A recent study suggests that the cannabinoid cannabigerol (CBG) may be a useful compound when it comes to treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and Crohn’s disease.
Authors of the study found CBG to be an effective treatment to prevent colitis-associated damage.
Cannabigerol (CBG) is a lesser-known cannabinoid, but over the last few years products containing CBG have become increasingly popular amongst cannabis consumers.
Additionally, previous research by the authors found a reduction in xenograft tumour growth and tumour formation in the azoxymethane model of colorectal cancer.
What is inflammatory bowel disease?
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a term used to define two chronic relapsing inflammatory conditions: Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC).
They are both long-term conditions – ulcerative colitis usually affects the colon, while Crohn’s can affect all of the digestive systems.
And even though IBD is commonly a digestive-related disease, it can spread to other parts of the body and become an extremely depleting condition to live with.
IBD affects millions of people worldwide. Currently, 1 in 123 people in the UK suffer from the physical and mental effects of the disease.
The most common problems a person with IBD has to live with include:
- Bowel obstruction
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mild to severe pain in the abdomen, joints, or rectum
- Loss of appetite
- Anxiety and depression
- Mouth ulcers
- Weight loss
Currently, there is no known cure for IBD, but diverse therapies are available for patients which can help to reduce the symptoms and massively improve their quality of life.
What is CBG?
Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of hundreds of the cannabinoids within the cannabis family. It is known as the “mother of all cannabinoids”.
This is because as young cannabis plants start to mature, a variety of compounds and enzymes fuse together to create CBGA – an “early-phase” cannabinoid – which precedes the creation of CBG and, subsequently, all other cannabinoids.
In short, CBGA is where all cannabinoids begin.
Just like CBD, CBG is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t get you high.
But, research suggests that CBG interacts directly within our body’s internal endocannabinoid system, and can neutralise the effects of other cannabinoids, like THC.
And while there are studies on CBD for the treatment of pain and inflammation, the addition of CBG looks to be more effective when it comes digestive problems – with an increasing number of people seeing faster and more significant results when conusming both CBD and CBG.
A study in 2020 on inflammatory activity in colitis found CBD on it’s own wasn’t as effective as orally administered CBG in addition to the CBD, which helped reduce colonic inflammation.
How does CBG help with inflammatory bowel disease?
Seemingly, CBG interacts with the relevant CB receptors within the body’s endocannabinoid system to counteract gut-based inflammation.
Considering that IBD is an inflammatory gut disease, CBG seems like a great choice to reduce gut inflammation, slow the damage caused by the disease, and potentially restore homeostasis.
However, the studies on CBG to treat gut diseases have been few and far between.
But in this study, researchers studied the effects of CBG in an experimental rodent model of colitis.
In the discussion, researchers commented that CBG given before or after the inflammatory insult “significantly reduced the effects of DNBS on colon weight/colon length ratio.”
To better understand the effects, researchers carried out further studies: histological analysis, immunohistochemistry, and measured intestinal permeability.
They concluded that the effect of CBG was “associated to modulation of cytokine levels and down-regulation of iNOS (but not COX-2) expression.” and was also able to “exert antioxidant effects in the inflamed gut as well as in the epithelial cells exposed to oxidative stress.”
So, while the research for Cannabigerol on IBD and Crohn’s disease is limited, recent studies suggest that CBG could be effective when it comes to treating gut-related illnesses, and has definitely created speculation for researchers to dig a little deeper.