The science behind cannabis is merely mesmerizing. It’s a world full of magic, paradoxes, mysteries, and tons of exciting discoveries that are yet-to-be-revealed. Cannabis connoisseurs are well-familiar with the two most popular and most abundant active cannabinoids found in marijuana, namely THC and CBD.
However, keeping in mind the whimsical way in which the different active compounds in cannabis work together in synergy to provide an array of effects thanks to the complex interaction with your endocannabinoid system, it is worth looking into another amazing active cannabinoid – CBC (Cannabichromene).
Undoubtedly, more research on the less known cannabinoids is needed in the foreseeable future as to understand how their benefits can be precisely targeted towards the treatment of various medical conditions.
But one thing is for sure: each of the active compounds in marijuana plays a unique role in inducing particular reactions on a cellular level. Therefore, understanding the functions of the different active cannabinoids such as CBC will help you become much more aware of the way the green medication impacts your body and mind.
How Cannabis Plants Produce CBC (Cannabichromene)?
Cannabis plants are known to produce over 113 active cannabinoids, apart from other valuable active compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids. So far, it is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (Cannabidiol) and CBG (Cannabigerol) that have attracted most of the attention of researches and scientists.
But with the rise of cannabis legalization, many of the obstacles that were blocking the paths for studying up the lesser known cannabinoids such as CBC (Cannabichromene) and CBN (Cannabinol), among others, have finally started to vanish.
In fact, CBC was discovered all the way back in 1966.
Unfortunately, it was in 1970 when cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 Drug and listed as having “no accepted medical use.”Thus, not much research has been conducted on CBC for decades.
Nowadays, CBC is considered one of the most promising cannabinoids and it is also crowned as part of the “big six” cannabinoids notable in medical research of the science behind cannabis.
Interestingly, CBC has the very same origins as THC and CBD. It is through an enzymatic process that takes place in cannabis plants’ trichomes how the precursor CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid) gives way to the rise of the three major cannabinoids, in particular, CBC, THC, and CBD.
For the production of CBC, CBGA is first converted into CBCA (cannabichromene carboxylic acid). The process of converting CBGA into CBCA is possible thanks to the enzyme CBCA synthase.
Once exposed to heat or ultraviolet light, CBCA gets converted into CBC based on the effects of the process of decarboxylation.
How CBC Interacts with Other Active Cannabinoids?
For a start, it’s important to note that similarly to CBD Cannabichromene (CBC) does not induce intoxicating effects upon consumption, unlike THC.
However, CBC does bind toCB1 cannabinoid receptors located in the brain that are in charge of triggering a variety of psychological effects, well-known as the high. But to be more specific, CBC binds to CB1 receptors only very poorly.
Also, CBC does not bind to CB2 receptors that are predominantly found on immune cells.
Instead, it does bind well to the vanilloid receptor 1 (known asTRPV1). CBC also binds well with a transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (known asTRPA1). Both the TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors are intricately related to pain perception.
Moreover, as CBC activates the TRPA1 and TRPV1 receptors, scientists have noted a significant increase in the levels of important natural endocannabinoids found in the body, such as anandamide.
Anandamide is an extremely valuable natural endocannabinoid, often referred to as your body’s very own antidepressant.
Based on the entourage effect theory, researchers believe that CBC might play a valuable and unique, yet not fully studied or apprehended role in the way different active cannabinoids work synergistically.
As of now, it is only THC and CBD that are proven to work synergistically, though. The exact benefits of the interaction of all the different active cannabinoids remain a mystery because the entourage effect (also known as the ensemble effect) theory requires further research in the foreseeable future.
Medicinal Benefits of CBC
Even though cannabis has been classified as Schedule I Drug for far too long, it seems that marijuana legalization has started to take place in the best possible moment of time. For just several decades ago, scientists did merely have no access to the booming cutting edge technologies available nowadays.
And while the exact medicinal benefits of CBC are still being only theorized, the far-reaching implications of this amazing cannabinoid brings bright hopes for the treatment and alleviation of a number of medical conditions.
Inflammation and Pain Management
According to a study first published in the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2011, CBC shows very promising results in blocking both pain and inflammation related to collagen-induced osteoarthritis.
Collagen-induced osteoarthritis is a particular condition that is intentionally induced in rats or mites for the purpose of studying rheumatoid arthritis. But while most anti-inflammatory drugs do have significant side effects, CBC acts on inflammation-associated conditions much differently and has not been associated with triggering any negative side effects.
Furthermore, as far as the entourage effect is concerned, the results of a recent animal study confirmed that a combination of CBC and THC is capable of triggering a significant anti-inflammatory response.
Another significant study on the inhibitory effect of CBC published in 2012 examined Cannabichromene’s potential in managing bowel hypermotility (also known as diarrhea). Unlike conventional anti-diarrhea medications, CBC has shown to reduce hypermotility induced by inflammation without causing constipation.
Antifungal and Antibacterial Properties
One of the earliest studies on CBC was conducted by researchers from the University of Mississippi in 1988. Based on the results, researchers concluded that CBC has strong antibacterial properties according to the observed effects of CBC on a variety of bacteria, including but not limited to staph (S. aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli).
Moreover, CBC showed a considerably potent (varying from mild to moderate) activity on fungi, including but not limited to one of the most common and dangerous fungi associated with high food contamination risks, namely black mold.
Healthy Brain Function Stimulation
One of the most amazing benefits of CBC is associated with its ability for stimulating and maintaining healthy brain function. Although still limited to an animal study involving mice, CBC has shown to positively impact neural stem progenitor cells (known as NSPCs).
Neural stem progenitor cells are extremely important to our well-being as in time, these cells transform into astroglial cells.
Astroglial cells are among the most important cells when it comes to maintaining the process of brain homeostasis. Indeed, CBC was found to increase and support brain cells development, a process known as neurogenesis.
Astroglial cells are in charge of counteracting inflammation, toxicity and oxidative stress. These factors accompanied and/or further exuberated by aging are often related to brain pathologies and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping in mind that currently there is no active cure for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, CBC medicinal benefits in terms of promoting and maintaining brain homeostasis are especially valuable.
“Most ‘drugs of abuse’ suppress neurogenesis. Only marijuana promotes neurogenesis,” highlights Dr.Xia Jiang of the University of Saskatchewan in an interview for Science Daily.
Acne is one of the most common skin diseases. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 85% of people aged 12 – 24 have experienced at least a minor form of acne. Acne is stubborn, annoying, and can significantly lower one’s self-esteem, subsequently, decreasing the quality of life.
At first, it was CBD that attracted the attention of researchers in terms of possible reduction of the symptoms of acne. Soon afterward, researchers came up with the idea to examine the anti-acne properties of other active cannabinoids that are not associated with inducing intoxicating effects. Thus, a 2016 study discovered that CBC can be particularly useful in the treatment of acne. But why is that so?
It is excess sebum production and sebaceous gland inflammation that characterize acne. CBC has shown promising results in targeting both of these acne-related factors.
Firstly, CBC has shown to suppress excess lipid production in sebaceous glands. Secondly, CBC has exhibited strong anti-inflammatory properties, too. and also suppressed excessive lipid production in the sebaceous glands. Thirdly, CBC has shown to reduce the levels of arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is needed to create the lipogenesis, therefore, it plays a major role in the production of acne.
Cancer Cells Growth Inhibition
It might be surprising to find out that CBC is considered the second most reliable and potent cannabinoid when it comes to inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. It wasn’t before 2006 when the first study discussing the cancer-inhibiting properties of CBC was published.
However, it is important to note that the specific role of CBC for producing anti-cancer effects has not been a subject of studies as of now, due to various restrictions.
The anti-cancer properties of active cannabinoids are a solid fact, though, as confirmed by numerous studies. One of the active cannabinoids’ anti-cancer properties involves the induction of apoptosis in cancer cells. In a nutshell, apoptosis in any cells is a programmed cell death response.
Another anti-cancer property associated with cannabinoids is the cannabinoids’ ability to block the proliferation of cancer cells, meaning that the division of cancer cells in order to grow and expand can be inhibited by cannabinoids.
Experts believe that the secret of the anti-cancer properties of CBC might be hidden in the way Cannabichromene interacts with the body’s natural endocannabinoid, namely anandamide.
Quintessentially, anandamide is a fatty acid neurotransmitter. The very roots of the term “anandamide” can be found in the Sanskrit word “ananda,” which translates into “bliss, delight, joy.”
As CBC inhibits the uptake of anandamide, anandamide can remain in the bloodstream for significantly longer than usual.
What about the most potent cannabinoid in terms of cancer cells’ growth inhibition? According to scientists, this key cannabinoid is another less-researched one, CBG.
It is good to keep in mind that THC has also shown valuable anti-tumor properties for the treatment of several different forms of cancer.
Fortunately, in the foreseeable future, scientists believe that CBC and other active cannabinoids can become powerful chemo preventive agents, and not be solely used in the treatment of already existing cases of cancer.
Bone Growth Regulation
While remaining only an assumption up-to-date, CBC’s ability to regulate bone growth and repair has been in the very spotlights of the attention of scientists and researchers across the globe.
As of now, researchers have found out that many active cannabinoids have shown promising potential in terms of both bone growth and repair, thanks to the cannabinoids’ on CB2 receptors. Even in low concentrations, active cannabinoids have demonstrated the ability to activate osteoclasts. Osteoclasts are the cells responsible for both repair and growth.
Experts believe that since CBC is proven to activate the CB2 receptor (although indirectly), it also increases the levels of endocannabinoids. Thus, the increase in the levels of endocannabinoids can play a key role in enhancing osteoclasts.
So many debates, restrictions, oppression, and polarization of the public opinions have been shaping the negative image of cannabis for nearly a century. The fact that hemp and cannabis plants have been used for thousands of years due to their multiple beneficial properties seemed to have been erased by oblivion. But what we are currently living up to nowadays is a form of a cannabis Renaissance.
The benefits of Cannabis CBC (Cannabichromene), one of the many active cannabinoids found in marijuana, cannot be fully explained here and now, as much more research is needed on that matter. But as far as the current investigations on CBC’s amazing properties have reached, there is no doubt that the future of marijuana use looks brighter than ever. For as the highly respected neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta highlights, marijuana is not only deprived of “a high potential for abuse,” but, in fact, “sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works…”