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CBD, CBG, CBN, CBC- What are they?

With more and more research going into cannabis and new cannabis compounds being discovered, there are a number of cannabinoids that have started popping up in products. But what do these really do for you? Are they different from CBD? What do they mean? In this article, we’ll explore these questions and help you make the decision on which product is right for you.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are one of the 4 main compound groups that make up cannabis (the other three being terpenes, flavonoids and sterols). Two of the most recognizable cannabinoids in cannabis are the psychoactive ∆9-THC and non-psychoactive CBD, but more than 100 cannabinoids have been identified in cannabis (20-26). Overall, cannabinoids have show to demonstrate pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. (27-29) As research into cannabinoids continues, new cannabinoids are identified with potential health benefits. We will explore some of the cannabinoids gaining the most traction below.


CBD, or cannabidiol, is the most widely recognized cannabinoid in cannabis besides THC. It is non-psychoactive and well documented in demonstrating a number of potential health benefits, including helping:

  • Pain & inflammation (12, 13, 14)

  • Anxiety (15, 18)

  • Sleep (19)

  • Seizures (16, 17)

CBD has become the most popular of the non-psychoactive cannabinoids studied for its health benefits-- however, it is far from the only one. A number of cannabinoids have started emerging recently and show promising results, including:


Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid similar to CBD, but very different in how it interacts with the body. CBG is derived from CBGa (cannabigeriolic acid), a compound considered to be the “stem cell” of cannabinoids as it can also be converted into CBD, CBC, or THC through enzymatic process. Early research into the mechanism of CBG indicates that it acts as an agonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors without causing any intoxicating effects, and that it may also act as a GABA reuptake inhibitor. What this essentially boils down to is that CBG may help with both neuropathic and inflammatory pain.  

Early research shows that CBG may offer:

  •  Digestion benefits (7)

  • Antibacterial benefits (2)

  • Pain & inflammation reduction (10)


CBN, or cannabinol, can currently only be derived from CBD through a chemical conversion process. It is structurally very similar to THC, but with one important difference- it contains almost none of the psychoactive effects. While more structurally similar to THC than CBD once it reaches its final form, CBN lacks the psychoactive effects of THC. Some of the potential benefits of CBN include:

  • Antibacterial benefits (2)

  • Neuroprotection (3,6)

  • Appetite-stimulation (8)


Cannabichromene or (CBC) has much less research behind it compared to the other compounds on this list, but in the research that has been conducted on it, it has already demonstrated its potential as a medical supplement. CBC’s effects feel very similar to CBD when ingested, but varies greatly in its chemical structure.  This enables it to interact with the body in a very different way. So far, research has linked CBC with the following medical benefits:

  • Cancer benefits (4)

  • Neuroprotection (3)

  • Neuroregeneration (5)

  • Pain relief and anti-inflammatory benefits (11)

Will CBN get you high?

Research shows that, although CBN acts similar to THC in the body, it is around 1/6 to 1/10th as strong (30). CBN does activate the CB1 receptor in the body, but not nearly enough to cause intoxication.

So, what should I get?

Largely, many of these cannabinoids overlap in their benefits, and none are necessarily better than the other. You may find it best to customize your regime by using products with similar effects in combination to maximize their potential. Unlike some products, cannabinoids act in synergy with each other rather than in opposition.

If your main concern is inflammation, you may want to include products with CBD, CBG and CBC in your regimen, whereas if you are looking for a product with neuroprotective benefits, you may want to consider CBC and CBN.

Overall, these cannabinoids hold enormous potential to alleviate many conditions, with additional research required to fully reveal what other benefits these compounds may hold. We hope this guide helps you to make an informed decision about what compounds to consider adding to your routine.



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  2. Somvanshi, Rishi K et al. “Cannabinol modulates neuroprotection and intraocular pressure: A potential multi-target therapeutic intervention for glaucoma.” Biochimica et biophysica acta. Molecular basis of disease vol. 1868,3 (2022): 166325. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2021.166325

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