What is the CBC Cannabinoid? | 6 Exciting Areas of Research

CBC cannabinoid

The CBD cannabinoid

Over the past decade, CBD has revolutionized health and wellness markets around the world. According to the largest CBD user study ever conducted, 80% of users find CBD to be very or extremely effective for treatment and nearly half of users are ditching traditional medicines in favor of it.

Cannabichromine, or the CBC cannabinoid, has always been present in the broad and full-spectrum CBD products that you buy, but newer products are increasingly being made that contain much higher concentrations of CBC and in this article we’re going to look at why.

Quick notes

The 6 exciting areas of research for CBC are:

  • CBC may be an effective anti-inflammatory, performing well in animal models of gastrointestinal and respiratory inflammation
  • CBC has shown promising abilities to alleviate pain, especially in conjunction with other cannabinoids
  • CBC may increase the viability of adult neural stem progenitor cells, suggesting it may be a target for treating neurodegenerative diseases
  • CBD displayed significant anti-depressant effects in one study on mice
  • CBC could potentially be a highly effective acne-fighting agent due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as it’s ability to reduce sebum production
  • CBD may one day be used in the treatment of certain types of cancer due to its ability to inhibit cancer cell growth

For further details and links to research, keep reading…

Introducing the CBC cannabinoid

CBD is most commonly used to help treat symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain, but what are people using CBC for, and could it help you? In order to find out how you may benefit from CBC, we’re going to look at the latest CBC cannabinoid research available, but first let’s take a closer look at what it is.

What is CBC cannabinoid?

Like CBD and THC, CBC is a cannabinoid that started life in the hemp plant as CBGA. CBGA is produced in the resinous trichomes of hemp and cannabis plants and is the acidic precursor to three major cannabinoids. Depending on what enzymes CBGA comes into contact with, it converts into CBDA, THCA, or CBCA, which transform into CBD, THC , and CBC, respectively, when exposed to heat, UV light, or age,  through a process called decarboxylation.

CBC is one of the “big 6” where cannabinoids are concerned as, along with CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, and THCV, CBC is one of the most prominent cannabis compounds to feature in emerging research. It is the third most prevalent cannabinoid to be found in hemp and cannabis, but is still considered to be a minor cannabinoid as most cannabis plants have concentrations of less than 1% CBC, which has made it difficult to study in the past.

Like other cannabinoids that are consumed via hemp flower or full-spectrum extracts, CBC is a biologically active compound that interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system, as well as numerous other receptors.

Your endocannabinoid system is a chemical signaling network, consisting of thousands of receptors all over your brain and body, which are responsible for regulating a whole host of essential processes to help you achieve a state of homeostasis, or balance.

Although CBC was discovered over 50 years ago, it’s potential therapeutic benefits are only just starting to come to light with modern scientific research.

Modes of action

– Research has shown that CBC activates and desensitizes the TRPA1 receptor which mediates pain and temperature sensation

– It is also a potent anandamide uptake inhibitor, even more so than CBD (anandamide is one of our body’s own naturally-occurring endocannabinoids)

Endocannabinoids and TRPA1 receptors are both known to be involved in inflammatory processes

– It was also discovered that CBC is a selective agonist of CB2 receptors

So, what does all this mean?

What are CBC cannabinoid effects?

When it comes to the effects you might feel when you take CBC, this compound is more similar to CBD (and wildly different to THC) in the fact that CBC has a poor affinity for cannabinoid 1 type (CB1) receptors in the brain, meaning it cannot bind to them.

Compounds that bind to CB1 receptors, like THC, have the ability to intoxicate you, but since CBC is unable to bind to these receptors, it is also unable to produce any psychoactive effects that might make you feel high.

What are CBC cannabinoid benefits? 6 exciting areas of research

It’s important that I mention all of the research into CBC thus far has been based in the lab and performed on animals, so we’re a long way from knowing what the human therapeutic benefits of this cannabinoid may be. However, we can get a lot of information from this preclinical research in terms of the compounds potential effects.

So far, scientists have been testing CBC’s effects on inflammation, pain, brain health, depression, acne, and cancer.

1. Inflammation

Scientists first noted and published research on CBC’s anti-Inflammatory effects back in 1980, when it showed to be just as effective as phenylbutazone (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) at combating inflammatory pain. Phenylbutazone has since been discontinued for human use due to its harmful side effects.

In a more recent study, published in 2012, researchers showed that CBC was able to reduce inflammation-induced hypermotility (abnormally excessive activity in digestive tract) in mice.

A further study, published a year later, showed the cannabinoid CBC was able to exert anti-inflammatory effects and alleviate symptoms of experimental colitis in mice. At doses of 1mg per kg(-1), CBC not only significantly reduced intestinal permeability, but also exerted protective effects when administered before the inflammatory assault.

The study also found that, via activation of TRPA1, CBC effectively lowered nitric oxide levels, which is proinflammatory when produced in excess. Not only are excessive nitric oxide levels often observed in respiratory conditions (such as asthma), but it’s also thought thought that excessive NO levels can potentially cause migraines and damage brain cells, leading to neurodegenerative conditions.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, CBC’s anti-inflammatory properties were put to the test very recently, when a team of researchers investigated the potential protective effects of CBC in an experimental model of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Their results were published earlier this year (2021) showing that, following administration by inhaler, CBC reversed hypoxia (increasing blood oxygen saturation by 8%), alleviated symptoms (reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines by 50% in lungs and blood), and protected the lung tissue from further damage.

The team concluded that their findings suggest that an inhalant CBC could be an effective therapeutic target for ARDS.

2. Pain

CBC displayed some analgesic effects as early as 1983, although it was noted that these were weak compared to THC. This team of researchers also noticed and recorded that the analgesic effects of THC were magnified by CBC, which is just one example of how cannabis compounds are often far more powerful when administered together, than on their own.

In 2009, Booker et al researched the effects of various cannabinoids, including CBC, on a rodent visceral pain model. The team concluded that their “results suggest that various constituents of this plant may interact in a complex manner to modulate pain.” This suggests that while CBC in itself may only display weak analgesic effects, it may be crucial in contributing to a much more potent analgesic effect when combined with other cannabinoids.

Meanwhile, CBC has been shown to to a selective agonist of cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptors and a mounting body of research suggests that CB2 agonists show promise in the treatment of acute and chronic pain.

A further piece of research published in 2011 discovered how CBC is able to exert its analgesic effects, despite not binding to CB1 receptors (like THC does). It showed that CBC (as well as CBD) possessed analgesic effects due to their influence on several target proteins that are involved in nociceptive control (pain sensation).

3. Brain Health

In a 2013 study, a team of researchers showed that the presence of CBC increased the viability of neural stem progenitor cells (NSPC’s), inhibiting their differentiation into astroglial cells. NSPC’s are essential to healthy brain function and this research suggests that CBC may prove to be a promising candidate for treating neuroinflammatory diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis.

4. Depression

In 2010 a team of researchers noted that, along with CBD, CBC displayed significant anti-depressant effects in animal models of behavioral despair, including the forced swimming test and tail suspension test.

5. Acne

Acne is a common skin condition that is characterized by excessive production of sebum, causing the pores to become blocked, and then trapped bacteria causes inflammation of the sebaceous glands.

Back in 1981, CBC was shown to display strong antibacterial activity. Then in 2016, having already shown that CBD was an effective anti-acne agent, a team of researchers went on to investigate what effect other non-psychoactive cannabinoids could have on acne.

The team confirmed CBC’s anti-inflammatory effects on the skin and the results also showed that CBC reduced sebum production. They concluded that CBC (as well as CBDV) had potential to become a highly efficient anti-acne agent, however, it was actually THCV that stole the show by producing the most significant results in this area.

6. Cancer

Like everything else, research into the anti-tumor or anti-cancer properties of CBC is limited, but multiple studies have shown that cannabinoids could be very useful in the treatment of cancer due to their ability to reduce inflammation and tumor growth.

A 2006 study showed that CBC in particular was able to effectively inhibit cancer cell growth. The study focused on a variety of non-psychoactive cannabinoids and concluded that, although CBD was more potent (a multicannabinoid-rich extract also proved to be as potent as CBD), CBC was definitely able to exert anti-tumor effects on its own, in its pure compound state.

CBC’s anti-cancer effects may not stop there either, as our body’s natural endocannabinoid, anandamide, has also been shown to be highly effective in the fight against breast cancer. Since CBC helps elevate levels of anandamide by inhibiting uptake, it may also be able to fight cancer indirectly.

A recent press release also revealed preliminary results from a study on the effects of cannabinoids on human gastrointestinal cancer cells. The press release stated that CBC and CBG “were both shown to induce significantly higher rates of necrosis in these cancer cells compared to other cannabinoids,

What is the perfect CBC cannabinoid dose?

While there’s no doubt that CBC has standalone effects, numerous studies have also shown that CBC works with other cannabinoids in what is known as the entourage effect. The relationship between CBC and other cannabinoids isn’t as widely studied as the relationship between THC and CBD, but it’s widely accepted that all cannabinoids work together synergistically to produce more powerful effects.

Synergistic relationships can be found abundantly throughout nature and cannabinoid synergy is the reason why many people prefer consuming whole-plant extracts over isolates. Doses can often be lowered dramatically to achieve similar, if not better, symptom relief.

There are many factors thought to contribute to an “ideal dose” of cannabinoids, including your weight, age, metabolism, chemical make-up, and so forth. Some people find that just 10mg a day helps them immensely, whereas others may need doses of 50mg+ to achieve similar benefits.

The average daily dose of CBC is between 10 and 50mg and if you’re interested in discovering what CBC can do for you, then I’d recommend taking the smaller dose of just 10mg a day to start with, gradually increasing it until you achieve the effects you desire.

I would personally take it in combination with CBD and other cannabinoids (in a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum product) and keep a brief record of any changes you notice. Some people experience symptom relief immediately (for example, anxiety relief), but for other symptoms, cannabinoids may take longer to start affecting change, which is why it’s important to take them consistently for a number of weeks to see results.

Where can I find the CBC cannabinoid for sale?

As always, it’s important to source your hemp extracts from a transparent and trustworthy source. We can recommend two brands in particular that offer high potency CBC products. Both of these brands are highly reputable and test all of their products to verify their purity and safety, as well as potency.

NuLeaf Naturals

NuLeaf Naturals has a great selection of full spectrum cannabinoid oils and capsules that may work for you, including different formulas that contain concentrated amounts of either CBD, CBC, CBG, or CBN. If you already have a favorite CBD brand, then perhaps you could try adding a couple of drops of their CBC oil to your usual CBD routine.

They also have multicannabinoid oils and capsules that deliver all four of these beneficial cannabinoids in equal doses, for more overall general wellness.

The Raw Botanics Co

Raw Botanics also incorporate CBC, CBG, and CBN, into their CBD oils and capsules, but the doses are more tailored (for example, 2:1 ratios of CBD and CBC). You can choose which product is best for you based on the effects you want to achieve, making the shopping experience particularly easy.


The fact that I can fit all of the available research on CBC (specifically) into just one article goes to show how vastly understudied it is compared to CBD. Overall, however, I think that there are several promising areas of research emerging already, including CBC’s ability to alleviate inflammation (gastrointestinal and respiratory inflammation especially), promote neurogenesis, and relieve pain.

Some of these avenues of research may prove to be dead-ends for using pure CBC in specific treatment areas, but it is interesting to see how many studies here support using CBC in conjunction with other cannabinoids to enhance certain effects (like pain relief).

Although CBC hasn’t been directly studied for it’s potential benefits to bone health, a 2012 research paper also showed how agonists of CB2 receptors (like CBC) may prove to be useful therapeutic targets for bone formulation and healing. This, combined with the potential to alleviate inflammation and pain, and promote neurogenesis, makes me wonder whether CBC could be particularly beneficial to the older CBD users among us!

I only hope that more scientists start using whole-plant extracts in their studies as opposed to pure cannabinoids, as they continue to outperform the isolated compounds time and time again.

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