What is CBC? Everything You Need To Know about Cannabichromene

*Despite what you might read elsewhere on the internet, no CBD product has been medically proven to prevent, treat, or cure diseases. This article discusses ongoing research into the endocannabinoid system and should not be the foundation of any medical or health recommendations or diagnosis. If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor.*

If you have been following the changing tide regarding cannabis use in the United States, you are likely familiar with two cannabinoids called cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, you may not be familiar with cannabichromene (CBC), a different cannabinoid produced by cannabis and hemp plants.

cannabinoid science

CBC was first isolated by scientists in 1966 and has since been identified as one of the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoids in many varieties of cannabis. Researchers have also discovered many potential therapeutic benefits associated with CBC. Unfortunately, CBC remains relatively obscure among cannabinoids, which means there are no CBC-rich cannabis strains available yet.

While processing cannabis or hemp plant material naturally yields small amounts of CBC, most CBC is derived from another cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG). CBG is a cannabinoid that acts as a precursor, breaking down to form other cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBC. Cultivators can use a specialized enzymatic process to convert CBG into CBC.

Thankfully, as cannabis and hemp products continue to gain popularity, more people are beginning to wonder what CBC has to offer. CBC-containing products are now increasingly available as non-intoxicating alternatives to THC-heavy products. Let’s examine some of the unique qualities and properties of this promising cannabinoid.

How does CBC compare to CBD and other cannabinoids? 

endocannabinoids

Since cannabinoids have become widely known and understood, CBC has been largely overlooked in favor of more popular compounds such as CBD, CBG, and THC. CBC is similar to CBD in that it does not produce a psychoactive “high” the way THC does. However, like CBD, CBC interacts with our bodies in several unique and potentially useful ways.

Cannabinoids mostly affect your body by binding with receptors in your endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is made up of CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are mainly concentrated in our central nervous systems, while CB2 receptors are mostly concentrated in our immune systems.

Interestingly, neither CBD nor CBC can create strong bonds with our CB1 receptors, which is part of the reason they have no significant intoxicating effect. And while CBD does not bind to CB2 receptors, research indicates CBC does. 

CBD is chiefly useful due to a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect,” which describes its tendency to boost the effects of other cannabinoids in the endocannabinoid system. Scientists believe CBC also plays a role in the entourage effect, and the two cannabinoids tend to work best in combination.

cannabinoid oil tincture

Although CBD and CBC are similar in several ways, CBC has a different chemical structure that lends it several distinctive characteristics. For one, CBC may help stimulate the production of anandamide, a type of endocannabinoid that our bodies make internally. This means CBC could provide a natural means for balancing our endocannabinoid systems.

CBC also has an unusual affinity for both the TRPV1 receptors and 5-HT1A receptors in our nervous system. These receptors are associated with swelling, soreness, and anxiousness. This means CBC may possess beneficial neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and neuropathic pain relief properties. Scientists have also investigated CBC for its role in disease prevention and in assisting cell health.

What are the potential benefits of CBC?

Since its discovery, CBC has been the subject of numerous studies seeking to understand its potential. Some of the most noteworthy studies include:

  • A 2006 study on pets investigated the ability of different cannabinoids to reduce the size of cancerous tumors and inhibit cancer progression. The researchers are hoping that cannabichromene could be one of the top three cannabinoids, after cannabidiol and cannabigerol, with the most potent ability to improve and support the immune system.
  • A 2010 study analyzed the pharmacological interaction of CBC and THC. Researchers concluded that these two cannabinoids may have more profound anti-inflammatory effects when they are combined than when they are administered independently.
  • A 2011 study investigated the potential pain-relieving effects of CBC and CBD. The results of this study suggested that both CBD and CBC have analgesic effects, which means they may be useful in relieving minor pain or non-disease-related pain. 
  • Another 2012 paper investigated how CBC affects gut function. Researchers concluded that CBC may help regulate gut function and can relieve gastrointestinal discomfort by reducing internal inflammation.
  • A 2013 study of the effects of CBC on adult neural stem cells. The results of this study suggested that CBC may encourage neurogenesis, or the body’s ability to create new neurons. This means CBC might be used to relieve, improve and support the functions of the nervous system. 

  • A 2016 study investigated the effectiveness of CBC as an acne-control treatment. Scientists found that the anti-inflammatory properties of CBC made it a promising candidate for a “highly efficient” treatment to improve the health of the skin.