Is CBC the Next CBD?

In our last two articles, we have talked about Delta-8-THC and Cannabinol (CBN). In today’s article, we will look at yet another unique, yet less understood cannabinoid, CBC.

Understand Cannabichromene

CBC, short for Cannabichromene, has been discovered almost 50 years ago. And it is one of the ‘big six’ cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. 

Like its sister cannabinoid, CBD, CBC is not psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high.

A 1975 study showed that Cannabichromene was the second most prominent cannabinoid, after THC.

According to the authors of the study, Tuner, Hadley, and Holley, Cannabichromene could make up to over 60% of a plant’s cannabinoid profile.

You must be wondering if CBC was this much concentrated in the cannabis plant, how come it’s not as popular as CBD and THC?

Today’s cannabis plants are often selected for high CBD and THC content. This means that very few plants will have high-enough CBC contents for commercial extraction and use.

However, as more research comes to light, and the effects of Cannabichromene in the human body becomes more evident, many expect that cannabis strains high in CBC will start growing popular.

Chemical Structure And Properties of Cannabichromene

In its natural form, the cannabis plant doesn’t produce active cannabinoids like CBC and CBD.

So how exactly do these cannabinoids come to exist?

Cannabis has many acidic cannabinoids that transform into their active form through a process called decarboxylation.

For those in the dark, decarboxylation involves exposing cannabis to UV lights or extremely high temperatures.

Just like the popular cannabinoids, THC, and CBD, Cannabichromene is produced through enzymatic conversion of the precursor CBG or Cannabigerol.

According to experts, cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) (which transforms into CBG through decarboxylation) is exposed to an enzymatic reaction in the glandular trichomes of the cannabis plant. 


Cannabichromenic acid, which later decarboxylates to Cannabichromene.

The compound shares the same molecular formula (C21H3002) with THC and CBD. However, how the atoms are arranged in each of these cannabinoids differs slightly.

Although slight, this variation gives these cannabinoids unique chemical properties. For instance, THC will bind with CB1 receptors and get you high while CBD won’t.

Just like Cannabidiol, Cannabichromene doesn’t bind well to cannabinoid receptors as CB1 and CB2 concentrated in the brain and the immune system, respectively.

This is unlike THC, which is known to activate CB1 receptors, hence causing the euphoric high associated with cannabis use.

CBC also doesn’t seem to bind well with CB2 receptors. It’s, however, thought to impact other receptors such as TRPA1 and TRPV1. 

When active, these receptors may help increase the level of endocannabinoids in the human body. 

How It’s Thought To Interact With the Endocannabinoid System

As you probably already know, the endocannabinoid system popularly referred to as the ECS is a unique system of receptors whose responsibility is to maintain self-regulating biological functions (homeostasis)

Cannabinoids such as CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, and CBC, interact with the endocannabinoid system. This is how you can experience the various effects associated with cannabis use.

However, as mentioned earlier, Cannabichromene is a bit different;

Unlike THC and other popular cannabinoids, which directly bind to CB receptors, CBC impacts the endocannabinoid system indirectly through the activation of the body’s endocannabinoids; 2-AG and anandamide.

The compound may also act as an agonist to the TRPA1 and TRPV1 receptors. These receptors are said to regulate vital body processes such as pain perception, neurogenic inflammation, and body temperature in the human body.

What Is It Used For?

As a standalone compound, CBC has several effects on the human body. However, it’s thought to be more effective when used alongside other compounds such as CBD.

This is because when you use them together, the compounds in the cannabis plant bring about the popular entourage effect.

Simply put, a group of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids (plus many other compounds in the cannabis plant) are likely to benefit you more than an individual compound.

Case in point, Cannabidiol is thought to reduce the intoxicating effect of THC. 

How Can You Consume It?

If interested in consuming this non-psychoactive cannabis derivative, here is what you can try:

Look for Full-Spectrum CBD Oil

If unsure where to get Cannabichromene and other rare cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN, one of the easiest ways is to go for full-spectrum CBD oil.

Full-spectrum CBD oil will have all the compounds found in the cannabis plant in addition to CBD.

However, ensure you go for high-quality CBD oil by:

Analyzing 3rd Party Independent Labs- Not all full-spectrum CBD oil will have all the ingredients you’re looking for.

Take time to examine all the ingredients present in your full-spectrum CBD oil. Ensure no pesticides and heavy metals are present.

Also, check the concentration of the cannabinoids present. Remember, full-spectrum CBD may also have traces of THC. 

If you don’t want to get high or live in a state where THC is illegal, only go for CBD products with less than 0.3% THC.

Look for High CBC Strains

In the 1970s, Cannabichromene had a higher concentration in the landrace strains. However, today, manufacturers breed most cannabis strains to produce more THC and CBD, making it hard to come across CBC-high strains.

Here are some that may have some significant levels of the compound:

  • Blue Cherry Soda- 0.462%
  • Maui Dream- 0.487%
  • Purple Cadillac- 0.719%
  • Charlotte’s Web- 0.432%
  • Purple Candy- 0.51%

This question must pop up every time we are discussing cannabinoids. This is because the laws regulating the cannabis sector are different, unclear, and keep on changing.

Specifically, what’s the legality of hemp and marijuana products at both the federal and state level?

Following the 2018 hemp bill, hemp-derivatives such as CBD are federally legal in the USA so long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. 

CBC is non-psychoactive, just like CBD, does this make it legal too?

Still, according to the DEA, all cannabinoids except Cannabidiol oil with less than 0.3% are marijuana, and hence illegal.

So exactly where does CBC fall?

Although it’s not clear whether Cannabichromene is a schedule 1 substance, it’s unlikely that you will be arrested by consuming full-spectrum CBD oil, which may contain the compound.

Also, the main reason why marijuana remains federally illegal and legal in only a few US states is because of its mind-altering effects. 

CBC is not psychoactive, and hence may not be treated as THC.

Remember, different states have different laws regulating the cannabis industry- Do some research to understand what’s legal in your area before purchasing, possessing, or using any cannabis derivative.

Take Away

Although it was the second most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant in the 1970s, over-emphasis on CBD and THC by growers makes it hard to come across CBC-rich strains.

However, you can still take the compound by getting high-quality full-spectrum CBD oils, which offer the benefits of the whole cannabis plant (entourage effect).

CAUTION: This article is not meant to offer legal or medical guidance. If you have any questions regarding the legality or medical use of cannabis products, please see a professional.

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