While its cousins THC and CBD receive most of the attention for cannabis’ therapeutic effects, CBC, or cannabichromene, is the second most abundant cannabinoid, right behind THC, although naturally, this depends on the strain.
Despite an exciting burst of scientific research in the 1980’s, the health benefits of CBC are only just beginning to come to light.
Overview of CBC (cannabichromene)
CBC is a curious cannabinoid because it doesn’t bind to any cannabinoid receptors. It is not psychoactive like THC and doesn’t interact with the CB2 receptors throughout the body like CBD.
Instead, its actions are mediated indirectly via actions on many other kinds of receptors, especially vanilloid receptors (primarily TRPV1 and TRPA1, for the science nerds out there). These receptors turn off the machinery that breaks down your endocannabinoids like anandamide.
It’s similar to an MAOI, a class of antidepressant that works by stopping the enzymes that destroy serotonin.
By preventing the destruction of your natural endocannabinoids in specific tissues, your baseline endocannabinoid levels go up. And as we learn more and more about endocannabinoids, this can have a powerful impact on your health.
Health Benefits of CBC
Gut Health Part 1: Diarrhea Running
There are several places where CBC can make a real difference in health issues, and perhaps the most practical (and potentially profitable) is in your gut.
Drug companies are most interested in CBC’s ability to stop diarrhea (gastrointestinal motility) without causing constipation. Peristalsis, the gentle contractions that move all that processed food matter through your intestines, is normalized instead of paralyzed like with most anti-diarrhea medications. That paralysis can cause a whole new set of problems.
Given that diarrhea kills more people every day than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined, CBC has significant potential to impact health on a global level.
Gut Health Part 2: Inflammation
CBC is a known anti-inflammatory agent and shows powerful synergy when combined with THC and other endocannabinoids – another example of the entourage effect.
Interestingly, research indicates that much of CBC’s anti-inflammatory action is specific to the gut, and potentially related to its effect on diarrhea. Intestinal inflammation is only just beginning to be understood as a nationwide epidemic and has serious health consequences ranging from food allergies and autoimmune disorders to even mood disorders and memory problems. This epidemic makes CBC a potentially invaluable tool for those struggling to reestablish gut health.
A Natural Painkiller
Another promising benefit of CBC is in its ability to alleviate pain. A 2011 study found that CBC was able to effectively block pain perception in rats through multiple mechanisms of action, again largely through the vanilloid receptors. These findings are a long way off from clinical proof, but they do indicate that CBC may be a big part of how cannabis helps individuals with chronic pain.
CBC Is Good for Your Brain: A Role in Neuroprotection
Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, a 2013 study found that CBC conferred neuroprotective benefits to neural stem cells. It sounds nice, but what does that actually mean?
Contrary to previously held scientific dogma, your brain is constantly developing, changing, and growing. When it is damaged, by a stroke or injury or even chronic-stress-induced inflammation, our brain uses neural stem cells to replace and heal damaged parts. And CBC helps these guys stay healthy, which in turn makes your brain stronger, more resilient, and stress-resistant.
Where to Find Cannabichromene Strains
Unfortunately, most companies only test for CBD and THC, so knowing exactly what strains have a high amount of CBC can be challenging. Leafly’s Strain Explorer is a helpful starting place or feel free to come on down and ask one of our knowledgeable budtenders about the health benefits of CBC and which strains work best!