CBN vs. CBG: What's the difference?

Explore the unique properties of CBN and CBG, their potential benefits, and how to choose the right cannabinoid for your wellness journey with Sunmed.
CBN vs. CBG: What's the difference?
minute read

Among the numerous compounds found in nature's hemp plant, two stand out for their unique properties and popularity: CBN (cannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol). 

This article aims to walk you through the world of these two cannabinoids. We'll explore their unique characteristics, potential wellness benefits, and how they differ from each other. 

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the hemp plant. These compounds, known as phytocannabinoids, have garnered significant attention due to their unique interaction with the human body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). This relationship is what makes cannabinoids such a compelling topic in the realm of wellness.

While CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) might be the most commonly known cannabinoids, the hemp plant hosts a plethora of other cannabinoids. 

Each of these, including CBN (cannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol), has unique properties and potential benefits. These lesser-known cannabinoids are equally deserving of attention and study, as they also contribute to our overall well-being.

The potential effects of these cannabinoids are largely due to their interaction with the ECS.

How does the ECS work?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex network that plays a key role in maintaining the balance of numerous biological functions, such as sleep, appetite, stress, and mood. It consists of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes.

Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout our bodies. They interact with both endocannabinoids (which are cannabinoids our bodies naturally produce) and phytocannabinoids (which come from the hemp plant), triggering various physiological responses. The two key types of cannabinoid receptors are CB1 receptors, mainly found in the brain, and CB2 receptors, often associated with the body's immune responses.

Enzymes act as the cleanup crew, breaking down cannabinoids once they've fulfilled their function. The ECS is constantly working and monitoring these functions to maintain balance — an when our bodies experience an imbalance, the ECS steps in to help restore equilibrium. Yet, many factors impact how well our ECS functions. Age, lifestyle, environmental factors, diet, genetics, and even trauma can hinder our ECS from restoring homeostasis in the body. 

Phytocannabinoids found in the hemp plant, like CBN and CBG, can interact with the ECS — influencing these biological functions and helping restore balance.

What is CBN?

CBN, or cannabinol, is one such cannabinoid that's derived from the hemp plant. It is typically formed when THC, another cannabinoid, is exposed to oxygen and heat over time. Unlike THC, however, CBN does not have significant psychoactive effects, meaning it won't make you feel the “high” that is commonly associated with cannabis use. 

What are the benefits of CBN?

CBN is gaining significant attention in the wellness sphere for its potential benefits. Its unique properties make it an intriguing subject for those looking to enhance their well-being through natural methods.

While CBN is still being researched, early studies suggest it may have a role in supporting the body’s natural recovery processes and working to soothe feelings of tension, discomfort, and feelings of everyday anxiousness. 

Perhaps the most talked-about potential benefit of CBN is its possible influence on sleep. We all know the frustration of those nights spent tossing and turning, desperately seeking slumber. Research suggests that CBN might have properties that could support healthy sleep patterns, fostering a more relaxed state conducive to quality sleep.

What is CBG?

CBG, or cannabigerol, is another cannabinoid derived from the hemp plant. Despite not being as widely recognized as some other cannabinoids, CBG holds a special place in the cannabinoid family. Often referred to as the "mother of all cannabinoids," CBG is the precursor from which other cannabinoids, including THC, CBD, and CBN, are synthesized.

CBG interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies, which is the basis for its potential wellness benefits. It's gaining attention in the wellness community for its possible role in supporting emotional wellness and helping to calm the mind.

What are the benefits of CBG?

With the potential to calm the mind and encourage focus, CBG is ideal for those moments when your brain feels scattered or when feelings of stress and overwhelm creep in during a hectic day. During these unavoidable moments, a little calm and emotional balance could be a welcome relief.

Research suggests that CBG might have a positive influence on feelings of tension, potentially helping to restore a sense of calm and balance. It's being studied for its potential to support emotional wellness and help calm the mind, features that could make it a valuable addition to a holistic wellness routine.

Beyond emotional wellness, CBG's interaction with the ECS is also being explored for its potential impact on mood and focus. This interaction could potentially help maintain a balanced state, supporting you through those days when you need an extra boost. It might also support emotional wellness and focus, providing clarity of thought and a bright outlook on challenging days.

While the research on CBG is still in its early stages, the initial findings are encouraging — but more research is still needed to tell the full story.

What are the differences between CBN and CBG?

While CBN and CBG both come from the same plant and interact with our ECS, they have distinct properties, potential benefits, and effects. Let's dive into these differences.

Cannabinoid properties

CBN is mainly a byproduct of THC degradation, while CBG acts as a precursor to other cannabinoids, including THC and CBD. This fundamental difference in their origin has a considerable impact on their availability within the hemp plant and their concentration in various hemp-derived products.

Potential benefits

CBN has been researched for its potential role in aiding with recovery processes and providing soothing effects. It's also being studied for its possible influence on sleep disturbances, making it a prime choice for those seeking better sleep quality.*

Conversely, CBG is being studied for its potential to support emotional wellness and help calm the mind. Some research suggests it could influence feelings of tension, making it a potential choice for those seeking a more relaxed mood during the day.*

Interaction with the ECS

Both CBN and CBG interact with the ECS, but they do so differently due to their unique molecular structures. While both cannabinoids can interact with cannabinoid receptors, they may bind to different receptors leading to varied physiological responses.

CBN is known to have a higher affinity for the CB2 receptors, often associated with the body's immune responses. CBG, on the other hand, is believed to have a more balanced interaction with both CB1, mainly found in the brain, and CB2 receptors, potentially providing a wider range of benefits.*

Best time to use

CBG, often referred to as a daytime cannabinoid, could potentially support overall feelings of focus and mental clarity.* We recommend taking it first thing in the morning to help kickstart your day or as needed when you're feeling scattered, overwhelmed, or need to focus.

CBN, however, is most notably used for its potential sleep-supporting properties, helping to relax the body and shift the brain to sleep mode. It's best to be taken shortly before bed to help with falling asleep, support sleep quality, and help you wake up feeling refreshed.*

User experiences

The personal experiences of individuals using CBN and CBG can greatly vary due to numerous factors, including individual body chemistry, serving sizes, and the specific formulation of the product. Some people might find CBN more beneficial for sleep disturbances, while others might prefer CBG for emotional wellness.*

In essence, while CBN and CBG share some similarities, they are distinct cannabinoids with unique properties and potential benefits. As our understanding of these cannabinoids expands, we might discover even more ways they can contribute to our well-being.

How to choose between CBN and CBG

When it comes to choosing between CBN and CBG, the decision is highly personal and depends on several factors. Your wellness goals, individual needs, and the timing of consumption all play a part in finding the right formula for you.

If your wellness goal is to support better sleep quality, you might want to explore products with CBN, such as Sunmed's Full-Spectrum Sleep CBN Gummies. These gummies have clinically proven results for better sleep quality, less anxiety, and reduced daytime fatigue in a 60-day study. These CBN-rich supplements are bound to help you get some shut eye and feel better long after awakening.

And, if you're looking for a way to kickstart your day with a natural burst of hemp-derived cannabinoids, our Broad-Spectrum Rise CBG Gummies are ready to get you in the groove. Each Rise gummy is formulated to promote a gentle incline of focus, mental clarity, and well-being.

You might also consider pairing both products — using CBG in the morning or as needed throughout the day and CBN at night. This approach could support feelings of balance and elevate your daily wellness routine from start to finish.

Experimenting safely and responsibly with these cannabinoids is key. You might want to start with a small serving size and then adjust it based on your body's response. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new wellness supplement.

Everyone's body and ECS are unique, and what works best for one person might not work for another. It's about finding what suits your individual needs and wellness goals the best.

How to get the most out of your cannabinoid use

There are several types of CBD products available in the market, including isolated CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and full-spectrum or whole-plant CBD. Understanding the difference between these can help you get the most out of your cannabinoids.

Isolated CBD contains only CBD, with all other cannabinoids removed during the extraction process. Broad-spectrum CBD, on the other hand, contains multiple cannabinoids, aromatic terpenes, and flavonoids but non-detectable levels of THC. Whole plant CBD contains all the cannabinoids, including CBG, CBN, and only trace amounts of THC (not enough to cause a high).

At Sunmed, we carefully extract cannabinoids from the hemp plant to ensure you benefit from the multiple cannabinoids, aromatic terpenes, and flavonoids working synergistically together. This synergy is known as the entourage effect, which suggests that these compounds can enhance each other's benefits when consumed together.

Whether you're considering CBN, CBG, or a blend of cannabinoids, understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your wellness goals.

Are there any risks to using CBG or CBN products?

Hemp-based cannabinoid products are generally considered safe, and very few side effects have been associated with them. However, as with any supplement, some people may experience minor and temporary effects like lethargy, nausea, or dizziness. Full-spectrum products containing trace amounts of THC will not cause a high in most individuals. 

To avoid unwanted side effects, it's recommended to start with a low serving size (about 5 to 10 mg per day) and gradually increase it until you find the right amount for you. This approach, often referred to as "start low and go slow," can help make sure you have a comfortable and beneficial experience.

It's also crucial to only use trusted products from reputable sources. At Sunmed, all our CBD products undergo third-party testing to ensure safety and accuracy. We only use trusted ingredients to formulate our products so you can enjoy the highest quality in each serving.

The bottom line

In the world of cannabinoids, CBG and CBN stand out as two compounds with promising potential. We've explored their unique properties, potential benefits, and how they interact with the ECS. As our understanding of these cannabinoids expands, we might discover even more ways they can contribute to our well-being.

Whether you're considering CBN for its potential soothing effects and benefits for sleep disturbances or CBG for its possible role in supporting emotional wellness and calming the mind, these cannabinoids can be a valuable addition to your wellness routine.

As always, it's important to conduct personal research and consult with a healthcare provider before starting any cannabinoid use. At Sunmed, we're here to support your well-being in whatever way is right for you. Explore our range of products and discover how hemp-derived cannabinoids can complement your wellness journey.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system | PMC

CBN for Sleep | Sleep Foundation

An overview of the cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptor system and its therapeutic potential | PMC

The Pharmacological Case for Cannabigerol | ASPET Journals

Cannabigerol Action at Cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 Receptors and at CB1–CB2 Heteroreceptor Complexes | PMC