With research highlighting the growing potential of cannabinoids, there’s no better time to learn about these compounds than the present. You may have heard about the more popular CBD and THC. These are just two – there are many more!
Since their discovery, researchers have been interested in their pharmacological effects and how they can benefit humans. Some, like CBD, already demonstrate immense medicinal value and are approved for clinical use.
In this article, we look at a novel cannabinoid called cannabichromene (CBC). In cannabis research, CBC is considered one of the ‘big six’ cannabinoids. So, yeah, it’s certainly a compound you should be interested in if you’re among a growing group of people turning to natural fixes for health issues.
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- CBC is a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid with serious anti-inflammatory potential.
- It exerts its effects via the endocannabinoid system (ECS), primarily the CB2 receptors.
- Research on CBC is young and mostly based on animals. As such, replicating these findings in human subjects is vital for validation.
What Is Cannabichromene (CBC)
Cannabichromene (CBC) is one of the many cannabinoid compounds in cannabis. So far, around 100+ cannabinoids have been discovered. They predominantly fall into two distinct groups – psychoactive and non-psychoactive.
Psychoactive cannabinoids like delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC) are mind-altering. This means they can physically change how the brain works. On the other hand, non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD have no physical effects on the brain.
CBC is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in the same category as CBD. And like other cannabinoids, it affects the body via the endocannabinoid system (ECS), where it’s shown to bind to the CB2 receptor. This suggests it could be anti-inflammatory.
CBC also interacts with non-cannabinoid receptors outside of the ECS. Studies indicate it’s a “potent activator and desensitizer” of transient receptor potential (TRP) cation channels, specifically TRPA1, TRPV1-4, and TRPV8 [1, 2]. As a result, CBC may display antinociception (reduce pain sensitivity).
Compared to CBD and THC, CBC is less abundant (roughly 0.3%). However, some landrace Indian strains may be richer in CBC than CBD. Also, selective breeding makes it possible to develop CBC-rich strains.
How Does CBC Work?
CBC, like CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound. This stems from the fact that it doesn’t bind to the CB1 receptor. Instead, it activates the CB2 receptor besides other non-cannabinoid receptors, chiefly the TRP ion channels.
This cannabinoid also inhibits the reuptake of endocannabinoid ligands by weakening the activity of monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). This can affect endocannabinoid tone, with potential implications for mood.
Preclinical studies have identified several areas where CBC might have therapeutic potential. For example, results from in vitro experiments suggest that CBC makes neural progenitor cells more viable and prevents their differentiation into astroglial. As a result, CBC may help treat neuroinflammatory diseases.
Furthermore, a growing body of animal studies suggests that CBC displays antimicrobial, analgesic, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory activities. While such evidence from animal studies could be compelling, human studies would be more encouraging.
Nonetheless, the few human studies involving CBD and THC only show the relationship between CBC and the former. For example, a study found traces of CBC in patients treated with CBD oil.
Another detected roughly 4% of CBC while evaluating the tolerability and efficacy of a THC:CBD (1:20 ratio) product in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy. Such studies are vital to developing dosing guidelines and how administering multiple cannabinoids may affect CBC’s pharmacokinetics.
For now, it appears CBC is preferentially absorbed over CBD and THC when these two cannabinoids are co-administered. Moreover, as evidenced by animal studies, CBC can enhance THC’s pain-killing effects.
Is There A Difference Between CBD And CBC?
Yes, CBC and CBD differ significantly in use and effects. Be that as it may, a common feature of cannabinoids is that their effects tend to overlap. So, don’t be surprised to find CBC sharing some qualities with CBD.
CBC is predominant in young cannabis. As the plant ages, its CBC content reduces as that of CBD (and THC) increases. Generally, cannabis plants with high THC and CBD concentrations tend to have more CBC.
Both CBD and CBC affect the human body via the ECS, where they both show an affinity for the CB2 receptor. However, unlike CBD, CBC preferentially binds effectively to TRP ion channels which could explain its potent anti-inflammatory effect.
Research on CBC is not as extensive as CBD, so comparing their pharmacological might be premature for now. However, CBD appears to have a broader range of receptors with which it interacts. This explains its broad spectrum of effects.
That said, studies on CBD have mainly focused on its anxiolytic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects. On the other hand, CBC is a ‘grey’ cannabinoid whose primary effects remain largely unclear. However, it exhibits potent anti-inflammatory properties in animal models.
What Does CBC Cannabinoid Do?
CBC’s activity in the human body comes down to its interactions with the ECS receptors, i.e., CB2 and non-CB receptors. CBC exhibits agonist tendencies at the CB2 receptor and TRP ion channels. This explains its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Regardless, CBC may help the body in many ways. Here are the most likely benefits of this rare cannabinoid.
What Is CBC Commonly Used For?
Like other cannabinoids, CBC appears to have some therapeutic benefits for:
Heping With Pain Relief
CBC is a CB2 agonist – a receptor known to mediate anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive mechanisms. This essentially means that CBC may positively impact inflammatory pain. Indeed, animal studies show that CBC relieves pain in mice.
THC is a known pain killer. Therefore, the discovery that CBC can potentiate THC’s nociceptive effects is a definite bonus for this little-known cannabinoid.
Reducing Symptoms Of Anxiety
There is no substantial empirical evidence of CBC’s ability to reduce anxiety. Mostly, it only appears to exert anxiolytic effects when used with CBD and THC. This may be an indication that cannabinoid activity is synergistic.
But more importantly, it highlights the need for more research to accurately profile CBC’s potential effect on anxiety. However, a plausible explanation for CBC’s anxiolytic effect might relate to its inhibitory effect on MAGL. This affects the concentration of endogenous cannabinoids, some of which regulate mood.
Helping With Inflammation
Another well-established effect of CBC is its anti-inflammatory effect. In many instances, pain and inflammation often go hand in hand, with inflammation typically preceding the other. That’s because inflammation causes the tissues to swell, triggering pain sensors. These relay signals to the brain, which are interpreted as pain.
CBC is shown to block inflammation and pain due to collagen-induced arthritis. The advantage of anti-inflammatory cannabinoids like CBD and CBC is that they don’t have harmful side effects like NSAIDs. So, they are safer comparatively.
And perhaps in support of the “entourage effect,” a recent animal study found that co-administering CBC and THC yielded a greater anti-inflammatory effect than either cannabinoid alone.
Research findings on CBC’s neuroprotective quality are promising. For example, a 2013 study found that CBC promotes healthy brain development in children. It also positively impacts learning and memory in an adult’s brain.
The compound’s neuroprotective properties equally make it potentially valuable in managing neurological illnesses. As a potent anti-inflammatory, CBC may help alleviate inflammation-related brain disorders, e.g., cognitive decline and MS.
The CBC cannabinoid could be a potential ingredient for developing medications for skin conditions like acne. That’s because its strong anti-inflammatory property could suppress the production of excess lipids.
Acne is caused by the blockage of skin pores by sebum – a protective liquid the skin produces. Too much of it, coupled with the skincare substances we apply to our skins, can clog the pores. By minimizing the sebum your skin produces, CBC can help prevent breakouts.
Stimulating Bone Growth
Cannabinoids are implicated in bone growth and development because the CB1 and CB2 receptors are expressed in the skeletal muscle. As a result, altering the expression of these receptors in the skeletal muscle may affect bone health.
There’s evidence that CB and the GPR55 receptors regulate the differentiation of osteocytes and osteoclasts. These are bone cells involved in bone formation. Cannabinoids like CBD are shown to influence bone cell activity by activating or deactivating the CB receptors, thereby enhancing fracture healing.
Research on CBC’s effect on bone health is underwhelming. However, given its similarity to CBD, it may have potential benefits for bone growth.
How Much CBC Should You Take?
Here’s the thing; people respond differently to cannabinoids, so using them doesn’t subscribe to the one-size-fits-all principle. Generally, manufacturers prescribe a dose they feel would work for most people.
However, we recommend starting with a low dose and increasing gradually until you achieve your health goals. For CBD, the starting dose is 2.5mg/kg of body weight and can be tolerated up to 1500mg daily.
Like CBD, we expect CBC dosing to be guided by factors like potency, illness severity, and body characteristics like metabolism and fat content. So, how much CBC you can take is not a clear-cut figure.
Is CBC Safe?
Usually, non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBC and CBD have no adverse side effects, regardless of the dosage taken. In fact, to overdose on CBD, you would have to take nearly 20,000mg in one go.
Overall, CBC’s toxicology is unclear, but we’d expect it to be similar to CBD’s. The common side effects of CBD are nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, and fatigue. But these are sometimes attributed to contaminants in CBD products.
More research is needed on CBC to expound on its pharmacokinetics. The early findings are promising, but the grey areas require more clarification.
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