With all the hype that surrounds THC and CBD, the other 110+ cannabinoids in the marijuana plant seldom get a look in. Also known as phytocannabinoids, these compounds occur naturally in the plant and tend to be concentrated in its trichomes. Generally speaking, cannabinoids are almost insoluble in water but are soluble in alcohol, lipids, and a range of other non-polar organic solvents.
THC and CBD, along with CBN (cannabinol), are the most prevalent cannabinoids in the marijuana plant, and as such, they have received the greatest level of study. It is often assumed that THC and CBD are the most important cannabinoids, and are responsible for most of cannabis’ effects.
However, there is a chance that the combination of the hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes in weed is the reason for its apparent therapeutic effects. The so-called ‘entourage effect’ suggests that these compounds work better together than in isolation. Studies certainly support this theory insofar as the whole plant works better than isolated THC or CBD, for instance.
This discovery has increased the level of interest in terpenes and the other cannabinoids in marijuana. Today, it is the turn of CBCV to fall under the spotlight.
What is CBCV?
The lack of research into marijuana cannabinoids is plainly seen in the example of cannabichromevarin (CBCV). It was isolated from the marijuana plant by Shoyama et al. in 1975 but has not been examined to any serious degree since. Along with cannabigerovarin (CBGV), CBCV is one of a pair of propyl homologues of cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabichromene (CBC).
As you probably know, there have been severe restrictions on marijuana research in the United States, and indeed many nations around the world. Even in countries where weed research is permitted, a lack of funding means scientists must choose an area of study. The prevalence of THC and CBD in weed make both cannabinoids an obvious starting point.
CBCV is only available in tiny amounts in most marijuana strains, which means it hasn’t been the subject of much research at all. What we know is that CBCV is related to CBC, and has a similar, albeit shorter, chemical structure. CBCV is classified as a ‘propyl cannabinoid,’ which means its molecular structure contains a propyl chain. In case you were wondering, its molecular formula is C19H26O2.
What Are CBCV’s Properties?
Yet again, lack of research has stymied any chance of finding out more about this mysterious cannabinoid. The similarity in chemical structure with CBC means it likely shares comparable effects. As a propyl cannabinoid, it will share certain traits with its counterpart, but also has unique properties found in no other cannabinoid.
The severe lack of studies means we have to make assumptions based on what we know about CBC. For instance, CBC is believed to be an effective antidepressant and could also have anti-inflammatory properties. CBC could also be antibiotic and antifungal, which means it has a use as a treatment for fungal issues such as ringworm.
CBC doesn’t have intoxicating properties like THC, which means CBCV is likely to follow suit. Based on what we know so far about CBC and CBCV’s likely similarities, it could ultimately be used to treat the following medical conditions:
- Crohn’s Disease
- Inflammatory Conditions
- Amyolateral Sclerosis
- Chronic Pain
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Muscular Dystrophy
Interestingly, the Regents of the University of California have patented an anticonvulsant drug for infants. While the main cannabinoid is CBD, CBCV and CBC are also ingredients.
As for likely side effects, CBCV may cause drowsiness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, and low blood pressure. Therefore, it isn’t a good idea to use it before operating heavy machinery. However, there isn’t much CBCV in any marijuana strain, and there isn’t enough information on the cannabinoid to try and create a drug which features it as the main ingredient.
Marijuana strains such as 3 Kings and Jorge’s Diamonds #1 contain CBC, so they possibly contain small amounts of CBCV also.
From a legal standpoint, there are no specific CBCV laws, but as it is a cannabinoid in the marijuana plant, it is likely federally illegal. However, if you live in one of the 33 states plus D.C that allow medical marijuana, or the 11 states plus D.C. that allow recreational use, you are on solid ground – as long as you adhere to state law.
From Acid to Cannabinoid
CBCV is a cannabinoid compound that comes from an acid. It is important to remember that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are not made directly from the marijuana plant. Instead, weed synthesizes several cannabinoid acids which must be decarboxylated (activated); typically by heat, to create the compounds we crave.
In CBCV’s case, it is CBCVA (Cannabichromevarinic acid) that is produced by marijuana. Once CBCVA is exposed to heat energy, it loses the ‘A’ and becomes a neutral cannabinoid rather than acidic. After decarboxylation, you end up with CBCV.
CBCV: There is a Lot of Ground to Cover!
It should be abundantly clear by now that we haven’t even covered a small fraction of what there is to know about the marijuana plant. There are well over 100 cannabinoids and over 200 terpenes. Very few of them, including CBCV, are well-researched, and even the major cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, require more detailed study.
A prime example of how far we have to go can be seen with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which is relatively well studied in comparison to individual compounds. Since the early 1990s, we know that the compounds in weed appear to interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
It has long been believed that there are more cannabinoid receptors, and now, researchers believe that GPR55 could be long-awaited ‘third’ receptor. It was discovered in 1999, but it was only in 2007 that Swedish scientists found that it interacted with cannabinoids. What’s fascinating is that people with conditions such as Crohn’s disease have a higher level of GPR55 than normal.
CBD seemingly blocks GPR55 activity which could be a primary reason for the cannabinoid’s apparent anti-inflammatory properties. Once we learn more about these receptors, we can gain a greater understanding of how cannabinoids, even ‘minor’ ones like CBCV, impact the body.
The key to better future research is to end the prohibition of marijuana. If and when this happens, scientists will finally have the freedom to conduct detailed clinical trials to learn more about marijuana, its compounds, and their effects on the human body. In an ideal world, revenue from the legalization of the herb will be used to fund this research. Until then, the functions of cannabinoids such as CBCV will remain a mystery.