The growth of legalization has drastically driven cannabis research forward. From discovering the endocannabinoid system to understanding THC and CBD, the medical field is slowly solving the mystery behind medicinal marijuana. Of those discoveries, furthering our knowledge of cannabinoids has been a significant focus. While THC and CBD are the most abundant and well-known, there are multiple other cannabinoids within the marijuana plant. Every cannabinoid plays a role in our endocannabinoid system, understanding the role of each cannabinoid is essential to grasp the therapeutic potential of medical marijuana. Of the four major cannabinoids, CBC, or cannabichromene, is one of the more unknown compounds. With more and more research published, we can finally answer the question; what is CBC?
What is CBC?
CBC is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid which shares similar structural traits with THC, CBD, CBN, and THCV. CBC is also known as Cannabichromene and is considered one of the top four major cannabinoids. Nevertheless, the percentage of CBC per plant is rather low in today’s market. CBC is said to have a plethora of therapeutic potential and may share a unique relationship with our endocannabinoid system. To understand how CBC effects our bodies, we must first understand how cannabis produces CBC.
- CBCA ? synthase becomes CBGA and CBCA. (non-decarboxylated forms)
- CBGA decarboxylates into CBG
- CBCA decarboxylates into CBC
- CBC brakes down overtime into CBL, cannabicyclol
Like every other cannabinoid, it all begins with an initial enzyme such as CBCA-synthase. For CBC to occur in the cannabis plant, it must go through this process. Any plant high in CBCA is likely to have a higher CBC content. In order to receive the actual CBC, it must be decarboxylated; which is when heat is applied, or it may happen gradually over time. When a consumer lights a joint high in CBCA, it is likely to break down into CBC once it loses its C02 molecule. Due to this synthesis process, it is tough to achieve a high testing CBC plant.
How Does CBC Work With our Bodies?
CBC was initially thought to be the second most abundant cannabinoid back in the 1970’s. It was discovered in 1966 but did not receive much attention at the time. Now that more research is occurring, we are beginning to understand how this cannabinoid works within our system. CBC is similar to the other significant cannabinoids, except it works indirectly with the endocannabinoid system.
Cannabichromene, CBC, is non-psychoactive and does not cause any high effect. It is said to have a poor connection with many of the cannabinoid receptors. Its receptor sites have been narrowed down to two central receptors; TRPA1 and TRPV1. TRPA1 is a transient receptor while TRPV1 is a vanilloid receptor. Both of these sites, when coupled with CBC, increases the levels of natural endocannabinoids found in our bodies. In turn, indirectly working with the endocannabinoid system in multiple ways. CBC increases the overall activity of the endocannabinoid system, which gives it a multitude of therapeutic potential.
The Potential Medical Benefits of CBC
CBC reacts with our body in a different way than most other cannabinoids. Due to this, its therapeutic potential is relatively high. In particular, CBC has been thought to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compound. With a further understanding of this compound, more and more potential uses are arising.
- Anti-Inflammatory: In an older study, CBC proved to be more effective than the anti-inflammatory drug, phenylbutazone. When given equivalent doses of both compounds, CBC provided the same if not more of an effect. With the low toxicity of CBC and high toxicity of phenylbutazone, CBC is likely a better treatment option.
- Anti-Depressant: In 2010, a study showed CBC, with the presence of THC, is an excellent anti-depressant. In particular, CBC also helped decrease immobility along with its anti-depressant properties.
- Decreases Acne: In 2016, a study showed CBC decreases the production of sebum and reduces the effects of arachidonic acid, which in turn can relieve severe acne.
- Neuroprotector: In 2013, CBC showed promise as a neuroprotector. It promotes cell survival during differentiation and reduces cell differentiation into astroglia.
- Anti-bacterial: CBC is said to be beneficial for patients with E. coli and Staph.
- Cancer: Due to CBC’s ability to increase the absorption of anandamide, it indirectly helps reduce the size of cancerous tumors such as breast cancer.
The above medicinal uses are all awaiting further research. CBC may have been around for a while, but we understand this cannabinoid much less than we do THC and CBD. It is likely for more therapeutic potential to arise with further research. There are more rumored medicinal uses of CBC, but the above applications have the most research to date.
Other Medicinal Uses:
- Gastrointestinal Diseases
It is not easy to find CBC products on the market today. Due to its low concentration in a majority of the cannabis plants available today, CBC is tricky to extract. There are a few cannabis strains which have higher amounts of CBC than others, but its CBC content is still minimal. The isolation of cannabinoids is becoming a popular method for producing cannabinoid specific products. With the CBC content being so low, in most cannabis flower; it is tough to obtain an ample supply of CBC isolate. The rise of industrial hemp is forcing more people to look into isolating specific compounds. CBD is the most prevalent alongside THC, but CBC products are a little behind.
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A few companies are working hard to release a quality CBC product. However, the most popular CBC product available to consumers is Mary’s Medicinals CBC Topical. It contains around 100mg of a transdermal balm with a ratio of THC, CBD, and CBC. This product is excellent for any consumer who desires the benefits of the entourage effect. As for other products available to consumers, there are not many. CBC oil and isolates will be challenging to come by until extractors and breeders can find a better way to supply the cannabinoid.
The Future of CBC
Similar to how CBD is growing in popularity, it is likely CBC products will branch out into infused gummies, tinctures, topicals, and concentrates. However, it is going to take some time for there to be any plants high in CBC content. In the meantime, CBD and THC do share similar therapeutic uses and are a viable solution for anyone interested in CBC. Smoking cannabis flower is likely to have a broader range of cannabinoids and may be the best way to consume some CBC.
Until CBC is isolated as its own compound, CBC products will be low on supply. It is also going to take some time for the price point of CBC to drop. A lot of time and money go into extracting cannabinoids, with such a low supply, most CBC available today is solely for research purposes. Consumers will need to wait for the market to figure this cannabinoid out before they see many CBC products on the shelves. It is likely CBC will have the same issues as isolating CBG, which costs around 20 to 40 thousand dollars per kilo of isolate. Patience is key, but keep an eye out for the next top-shelf CBC product to pop up over the next couple of years.
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