CBC (Cannabichromene): Effects, Benefits & More

Cannabichromene (CBC) Header

This post is part of a series on cannabis compounds. For more information and a listing of all other cannabinoids, see our Cannabis Compounds overview.

When it comes to cannabinoids, THC and CBD often steal the spotlight. There are, however, many other important molecules that originate within the cannabis plant that needs to be discussed. Cannabichromene or CBC is one of the 'big six' naturally occurring phytocannabinoids, first discovered in 1966.

This molecule was once shown to be the 2nd most abundant cannabinoid in tropical cannabis strains, yet modern breeding practices have not focused on CBC. Today high-THC marijuana and high-CBD hemp have pushed CBC down the list. Despite this shift in focus, this cannabinoid offers some unique therapeutic properties that shouldn't be overlooked.

CBC Molecule

Activity: Non-psychoactive
Formula: C21H30O2 
Molecular Mass: 314.2246 g/mol 
Boiling Point: 220 °C (428 °F) 

Like THC and CBD, CBC starts with the 'stem cell' cannabinoid: Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).

From this seed, the molecule is cyclized by the enzyme CBCA synthase resulting in its 'raw' form of CBCA. Through a heating process known as decarboxylation, CBCA loses a carbon molecule and ends up as CBC.

This molecule has the same formula as Delta-9 THC and CBD (C21H30O2), though it has a different assembly, giving it its own unique properties.

What Are the Effects of CBC?

Like all other cannabinoids, CBC interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) to produce its effects. This compound works differently than other cannabinoids. While most others activate the cannabinoid receptors in your ECS, Cannabichromene does not.

Instead, CBC interacts with the vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1) and the transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1). Both of these receptors are linked to pain perception.

When these receptors are activated, the natural processes which degrade the body's endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced by the body) are affected. The result is increased levels of endocannabinoids like anandamide and 2-AG.

Because CBC does not interact with the standard CB1 and CB2 receptors, this molecule is non-psychoactive meaning it does not produce a high. Unlike CBD however, CBC has been observed to make the psychoactive effects of THC stronger.

What Are the Benefits of CBC?

Cannabichromene has been studied both alone and in tandem with other cannabinoids to show many promising potential therapeutic uses. The following potential benefits and treatment of conditions have been observed:

  • Anti-Acne - Along with CBDV and THCV this compound shows promise as highly efficient, novel anti-acne agents through potent anti-inflammatory action.
  • Antibacterial/Antifungal - This molecule has been shown to exhibit strong antibacterial properties and mild to moderate antifungal activity.
  • Anti-Depressant - As part of the trifecta of compounds, this molecule has been shown to display significant anti-depressant actions.
  • Anti-Diarrheal - By reducing inflammation, reduced gastrointestinal hypermotility in rats displayed anti-diarrheal properties.
  • Anti-Inflammatory - By indirectly modulating the endocannabinoid system (by not interacting with CB1 or CB2) this compound has been observed to work well with other phytocannabinoids like THC to provide anti-inflammatory actions.
  • Bone Growth - Modulating the endocannabinoid system has been shown to be therapeutic in human bone diseases and stimulating bone growth.
  • Cancer - Phytocannabinoids in general display anti-tumor activity, inhibiting cell growth. Specifically, this has been documented in cases of breast cancer. While these results are not specific to CBC, they point to the potential use of whole-plant medicines which include this compound.
  • Neurogenesis - Unlike most other drugs that display potential for abuse (alcohol, nicotine, opiates), cannabis compounds including CBC have been shown to display neuro-regenerative properties. These molecules help promote the growth and development of nervous tissue in the brain.
  • Pain Relief - CBC and CBD have been observed to block the perception of pain by interacting with several target proteins in the body involved in nociceptive control.

Where Can You Find CBC?

Because this compound has been overshadowed by CBD, finding a specific product containing high levels of CBC is tough. Realistically the best place to find a non-psychoactive, hemp-derived product high in cannabichromene is to look for high-quality full-spectrum products.

A full spectrum CBD oil should contain low amounts of all cannabinoids, allowing you to add CBC and other beneficial compounds to your supplement regimen. As a consumer, the best place to look is for concentrated extracts. Diving into the lab reports and picking out a product based on its phytocannabinoid content is essential.

This means you'll want to make sure that the company you're purchasing from is providing batch-level lab reports for their products. Also, be sure you understand how to read a CBD lab report so you understand what is in the product your purchasing.

Originally Published: September 16, 2018 | Last Updated: September 27, 2018

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