Unless you’ve been living under a bomb shelter for the last five years or so, you’ve likely heard all about cannabidiol (CBD) and the non-psychoactive (or should we say “non-intoxicating”) therapeutic relief that it can provide for a huge range of medical ailments. It has quickly become one of the most popular alternative forms of therapy across the country, and its use is increasing among all age groups and and social classes with the knowledge that it provides all of the health benefits of marijuana, without the high.
But did you know that CBD is just one of hundreds of known cannabinoids that have been keyed to influence the body’s endocannabinoid system, which doctors have called “one of the most important physiologic systems in establishing and maintaining human health?” Well believe it, ‘cos it’s true.
Like CBD, cannabichromene (CBC) is a relatively newly discovered cannabinoid that hasn’t been researched a whole lot. However, the small amount of research that has been done on it has showed that it has a wonderfully therapeutic potential, without any of the associated high that is caused by THC, which is the psychoactive cannabinoid.
In this article, we explain what some of the key differences between CBD and CBC are, and also go over a couple of the recent publications that have shown it to have a promising therapeutic potential.
What’s the Difference Between CBD and CBC?
It’s hard to go into much detail with regard to the differences among cannabinoids, because let’s face it, we (and by “we” I mean the greater scientific community) are still very much in the infancy in terms of what’s known about the compounds on a chemical level.
However, it is known that CBC, along with THC and CBD, is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids in most compounds. In fact, in a 1981 study (yeah we know, that’s SUPER old) it was hypothesized that CBC was the second-most abundant compound in the plant – even moreso than it’s closely related cousin CBD.
Also, a little bit is known of cannbichromene’s synthesis mechanism. For example, it’s generally accepted that cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) is catalyzed by the protein enzyme CBCA synthase to produce CBCA. While CBCA is technically a cannabinoid, it’s not known to have a major therapeutic role in humans. However, once it’s dried out over periods of time or exposed to direct heat (i.e. combusting/burning, vaping, etc), it’s understood that CBCA decarboxylates (turns into its active form) into the functional cannabinoid CBC.
Confused yet? Well, just know that CBC, like THC and CBD, is an active compound that has been decarboxylated from “pre-cursor” cannabinoids to produce a functional and therapeutic molecule with known health benefits for humans. What are some of these health benefits? Read on to find out.
So What Does CBC do for humans?
It’s been known for going on 40 years that CBC does not have intoxicating effects. Like CBD, this is one of the most intriguing aspects of the compound, at least from a therapeutic standpoint, as it implies that cannabis users who don’t respond well to high levels of THC (or who are known to develop anxiety or paranoia after smoking) may be able to use it as an extract or a substitute in order to reap the health benefits of pot without the unwanted psychoactivity.
Research on CBC has shown that it can:
- Work as an effective antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal
- Promote and enhance neurogenesis (neurogenesis is the growth of new nervous tissue, and is extremely significant for neurodegenerative diseases like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, etc)
- Function as an antidepressant and as an anti-inflammatory
- Provide relief from acute and chronic pain
- Work as an anti-acne treatment (some companies are starting to infuse topical creams and lotions with CBC)
- Aid in constipation by acting as an antidiarrheal
CBC: The Studies Don’t Lie
A study on CBC published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology claimed that the antibacterial properties of the cannabinoid were actually quite high, which is relatively rare among marijuana compounds (for example while CBD has been shown to have some antibacterial properties, they are generally thought to be mild).
Also, in terms of pain relief, researchers published an article back in 2011 in the British Journal of Pharmacology that showcased cannabichromene to interact with several pain-modulating proteins in the sensory nervous system. This supplemented a much earlier (1983) study that, believe it or not, actually showed CBC to enhance the pain-relieving properties of THC when the two compounds were taken simultaneously.
Research has also supported CBC’s action as a fundamental anti-inflammatory (which is excellent news for the millions of people who take daily pharmaceutical meds with dangerous side-effects), and as an antidepressant, with one study actually showing that ten times less CBC was needed than CBD to achieve equal antidepressant properties.
Also, in terms of neurogenesis, publications as recent as 2013 have shown that CBC has a potential to promote the growth of new brain cells, which is revelatory for individuals who suffer from neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Regarding the cannabinoids’ potential for neurogenesis, it has been said that “…most ‘drugs of abuse’ suppress neurogenesis, [while] only marijuana promotes [it].”
And lastly, a 2012 study on cannabichromene concluded that the compound activated a chemical receptor called TRPA-1, which has been known in the past to induce digestive motility (in other words, CBC is an antidiarrheal as it can activate a component that aids in temporary overactivity of the gastrointestinal system).
Final Thoughts on CBC – The “New” CBD
While we’ve admittedly got a ways to go before CBC becomes even half as popular as CBD, we’ll certainly be keeping a keen eye on upcoming research and clinical studies, as it’s almost guaranteed that new information will be popping up in the near future that shows the compound is equally as capable of producing medical results as its “more famous” cousin.
For now, though, we can take what little information we have and rejoice in the fact that there is a natural therapy/medication out there that can relieve a seemingly endless array of symptoms and medical ailments.
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