Author: Luke Sholl
Although most will be unfamiliar with this cannabinoid, CBC is far from insignificant. Keep reading for a complete summary of cannabichromene, and find out what role it could play in cannabinoid-based treatments.
Cannabichromene belongs to a family of organic compounds known as cannabinoids. Found inside hemp and varieties of marijuana, CBC is synthesised after CBCA is exposed to heat and light. Still, it differs from the majority of cannabinoids because it has a low affinity for CB receptors. Instead, CBC binds to TRPV receptors involved in detecting changes in temperature, and other sensations, at a cellular level.
Although CBC may have benefits of its own, the majority of studies have examined the effects of CBC alongside other cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. Cannabichromene shows excellent synergy with other cannabinoids, but, despite being a major compound within the biological structure of Cannabis sativa, it’s still only produced in small amounts.
• CBC appears non-psychotropic
• Is one of three major cannabinoids synthesised from CBGA
• May support treatment of cancer, pain, and inflammation
• Plays a crucial role in optimising the entourage effect
• Shows a weak affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors linked to the ECS
• Activates TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors located in the membrane of cells
At present, it is too early to determine whether CBC produces any notable side effects. Like other non-psychotropic cannabinoids, it appears to be well-tolerated, but this is merely conjecture.
As we’ve alluded to, the majority of studies involving CBC also feature other prominent cannabinoids. Independent research into CBC is limited, with only animal and in-vitro studies currently underway.
In 2006, the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics published a study examining the effects of cannabinoids on in-vitro cancer cells. Although cannabidiol (CBD) was found to be the most potent inhibitor of cancer cell growth, it was closely followed by CBG and CBC. Researchers concluded that their “data support the further testing of cannabidiol and cannabidiol-rich extracts for the potential treatment of cancer”.
The Department of Experimental Medicine in Naples, Italy, tested the effect of CBD and CBC on nociceptive pathways in rats. Nociceptive pain is a familiar sensation associated with breaks, burns, or bruising.
Results showed that CBD and CBC caused “analgesia by interacting with several target proteins”. Although the study did conclude that both compounds could be useful therapeutic agents, multiple mechanisms of action still need exploring.
A 2010 study by the University of Mississippi evaluated the effects of THC, CBD, CBC, CBG, and CBN on an animal model of depression. Using a variety of doses, the researchers concluded that “cannabinoids exert antidepressant-like actions”, although for CBC, the effects were dose-dependent.
Although CBD is favoured for its reduction of inflammation and cell proliferation associated with acne, a 2016 study highlighted that CBC might have a similar effect. The cannabinoid “significantly reduced arachidonic acid (AA)-induced ‘acne-like’ lipogenesis”. Results went on to suggest that CBC, CBDV, and THCV “show promise to become highly efficient, novel anti-acne agents”.
CBC’s effect on other cannabinoids was exhibited in a 2011 study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Not only did the cannabinoid appear to mediate the psychotropic effects of THC, but dose-dependant administration of both cannabinoids in-vitro “led to enhanced tetrad and anti-inflammatory actions”. The most significant point of difference with CBC was that its anti-inflammatory effects weren’t a result of binding with CB1 or CB2 receptors. It remains to be seen how this mechanism of action could effectively translate to human trials.
As CBC is considered non-psychotropic, the cannabinoid is not scheduled under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. As such, there are no outright restrictions on this cannabinoid, and it is not considered an illicit substance.