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Only discovered in 1966, CBC is the third most prevalent cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant. While not as well studied as THC or CBD, CBC is known best for its potential for inflammation, pain, and neuroprotection. It strongly binds the CB2 receptor, but not the CB1 receptor, causing it to have immune system effects without the psychoactivity. One area of mystery is that CBC is often found to cause its effects by neither the CB1 or CB2 receptor and while it interacts with a number of the TRP channels, the exact mechanism of action isn’t always known. One additional pathway CBC is thought to utilize is adenosine (an important signaling molecule and a building block of RNA). In a clinical trial, CBC may have preferential absorption over CBD & THC when administered together.

It’s ability to lower inflammation has been studied for decades and in rat models, CBC works via several mechanisms to lower pain. When administered with THC, the two have stronger anti-inflammatory effects than when used separately. In neural stem cells, CBC increased their functioning, a mechanism of protecting the brain, as well as helping in a mouse model of depression. In a mouse model of epilepsy, it displayed anticonvulsant effects and helped with lung inflammation and oxygenation in the acute respiratory distress of COVID. CBC helps in the guts of mice with diarrhea and in their pineal glands, it reduced the output of melatonin (the sleep inducing hormone). CBC seems to be useful against acne and lowering skin inflammation as well as the production of sebum.

Timeline of Research

2023: A deep molecular dive on how the cannabinoids cause their antioxidant effects by destroying free radicals, with CBC & cannabifuran being the most potent
Insights on the antiradical capacity and mechanism of phytocannabinoids: H-abstraction and electron transfer processes in physiological media and the influence of the acid-base equilibrium

2022: In a clinical trial, CBC may have preferential absorption over CBD & THC when administered together
Pharmacokinetics of cannabichromene in a medical cannabis product also containing cannabidiol and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol: a pilot study

2022: In a rat pineal gland, the addition of THC, CBD & CBC all reduced the output of melatonin - & they did it using a pathway other the CB1 & CB2 receptors
Cannabinoids attenuate norepinephrine-induced melatonin biosynthesis in the rat pineal gland by reducing arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase activity without involvement of cannabinoid receptors

2022: In a study of the two most well known ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters (membrane proteins that help move drugs & other big molecules into the cell), cannabichromene (CBC – a minor cannabinoid) did not alter the ABC transporters but cannabichromenic acid (CBCA – the acid version of CBC) binds to ABCB1

In vitro evaluation of the interaction of the cannabis constituents cannabichromene and cannabichromenic acid with ABCG2 and ABCB1 transporters


2021: For a mouse model of acute respiratory distress syndrome (such as in COVID), CBC helped with inflammation & to increase oxygenation, potentially via the TRP channels
A potential role for cannabichromene in modulating TRP channels during acute respiratory distress syndrome

2021: In a mouse model of Dravet syndrome (a childhood epilepsy), CBC, CBCA & CBCVA all displayed anticonvulsant activities
Cannabichromene, Related Phytocannabinoids, and 5-Fluoro-cannabichromene Have Anticonvulsant Properties in a Mouse Model of Dravet Syndrome

2021: In a mouse model of epilepsy, CBC (and CBCA & CBCVA) penetrated the brain & caused antiseizure activity
Cannabichromene, Related Phytocannabinoids, and 5-Fluoro-cannabichromene Have Anticonvulsant Properties in a Mouse Model of Dravet Syndrome

2020: In rats, CBC shows minor pain effects
In vitro and in vivo pharmacological activity of minor cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa

2019: CBC binds CB2 more than THC – but not at CB1

Cannabichromene is a cannabinoid CB 2 receptor agonist

2018: In docking studies, CBD/CBDA extracts & CBG/CBGA extracts reduced aldose reductase activity for diabetes

Inhibition of aldose reductase activity by Cannabis sativa chemotypes extracts with high content of cannabidiol or Cannabigerol

2016: In human sebocytes model of acne, CBC & THCV suppressed lipid synthesis, CBDV had only minor effects & CBG & CBGV increased it - CBC, CBDV & THCV reduced arachidonic acid-induced 'acne-like' lipogenesis – THCV suppressed proliferation – all cannabinoids exerted remarkable anti-inflammatory effects

Differential effectiveness of selected non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrhoeic skin and acne treatment

2013: CBD, CBC & CBG increase viability of adult neural stem cells in mice via upregulation of ATP and adenosine signaling

The effect of cannabichromene on adult neural stem/progenitor cells

2012: In mice, helped with diarrhea (gastrointestinal hypermotility) without decreasing the transit time

Inhibitory effect of cannabichromene, a major non-psychotropic cannabinoid extracted from Cannabis sativa, on inflammation-induced hypermotility in mice

2011: CBC & CBD stimulated descending pain pathways via TRP channels as well as increasing endocannabinoid levels in the periaqueductal grey
Non-psychoactive cannabinoids modulate the descending pathway of antinociception in anaesthetized rats through several mechanisms of action

2010: In a mouse model of depression, CBC, CBD & THC all caused significant antidepressant effects
Antidepressant-like effect of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L

2010: How CBC & THC work together + CBC eliciting actions not by the CB1 or CB2 receptor

Pharmacological evaluation of the natural constituent of Cannabis sativa, cannabichromene and its modulation by Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol

2008: CBN + CBC + CBG + THC show antibiotic activity against MRSA strains
Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study

1982: Tests of CBC & CBG against bacteria & fungus

Synthesis and antimicrobial activities of certain cannabichromene and cannabigerol related compounds

1981:CBC acted as an anti-inflammatory, a strong antibiotic & a moderate anti-fungal
Biological activity of cannabichromene, its homologs and isomers

1966: original discovery paper

Cannabichromene, a new active principle in hashish!divAbstract

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