CBC, Simplified

By Josh Hall
Melanie Kreutz, Unsplash

When there are more than 100 cannabinoids isolated from the cannabis plant, it’s unlikely that someone can be up-to-speed on all of them. There’s a good chance you’re familiar with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the chemical that creates the “high” most people associate with marijuana use—and cannabidiol (CBD), the legal and non-psychoactive compound that packs a punch and provides a host of benefits for its users. You may even be familiar with other cannabis compounds like cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN).

However, most people can’t even pronounce the lesser-known cannabichromene (CBC), let alone explain it. For the record, it’s “cuh-nah-buh-cro-mean,” and it’s believed to promote healthy brain function, relieve pain and inflammation, combat bacteria and fungus, and even fight cancer.

While this cannabinoid lacks the name recognition of the others mentioned, it’s actually the second most prominent compound found in cannabis and shares many of the same desirable properties of other cannabinoids. Most importantly for some, CBC lacks psychoactive attributes, so there’s no concern about getting high after using it.

What is Cannabichromene (CBC)?

Despite its discovery more than 50 years ago—and the fact that it has shown great medicinal promise—CBC remains a bit of a mystery to the medical community. In terms of its origination, it very closely mirrors both CBD and THC since it stems from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).

That CBGA then reacts with enzymes in a glandular trichome found in the plant, forming cannabichromene acid (CBCA). As the plant ages, or through an accelerated process caused by heat, CBCA eventually loses a molecule of CO2. It’s only at this point is the compound considered CBC.

One of the more interesting points on the science behind CBC is that it shares the same molecular formula as THC and CBD; but the arrangement of its molecules is slightly different, which dictates how the compounds behave.

What is CBC Used For?

We could simply say “a lot” here, but that really wouldn’t be doing CBC justice. CBC is one of the most well-rounded cannabinoids with an abundance of advantages.

In fact, one study concluded that CBC can play an instrumental role in helping users battle the effects of depression. Even among other cannabinoids, CBC performed well, displaying a potency 10 times that of what CBD can offer.

In a 1981 study conducted at the University of Mississippi, researchers noted that CBC showed “strong” antibacterial properties on several gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria samples, including E. coli and staph. The findings also pointed to CBC supplying a “mild to moderate” defense against fungi, including black mold.

As if that wasn’t enough, one of the more recent studies on CBC uncovered yet another incredible benefit. CBC could actually help promote the growth of new brain cells—a process known in the science community as neurogenesis.

Relief from pain, inflammation, and acne can also occur through the use of CBC.

Products that contain CBC

How is CBC Administered?

Since growers do not breed plants to be high in CBC, finding products with a high concentration of the compound can be difficult. However, there are some options that may be of interest. One thing to keep in mind is that most full-spectrum CBD oils will also contain some amount of CBC. The reason product makers do this is because stacking cannabinoids tends to enhance the benefit of each compound. This phenomenon is what is known as the “entourage effect.”

There are also CBC topical compounds available online or in specialty shops that can help with direct pain and inflammation.

Is CBC Safe?

An assortment of research studies has proven CBC to be safe and effective for people of all ages. As mentioned, the compound does not have the same type of psychoactive attributes that THC does, which means you can take it without fear of entering a mind-altering state.

However, before you jump right in and start dosing CBC, we suggest you speak with your primary care physician about the goals you hope to accomplish by using it. We all respond differently to cannabinoids so there may be some required trial-and-error to find the right amount of dose suitable for your body and needs.

We have developed some CBD oil dosasge guidelines that we think also apply to using CBC. The general rule of thumb is to start slow and see how you feel. If your first dose doesn’t supply the impact you were hoping for, you can incrementally increase the amount you take next time. Continue this course of treatment until you reach an amount that’s right for you.

How Does Cannabichromene Work?

Like other cannabinoids, CBC helps to ensure our bodies are working evenly by engaging with our endocannabinoid system (ECS). Homeostasis is a term used to describe our body’s aspirational effort to remain safe and stable, and the ECS plays a significant role in that attempt by regulating contributing functions.

CBC interacts with receptors within the ECS, but not the CB1 and CB2 like THC does. On the contrary, it does interact with receptors like the TRPV1 and TRPV2 that serve as pain sensors in the body.

Is CBC Legal?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as it is with CBD, where the compound is legal in most states if it contains less than 0.3% THC. With CBC, it’s much more of a gray area, especially since it shares so many chemical commonalities with THC.

Our suggestion is to be judicious and do plenty of research about your specific state or country before proceeding with the purchase of CBC.

The Bottom Line

The lack of clarity around the legality of CBC is a bit of a disappointment, but that’s something we expect to change in the future. As scientists release more research about CBC’s benefits and how to safely use it, the perception around this compound very well could change. For now, you may be best served by keeping a close eye on regulatory changes and pursuing quality CBD products instead.

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