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What is CBC?

Written by Lisa Rennie

THC and CBD – two abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant – are perhaps the most well-known cannabinoids today. But have you heard of CBC?

While not as well-known as the two major cannabinoids, CBC – or cannabichromene – is gaining attention in the medical and research fields because, like CBD and THC, its medicinal qualities are showing great therapeutic promise.

Discovered by researchers in 1966, CBC is a naturally-occurring, non-psychoactive cannabinoid which doesn’t seem to bind directly to CB1 receptors in the brain. But because it does bind with other receptors of the endocannabinoid system, it’s able to provide a number of health benefits.

Like THC and CBD, CBC is derived from the precursor cannabigerolic acid (CBG-A). Exposure to UV light or heat spur specific enzymes into enzymatically catalyzing the conversion of CBG-A into one of these three compounds.

Medicinal Benefits of CBC

CBC has been shown to offer certain medical benefits similar to CBD, including the following.

Pain and Inflammation

Like CBD, CBC has been linked to a reduction in pain1 and inflammation2 in the body. As mentioned above, CBC binds endocannabinoid receptors, a system which is responsible for regulating a number of bodily experiences including pain and inflammation. The binding of CBC to these receptors influences how the body responds to painful or inflammatory stimulation, effectively reducing these negative sensations.

CBC may be a safer alternative to traditional anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing pharmaceuticals. It can offer the same level of relief without the potentially harmful side effects that conventional NSAIDs carry. And when combined with other cannabinoids like THC or CBD, CBC’s effects can be even more pronounced due to the entourage effect.


CBC has similar effects on skin health as CBD. In fact, it’s through analyzing CBD’s impact on skin conditions that researchers discovered that CBC treats acne3.

Acne, which occurs when excess sebum production blocks the sebaceous pore causing inflammation, can be effectively inhibited by the presence and action of CBC thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory properties. CBC has also shown to reduce the production of excessive oils in the sebaceous glands and to lower the levels of arachidonic acid, the molecular precursor of all pro-inflammatory signals in the cell.


CBC may help to inhibit malignancy thanks to its apparent ability to impede the reuptake of anandamide, a natural endocannabinoid, allowing it to stay in the bloodstream for longer periods4. Anandamide has been found to help combat breast cancer in studies on lab rats5.

Cannabichromene is certainly showing some promise in the world of medicine, as has its CBD and THC counterparts. That said, more research is needed to determine how powerful CBC actually is. Proponents of CBC and patients who are interested in using cannabis to treat their ailments already have a number of products available to them today. But with further studies and links being made between CBC and medicine, only time will tell how influential cannabinoids will be in the world of medicine in the near future.


  1. Maione, S, et al, “Non-psychoactive cannabinoids modulate the descending pathway of antinociception in anaesthetized rats through several mechanisms of action“, British Journal of Pharmacology, February 2011, Volume 162.
  2. Izzo, A, et al, “Inhibitory effect of cannabichromene, a major non-psychotropic cannabinoid extracted from Cannabis sativa, on inflammation-induced hypermotility in mice“, British Journal of Pharamcology, June 2012, Volume 166.
  3. Oláh, A, et al, “Differential effectiveness of selected non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrhoeic skin and acne treatment“, Experimental Dermatology, September 2016, Volume 25.
  4. Nakajima, J, et al, “Structure‐dependent inhibitory effects of synthetic cannabinoids against 12‐O‐tetradecanoylphorbol‐13‐acetate‐induced inflammation and skin tumour promotion in mice“, Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, May 2013.
  5. Picardi, P, et al, “Anandamide inhibits breast tumor-induced angiogenesis“, Translational Medicine @ UniSa, April 2014, Volume 10.

About the author

Lisa Rennie

Lisa Simoneli Rennie has been working as a freelance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content dedicated to informing consumers. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others, and in her spare time, Lisa enjoys trying funky new recipes, spending time with her dog, and of course, reveling in the joy of family.