CBC – The New Kid on the Block.
First it was all about the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) then people started to research and discover the medicinal properties of CBD (cannabidiol) and now as further understanding and testing of cannabis sativa plants takes place, people are starting to recognise the properties of CBC (Cannabichromene).
CBC is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant which structurally, is similar to other natural cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabidiol, and cannabinol, among others. However, concluding evidence from studies conducted between 2010 and 2012 suggest that the effects of CBC may have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects properties, contributing to the overall analgesic effects of medical cannabis. (It is worth noting that CBC has been shown to produce antinociceptive (painkilling) and anti-inflammatory effects in rodents, although studies on humans are needed before its true potential can be known.)
Although CBC is actually one of the better studied phytocannabinoids, it has seemingly flown under the radar for some time and even within the cannabis community its properties have not been widely acknowledged.
However, there are many studies taking place on this cannabinoid as more and more people laud its properties, with many dispensaries conducting cannabinoid profiling on their strains. This is good news for medical marijuana patients, but it is advised to check with multiple dispensaries to ensure the correct medicine is given.
Just like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), CBC is produced via an enzymatic conversion of the precursor cannabigerol (CBG). More specifically, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA, which decarboxylates to CBG) reacts with an enzyme in the glandular trichomes of the cannabis plant to form cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), which then in turn decarboxylates to CBC.
Good news for those just wanting medicine and not particularly wanting to get high, CBC does not share the psychoactive effect of THC, and it is not even fully clear if it has any effect on the cannabinoid receptors at all, as some of its effects have been shown to be independent of them.
One slight downside of the CBC trials is that throughout the decades, its potency is thought to have decreased. In a 1975 study of landrace strains, Constituents of cannabis sativa L. XI: Cannabidiol and cannabichromene CBC was found to be the second-most abundant cannabinoid overall in tested samples of cannabis! Sadly, today’s commercial indoor varieties of today, which have mainly been selected for high THC content, are unlikely to contain such high levels of CBC.
CBC is now thought to have various potential medical applications, many of which are related to immunological or homeostatic processes. Several studies have investigated CBC for its potential, and although research on CBC is generally at a preliminary stage, results thus far have been promising.
In a 2010 study on mice, cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabidiol (CBD) were shown to exhibit “significant effect” on indicators of depression. CBC resulted in a significant dose dependent decrease in immobility at doses of 40 and 80 mg/kg.
In an animal study published in 2010, lipopolysaccharide-induced paw edema (swelling) was found to be reduced by administration of CBC. It was also shown that this effect occurred independently of the CB receptors, as antagonists blocked similar effects caused by THC, but did not block those of CBC. This study also found that THC and CBC worked in synergy to produce a stronger anti-inflammatory effect when administered together – a great example of cannabinoid interactions!
A 2011 study on rats showed that both CBD and CBD reduced nociceptive pain (pain caused by damage to the nerve itself) in rats via a complex set of interactions with proteins known to control the antinociceptive response.
Interestingly, these effects were blocked by the action of CB1 receptor antagonists, indicating that CBC does have some affinity for the cannabinoid receptors.
CBC is thought to increase the survival of adult stem cells.
In a 2012 study on rats, CBC was shown to normalize gastrointestinal hypermotility (diarrhea) without reducing bowel transit time. This is of clinical interest, as most anti-diarrhoea drugs are associated with constipation due to massively reduced transit time. Thus, CBC could prove to be of great importance in developing cannabinoid-based treatments for disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.
A fascinating study published in 2013 showed that CBC increased the viability (health and survival rate) of progenitor stem cells in adult mice, possibly via a complex mechanism involving adenosine triphosphate (ATP; the enzyme responsible for energy transfer between the cells of the body).
However, CBC also apparently inhibited the differentiation of these stem cells into astroglia, which are important neurons heavily involved in processes of repair and homeostasis. Hopefully, further research will determine the effects of this phenomenon, and assess its potential in medicine.
Thanks to Sensi Seeds for the article.