Some studies suggest CBG may be a potent therapeutic compound – especially when it comes to Crohn’s and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Crohn’s is a bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, affecting about one in 700 people in the UK.
Crohn’s belongs to a wider group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBD – a blanket term for inflammation found in the digestive tracts. It includes Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease primarily. UC affects the large intestine while Crohn’s can affect any part of the digestive system.
Although primarily a digestive related condition, the effects of IBD can spread across the whole body and be a debilitating disease to live with both physically and mentally.
As with most things in the medical world, Crohn’s (and wider IBD) can affect different patients differently, however some of the most common symptoms are:
- Pain – Mild to severe pain in the abdomen, joints, lower abdomen, or rectum.
- Gastrointestinal – Bloating, bowel obstruction, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, or flatulence
- Total Body Effects – Fatigue, fever, or loss of appetite
- Anal – Fissures or bleeding
- Other common symptoms can include: Cramping, depression, anxiety flare, mouth ulcer, slow growth, or weight loss
While there’s no known cure for Crohn’s disease, therapies can greatly reduce its signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission and healing of inflammation. With treatment, many people with Crohn’s disease are able to function well and live fulfilling lives.
There are numerous studies showing that cannabis has a positive impact on inflammation, so it would make sense that it could be helpful for this condition, but if you explore the evidence further, CBD may not be the best cannabinoid to choose.
So where does CBG come in?
Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and is often referred to as the mother of all cannabinoids. This is because other cannabinoids are derived from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), an acidic form of CBG.
CBG is found in smaller quantities than other cannabinoids in cannabis plants and is derived from younger plants because they contain higher amounts than more mature and developed plants. In fully developed plants with high concentrations of THC and CBD, you’ll find very low concentrations of CBG.
This less common but potent cannabinoid has been gaining popularity for the past few years and there are increasing numbers of studies into a diverse array of clinical areas that it can support, one of which is inflammation of the digestive tract.
Cannabigerol has been explored as a therapeutic option for colorectal cancer and colitis using mouse models. Results showed that treatment with CBG increased the rate of tissue recovery in the colon, the ratio of colon weight to length, colonic permeability, and reduced inflammation. The authors also found that CBG was effective as a treatment to prevent colitis-associated damage.
In a follow-up study, it was found that cannabigerol reduced tumour formation in the azoxymethane model of colorectal cancer and reduced xenograft tumour growth.
In 2020, a study looked at the the effects of CBG on inflammatory activity in colitis. Orally administered CBG reduced colonic inflammation, whereas in contrast, CBD on its own did not induce significant changes to these metrics.
CBG seems to work with the relevant receptors to target gut based inflammation, reducing the symptoms of IBD and even potentially slowing the damage caused by this incurable disease.
Whilst we know that CBD can also reduce inflammation and pain, it seems that in the digestive system CBG is more effective, and anecdotally we see that people who take CBD and CBG for pain, see faster more significant results with CBG
As Crohn’s and IBD is an inflammatory gut disease, it makes sense that a compound that works with our own endocannabinoid system to restore homestasis and reduce inflammation where we need it most, would be helpful for those suffering symptoms of Crohn’s.
So it is clear that IBD can affect not just the digestive tract but the wider physical and mental health of the patient. Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.
CBG has shown to be a potent therapeutic compound with unique ways of working compared to its better known sibling CBD, especially when it comes to gastro inflammation.
Whilst nothing as of yet is likely to cure Crohn’s, it does seem that CBG could go a long way to help alleviate the discomfort associated with many typical symptoms, and allow sufferers of IBD to function more ‘normally’ and help manage the condition in the short and long term.
This article was written by the founders of cannabis wellness brand, Tincture Tailor.