Cannabis researchers around the world have high hopes for cannabichromene (CBC), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid with unique properties. CBC products are improving every year, so it’s only a matter of time until this cannabinoid attains mainstream success on par with CBD. In this guide, learn what cannabichromene is, what it’s used for, and how to enjoy the unique benefits of this rare cannabinoid for yourself.
What is CBC?
CBC is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found naturally in most strains of hemp. Even though it’s practically ubiquitous within cannabis plants, CBC is usually only present in very small concentrations of 1% or lower. As a result, it is practically impossible to enjoy the full effects of CBC by ingesting hemp flower, and breeders have not yet developed CBC-rich strains of hemp.
Instead, CBC must be derived from cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), this cannabinoid’s carboxylic acid precursor. CBCA is also only available in Cannabis sativa in exceedingly low concentrations, however, making it necessary to convert this carboxylic acid from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), another cannabinoid precursor.
Unlike CBCA, CBGA is relatively plentiful in Cannabis sativa strains, and recent breeding efforts have produced cannabis cultivars that contain CBGA as a dominant compound. To produce CBC, CBGA is exposed to a compound called cannabicromenic acid synthase, which converts this “stem cell” carboxylic acid into CBCA. From there, CBCA can be decarboxylated into CBC, which occurs when this carboxylic acid is exposed to temperatures exceeding 105° C.
Due to the laborious process necessary for its production, CBC is often more expensive than CBD. Regardless, CBC has been a target of scientific research for more than half a century, and cannabis scientists believe that this cannabinoid may have remarkable therapeutic potential. Similar to CBD in that it is non-intoxicating, CBC nonetheless has unique properties that consumers value highly.
History of CBC research
Cannabichromene was first discovered in Israel in 1966. Considered the epicenter of international cannabis research even in that early era, Israel was also the site of many other momentous cannabinoid discoveries throughout the latter half of the 20th century.
Two years after the discovery of CBC, Japanese researchers led by renowned cannabis scientist Masahiro Masayama isolated this cannabinoid’s carboxylic acid precursor, CBCA. In 1975, Masayama led another team to the discovery of cannabichromevarinic acid (CBCVA), a close relative of CBC, further shedding light on this cannabinoid’s status within the complex web of unique Cannabis sativa compounds.
Japanese scientists again elucidated the mystery of CBC in 1996 by determining that CBGA was likely the source substance for CBCA, the carboxylic acid precursor to CBC. Shortly thereafter, Japanese researchers were successful in isolating cannabichromenic acid synthase, the substance responsible for transforming CBGA into CBCA. With this discovery, it finally became possible to produce large quantities of CBC in laboratory settings, reducing the cost of CBC research and paving the way to the eventual commercial success of this unique cannabinoid.
Starting in 2006, the first pieces of scientific evidence supporting the potential benefits of CBC started trickling in. In 2008, for instance, cannabichromene was included in a study into the potential antimicrobial effects of cannabinoids, and in 2010, researchers released a study detailing the potential modulatory effects that CBC might exert on THC. Since 2012, research into CBC has accelerated, and the greatest density of research into this cannabinoid has taken place over the last three years.
What is CBC currently used for?
While it is possible to buy CBC products online, this cannabinoid has not yet achieved mainstream popularity. Many people remain unaware of the potential benefits of cannabichromene, so it will likely still be a few years until CBC achieves mainstream success.
The potential uses of CBC that have been initially determined are, however, remarkably intriguing. Like CBD, for instance, it appears that CBC alters and may even reduce the effects of THC. At the same time, recent research has identified that CBC may interact with the CB2 receptors, which are also stimulated by THC. Due to their concentration in the peripheral nervous system, however, CB2 receptors do not cause intoxication even though their activation may reduce inflammation.
Researchers have also discovered that CBC appears to have significant affinity for TRPV1, a neuroreceptor that is critically involved in inflammation and the sensation of inflammatory pain. While CBD also appears to stimulate the body’s TRPV1 receptors, initial research indicates that CBC may exert higher affinity for these important regulators of the body’s inflammatory responses.
Activation of TRPV1 leads to greater levels of endocannabinoids (body-generated cannabinoids) throughout the body, and anandamide is chief among the endocannabinoids. Research indicates that CBC may prevent the reuptake of anandamide and other endocannabinoids, potentially leading to higher serum concentrations of these essential substances.
What might CBC be used for in the future?
Future uses of CBC will most likely center around this cannabinoid’s potential impact on anandamide, CB2, and TRPV1. As a non-intoxicating potential CB2 stimulator, it’s possible that CBC may end up becoming a viable alternative to THC for inflammation reduction. Since this cannabinoid may also activate the TRPV1 receptors, it’s highly likely that CBC will be included in products that directly target pain and inflammation.
Anandamide is involved in an enormous array of vital bodily processes, so if it’s true that CBC boosts anandamide levels, CBC may end up being used for a wide range of different purposes. The sooner that consumers gain access to CBC, the sooner we will have the anecdotal testimony necessary to make firm determinations regarding the potential benefits of this unique cannabis compound.
What are the best ways to use CBC?
While some CBD-rich and THC-rich cannabis strains are advertised as being “high-CBC,” these cultivars rarely contain much more than 1% of this rare cannabinoid. It’s possible to consume CBC by ingesting strains that contain this cannabinoid in small concentrations, but you’ll also ingest high concentrations of CBD or THC at the same time, making it difficult to pinpoint the potential benefits of CBC.
Instead of using cannabis flower to ingest CBC, the best way to consume this rare cannabinoid is in its concentrated form. Secret Nature Flow Capsules contain high concentrations of CBC concentrate, delivering the unique benefits of this cannabinoid in a mild orally ingested format.
CBC cannabinoid FAQ
Let’s finish up with a few answers to common CBC cannabinoid questions:
1. Can I buy CBC?
Yes, hemp products containing the cannabinoid CBC are now widely available online. CBC products vary widely in terms of quality and product type, but they are alike in containing large concentrations of this cannabinoid, which was previously only available in small concentrations. The most common types of CBC products are capsules, vapes, and tinctures.
2. Is CBC legal?
CBC products are generally considered to be industrial hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill as long as they contain less than 0.3% delta 9 THC. In terms of legal status, there is no meaningful difference between CBD and CBC even though the benefits of this hemp cannabinoid are decidedly unique.
3. What is CBC versus CBD?
Like CBD, CBC is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in hemp. CBD and CBC have considerably different chemical structures, though, and these two cannabinoids appear to interact with the human body in different ways. The benefits of CBD and CBC do not appear to conflict with each other, and many hemp users consume these two cannabinoids together.
4. Can you take CBD and CBC together?
Yes, you can use CBD and CBC at the same time, and doing so might unlock the benefit-boosting power of the entourage effect, an observed form of synergy that occurs between cannabinoids. Most CBC products contain high concentrations of other cannabinoids as well, and instead of being a detriment, this combination of hemp compounds might take CBC to the next level.
5. What is the right CBC cannabinoid dose?
We don’t know enough to recommend a specific dose for CBC, but non-intoxicating cannabinoids generally have very low toxicity profiles. Like CBD, the cannabinoid CBC hasn’t been equipped with any official dosage guidelines by the FDA or any other relevant regulatory organization. Considerably less research has been conducted into CBC than CBD, limiting the data we can use to establish proper dosage. As you find the right CBC dose for your needs, start with a low dose and move up as desired.