A Look At What Is The Cannabinoid CBC (Cannabichromene)
CBC is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Discovered in 1966 by Gaoni and Mechoulam, CBC may offer several health benefits, making it similar to cannabinoids like CBD.
While research on CBC is low, there’s still sufficient information to understand how this compound works. A 1981 study on CBC showed that it was the second most prominent cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp (12). Also, this study discovered several therapeutic uses for CBC.
Cannabichromene (CBC) a lesser-known cannabinoid especially when compared with other cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Cannabichromene is also less concentrated in the cannabis plant. While CBC is found in small amounts in the cannabis plant, it’s still classified as a major phytocannabinoid.
CBC research has increased over the last couple of years, but there is a need for clinical studies involving CBC to determine the effects of CBC on humans. CBC has the potential to offer numerous health benefits. Also, it lacks psychoactive properties making it beneficial. In this article we have dug deep into CBC including how it works, its anecdotal uses, and how its formed to guide individuals who are willing to use the compound for therapeutic purposes.
What Is CBC
Cannabichromene among the hundreds of organic compounds known as cannabinoids. CBC resides primarily within the hemp and cannabis plants, and it's synthesized after exposing CBCa to heat and light. Still, CBC functions differently from most cannabinoids because of its low affinity for CB receptors. Instead, CBC interacts with TRPV receptors involved in recognizing temperature variations, and other sensations, at a cellular level.
The chemical formula of CBC is C21H30O2, and it has a similar structure to other cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN). CBC originates from cannabichrome carboxylic acid (CBCa), cannabichromenic acid. Cannabichromene is also known as cannabichrome, cannanbichromene, pentylcannabichromene or cannabinochromene.
CBC can be a potential treatment for symptoms such as acne, depression, pain, and health conditions affecting the brain. While CBC is considered to treat these conditions, there is a need for more research into CBC to better understand the effects of this cannabinoid.
Cannabichromene is available in different forms including CBC cream, CBC extract, and CBC oil. According to a 2016 study published in Experimental Dermatology, CBC cream is particularly useful in treating acne (6). CBC is also anti-inflammatory which means it may help soothe the sebaceous glands of the skin that may secrete excessive oil, thus leading to acne.
The Pathway To How It Is Formed
CBC’s parent cannabinoid is CBG and CBC results when CBCa or cannabichromenic acid is exposed to light or heat. When this happens, a chemical process called ‘decarboxylation’ occurs. During the process of decarboxylation, the heat removes the carboxylic acid atoms in the CBCa and prompts the creation of CBC. Through the process of decarboxylation, acidic cannabinoids like cannabigerolic acid, cannabiniol acid (CBD-A), tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THC-A) and cannabichromenic acid (CBC-A) lose their acidity to become cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabichromenic (CBC).
How CBC Works
CBC works uniquely within the body, but what makes it stand out from several cannabinoids is its potential to interact with other receptors that are not within the endocannabinoid system. This shows that it’s not only through the endocannabinoid system that cannabinoids show their true potential.
The endocannabinoid system (also known as the ECS), is primarily in charge of maintaining homeostasis in our body to enhance several biological functions. Cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, can directly interact with our endocannabinoid receptors, such as CB1 and CB2 receptors that are distributed throughout our brain and body.
CBC also interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system found in different parts of our central and peripheral nervous systems. Cannabichromene activates the CB2 receptors for other cannabinoids, making them very effective in the body. This change in the body is known as the entourage effect.
The entourage effect usually occurs when the full spectrum of hemp compounds works synergistically. Although all full spectrum formulas offer synergistic effects in our bodily systems, CBC makes the effects more viable. It may help with gut health, lessening symptoms of Crohn’s, colitis, IBS, or IBD. CBC interaction with the ECS also helps in regulating memory, inflammation, and pain.
The body's receptors which include the TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors are where CBC mainly focuses. It’s also believed that CBC can modify several functions and reactions including body temperature, sensitivity to pain, and inflammation which results from the nervous system. Nonetheless, while CBC is non-psychoactive like CBD, it doesn’t seem to bind much with CB1 or CB2 receptors.
CBC doesn’t work like other major cannabinoids like THC and CBD by binding with CB1 and CB2 receptors. Instead, CBC enhances the therapeutic effects of other cannabinoids by protecting CB1 and CB2 receptors from degradation. By blocking the processes that degrade the endocannabinoid receptors, CBC has the potential to enhance the therapeutic impact of other cannabinoids on the ECS, thus indirectly activating the body’s cannabinoid receptors.
CBC communicates with TRPV1 (the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 and TRPA1 (the transient receptor potential ankyrin 1) (7). Both of these receptors control the pain and inflammation signals activation in the bones. In effect, CBC and other cannabinoids may extracted from the same source, but each of them has its potential benefits in certain areas when given a head-to-head comparison. For instance, the potential ability of CBC to affect the TRPV1 receptors is what makes it more advantageous when it comes to regulating bone densities than other cannabinoids that primarily interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Anecdotal Uses of CBC and Research
CBC’s interaction with the TRPA1 and TRPV1 receptors is influential in pain transmission (13,14). It’s believed that CBC can offer high pain relief in patients suffering from chronic, persistent pain that results from conditions such as inflammatory bowel disorder, cancer, endometriosis, or fibromyalgia. There is need for more research to better understand the ability of CBC to relief pain. Some studies also show that the analgesic effects are on-par with CBD (15).
Animal studies focused on the effects of THC, CBC, and CBN found the group treated with CBC experienced high-level improvements in depression scores (16). According to the study, the antidepressant mechanism of action used by CBC acted differently from other cannabinoids.
CBC has also been studied for its ability to reduce inflammation (17) and prevent bacterial and fungal attacks (18) — especially when mixed with THC.
Other potential uses of CBC alongside detailed research include:
- Reduces acne
A 2016 study on CBC showed its potential as acne treatment. According to the study, CBC was added to human sebocytes—a type of skin cell that generates oil, and one of the primary causes of acne development (8). The results of the study showed that CBC halts oil synthesis, with the researchers stating that CBC could become a very effective anti-acne agent.
- May reduce depressive symptoms
CBC may also work as an antidepressant. A study conducted on CBC found that it imposed noteworthy antidepressant-like effects on mice who were induced with depression through forced swim and tail suspension tests (9). CBC’s mood influencing potential and its ability to act as an antidepressant may add to the mood-improving effects of cannabis.
Although this study only included mouse models, there is a need for more research into the antidepressant effects in humans before drawing any conclusions. The results on mice certainly show CBC’s potential to enhance mood.
- Decreases pain
CBC also exerted high potentials as a pain reliever. According to research, CBC can modulate proteins that transmit pain signals. One study showed that CBC treatment in mice reduced pain by binding with several targets that regulate pain production (10). Also, although this study hasn’t been done on humans, it still shows the pain-relieving potential of CBC.
- Improves cognitive function
CBC may also enhance cognitive function. According to a 2013 study, CBC improved adult neural stem progenitor cells’ viability, which is self-renewing cells that generate into multiple brain cell types (11).
The results of this study showed the ability of CBC to affect brain cells, which means that people with cognitive disorders could potentially use CBC for clinical settings. However, it’s hard to determine the extent to which CBC helps with specific cognitive disorders due to a lack of clinical research. There is a need for further research before more concrete claims can be concluded about CBC and brain health.
Latest Studies Relating to the Possible Uses of CBC
Most studies on CBC also feature other influential cannabinoids. There is very limited research on CBC with most of them being animal and in-vitro studies.
A 2006 study published by the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics examined the effects of cannabinoids on in-vitro cancer cells (1). While cannabidiol (CBD) could strongly inhibit cancer cell growth, it was closely followed by CBG and CBC. Researchers concluded that their “data support the further testing of cannabidiol and cannabidiol-rich extracts for the potential treatment of cancer”.
Another study conducted by the Department of Experimental Medicine in Naples, Italy, tested the effect of CBD and CBC on nociceptive pathways in rats (2). Nociceptive pain is a typical feeling linked with breaks, burns, or bruising.
According to the results of the study, CBD and CBC caused “analgesia by interacting with several target proteins”. While the study did acknowledge that both CBD and CBC could be useful therapeutic agents, more research is needed to explore multiple mechanisms of action.
In 2010 the University of Mississippi analyzed the effects of THC, CBD, CBC, CBG, and CBN to study the animal model of depression (3). After using several doses, the researchers concluded that “cannabinoids expend antidepressant-like actions”, although CBC showed dose-dependent effects.
While CBD is acclaimed for its ability to reduce inflammation and cell proliferation associated with acne, a 2016 study showed that CBC might have a more likely effect (4). The cannabinoid “remarkably reduced arachidonic acid (AA)-induced ‘acne-like lipogenesis”. According to the results, CBC, CBDV, and THCV “have a high potential to become efficient, novel anti-acne agents”.
CBC’s effect on other cannabinoids was exhibited in a 2011 study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Not only did the cannabinoid appear to mediate the psychotropic effects of THC, but dose-dependent administration of both cannabinoids in-vitro “led to enhanced tetrad and anti-inflammatory actions” (5). The most significant point of difference with CBC was that its anti-inflammatory effects were not a result of binding with CB1 or CB2 receptors. It remains to be seen how this mechanism of action could effectively translate to human trials.
Preliminary studies on cannabinoids usually focused on the two major cannabinoids: CBD and THC. But due to the rise in demand for cannabis, researchers have moved forward to discover more about cannabinoids. This has made them target the lesser-known cannabinoids, such as cannabichromene or CBC. Despite being underrated and anonymous, CBC was amongst the first cannabinoids that were discovered in the 1960s. But due to lack of research, this cannabinoid has remained in the shadows for a very long time.
Currently, studies on CBC are in high demand due to its unique interaction with the body that sets it apart from other cannabinoids and the global acceptance of hemp related products. As analyzed in this article, CBC offers a huge array of potential health benefits that can aid people with various health conditions. Most of the current research on CBC shows that it may play an essential role in the synergistic effects of all cannabinoids called the entourage effect, where CBC works at its best when combined with other cannabinoids like CBD.
As mentioned above, CBC consists of natural properties that may bring relief to different conditions such as pain, acne, anxiety, and other health conditions in a different way from CBD, since it mostly interacts with vanilloid receptors (such as TRPV1 and TRPA1) that are not within the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
There is still a lot of work to be done on CBC and with the constantly changing legality laws on cannabis, this will only speed up its research process. We may have to wait several years for the CBC market to become fully mature, but as of now, heading on the right path. We anticipate that CBC will experience dramatic growth as its unique benefits are discovered.
Please note that this article was written by a 3rd-party author who is a specialist on the topic of CBD, hemp and cannabis. Any information or recommendations contained within this article, are independent to the opinion of RUDERALEX CBD and our employees. We make no claims for any of our products, please read our disclaimer for additional information.