Research, Treatment

Let’s Explore the Cannabinoid CBC and Its Therapeutic Benefits

March 31, 2022 03:30 pm ET
Let’s Explore the Cannabinoid CBC and Its Therapeutic Benefits

While tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) will likely remain public favorites, other cannabinoids have the potential to outperform their currently expected therapeutic potential. Cannabichromene, or CBC, is explained to be a powerful and non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound. Cresco Labs reports that CBC has significant capabilities in terms of therapeutic potential, but will CBC be the cannabinoid to outperform CBD? Let’s find out. 

Cannabinoids are the organic compounds that naturally occur in the cannabis plant as well as have the ability to bind to the endocannabinoid system receptors, plus others, in order to deliver their benefits. While most of the cannabinoid varieties identified are available in lower quantities when compared to THC and CBD, ScienceDirect explains that CBC can be “one of the most abundant non-psychotropic CBs found in strains or varieties of cannabis.” The fact that CBC is non-psychotropic means that consumers will not have to expect the effects associated with being intoxicated from cannabis, particularly from the cannabinoid THC. 

CBC has the ability to deliver effects through the activation of our CB2 receptors, PPAR and TRPA1 receptors, and multiple ways of increasing endocannabinoid tone. However, since it does not activate the CB1 receptors, Cresco Labs recommends combining CBC with THC to unlock more potential if desired. Despite this instance, it is recommended that consumers try to consume cannabis products that are broad- and full-spectrum in order to benefit from the entourage effect.

CBC’s Therapeutic Effects

Cresco Labs explains that CBC has shown to be effective in the treatment of “a variety of symptoms and conditions”- much like many other cannabinoids. They go on to list conditions for which CBC is especially effective, which included IBS, Crohn’s disease, neuropathy, and chronic postoperative pain but can also include cancer, neurological diseases, acne, depression, and pretty much any condition marked by pain and inflammation

Acne

An in-vitro study published in 2016 found that CBC, in addition to CBDV and especially THCV, had powerful anti-inflammatory properties which were accompanied by a strong inclination toward topical applications with especially significant anti-acne properties. The team explains that while CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties, the CBC appears to be the stronger contender, especially if your concern is acne. Gabe Kennedy, the co-founder of Plant People, told the media that they choose to “include higher levels of CBC” for their skincare products based on the cannabinoid’s superior anti-inflammatory properties. 

Cancer

CBC was found to have the potential to inhibit inflammation in cancer patients, but more than that, it was found to have the potential to inhibit tumor growth in skin, breast, prostate, and colon cancer cell models (11) (12). The cannabinoid shows great promise as a chemopreventive agent with the second-most potent tumor inhibitor in terms of the various cannabinoids. However, more research is necessary to confirm whether CBC can be used to treat cancer as opposed to merely slowing progression in early models. 

Depression

CBC has been found to perform effectively as an antidepressant on its own in animal studies. Effective means of alleviating depression are increasingly important as the number of depressed individuals continues to grow as the years go by. Fortunately, cannabis is a friend for depressed individuals in many circumstances. 

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Pain and Inflammation

A 2011 study found that CBC was effective in blocking pain as well as inhibiting inflammation when tested on rats. CBC’s ability to inflammation and pain is not exactly a new discovery, but the significant thing to note here is that the CBC protects against intestinal inflammation on its own through ways unknown, not via CB or TRP receptors. It did increase the number of cannabinoid and TRP receptors in the rat gut but did not reduce intestinal transit time, requiring further investigation. 

Pain and inflammation are major symptoms of many medical conditions. Having more botanical options to alleviate the pain and inflammation is not only necessary for improved quality of life, but it is also necessary to remove any risk of addiction and negative health effects from pharmaceuticals commonly administered like opioids. 

Promotion of Brain Homeostasis

When CBC was studied on mice in a 2013 study, the researchers found that CBC promoted the growth of brain cells and maintenance of homeostasis in the brain through its positive effects on the Neural Stem Progenitor Cells (NSPCs). Homeostasis of the brain refers to a stable and balanced state within the brain. We can use cannabis to promote this thanks to the endocannabinoid system and the many receptors located all over the body. 

More on CBC

ScienceDirect explains that CBC represents ~0.3% of “constitutes from confiscated cannabis” and that “it is important to note that varieties and preparations exist in the commercial and medical markets with significantly high content.” This means CBC is a relatively more common minor cannabinoid. They go on to explain that strains that are rich in CBC are the “result of selecting for the inheritance of a recessive gene” which happens through extensive cross-breeding

Ethan Russo and Jahan Marcu also found that they were able to locate “CBC or CBC-like derivatives,” from a plant known as Rhododendron anthopogonoides which is a small, erect shrub with pretty flowers. At the time of conducting their research, the plant and its derivatives were not “listed under the list of scheduled drugs by the DEA,” despite the benefits one may receive from the CBC-like derivatives of the plant. 

Strains High in CBC

Cannabis strains need to be selected and cross-bred based on genetics in order to produce strains with a high quantity of CBC. It appears that there are not many well-known strains available specifically pertaining to CBC, however, there is one that we know of for sure. This strain is made of a combination of Headband, OG Kush, and Sour Diesel. The strain has rather suitably been dubbed the Three Kings. There are some other suggestions that include landrace strains from India as well as Purple Cadillac, Sour Tsunami, and Purple Candy. However, we recommended that consumers looking for CBC choose products based on their cannabinoid contents on the label as well as looking at the product’s certificate of analysis

Of course, more research is needed to better understand the spectrum of risks and benefits of CBD and CBC. Always exercise caution when it comes to cannabis therapy and consult your medical physician, or ours

1. Cannabichromene. Cannabichromene – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). Retrieved March 30, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/cannabichromene  

2. CBC. Cresco Labs. (2021, January 4). Retrieved March 30, 2022, from https://www.crescolabs.com/cannabinoids/cbc/  

3. DeFino, J. (2019, October 23). Plant People’s new skincare line includes a cool CBD alternative. The Zoe Report. Retrieved March 30, 2022, from https://www.thezoereport.com/p/cbc-cannabinoids-benefits-are-actually-very-different-from-cbd-19212842  

4. El-Alfy, A. T., Ivey, K., Robinson, K., Ahmed, S., Radwan, M., Slade, D., Khan, I., ElSohly, M., & Ross, S. (2010). Antidepressant-like effect of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 95(4), 434–442. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20332000/ 

5. Izzo, A. A., Capasso, R., Aviello, G., Borrelli, F., Romano, B., Piscitelli, F., Gallo, L., Capasso, F., Orlando, P., & Di Marzo, V. (2012). Inhibitory effect of cannabichromene, a major non-psychotropic cannabinoid extracted from Cannabis sativa, on inflammation-induced hypermotility in mice. British journal of pharmacology, 166(4), 1444–1460. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22300105/ 

6. Jun, J. (n.d.). Rhododendron Anthopogonoides. Nature library. Retrieved March 30, 2022, from https://naturelib.net/plantae/rhododendron-anthopogonoides/  

7. Ligresti, A., Moriello, A. S., Starowicz, K., Matias, I., Pisanti, S., De Petrocellis, L., Laezza, C., Portella, G., Bifulco, M., & Di Marzo, V. (2006). Antitumor activity of plant cannabinoids with emphasis on the effect of cannabidiol on human breast carcinoma. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 318(3), 1375–1387. https://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/318/3/1375.long

8. Maione, S., Piscitelli, F., Gatta, L., Vita, D., De Petrocellis, L., Palazzo, E., de Novellis, V., & Di Marzo, V. (2011). Non-psychoactive cannabinoids modulate the descending pathway of antinociception in anaesthetized rats through several mechanisms of action. British journal of pharmacology, 162(3), 584–596. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20942863/ 

9. Nakajima, J., Nakae, D., & Yasukawa, K. (2013). Structure-dependent inhibitory effects of synthetic cannabinoids against 12-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced inflammation and skin tumour promotion in mice. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 65(8), 1223–1230. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jphp.12082 

10. Oláh, A., Markovics, A., Szabó-Papp, J., Szabó, P. T., Stott, C., Zouboulis, C. C., & Bíró, T. (2016). Differential effectiveness of selected non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrhoeic skin and acne treatment. Experimental dermatology, 25(9), 701–707. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27094344/ 

11. Oultram, J., Pegler, J. L., Bowser, T. A., Ney, L. J., Eamens, A. L., & Grof, C. (2021). Cannabis sativa: Interdisciplinary Strategies and Avenues for Medical and Commercial Progression Outside of CBD and THC. Biomedicines, 9(3), 234. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7996784/ 

12. Prostate cancer viability: Tomko, A. M., Whynot, E. G., Ellis, L. D., & Dupré, D. J. (2020). Anti-Cancer Potential of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids Present in Cannabis. Cancers, 12(7), 1985. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/12/7/1985 

13. Shinjyo, N., & Di Marzo, V. (2013). The effect of cannabichromene on adult neural stem/progenitor cells. Neurochemistry international, 63(5), 432–437. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23941747/

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Content Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Abraham Benavides, MD
Content Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Abraham Benavides, MD

Contributors: Sarah Walker
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