Hemp and cannabis plants produce over 113 cannabinoids. While you’ve likely heard of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), you may not have heard of minor cannabinoids like cannabichromene (CBC).
Here, we’ll explain everything you need to know about CBC and CBD, including how they work to produce their effects, their potential benefits, and their applications in clinical research.
CBC and CBD: How Do They Work?
The effects you feel from consuming most cannabinoids are primarily due to their interaction with your endocannabinoid system (ECS), a cell-signaling communication system that plays an important role in homeostasis (balance) and the regulation of several processes and functions in the body such as sleep, mood, inflammatory response and pain, metabolism, and memory. However, some cannabinoids, like CBC, utilize different systems in the body to provide their effects.
Some cannabinoids, like CBC, provide their effects through non-ECS mechanisms. This essentially means that instead of providing effects by binding to endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), CBC is believed to bind to other receptors in the body. Currently, research suggests that CBC can bind with TRPV1 and TRPA1, which are receptors that have been linked to the perception of pain.
Some studies have also found that CBC is a CB2 receptor agonist, meaning it may activate CB2 receptors, though more research is needed. Similar to cannabinoids like CBD, CBC doesn’t bind well to CB1 receptors. Because of this, CBC is considered a non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
CBD, on the other hand, is believed to produce its effects through both ECS and non-ECS mechanisms. As we mentioned above, CBD doesn’t bind well to CB1 receptors, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and consequently is considered non-psychoactive. It does, however, weakly bind to CB2 receptors in the ECS as well as non-ECS receptors including 5-HT1A (the serotonin receptor), TRPV1, and PPARs.
Potential Benefits of CBC and CBD
Because of the interactions mentioned above, CBC and CBD produce several pretty amazing potential benefits.
Because interest in CBC has just recently sparked, there isn’t quite as much research on this cannabinoid compared to CBD. However, preliminary scientific and clinical research suggests that similar to CBD, CBC may enhance mood and alleviate mild aches and pains. Emerging anecdotal evidence suggests that taking CBC with tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) may boost mood and enhance focus and concentration, though more research is needed.
Mood Enhancement: Several animal studies have demonstrated that like CBD and THC, CBC can exert antidepressant-like action. Currently, it’s not clear what the underlying mechanism behind this activity is; however, researchers speculate that multiple mechanisms play a part in CBC’s mood-enhancing effects.
Alleviation of Mild Pain: Previous research has linked TRPV1 and TRPA1 to the perception of pain. Because CBC can bind with these receptors, CBC may help alleviate mild aches and pains. Animal studies have also found that when CBC is paired with THC, it can produce anti-inflammatory effects. A 1:1 THC:CBC solution is currently being investigated in a clinical trial in Colombia to assess its potential to help with pain and discomfort associated with cancer treatment.
CBD is the most widely known cannabinoid around. Aside from the prescription formulation of pure CBD used for two rare forms of epilepsy, CBD is most well-known for its potential to provide a sense of calm and reduce mild anxiety and stress, promote restful sleep, and reduce everyday aches and pains. Here’s what researchers currently think:
Relief From Mild Anxiety and Stress: There are a couple of ways CBD may help boost your mood and reduce mild anxiety and stress. The first is by activating the brain receptor for serotonin (5-HT1A) which is closely linked to anxiety and depression. The second is by increasing the level of an endocannabinoid called anandamide, also known as the “bliss chemical.” Anandamide signaling is associated with a positive mood and a sense of calm.
Promotion of Restful Sleep: The mechanism behind the potential sleep-enhancing effects of CBD is not fully understood. However, researchers currently think it may be because of CBD’s impact on the release of cortisol.
Reduced Aches and Pains: The ECS can regulate feelings of pain as well as the inflammatory response. Because CBD can weakly activate CB2 receptors, it may also affect the inflammatory response.
Here’s a look at some of the applications of CBD in clinical research:
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.