The Difference Between Cannabinoids: CBD, CBG, CBN, and THC-A

There are dozens of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Two of the most popular cannabinoids are THC and CBD. More people know about these two cannabinoids because they usually get the focus among researchers and consumers alike.

Other cannabinoids found in cannabis include CBN, CBG, and THC-A. These cannabinoids also provide their own set of benefits to users. Read on to know more about these cannabinoids and how do they differ to CBD.


Cannabis Plants

Cannabigerol (CBG) is a cannabinoid that comes from CBG. Cannabis plants generate cannabigerolic acid (CBG-A), which is the CBG’s acid form and the predecessor to other main lines of cannabinoids which includes the:

  • THC-A tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A),
  • Cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A)
  • Cannabichromenic acid (CBC-A)

When these specific acids are exposed to elements, like heat or oxygen, they transform into cannabinoids. In most cases, CBG-A turns into either CBD-A or THC-A. That explains why THC and CBD are plentiful in the cannabis plant.

Both CBD and CBG have no psychoactive properties. That means they don’t generate a high that a THC does. In an average cannabis strain, it contains around 1% of CBG.

CBG also shares the same healing properties with CBD. This includes

  • Relieving pain
  • Alleviating inflammation
  • Protecting the brain from trauma
  • Preventing the growth of cancer tumors
  • Antibacterial and antibiotic benefits


Cannabinol (CBN) is formed when THC is exposed to oxygen and ultraviolet light. Unlike CBD, CBN gives a psychoactive effect, though not as much as THC. Its mild psychoactive effect can be used as a light sedative.

CBN can be generated through two processes:

  • Aging: This process of creating CBN is actually slow. During this period, THC is divided into CBN-A and CBN.
  • Decarboxylation: This process generates CBN much quicker than the aging process.

Compared to CBD, CBN has a short list of healing properties. It’s known to have analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help improve sleep and relieve seizures.


You might think that THC and THC-A are the same, but they’re not. THC is derived from THC-A, which is interestingly non-psychoactive. THC-A is converted into THC when the cannabis plant dries. The process is hastened when the plant is exposed to heat. In an average cannabis plant, there’s around 10%-20% THC-A.

THC-A has the same healing properties to CBD, though further studies is required. This includes reducing inflammation, protection of nerves, relieving pain, and easing nausea.


CBG, CBN, THC-A, and CBD are all cannabinoids that originate from the cannabis plant, but they’re not similar at all. They possess different healing properties and psychoactive effects. Your choice of cannabinoids may depend on what symptom relief you’re looking for.