Cannabeginners: Cannabichromene (CBC) Explained

Despite being made through the same biochemistry that converts CBG into THC or CBD, Cannabichromene (CBC) has received a lot less research and attention. Like CBD, CBC is non-intoxicating so it won’t make you feel high, and it has some unique and promising medical benefits with more research happening every year. While CBC has been less researched than some of the more well-known cannabinoids, there are still hundreds of patents on it. 

The Discovery and History of Cannabichromene

There is some debate over which group of researchers were the first to isolate CBC in 1966, but it was either Raphael Mechoulam and his colleagues looking at hashish or another team using a different extraction method and hemp. Since CBC was first isolated from cannabis, as is the case with many other cannabinoids, CBC or CBC-like compounds have been found in non-cannabis sources. CBC has been found to be “the second most abundant phytocannabinoids in some strains of marijuana in the United States,” and is specifically “more plentiful in freshly harvested dry-type cannabis material.”

CBC is made through a similar chemical conversion that creates THC or CBD, beginning with olivetolic acid and geranyl diphosphate combining to make CBGa. In the next step, the CBGa combines with a CBC-synthase to form CBCa, which is decarboxylated into CBC. Research has also shown that, similar to the genetic mutation that allows for CBG-rich cultivars, there is a mutation to allow for CBC-rich cannabis plants as well. Just like THC can be further decarboxylated into CBN, CBC can be decarboxylated to a very poorly researched cannabinoid, Cannabicyclol (CBL). 

What is Chromene?

Word nerds out there might be thinking, “I know what the “cannabi” half of cannabichromene means, but what is a chromene?” Chromenes are chemicals commonly found in nature which are used in a wide range of products including food, cosmetics, and agrochemicals. Just like cannabis has cannabichromene, all kinds of other plants have their own specialized chromenes. Chromenes are such an incredibly broad class of chemicals that, included in its scope, are groups of chemicals like alkaloids and anthocyanins

What are the Medical Effects of Cannabichromene?

CBC has been demonstrated to be an effective painkiller in multiple studies, both as an analgesic and antinociceptive pain reliever. Though most of the research on CBC as a painkiller has focused on animals, it is believed to have similar effects in humans. The research around CBC and pain has also shown it to be an effective tool for reducing inflammation, with one study calling it the cannabinoid 2nd most likely to produce anti-inflammatory effects. What really makes the anti-inflammatory effects of CBC unique is that they are completely independent of the endocannabinoid system and other commonly used methods of action, which still has researchers puzzled. In a clear example of the ensemble/entourage effect, the dose-dependent anti-inflammatory effects of CBC were “augmented when CBC and THC were co-administered.”

Studies have shown that CBC can be an effective treatment for fungal activity and has antibacterial effects, noting the “antibacterial activity was strong, and the antifungal activity was mild to moderate.” So while CBC may not be a way to deal with the Last of Us cordyceps zombies, it may be able to do something for your athlete’s foot. Another very unique property of CBC is that it works as a neurogenic, it helps with creating new brain cells, aiding in healthy recovery after brain damage by controlling neural stem/progenitor cells. While most cannabinoids work to reduce pain and inflammation, CBC, CBG and CBD appear to be the only cannabinoids presently known to possess benefits for aiding in spinal cord or brain injuries. 

CBC’s ability to help the brain isn’t just limited to physical ailments, it also has been shown to display “pronounced antidepressant effect[s].” Another study, which looked at both THC and CBC, found that CBC “may contribute to the overall mood-elevating properties of cannabis,” but the researchers noted that the “exact mechanism underlying such activity is still unclear.” While these findings are very promising, these studies were done on rodents, not people, and people are not the same as rodents, so more research needs to be done looking at CBC in humans. 

The main reason why researchers have had trouble pinning down the exact mechanism through which CBC interacts with our body is that it isn’t just one method of action. CBC has been shown to have “ low affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors,” meaning it doesn’t have a strong interaction with our endocannabinoid receptors. Instead, CBC has activity with various TRP receptors (sensing pain) and adenosine receptors (where caffeine interacts).

A Quick Hit

CBC is the lesser known relative of THC and CBD, made through the same chemical conversion process from CBGa. Despite being the subject of a lot less research than other cannabinoids, CBC has been proven to have a range of unique medical properties including acting as an antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, painkiller, and neurogenic compound.

The post Cannabeginners: Cannabichromene (CBC) Explained appeared first on High Times.


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