Cannabinoids: Differences Between CBD vs CBG, CBDA, CBN, and CBC

  • Updated November 23, 2021

  • Published August 27, 2021

  • No Comments

Written by
Alex Malkin

Zora DeGrandpre, ND

Medically reviewed by
Zora DeGrandpre

Cannabinoids: Differences Between CBD vs CBG, CBDA, CBN, and CBC

Are you looking for guidance on CBN vs CBG vs CBD? People are waking up to the fact that natural plant wellness goes far beyond CBD!

While products like straight CBD oil can offer a wonderful introduction into the world of plant wellness, the truth is that cannabinoids may do their “best work” when they are brought together as a “full spectrum” product acting synergistically as part of what researchers call the “entourage effect.” Of course, the average person looking for relief, relaxation and restoration from CBD products isn’t a researcher. They just want to know which cannabinoids to be looking for on the labels of their favorite products to tap into the potential synergistic benefits of different cannabinoids.

The good news is that diving in to do your research can help you find a cannabinoid product that feels like it was made just for your wellness needs! You’ll also find that learning about CBD vs CBG vs CBN is actually just the beginning because options like CBDA and CBC may also offer what you’re seeking for wellness.

Yes, talking about the different cannabinoids can feel like you’re doing a dance with the alphabet when you’re first learning about the options available. However, the only thing these varieties really spell out is more wellness in your life when you get right down to it! Take a look at what’s behind the cannabinoids that accompany CBD.

What Are Cannabinoids?

While everyone from members of the research community to people obsessed with reaching optimal wellness states consider cannabinoids to be game-changers, the simplest answer is that cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant.

Cannabinoids affect us by binding onto the cannabinoid (CB) receptors in the body and brain. What makes cannabinoids so important for a variety of wellness needs is that they bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the human body specifically to impact how cells communicate. Cannabinoids are most closely identified with affecting the function of the central nervous system. That alone makes these natural wonders so important for anyone seeking relief from physical or mood issues.

While most people are very familiar with CBD (cannabidiol) due to its fast-growing popularity, it’s actually a misconception that CBD is the only cannabinoid that is used for human consumption. Several of the more than 100 cannabinoids isolated so far are commonly used as wellness aids even though no other cannabinoid comes close to touching the mainstream popularity and overall versatility of CBD.

Differences Between Cannabinoids

When consumed, cannabinoids bind to the CB1 or CB2 receptor sites within the body. However, different cannabinoids bind to receptors in different ways to produce different effects. This is where it’s helpful to know about the differences between cannabinoids that are available for consumption.

How Does the Body Use Cannabinoids?

The scientific community is still learning about how cannabinoids interact with the body. While we know that they work by binding to receptors, the true possibilities for treating different conditions aren’t yet fully known. What we do know is that cannabinoids can have soothing effects when they bind to receptors throughout the central nervous system. They even appear to change the way that cells send and process messages. This is why so many people seem to have great results when using cannabinoids for pain or mood issues.

What Is CBD?

The most popular cannabinoid on the wellness market today, CBD doesn’t produce the “high” that is experienced with marijuana containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). What is CBD oil? CBD oil is simply a form of CBD that can be taken orally or sublingually. While CBD can also come in extract, capsule or edible forms, many people prefer oil because it provides a quicker absorption time with the ability to tailor dosage.

What Is CBN?

What is the major difference between CBD and CBN? CBN (cannabinol) is derived from THC and is considered mildly psychoactive. What is CBN extract? CBN extract is produced by aging THC using light and oxygen exposure over time until it converts to a new compound. It is commonly used for sleep support.

What Is CBG?

Commonly referred to as the “mother of all cannabinoids” by researchers, CBG (cannabigerol) is actually a cannabinoid that other cannabinoids are synthesized from. That’s another way of saying that it’s a parent molecule found within the cannabis plant. While cannabinoids like CBD are often known as “body” cannabinoids because it primarily affects various body functions, CBG is known as more of a “brain” cannabinoid based on the way it appears to interact with receptors and its effects on the neurological system. CBG is non-psychoactive and does not produce a “high”.

Not only CBG is commonly found in consumer products, but also interest in the compound is growing thanks to a growing body of research pointing to its potential benefits for both physical and neurological health!

What Is CBC?

Like CBD, CBC is considered a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. While CBC binds primarily to the CB2 receptor, there’s potential to use this particular cannabinoid as a “companion” cannabinoid to those that bind to the CB1 receptor.

In studies, researchers can pair CBC with THC to measure its possible synergistic benefits. Over the years, researchers have tested the effects of CBC on stress relief, and brain cell function.

What Is CBDA?

A “wild card” among cannabinoids, CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) actually works differently from the other compounds on this list. The big difference between CBD and CBDA is that CBDA doesn’t actually bond to the CB1 or CB2 receptors.

It instead lengthens the effects of the body’s endocannabinoid system by inhibiting the enzymes that break down the natural endocannabinoids. There’s evidence from a study published in 2013 suggesting that CBDA activates serotonin receptors in the brain.

Which Cannabinoid to Choose?

What is the average consumer looking to get the full benefits of all of the consumer-ready cannabinoids on the market to do?

In truth, trying to create a personalized blend by sourcing different cannabinoids separately can be difficult. In addition to finding it difficult to source different cannabinoids from respected, transparent companies known for offering quality, a person who doesn’t spend time in a lab may not have any idea about how to choose appropriate dosages for cannabinoids. This is where knowing where to turn for a ready-made cannabinoid blend is helpful.

Cannabinoids ImageProductLinks
CBDLazarus Naturals, High Potency Full Spectrum CBD Tincture Oil, Natural Flavor, 4oz, 6000mg CBDLazarus Naturals CBD Tincture OilView All CBD Oils
CBCNuLeaf-Naturals-CBC-Oil-Full-Spectrum-15mL-900mg-CBC-1NuLeaf Naturals CBC OilView All CBC Oils
CBGMedterra, CBG + CBD 2000mg Tincture, Citrus, 1oz, 1000mg CBG + 1000mg CBDMedterra CBG + CBD TinctureView All CBG Oils
CBNCBDistillery, Extra Strength CBN + CBD Sleep Tincture 1:3, Full Spectrum, 1oz, 300mg CBN and 900mg CBDCBDistillery CBN + CBD Sleep TinctureView All CBN Oils
CBDAMyriam’s Hope Hemp, CBDA Oil, Full Spectrum, Olive, 1oz, 750mg CBDAMyriam’s Hope Hemp CBDA OilView All CBDA Oils

One brand setting the bar for multi-cannabinoid blends is NuLeaf Naturals. The brand’s Full Spectrum Multicannabinoid Oil CBD+CBC+CBG+CBN contains a blend of several key cannabinoids working together in potentially synergistic dosages to provide a full spectrum of wellness benefits. Containing 15 milligrams of CBD, NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum Multicannabinoid Oil CBD+CBC+CBG+CBN is easily the most convenient product on the market for getting a balanced profile of cannabinoids designed to work with your endocannabinoid system.

Final Thoughts on Exploring the Cannabinoid Family

For some people, CBD is going to be enough to get their wellness needs met. However, people with more diverse wellness needs may find that it’s time to graduate to some more complex cannabinoid combinations. Choosing a product that already works out the formula for you is the best way to dip your toe in the water when expanding your horizons.



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