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Cannabichromene, otherwise known as CBC, is one of the lesser known, and less researched cannabinoids of the marijuana plant. It is among 113 known cannabinoids and can be found in full spectrum CBD oil.
Cannabichromene: The Highlights
- As early as 1975, scientists had isolated CBC as a phytocannabinoid and analyzed as being present in certain cannabis samples at a concentration of up to 64%.
- CBC is being researched for its therapeutic potential in treating cancer, acne, pain, inflammation, and depression.
- CBC is a very prominent aspect of cannabis’ “entourage effect” and is researched for its conjunctive behavior with other phytocannabinoids.
- CBC is abundant in cannabis and is non-psychoactive, making it a target for medical research and therapeutic potential.
- No “CBC-only” medicines currently exist, and for the most part, CBC is being researched for its combined therapeutic value with other cannabinoids.
What is CBC?
CBC also referred to as cannabichromene, is one of over 400 compounds present in the cannabis plant and is one of over 100 known cannabinoids. It has the exact same chemical formula as both THC and CBD, although the atoms are arranged slightly differently.
CBC follows the exact same biosynthesis pathway, starting as the enzymatic precursor, CBG.
After a series of enzyme-catalyzed chemical reactions, CBCA is produced in the resinous glands of cannabis flowers. Then, after contact with heat, CBCA is decarboxylated and the final result is CBC.
Unlike THC, CBC is non-psychoactive. It is thought that THC’s strong affinity for the CB1 receptor is what causes THC’s psychoactivity, and CBC has a very low binding affinity for this cannabinoid receptor.
Rather, CBC engages with the endocannabinoid system by targeting the TRPV1 (vanilloid) and TRPA1 (ankyrin) receptors.
Whereas once upon a time, CB1 and CB2 were considered to be the only cannabinoid receptors, it is now understood that there are multiple receptors in the human body and brain that interact directly with and affect endocannabinoid function.
These findings are especially medically relevant, as the medical community is beginning to understand how endocannabinoid function is implicated in cancer, pain, depression, anxiety and other treatment-resistant medical conditions.
CBC has mainly been researched for its anti-tumor properties, its ability to treat pain and inflammation and its role in mood disorders like depression.
It is still under heavy scrutiny to understand its pharmacological profile and its direct mechanisms of action.
As it stands, CBC is not yet as properly researched as THC and CBD, and our understanding of its medical application is therefore still elementary.
What Is CBC Good For?
As mentioned, scientists are still in the elementary stages of understanding what CBC is good for. On top of that, the relationship between compounds in the cannabis plant is complex, and they often work in conjunction with each other to produce remedial effects.
It is, therefore, better not to think of CBC as an isolated medicinal compound but rather an important aspect of the medicinal quality of cannabis as an entire plant.
For the most part, CBC is researched for its anti-inflammatory and pain-fighting qualities. It has also been researched as an anti-tumor agent.
Finally, CBC is also thought to have positive effects on the brain function by affecting a certain cell type that is essential to brain function. This may have a role to play in the development of neurodegenerative disorders or any kind of toxicity that affects brain function.
Will CBC Get You High?
CBC has no real affinity for the CB1 receptor, which is thought to be the site of all psychoactivity caused by cannabis. For this reason, CBC is non-intoxicating and doesn’t have the same kind of euphoric high associated with cannabis use.
Much like CBD, CBC affects the endocannabinoid system in peripheral ways that do not result in the stoned effect. It is this non-psychoactive quality that makes CBC the target of a lot of medical research.
CBC And The Entourage Effect
Although it is important to isolate cannabinoids and investigate them as independent chemical entities, it is equally important to understand phytocannabinoids in their environmental “context”.
That’s to say, CBC is never found in nature as an isolated compound.
It is found in a plant that has over 100 other cannabinoids, and hundreds of other terpenoids and flavonoids. In herblore, how all the compounds in a plant work together to produce an effect is the truer effect of the plant, rather than when single compounds are consumed on their own.
With respect to cannabis, this is called the entourage effect, whereby all the compounds in a specimen work together for a single cause.
The “entourage effect” is a term first coined by Raphael Mechoulam in the 1980s. Mechoulam and his team first posited the fact that many of the “inactive” compounds of the endocannabinoid system worked with primary endogenous cannabinoids to produce an effect.
This was also observed in the cannabis plant and how it simultaneously affects the endocannabinoid system in multiple ways. In this way, CBC can be viewed as a part of the overall entourage effect of cannabinoids.
Most of the research conducted on CBC has been done in the presence of other cannabinoids. For example, CBC and THC are more powerful anti-inflammatories when they are used together than when they are used on their own.
In another example, THC, CBD, and CBC were tested for their anti-depressant qualities. They were found to be more effective as a trifecta than as single cannabinoids.
Even if CBC is lesser known and researched cannabinoid, there are still many reasons why a high-CBC plant is beneficial for medicinal marijuana users.
Plus, the investigation into CBC can also help us to understand why cannabis has some of the remedial benefits that it has, especially with the entourage effect in mind.
In one study conducted on mice in the 1980s, CBC was found to have analgesic effects, although less so than THC.
In a 2011 study by the Second University of Naples, in Naples, Italy, pain associated with collagen-induced osteoarthritis was reduced by both CBD and CBC.
The mechanisms of action are not directly known, but it is thought that CBC raises natural endocannabinoid levels, and this may play a role in the analgesic effects o this cannabinoid.
In 2000, the anti-depressant qualities of THC, CBD, CBC, CBG, and CBN were investigated on mice. Interestingly, CBG and CBN were not found to have dose-appropriate anti-depressant action.
However, THC, CBD, and CBC exhibited similar anti-depressant qualities, displaying a perfect example of the shared anti-depressant effects of THC, CBD, and CBC. This is one such example of the entourage effect at work.
The anti-tumor properties of cannabis are under heavy scrutiny, especially in the last decade. There is a dire need for understanding of how cannabis as a whole plant may affect tumor growth and possibly even help to reduce the size of tumors.
Science still states nothing conclusively, although some research has demonstrated a need for further research and understanding. CBC, in particular, has demonstrated antiproliferative quality in breast cancer cells.
Interestingly, CBC is thought to do this by increasing anandamide levels. However, in this particular study, CBC was not found to elevate naturally occurring anandamide.
However, it alters gene expression of certain receptors that play a role in endocannabinoid function, and this is thought to be the mechanism of action by which CBC exerts antiproliferative qualities.
Encourages Brain Growth
CBC has demonstrated neuroprotective qualities and a positive overall effect on a certain type of brain cell.
In fact, NSPCs differentiate into astroglial cells, which are the main player in brain homeostasis. This research demonstrated that in the presence of CBC, NSPCs were more viable and more likely to differentiate into astroglial cells.
Helps With Acne
Along with CBD, CBC shows promise in reducing the symptoms of acne. It comes as no surprise really, because there are cannabinoid receptors all over the skin, and the skin as an organ is an important part of the endocannabinoid system.
In a 2016 study published in Experimental Dermatology, CBC in particular reduced the production of fats and oils that are thought to be the cause of acne.
CBC, along with THC and CBD reduced inflammation which is also a culprit of acne.
We don’t often think of cannabis as antibacterial, but it was often used this way in the early days of medicinal cannabis (before prohibition).
In fact, as early as the 1980s, CBC was demonstrated to have powerful antibacterial effects, impressive enough to fight off common bacterias such as staph and E. coli. CBC even has anti-fungal qualities, although they are less pronounced than antibacterial qualities.
CBC Cannabinoid: Final Thoughts
It is virtually common practice to research cannabis by breaking it down into its constituent parts and trying to understand them independently of each other.
While this might be a good starting point for research, it doesn’t demonstrate the complexity with which the cannabis plant exerts its therapeutic potential. CBC, like all other cannabinoids, has demonstrated powerful medicinal qualities.
At the same time, it has almost always demonstrated better abilities when it is used in conjunction with other cannabinoids.
So while the research on CBC is elementary (especially when compared with THC and CBD), there is an understanding that cannabis demonstrates medicinal possibilities.
Looking at the whole plant helps us better understand the complex nature by which cannabis is, after all, a medicine.
And if you’re wondering which CBD brands to try, we recommend the brands below. All of which will have CBD in their CBD oil.
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