While cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of the most common phytocannabinoids that currently exist in the market, scientists continue to discover more of them. Amazingly so far, there are around 100 distinct cannabinoids that have been identified.
Cannabichromene (CBC) is one of the major phytocannabinoids that is pretty much underrated. Regardless of the limited research, CBC has shown potential in pain relief, mood enhancement, and neuroprotection. Plus, it is non-psychoactive!
If this is your first time hearing about CBC, continue reading to learn more.
What Is CBC?
Cannabichromene, or more commonly known as CBC, is a non-intoxicating, legal cannabinoid present in marijuana and hemp. Although this name may sound new for some, it has already existed for 55 years in the research community. It was discovered by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and Y. Gaoni in 1966.
CBC is one of the major phytocannabinoids along with cannabidiol (CBD). Just like any other phytocannabinoid — such as cannabidiol (CBD) — CBC naturally develops from the same substance present inside the hemp plant. The “source” compound is known as cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), the mother of all cannabinoids.
CBC can be used to make tincture oils and other therapeutic hemp-based products like cartridges and edibles. It is also commonly associated with pain-killing effects, improved mood, and neuroprotection. However, the research in the matter of CBC’s benefits is still limited.
What Does CBD Do?
CBC works differently than other cannabinoids. Most cannabinoids interact with CB1 or CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system and help with increasing the production of our endocannabinoids. CBD, on the other hand, likely does this as well, but it mostly supports the body’s endocannabinoids by working with receptors responsible for inflammation and pain response.
To further explain, these receptor sites are called transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) and transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1). They might sound new and strange, but you might be familiar with the experience of interacting with at least one of them.
Ever wonder why chili peppers are hot? It is because of capsaicin, an abundant chemical found in chili peppers. It activates TRPV1 receptors, resulting in the sensation of heat throughout your mouth.
In initial research, results have shown that CBD has a higher chance of interacting with receptor sites like TRPV1 than CBD (1). CBD is also a selective CB2 receptor agonist, which makes it more effective than THC in hyperpolarizing AtT20 cells. With these properties, CBD becomes a potentially effective analgesic.
Health Benefits of CBC
Just like CBD, CBN, and the like, CBC has also sparked the attention of the medical community because of its potential therapeutic benefits. The fact that it is non-psychoactive makes it a perfect candidate for future medical use. Although there are still a limited number of studies on the benefits of CBC, here are some of CBC’s properties that can help you improve general well-being:
CBC for Inflammation and Pain
As mentioned earlier, CBC interacts with receptor sites like TRPV1, which play a role in inflammation and pain sensitivity. These receptors can be found on many other cells aside from taste buds, including nerve cells. They are sensitive to stimuli like heat, acidity, pressure, and other irritants.
CBC was tested in a study in vivo using the rat paw edema test and in vitro using the erythrocyte membrane stabilization assay. Results showed that CBC was as effective as phenylbutazone (PBZ), an anti-inflammatory drug, in equal doses. But since CBC is less toxic than PBZ, larger doses may be given for greater therapeutic effects.
Since CBC promotes the production of endocannabinoids and the reduction of inflammatory substances, it can significantly help in moderating pain and inflammation experienced by patients.
Inflammation flare-ups are best treated with fast relief treatments, hence the appeal to CBC oil. Tinctures and oils are a decent option for pain relief because of their convenient use and fast-acting effects.
CBC for Mood
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) produces endogenous cannabinoids. One of these molecules is called anandamide.
Anandamide is primarily responsible for the generation of pleasure and motivation. When our ECS does not function properly, unbalanced levels of anandamide can lead to a gloomy mood.
Ever wonder why chocolates are being offered as mood boosters? This is because chocolates contain substances that interact with our serotonin receptors. CBC can also do the same, but better. Since it binds with TRP channels like TRPV1, activating these channels can elevate mood without the risk of intoxication.
Just like most cannabinoids used for mental health treatments, CBC has also demonstrated potential mood-elevating properties. This has been demonstrated by a study that examined the antidepressant-like actions of CBC taken along with CBD and THC together which can “contribute to the overall mood-elevating properties of cannabis.” (3)
CBC for Neuroprotection
Studies suggest that CBC has neuroprotective properties that may help to stimulate neurogenesis (production of new neurons) in crucial parts of the brain. It is essential in preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s later in life.
A 2013 study examined how CBC promoted the viability of adult neural stem progenitor cells which are a vital part of the brain (4). These cells convert into astroglial cells which handle the passage of neurotransmitters in the brain and the nervous system. In return, these cells prevent the risks of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.
Simply put, CBC has the potential to improve neurological health. While the study has not been followed up for years, current evidence still shows that non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBC can help in protecting the brain.
CBC for Skin
It is a great bummer whenever our skin experiences problems — such as acne or rash. Not only does it cause discomfort, but it can also lower our self-esteem. Like any other cannabinoids, CBC also has benefits on the skin especially when applied topically.
A 2016 study showed that CBC along with other cannabinoids showed a potential “to become highly efficient, novel anti-acne agents.” (5) Moreover, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBC can help in soothing inflammation of the sebaceous glands and cutting down sebum production which are keys to controlling acne.
In this regard, CBC oil should be applied to the skin for best results. For that reason, it’s best to choose a CBD-infused cream instead of a tincture because tinctures don’t get absorbed well by the skin.
What Is CBC Oil?
CBC oil is made with full-spectrum extracts from hemp plants that have less than 0.3% THC. Just like CBD oil, CBC also comes in a liquid form with a specified number of milligrams. Some brands even sell CBC oil products infused with terpenes, aromatic compounds, to enhance its overall benefits.
CBC oil is legal under federal law like other hemp-based oils with less than 0.3% THC. It helps that CBC is non-psychoactive and mainly used for its medicinal properties.
There are three ways on how to use CBC oil:
- As a tincture: This is the most used consumption method. CBC is being passed into the bloodstream via sublingual glands under the tongue. The tincture works immediately and the longer you hold the oil under your tongue, the more CBC is absorbed.
- In food and beverages: This method is good if you want to mask the natural flavor of the oil, or if you want the effects to last longer. CBC oil consumed this way works more like an edible where it takes effect slower but prolonged.
- On the skin: In this method, you have to simply lather the oil onto your skin — it can be combined with another topical. Topically applied CBC is the preferred option among those seeking relief from localized pain.
Your optimal dosage of CBC will depend on the type of product you’re using and on several individual factors, such as your age, weight, gender, metabolism, and unique body chemistry.
If you are using a CBC-isolate product, you might need a higher dose since isolates don’t have any other cannabinoids or terpenes found in cannabis plants that can complement the CBC effects. You can try mixing CBC oil with MCT fatty acids to get more from your dose by increasing its bioavailability.
How Will CBC Oil Make Me Feel?
The type and strength of CBD oil’s effects also depend on the initial status of your body’s systems and the concentration of CBC you’re using. One thing to keep in mind is that CBC affects everyone a little differently and may work gradually over time.
Considering that the research on CBC is limited, there’s still a lot to discover about its side effects. What is imperative is that general cannabinoid science suggests non-intoxicating substances like CBC carry a low risk of abuse and addiction — they’re not habit-forming. Hence, it is unlikely that CBC can have alarming side effects.
CBC vs CBD: What’s the Difference?
While CBC and CBD almost share the same benefits, there are still a lot of things that set them apart. One of which is that CBD has been widely studied for its potential neurological benefits, while CBC still lacks research.
Another difference is CBC’s interaction with TRPV1 receptors. Although CBD also interacts with TRPV1, CBC shows almost an equal rapport for TRPV1 and 5-HT1A receptors, both of which play a role in neuropathic pain. This shows that CBC appears to be more effective for inflammatory pain relief.
What also sets them apart is the fact that CBC is a cannabinoid that is still emerging as one of the popular cannabinoids in the market. Whereas, CBD remains just as prevalent, if not more so than THC.
Regardless of their differences, it’s important to note that CBD and CBC have more in common than not. Since CBC and CBD have mutual benefits for one another, it will make more sense to take them both as part of the entourage effect than to choose between them.
Although the research on CBC is in its infancy, current findings are, least to say, promising.
It seems that — similar to CBD — the cannabinoid may help with skin problems, pain, inflammation, mood disorders, and neurodegeneration. Scientists speculate that in some of these areas, concentrated forms of CBC may demonstrate even higher efficacy than CBD.
The CBC niche is still young, with lots of new brands popping up on the market. It’s important that you do proper research on your vendor because the market remains largely unregulated. You can apply the same quality criteria as for CBD products; check the hemp source, look for third-party lab reports, and read customer feedback on independent websites.
And, if you take any medication, consult the use of CBC oil with your doctor, as cannabinoids are known to compete with many pharmaceuticals in the liver.