What is Cannabichromene (CBC)? [A Rare Cannabinoid with Huge Medical Potential]

Cannabichromene (CBC) is one of them, and is the third most prominent cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It is important for you to start thinking beyond THC and CBD, as the other cannabinoids can impart unique effects all of their own and help for a huge number of conditions.

CBC is a potent anti-inflammatory, and could possibly be more useful than CBD as an antidepressant. CBC and other cannabinoids actually have an impact on the effects cannabis has, and this impact is greater than previously thought. This is why looking beyond just THC and CBD is so important.

Learn more about cannabinoids and how they affect the body by reading What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)? Reading this article will help you understand more about how cannabinoids interact with the human body in greater depth. Read on to learn more with Leafwell.

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Table of Contents

  1. What Is CBC (Cannabichromene)?
  2. How Is CBC Formed?
  3. How Does CBC Work in the Body?
  4. What Conditions Can CBC Be Used For?

05. Are There Any Strains of Cannabis High in CBC?

06.  The Versatile Benefits of Cannabichromene (CBC)

What Is CBC (Cannabichromene)?

CBC has a chemical formula of C21H30O2, and is structurally similar to other naturally occurring cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN). The precursor to CBC is cannabichrome carboxylic acid (CBCA), cannabichromenic acid. Cannabichromene is also sometimes called cannabichrome, cannanbichromene, pentylcannabichromene or cannabinochromene.

If you need any help with the scientific terms in this article, check out our glossary. Our table of cannabinoids and terpenes may also help you learn more about the other compounds in cannabis. This is because you will learn more about how CBC and other compounds interact with each other and the human body.

Cannabichromene, CBC skeletal chemical formula.
Cannabichromene (CBC) chemical formula.C21H30O2. Source

How Is CBC Formed?

As with CBD and THC, CBC’s parent cannabinoid is CBG. Specific enzymes cascade and breakdown into one of three lines: CBG to tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) to THC; CBG to cannabidiolic acid (CBDA to CBD); and CBG to CBCA to CBC.

Acidic cannabinoids are converted to the decarboxylated version after exposure to heat or ultraviolet (UV) light.

Biosynthesis of CBC (cannabichromene).
Biosynthesis of CBC. Author: Miles Markmann. Source. CC BY-SA 4.0.

How Does CBC Work in the Body?

CBC is not active at CB1 or CB2 receptor sites, and so does not produce a euphoric high like that caused by THC. CBC does, however, bind with other receptors in the body. This includes the vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1) and transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1), both of which are linked to pain perception.

Activation of the TRP receptors can inhibit anandamide uptake (similar to how CBD works, which is also a CB1 receptor antagonist), increasing the amount of anandamide available in the body.

CBC is actually thought to be up to 10 times more potent than CBD for the treatment of stress and anxiety, and also has significant anti-inflammatory, pain-reducing, antiviral, anti-tumor and bone-growth-stimulating properties.

What Conditions Can CBC Be Used For?

CBC could be useful for the following conditions.

CBC for Cancer

One study on the anti-cancer effects of cannabinoids other than THC found that CBC was the second-most effective cannabinoid at inhibiting the growth of new cancer cells. In this study, it was found that CBG and CBC were particularly potent anticancer compounds.

Part of CBC’s efficacy in beating cancer seems to be down to it being able to increase the amount of anandamide in the body. Those who are suffering from oestrogen-positive breast cancers may need to be careful of increasing levels of anandamide in the body (especially via THC), CBC’s and CBD’s effects may not only reduce the oestrogen-promoting effects of THC, but retain its cancer-beating properties.

CBC has been seen to fight breast cancer in vitro and in vivo, showing great promise that CBC and other cannabinoids might be a chemopreventive agent (i.e., they prevent cancers from developing). CBC combined with THC and CBD may prove to be extremely effective in beating cancer, and can be used as an adjunct to chemotherapy.

cannabis oil, wax, concentrate
Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) – cannabis oil extract.

CBC for Brain Growth (Neurogenesis) and Neurological Conditions

We have written about cannabinoids’ neurogenic effects before. Many people focus on CBD, but CBC has shown particular promise as a compound that promotes healthy brain function.

One 2013 study showed that CBC had a positive effect on neural stem progenitor cells (NSPCs), which are responsible for the development of the growing brain in children, and play an important role in learning and memory in adults (but not regenerative repair).

What is interesting is that NSPCs become more viable in the presence of CBC, allowing NSPCs to be differentiated into astroglial cells (astrocytes). Astrocytes are star-shaped cells in the brain that regulate the transmission of electrical impulses in the brain and defend against oxidative stress, and are thus very important in the maintenance of brain function and homeostasis.

The antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and antitoxic properties of CBC make it potentially very useful in the treatment of neurological diseases and brain pathologies like traumatic brain injury (TBI), multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

CBC for Pain and Inflammation

CBC has been shown to be a specific agonist at TRPA1 channels and an inhibitor of anandamide reuptake:

“CBD and CBC stimulated descending pathways of antinociception and caused analgesia by interacting with several target proteins involved in nociceptive control. These compounds might represent useful therapeutic agents with multiple mechanisms of action.”

CBC may also desensitize the TRPV1 channels, and may combine with THC and CBD to make a particularly potent anti-inflammatory. The TRPV1 receptor, sometimes called the vanilloid receptor, is involved in pain detection and regulating the body’s heat.

CBC for Depression and Anxiety

CBC could be extremely effective in the treatment of anxiety (anxiolytic) and depression (antidepressant), and combines with THC and CBD to deliver an entourage of depression-beating properties. CBC and CBG exhibit GABA uptake inhibition to a greater extent than THC and CBD, which is one reason why these cannabinoids may be such effective stress- and anxiety- beaters (anxiolytics).

CBC for Acne

CBC is a powerful anti-inflammatory and, as with CBD, suppresses excessive lipid production in the sebaceous (oil-producing) glands. CBC also reduces levels of arachidonic acid (AA), which is needed to create lipogenesis – the metabolic formation of fat, which is important in the creation of neurotransmitters like steroids.

Are There Any Strains of Cannabis High in CBC?

Technically, CBC could be found in many varieties of cannabis. The following may test higher than normal, but this would need a comprehensive testing of all the varieties out there.

  • Maui Dream (Maui Wowie x Blue Dream)
  • Blue Cherry Soda (precise genetics unknown, but could be a cross between Blueberry x Black Cherry Soda)
  • Charlotte’s Web (a variety of hemp hailing from the Stanley Brothers)
  • Purple Cadillac (Purple Urkle x The Black x Blackberry Kush)
  • Bubba Cookies (Bubba Kush x Girl Scout Cookies (GSC))
  • Purple Candy (Sweet Tooth x Mendocino Purps)
  • Sour Tsunami (Sour Diesel x Tsunami)
A nug of Bubba Kush.
Bubba Kush nug. Bubba Kush is found in the strain, Bubba Cookies. Author: Coaster 420. Source

The Versatile Benefits of Cannabichromene (CBC)

CBC is the third most prominent cannabinoid, but not a lot is known about it. What is known, however, is that CBC has huge potential to treat inflammation, and could be immensely useful in the reduction of pain and promoting neurogenesis.

We also know that CBC works in tandem with THC, CBD, CBG and CBN, which ultimately boosts cannabinoids’ anti-inflammatory effects. This makes CBC a very versatile cannabinoid, and one that merits further study.

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Written by
Dipak Hemraj
Dipak Hemraj

Dipak Hemraj is a published author, grower, product maker, and Leafwell’s resident cannabis expert. From botany & horticulture to culture & economics, he wishes to help educate the public on why cannabis is medicine (or a “pharmacy in a plant”) and how it can be used to treat a plethora of health problems. Dipak wants to unlock the power of the plant, and see if there are specific cannabinoid-terpene-flavonoid profiles suitable for different conditions.

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