It’s an exciting time for cannabis and hemp. Not only are the active compounds found in these plants being investigated for their ability to treat disease and illness, but discoveries are also being made as to how they might benefit our general health and wellness, too.

Cannabidiol — aka CBD — is the darling of the cannabis beauty world right now. But CBD is just one of the various active ingredients found in hemp and cannabis. As science races to catch up with consumer interest and demand, new members of the cannabinoid family are making their debuts in tinctures, serums, sheet masks and more.

One ingredient you may have heard about is cannabigerol — CBG. You may be wondering how it's different from CBD and what benefits this new kid on the cannabinoid block might offer you.

CBD vs. CBG and the Endocannabinoid System

Before diving into the differences between CBD and CBG, here are some similarities.

Both CBG and CBD are active compounds called cannabinoids, which are naturally found in cannabis and hemp plants. They belong to a family of over one hundred other cannabinoids, and the full extent of their benefits is widely unknown.

Cannabinoids interact with our bodies through the endocannabinoid system, regulating various bodily functions and processes. When you sprain an ankle, have a fever, experience stress or get a sunburn, the ECS works with other systems in your body (like the serotonin or immune systems, for example) to bring things back to a state of equilibrium.

The ECS also impacts other basic biological functions like:

  • Appetite
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Metabolism
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Body temperature 

The ECS is made up of an extensive network of cannabinoid receptors located all over the human body: from your brain to your gut and your bones to your skin. These cannabinoid receptors, called the CB1 and CB2 receptors, pick up cannabinoids like CBD and CBG, which give the cells instructions to produce an effect. Cannabinoids like CBD and CBG can offer similar health benefits, like fighting inflammation, for example, but oftentimes the complexities of how they work will differ. 

This is actually great news because it means that you might get a more holistic benefit by using certain cannabinoids together. It’s also why you might have heard folks talk about “the entourage effect” — a theory that all the active compounds in hemp and cannabis work better together.

Learn: 5 CBD Myths Debunked

What Is CBG?

To understand what CBG is, you need to first understand where it comes from. Cannabinoids exist in an acidic state when in living plants. In their acidic state, cannabinoids can offer different benefits than when in the neutral state we typically see in products today. More and more research is being done on the unique benefits and applications of acidic cannabinoids. 

While they are maturing, hemp and cannabis plants are chock full of cannabigerolic acid or CBGA. CBGA is kind of like the chameleon of cannabinoids because, within the plant, CBGA is transformed into all other acidic cannabinoids: cannabidiolic acid or CBDA, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid or THCA, and so on. Because of its foundational role, CBGA is often lovingly referred to as the "mother cannabinoid."

When the plants are harvested and processed, the extracted acidic cannabinoids are put through a chemical change and become the cannabinoids we typically see on the shelves, like CBG, THC, CBD or CBN.

CBG is getting more and more attention for the unique health and wellness benefits it might offer us.

Shop: CBD and CBG Beauty Products

The Benefits of CBG for Beauty, Skincare and More

Because the ECS has such a wide umbrella of effect, there are many potential benefits of CBG. 

Before diving into what CBG does, here's what CBG will not do. Unlike THC, CBG is non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive and will not alter your mood, feelings or behavior. In other words: The effects of CBG don't include getting you high.

Current research on CBG is looking at its potential to increase levels of a substance our body produces called anandamide. Anandamide is often referred to as the "bliss molecule" because it not only impacts mood but also lots of other essential functions like appetite, sleep cycles and immune function.

Some of the other big-picture, global benefits that CBG is being investigated for include:

These potential applications could be oh-so-useful for the general health and wellness of our entire bodies — and particularly beneficial for the skin. Research is underway looking at using CBG for taming skin inflammation, soothing the itchiness and discomfort of dry skin and regulating oil glands. CBG could have many different applications for health and beauty, including helping to maintain a happy, balanced scalp and healthier hair.

You should expect to see CBG as the star ingredient in more and more beauty and wellness products like facial oils and tinctures, but you can always find small amounts of CBG in any product that contains full-spectrum or broad-spectrum hemp extracts. Our GRO+ Advanced Gummies and GRO+ Advanced Hair Serum are packed with all the goodies naturally found in the hemp plant.

Each GRO+ Advanced Gummy contains 10 mg of CBD and 10 mg of CBG — the perfect combination to help ease stress for thicker, fuller hair. It also features biotin, folic acid, zinc and other beneficial vitamins and minerals to help your hair flourish. 

GRO+ Advanced Gummies

Find Out: I Tried CBD Serum for Hair Growth — Here's What Happened

What Is CBD?

Arguably the MVP of the cannabinoid team, CBD is everywhere. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was officially legalized, ending decades of federal prohibition. Legalization also helped hemp-derived CBD soar into the mainstream, and today you can find hemp-CBD products everywhere from Walmart to Walgreens.

Like its other teammates, cannabidiol works with the ECS in many different ways and related research is ramping up. CBD is showing promise for a wide variety of medical, psychological and wellness uses.

Learn: The Ultimate CBD Glossary 

The Benefits of CBD for Beauty, Skincare and More

As with THC and CBG, THC and CBD are also different because CBD won’t cause you to feel intoxicated or high. This is one of the main reasons that CBD oil has gained so much attention and widespread acceptance — folks love the fact that they can enjoy all the benefits of hemp and cannabis while still going about their lives with a clear head. Most folks use CBD to help with pain, sleep and anxiety.

When looking at CBD benefits versus CBG benefits, a lot more research exists for CBD. However, relatively speaking, we are still in the early days for both cannabinoids, and there's still much to be discovered about how they work their magic. That said, since CBD works with the ECS and a variety of other systems in the body, like CBG, it too has a lot of possible applications.

Not only is CBD being investigated to treat a wide variety of serious illnesses and conditions like seizure disorders, cancer and schizophrenia, but like CBG, it has a few global properties that make it useful for everyday health, wellness and beauty:

By providing inflammation-busting power and antimicrobial action, CBD can soothe skin, which could be beneficial for everything from acne to psoriasis to maintaining a healthy scalp. Research suggests that CBD might also impact the oil glands in our skin, too. Antioxidants are useful in a wide variety of wellness and beauty applications, including those impacting skin and hair.

CBD and CBG Takeaways

There's still much to discover about CBD, CBG and the whole extended family of cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds that hemp and cannabis plants produce. 

Because of their relationship to the ECS and the variety of global benefits that both CBD and CBG offer, we can expect to see these two cannabinoids becoming more and more embraced by beauty and wellness enthusiasts alike.

Research is promising, and both CBD and CBG are poised to change the beauty and self-care industries for the better.

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Photo credit: Matteo Paganelli/Unsplash

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