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Cannabinoid Profile: Cannabichromene (CBC)

Today’s article is about one of the lesser known and most underrated cannabinoids; Cannabichromene (CBC). It is the third most prolific cannabinoid in cannabis. It was discovered in 1966, but there is little research available on CBC. The more well-known cannabinoids of THC and CBD have garnered most of the study funding.

Like many other cannabinoids, CBC directly interacts with CB1 and CB2. However, unlike other cannabinoids, it works with other receptors; TRPA1 and TRPV1. These receptors are expressed predominantly in sensory nerves, activated by inflammatory stimuli and mediate inflammation and pain. TRP stands for “transient receptor potential”. Think as them as a series of channels linking the entire body. They are responsible for carrying signals of pain and inflammation when present.

THCA converts to THC when heat is applied. Similarly, the enzyme CBCA synthase converts CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) into CBCA (cannabichromenic acid). It finally becomes CBC when heat is applied. CBC is non-psychotropic due to its inability to bind well to CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Researchers are now realizing that some of the adjunct, non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBC may act as an additional key in helping to regulate the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It may turn out to be used to benefit a very specific type of health condition. Currently, most cultivators are more likely to breed strains based on THC and CBD profiles, so there is little in the way of CBC found in products at Illinois dispensaries. It has several medicinal benefits, so let’s hope cultivators recognize its value and start breeding strains with significant amounts of CBC. Here are several of them:

Encourages Brain Growth

I have written about neurogenesis in past articles. In a nutshell, brain neurons continuously generate and die off throughout our lives. These cells are responsible for memory and learning. Certain factors alter neurogenesis which can result in dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Here is a link to my article. A 2013 study published in Neuorchemistry International suggests that CBC encourages neurogenesis. The research team discovered that CBC increased the efficacy of neural stem progenitor cells (NSPCs). They are a special type of cell that can transform into a range of other cells which aid brain recovery and growth. In this particular study, mice were used and the testing of CBC on NSPCs occurred outside the body.


Along with THC and CBD, CBC has been found to act as an antidepressant. A 2010 University of Missouri rodent study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior found that rats that received CBC did significantly better on stress tests. Chronic stress typically leads to depression and dysfunction, so the better one adapts to stress, the less likely depression will develop.


Inflammation is known to be the root cause of many diseases, especially autoimmune diseases. It also factors into cancers, heart disease, allergies and mental health conditions. It is well documented that THC and CBD are powerful anti-inflammatories. A 2010 Virginia Commonwealth University study proved that the combination of THC and CBC was much more effective in reducing inflammation than was either cannabinoid by itself.

Pain Reducer

While CBC has mild analgesic properties, it is much more effective when combined with each of the cannabinoids, THC and CBD.  A 2011 study using animal models, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, discovered that CBC in conjunction with CBD was much more successful in stimulating pain-relieving pathways. Research going back as far as the 1980s proved that CBC and THC together were much more potent pain-relievers than either one alone.

Antibacterial and antifungal

How about those 1980s? It seems to have been a busy time for cannabis research. A 1981 study found that CBC neutralized both E. coli and staph bacteria. It also did a “mild to moderate” job as an antifungal. A 2008 study in Italy and the UK demonstrated that CBC was one of the many cannabinoids, along with THC, CBN, CBD and CBG, that effectively treats MRSA.


A 2012 study which was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology suggested that CBC reduced inflammation-induced bowel hypermotility (diarrhea) without causing hypomotility (constipation.) Since many antidiarrheal medications cause constipation, CBC would be a much better and safer treatment option.

Illinois Strains with CBC

As usual, I sought out the advice of members of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Community. I asked if there were any strains high in CBC that were available at Illinois dispensaries. One member shared that Shelby County oils have the highest concentrations he has seen. A current batch of Z 7 has 3.6% and current batch of Sweet Pea has 3.9%. Another member, who is currently involved in the industrial hemp industry, pointed out that hemp is a great source of CBC, CBG and CBN.

It is an exciting time to be a part of the cannabis community and all it entails!

Source:, 5 Amazing Medical Benefits of Cannabichromene, Anna Wilcox, July 20, 2016, What is CBC? May 7, 2016, Cannabichromene; The Third Most Common Cannabinoid, Sept 11, 2017


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