB Russo. Cannabidiol (CBD) claims and misconceptions. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. . Referred on 07/13/2023.
  8. M. Lee. 2012. The Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System. The Prop 215 Era. Referred on 07/13/2023.
  9. S. Valdeolivas etc. 2015. Neurotherapeutics. Neuroprotective properties of cannabigerol in Huntington’s disease: studies in R6/2 mice and 3-nitropropionate-lesioned mice . . Referred on 07/13/2023
  10. F. Borrelli ym. 2013. Biochem Pharmacol. Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease . . Referenced 07/14/2023
  11. A. Maya ym. 2020. Science Daily. Researchers uncover hidden antibiotic potential of cannabis. . Referenced 07/14/2023
  12. D. Butterfield. Cannabidiolic Acid (CBD -A): The Raw Cannabinoid That Fights Inflammation. . 2017. referenced 07/14/2023
  13. S. Takeda Ym. Cannabidiolic acid (CBD -A) mediated selective down-regulation of c-fos in highly aggressive breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells: possible involvement of its down-regulation in the abrogation of aggressiveness. . 2017. Referenced 07/14/2023


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