CBC (Cannabichromene) is the second most abundant cannabinoid. Here, we discuss how CBC changes the effects of THC and discuss its medicinal uses.
Believe it or not, many strains contain higher levels of CBC than CBD. Why is it that so much attention has been put on researching CBD and not CBC? While it is true that CBD has many medicinal effects, much less research has been done on cannabichromene.
Read below to learn more about what current research has to say about the medical effects of CBC.
What’s So Special About CBC?
Within the past 50 years, we have learned a lot more about how cannabis interacts with our bodies. After the discovery of THC and other cannabinoids, we soon learned that our bodies have a complex endocannabinoid system to regulate a wide variety of bodily functions. In fact, our body produces their own endocannabinoids, which act in similar ways to the cannabinoids in medical marijuana.
As we learn more about how our own endocannabinoid system works, we also learn more about how medical marijuana can help many patients for different ailments. For example, we are starting to understand that THC and CBD have a wide range of medicinal properties, in particular for cancer and epilepsy.
Since cannabis is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug, there has been a lack of research done on the cannabinoids. While we are starting to recognize the medical values of CBD, there are over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, all with different properties that have yet to be fully understood.
While little research has been done on Cannabichromene, it is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids in the marijuana plant. According to a study done by the federal government’s Marijuana Research Project in 1981, Cannabichromene is the second most abundant cannabinoid, after THC.
Why is it that nobody ever talks about Cannabichromene? Everyone acknowledges THC as the cannabinoid that gets you high, and many assume that CBD is the cannabinoid with all of the medical potential, but this viewpoint is too simplistic. In reality, all of the cannabinoids interact with each other in a complex manner, each with their own properties.
If we truly learn the difference between all of the cannabinoids, then we can start to understand that specific strains with different cannabinoid ratios will be better for different medical ailments. To start, it helps to know a bit about how the cannabinoids are synthesized in the plant.
Cannabichromene gets synthesized in a manner very similar to THC and CBD. CBGA is the precursor cannabinoid that eventually gets catalyzed to turn into THCA, CBDA, or CBCA. When exposed to heat, all of these cannabinoids get the “A” dropped, and the three cannabinoids THC, CBD, and CBC now will be present.
The boiling point of Cannabichromene is 428 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius). Anyone vaporizing who is looking to feel the effects of Cannabichromene should keep this in mind. Most vaporizers are a bit below this temperature, so people who vape would not get large amounts of Cannabichromene.
What are the effects of CBC?
While Cannabichromene is non-psychoactive, it does have medicinal properties of its own. It also interacts with THC in a synergistic manner, increasing the pain relieving effects of THC.
Cannabichromene is known to interact with many receptors. Many people know that the cannabinoids interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but they also interact with others. Cannabichromene, in particular, is known to interact with the TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors as well, which results in some of its medicinal properties.
In addition to the medical properties that we will extensively review below, it seems likely that cannabichromene is partially responsible for providing the high that so many have come to enjoy. Since pure THC can cause a lot of paranoia and anxiety, we see that many of the cannabinoids and terpenes tame this effect. Research has also shown that CBC specifically is a sedative, even though its mechanism of action still remains unknown. Also agreeing with this, another study found that mice tend to slow down when given CBC.
Cannabis strains have a wide range of sedative effects. While most strains are at least somewhat relaxing, sativas can be known to provide a euphoric buzz of energy, while indicas typically give more of a sleepy effect. While terpenes such as myrcene and linalool are typically given credit for providing the sedative effects of a cannabis, it seems that many have overlooked the possibility of Cannabichromene also playing an important factor into the sedative nature of marijuana.
We find that the cannabis plant utilizes the entourage effect, which gets its potency from the combination of the cannabinoids and terpenes working together. Perhaps some users would prefer higher levels of Cannabichromene, while others would prefer more myrcene.
The entourage effect is great for many reasons. For example, one study found that THC impaired male reproductive behavior in mice, but this did not occur when Cannabichromene was present. As we see, Cannabichromene is yet another cannabinoid that takes away some of the negative aspects of THC.
Unfortunately, since there is a lack of knowledge of CBC, there are not any strains that are touted for having a high CBC content. While some labs do test for CBC levels, many do not and it still remains difficult to know how much CBC is contained in each strain.
Medical Uses of CBC
One of the first major studies focusing on CBC found that CBC has many medicinal benefits. To start, Prof. ElSohly found that CBC has better anti-inflammatory properties than typical medication. His group also discovered that cannabichromene had strong antibacterial properties and was even effective against E. coli. The study found that CBC also has mild to moderate antifungal activity against black mold.
One study in 2010 found that THC, CBC, and CBD has anti-depressant properties in rats. It was found that roughly 10 times less CBC was needed to have the same effect as CBD, implying that CBC may help significantly with elevating one’s mood. CBC’s method of activation remains unknown.
A study in the same year looked to compare the effectiveness of THC and CBC for their anti-inflammatory properties. They found that CBC had anti-emetic properties, or can reduce swelling. While THC does have these effects as well, they did not occur when the CB2 receptor is blocked. CBC, on the other hand, reduced swelling even when the CB1 and CB2 receptors were blocked. This shows how CBC had pharmacological activity besides interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. When THC and CBC were used in tandem, the anti-swelling properties got even better.
In 2012, another animal model study suggested that CBC has anti-inflammatory properties throughout the intestines. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBC seemed to not be related to the CB1, CB2, or TRPA1 receptors. The mystery continues, as we still do not understand the mechanism for how CBC has these effects. It is thought that these anti-inflammatory properties will help with arthritis and cardiovascular disease. CBC also is less toxic than other anti-inflammatory medications, which suggests that CBC would be safer at higher doses.
While much is still unknown about CBC, the limited research shows potential for anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer effects.
CBC and CBD have painkilling effects, which seems to be mediated by the CB1 and TRPA1 receptors. While it is great to know that CBC has analgesic properties for rats, ultimately more studies are needed with humans.
Cannabichromene has also been found to help stimulate the growth of brain cells during neurogenesis. They noticed that CBC interacted with the adenosine A1 receptor to promote these effects, demonstrating that CBC interacts in yet another unique way. While many drugs such as opiates, alcohol, nicotine, and cocaine can impair brain cells, it seems that marijuana has the potential to do the opposite.
According to Medical Jane, Cannabichromene is useful for treating migraines. It also inhibits the uptake of anandamide, the endocannabinoid naturally occurring in our brain, thus allowing for anandamide to stay in the bloodstream longer. This may contribute to some of Cannabichromene’s anti-cancer properties, since anandamide has been shown to inhibit breast cancer cell growth.
Patients with glaucoma should be advised that THC does help with eye pressure, but it appears that Cannabichromene has no such effects.
In comparison to the other cannabinoids, cannabichromene has had much less scientific investigation, especially in comparison to THC or CBD. As research continues, we will learn more about the potential benefits of Cannabichromene and have a better understanding on how to make proper medication out of this unique cannabinoid.