CBN vs CBG: Minor Cannabinoids with a Major Difference

by Kat Austin November 26, 2022 7 min read

CBN vs CBG: Minor Cannabinoids with a Major Difference - Vida Optima™

The cannabis industry is vastly expanding by the minute, and there is definitely no shortage of hemp-derived cannabinoid formulations available. Of course, it can be difficult to understand the difference in these seemingly similar cannabinoids–like CBN and CBG, which are both characterized to have “calming” effects–but their specific differences change everything about the way they are used, the dosages needed, and the effects you can expect to experience.

Needless to say, if you’re trying to choose between CBN vs CBG, it’s crucial to understand exactly what each of the compounds can do and how to best use them to your advantage. Luckily, it’s not all that complicated, and we can break down the differences in this quick little read:

Table of Contents
What is CBG?
Whar is CBN?
Do CBG or CBN Have any Side Effects?
Do CBG or CBN Show Up on a Drug Test?
Do CBG or CBN Make You Feel High?
CBG vs CBN–Which is Best?

Key Takeaways

  • CBG is stimulating and mood-regulating, while CBN is relaxing and sleep-supporting.
  • Both cannabinoids can be made from hemp and are therefore federally legal.
  • You should pay close attention to the quality of either CBG or CBN products since hemp products are not yet well regulated.
  • Either cannabinoid may perform well on its own, or a combination of the two may best meet your unique wellness needs.

What’s the Difference Between CBG And CBN?

CBG and CBN are both very similar in some ways, like being synthesized within the cannabis (and hemp) plants, and both being available in concentrations large enough that they can be extracted directly from hemp flower and even biomass material.

Plus, both of these cannabinoids are known to interact with both primary receptors within the Endocannabinoid System–the CB1 and CB2 receptors–so they have a similar range of effects. Of course, there are plenty of differences to break down, so first we’ll dig into each cannabinoid separately:

What is CBG?

CBG, or cannabigerol, is the primary cannabinoid made from CBGA, or cannabigerolic acid. CBG is sort of incredible–it’s the precursor to almost all of cannabis’s cannabinoids. In other words, CBGA is the precursor for CBG, but also CBD, THC, and many other minor cannabinoids, depending only on the type of enzyme it comes in contact with that forces conversion.

Typically, cannabis plants only have a small amount of CBG because of this diverse conversion process, so CBG needs to be harvested from the plant early on in the growing cycle.

What is CBN?

On the other hand, CBN, or Cannabinol, is a cannabinoid that’s prominently found late in the growing season. The reason for this is because CBN is a product of THC degradation, meaning it is produced as THC is broken down by environmental factors, mainly UV light exposure (sunlight).

Now that we’ve highlighted what these two cannabinoids actually are, here’s how they compare:

A chart comparing the effects, price, and other differences between CBN vs CBG

CBG vs CBN: Comparing Effects, Price, and More


CBG is thought to be useful for soothing inflammation and pain, though research regarding these benefits is limited. Still, it’s usually described as having mildly energizing, but calming effects. Many people enjoy CBG as a mood-enhancing supplement that helps to support endurance and vitality.

CBN’s effects are thought to be more soothing and relaxing, and most of CBN’s therapeutic effects center around sleep and pain relief, although more research is needed to fully understand these potential benefits.

CBN, as a product of THC degradation, is also very mildly psychoactive, though not to any notable extent that will make you feel high. It does, however, share one quality with cannabis-derived THC–it stimulates appetite.

Therapeutic Benefits

According to the limited research available, both CBG and CBN have different therapeutic potentials.

Research interest for CBG centers mostly around the following conditions:

  • Managing poor appetite
  • Antibacterial benefits
  • Managing incontinence or bladder dysfunction
  • Anti-cancer effects
  • Treatment for glaucoma
  • Treatment for Huntington’s disease
  • Treatment for inflammatory bowel disease

On the other hand, these are the areas of research interest concerning the benefits of CBN:

  • Managing pain, mainly joint or muscle pain
  • Treatment for fibromyalgia
  • Treatment for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Managing insomnia

Keep in mind that neither CBG or CBN have every been FDA approved for treating any health conditions, and more research is needed before we will fully understand the potential health benefits of either cannabinoid.

Read “What are the Benefits of CBG?” or “CBN Benefits” to learn more.


Both CBN and CBG can be sources from either high-THC cannabis material (marijuana) or hemp material. If CBN and CBG are sources from federally legal hemp material, then they are federally legal under the definitions used in the 2018 Farm Bill. That means that both cannabinoids are accessible across the country and are usually legal in every state where CBD is legal.


Both CBG and CBN are more expensive than THC and CBD. This is simply because CBN and CBG are both minor cannabinoids, meaning they are naturally available in smaller concentrations and take a lot more hemp to produce. Because they are harder to manufacture, there are less products available (low supply), creating higher demand, which also allows manufacturers to charger higher prices.

Of course, you can still find fairly prices CBG and CBN products, you just need to shop around and weigh both quality and price. In general, CBN and CBG products can cost anywhere from $0.06 to $0.20 per milligram, though you may save money when buying in larger quantities.


Aside from effects, dosage is one of the primary areas where CBG and CBN differ. Of course, many manufacturers advertise very low-potency doses simply because their products have a low concentration of these hard-to-acquire cannabinoids. By advertising a very low dosing threshold, it makes their product look more desirable.

Of course, it’s not all smoke and mirrors. Just like these cannabinoids are available in small concentrations in the cannabis plant, they only need to be used in small concentrations to experience their benefits–much smaller amounts than you’d likely take if you were regularly taking CBD.

A selection of indoor-grown hemp plants that are fully mature and ready to be harvested to make CBN products

CBN is one of the most “potent” minor cannabinoids there is–and most people can enjoy benefits from doses between 5 and 20 milligrams. In fact, many people enjoy great benefits from a combination of 10-30 milligrams of CBD with 5-10 milligrams of CBN. These two cannabinoids are thought to have some serious synergy that’s more soothing and relaxing than either cannabinoid is on its own.

CBG, on the other hand, has a slightly higher dosing threshold, and an average dose is between 20-30 milligrams. Finding a pure CBG product, like a CBG isolate, is much more common because CBG has substantial benefits when used on its own.

Accessibility in the Cannabis Plant

We mentioned already that CBG and CBN were both minor cannabinoids. That means that they are not the predominant cannabinoids found in cannabis, rather they are found in very small concentrations. Of course, CBG is much more accessible in hemp than CBN for one primary reason–hemp, by definition, has a very low THC concentration. Since THC is the precursor to CBN, this automatically translates to a very small CBN content.

Alternatively, CBG can be found in all types of cannabis material, whether marijuana or hemp, but begins to degrade as the plant matures. Young hemp plants can contain up to 30% CBG, but a fully mature plant may contain 2% CBG or less.

Accessibility on the Market

This low concentration in the cannabis plant, fortunately, doesn’t really translate to low accessibility within the hemp market. Although there is significantly less variety available for both CBG and CBN when compared to CBD and THC products, they are still very accessible and you can find both products easily online. In fact, we have both a CBG Mood & Focus Tincture and a collection of CBN + CBD products, each made to the same stringent quality standards as our Vitality CBD Collection.

You should, of course, be wary of poor-quality hemp formulations and learn how to verify the quality of a CBG or CBN product before you buy (but we’ll touch more on this below).

Do CBG and CBN Have Any Side Effects?

Both CBG and CBN are known to be relatively safe with a low public safety risk when used at responsible doses. Of course, every person’s endocannabinoid system is different, and every consumer should expect to experience their own unique range of effects when using either CBG or CBN. In other words, side effects are rare and mild, but they can happen. The most common side effects associated with these hemp-derived cannabinoids may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sedation
  • Appetite changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness

You may want to read “CBN Side Effects” to learn more.

Do CBG or CBN Show Up On a Drug Test?

In general, CBG and CBN are unlikely to show up on a rug test. However, you run a higher risk with CBN, which is a product of THC degradation. Drug tests look for a specific THC metabolite. Since CBN and THC have a similar structure, it’s possible that large doses can interact with drug tests. It’s also possible that CBN products could be contaminated with THC.

In general, you should approach hemp-derived cannabinoids with caution if you are subject to drug tests. Always check third-party test results to ensure that the product contains less than the legal amount of Delta-9-THC, which is 0.3% by dry weight. Also keep in mind that hemp-derived THC products will trigger a positive test result just like marijuana derived THC will.

Will CBG or CBN Make You Feel High?

CBG is non-intoxicating, meaning it doesn’t have the potential to make you feel intoxicated, no matter how much you take. CBN, on the other hand, does have very mild intoxicating effects. However, these effects are only a fraction as potent as traditional THC (about ten times less potent), and you won’t feel high taking normal, moderated doses of CBN.

Vida Optima Clarity CBG Tincture

Which is Best–CBG or CBN?

If you’re looking at these two cannabinoids–CBN vs CBG–and wondering which is best, the answer is–it depends on you. CBG and CBN are two very different cannabinoids with their own unique range of effects, and you’ll need to look at your own needs to determine which of these cannabinoids are best for you.

To put it simply–CBG may be best if you need uplifting, mood-regulating benefits, while CBN may be better for supporting sleep and helping you unwind. In some cases, you may find that a combination of the two (CBG in the day, CBN at night) may provide the most benefit for you.

Check out our Clarity CBG Mood Tincture or our Dream CBN + CBD Collection.

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