If you’ve found yourself on a journey to understand CBD, you may now find it helpful to familiarize yourself with CBG, CBN and CBC.


Even newcomers to The CBD (Cannabidiol) world have probably noticed that the Certificate of Analysis (CoA) accompanying every reputable CBD product notes levels of many chemical entities that are likely foreign to most Pharmacists.   You will see the familiar and expected delta-9- THC and the CBD and CBDa values.  But what are the rest of the chemicals listed?  CBG (Cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromeme), CBN (cannabinol), THCa, delta-8-THC, CBGa (Cannabigerolic acid), let alone flavonoids and terpenes!  While you likely have heard that aside from THC, these “new” cannabinoids are non-intoxicating, for most of us our knowledge ended there.  One can find extensive clinical data on dozens of these compounds, but in the interest of time, let’s look briefly at only 3 analogs of CBD: CBG, CBN and CBC.

We know that CBD influences the Endocannabinoid System via retrograde chemical signaling effects on the CB receptors dispersed throughout the body, however, recent discoveries suggest that CBG may be the much more exotic and exciting cannabinoid.  CBG is the first and easiest cannabinoid that can be derived from CBGa, which has been referred to as the “stem cell” of cannabinoids since it is the chemical precursor for several other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBC or THC via varied enzymatic processes.  Like CBD, CBG doesn’t make the user high, and many people also report that the effects of these compounds feel very similar.  Additionally, CBG appears to offer a few benefits that seem to be unique, which may be due to the fact that it interacts with the body via different chemical pathways than CBD.  Researchers are just beginning to explore reports that CBG may offer benefits supporting human digestion as well as potential antibacterial properties.

CBN, like CBG, has seen a recent research interest in several of its anecdotally reported benefits. Although it is derived from a process that directly converts CBD into CBN, the chemical structure of CBN is much more similar to THC than to CBD.  But because CBN does not directly interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the CNS, it displays no THC-like intoxicating qualities.  It does however show promise that it may share THC’s effect as an appetite stimulant.   CBN also seems to possess the ability to reduce nausea which has some researchers longing to determine if it may serve as an alternative to THC’s role as an anti-emetic.

CBC is far and away the least known of these compounds, most likely because very little research has been done with CBC to determine its potential uses.  CBC has a chemical structure significantly different from other CBD analogs as it also looks more like THC than CBD.  In part, this difference accounts for the recent interest scientists have in exploring CBC’s beneficial role in overall neurologic health as well as understanding its relationship with cancer progression.

The growing interest in these 2nd tier non-intoxicating cannabinoids have ushered in a sense of acceptance of compounds other than CBD, we will look at a few other next month.