Cannabichromene (CBC) may not get you high, but what this cannabinoid lacks in narcotic effects, it more than makes up for in medicinal value. A potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory, CBC has also shown potential as a treatment for acne, depression and even cancer.
How Does CBC Work?
Despite being a cannabinoid, CBC has a weak binding affinity for the body’s cannabinoid receptors and doesn’t produce any psychoactive effects. Many of CBC’s effects are therefore produced via its interactions with the TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors – known as the capsaicin and wasabi receptors respectively.
Called into action any time you take on a dish that’s a little too hot to handle, these two receptors play a key role in pain signalling. When activated, they begin the body’s natural painkilling responses, which explains why CBC is such an effective analgesic.
Studies on mice have revealed that the cannabinoid significantly reduces pain perception[i] while reducing inflammation[ii]. These effects are partly mediated by an increase in the endocannabinoid anandamide, which becomes more available throughout the body when CBC binds to its target receptors.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘bliss molecule’, anandamide interacts with the cannabinoid receptors to produce a sense of euphoria. Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, CBC has shown potential as a mood enhancer, and significantly reduces depressive behaviours in mice[iii].
Anandamide also helps to protect the body from various forms of cancer by inhibiting the formation of blood vessels around tumours – a process known as angiogenesis[iv]. Much more work is needed to confirm whether CBC can successfully treat cancer in human patients, but the cannabinoid’s ability to boost anandamide levels certainly suggests that it may have a role to play in battling the disease.
What Else Can CBC Do?
Several studies have highlighted CBC’s ability to enhance the activity of other cannabinoids, indicating that it may be a key component in the entourage effect. For example, research has revealed that THC levels in the brain tend to be higher when CBC is also present. This suggests that cannabichromene somehow increases the ability of other cannabis compounds to cross the blood-brain barrier.[v]
Given THC’s capacity to alleviate seizures in epileptic patients, some scientists have suggested that CBC may potentiate anti-convulsive medical cannabis products. This claim is backed up by animal studies, which have shown that CBC reduces the frequency of seizures in murine models of epilepsy.[vi]
The compound has also caught the attention of dermatologists thanks to its ability to treat acne and other skin conditions. Zits, for instance, are typically caused by excessive sebum production and inflammation of the sebaceous glands, so the fact that CBC attenuates both of these symptoms should be music to the ears of spotty teenagers everywhere[vii].
Finally, CBC may prove to be a key ally in the battle against COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases and has been shown to downregulate the severity of such illnesses. In one study on mice, the cannabinoid significantly boosted oxygen levels in the blood while simultaneously reducing pro-inflammatory proteins and protecting the lungs from damage[viii].
Where To Find CBC
While CBC is abundant in certain Indian landrace strains, it’s very difficult to find commercial cultivars containing high concentrations of cannabichromene. Having said that, the compound can be found in relatively decent quantities in some strains that have been bred specifically for their medicinal properties, many of which you’ll find in the Seedsman catalogue.
[i] Maione S, Piscitelli F, Gatta L, Vita D, De Petrocellis L, Palazzo E, De Novellis V, Di Marzo V. Non‐psychoactive cannabinoids modulate the descending pathway of antinociception in anaesthetized rats through several mechanisms of action. British journal of pharmacology. 2011 Feb;162(3):584-96. – https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01063.x
[ii] Izzo AA, Capasso R, Aviello G, Borrelli F, Romano B, Piscitelli F, Gallo L, Capasso F, Orlando P, Di Marzo V. Inhibitory effect of cannabichromene, a major non‐psychotropic cannabinoid extracted from Cannabis sativa, on inflammation‐induced hypermotility in mice. British journal of pharmacology. 2012 Jun;166(4):1444-60. – https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.01879.x
[iii] El-Alfy AT, Ivey K, Robinson K, Ahmed S, Radwan M, Slade D, Khan I, ElSohly M, Ross S. Antidepressant-like effect of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 2010 Jun 1;95(4):434-42. – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091305710000730?via%3Dihub
[iv] Picardi P, Ciaglia E, Proto MC, Pisanti S. Anandamide inhibits breast tumor-induced angiogenesis. Translational Medicine@ UniSa. 2014 Sep;10:8. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4140423/
[v] DeLong GT, Wolf CE, Poklis A, Lichtman AH. Pharmacological evaluation of the natural constituent of Cannabis sativa, cannabichromene and its modulation by Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Drug and alcohol dependence. 2010 Nov 1;112(1-2):126-33. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2967639/
[vi] Anderson LL, Ametovski A, Lin Luo J, Everett-Morgan D, McGregor IS, Banister SD, Arnold JC. Cannabichromene, related phytocannabinoids, and 5-fluoro-cannabichromene have anticonvulsant properties in a mouse model of Dravet Syndrome. ACS chemical neuroscience. 2021 Jan 4;12(2):330-9. – https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00677
[vii] Oláh A, Markovics A, Szabó‐Papp J, Szabó PT, Stott C, Zouboulis CC, Bíró T. Differential effectiveness of selected non‐psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrhoeic skin and acne treatment. Experimental dermatology. 2016 Sep;25(9):701-7. – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27094344/
[viii] Khodadadi H, Salles ÉL, Shin E, Jarrahi A, Costigliola V, Kumar P, Yu JC, Morgan JC, Hess DC, Vaibhav K, Dhandapani KM. A potential role for cannabichromene in modulating TRP channels during acute respiratory distress syndrome. Journal of Cannabis Research. 2021 Dec;3(1):1-7. – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s42238-021-00101-0