What is Cannabichromene (CBC)?

Cannabichromene (CBC) is a major non-psychoactive consistent of Cannabis. [1]

Yet, it is not as well-researched as THC or CBD; 2 chemicals you would have definitely come across multiple times, when you first entered the online world of Cannabis.

If you continue exploring, you will realise that the world of Cannabis has quite a lot more to offer. Cannabis is a group of plants, which contains marijuana and hemp.

Whilst, the former is mostly surrounded by negative connotations, the discovery of hemp led to the start of Cannabis’s journey in pharmaceuticals.

The journey began at hemp, followed onto CBD and is now taking a new turn with other hemp-derived cannabinoids, especially: cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabichromene.

All 3 of these cannabinoids are found naturally in hemp plants.

After CBD was discovered, it quickly entered the spotlight for its robust anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Clinical trials have proven CBD to be an effective therapeutic tool for epilepsy, cancer, arthritis, psoriasis, and eczema.

This article will present the health benefits of CBC, how it is extracted and how it can be used. Before that, let’s take a brief look at the chemistry underpinning CBC’s effects in the human body.

What is CBC?

Cannabichromene (CBC) is one of the 60 to 80 different cannabinoids found naturally in hemp plants.

If you were to take a hemp plant from the field and look for CBC, you would find almost none of it.

This is because hemp plants store CBC in a different form. They store it as an acidic precursor which, is referred to as CBCA. [2]

CBCA will break down to CBC only under relatively hot conditions i.e. usually at temperatures above 105. [3]

The temperature range can be achieved using special industrial processes. Additionally, a hemp plant will continuously convert its intrinsic CBG to CBCA during its lifetime. [4]

CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, CBC all follow a general chemical structure. They have a 6-membered aromatic carbon ring.

The latter 3 cannabinoids have a 3-membered carbon atom chain attached to the ring; whilst, CBD and THC have a 5-membered carbon chain. [5]

The ring has one other side chain in all 5 cannabinoids. The structure and chemical formula for this side chain change across each cannabinoid.

For, plant-derived cannabinoids to exert their effects, they must bind to some receptor or receptors in the human body.

CBD and THC bind directly to the receptors of the endocannabinoid systemCB1 and CB2. They can influence the endocannabinoid signaling system. [6]

This system regulates body temperature, heart rate, cognition, memory, movement, hormone secretion, the release of pro-inflammatory responses and pain sensations. [7]

As CBC closely resembles CBD, it was too thought to bind to the same receptors. However, several scientific studies have proven that CBC can only bind weakly to these receptors. [8]

Rather, CBC seems to bind to a different class of receptors known as vanilloids. [9]

Nonetheless, CBC can still influence the endocannabinoid signaling system. The only difference is that it does it indirectly through vanillin receptors. [10]

The endocannabinoid system spreads out into almost all parts of the body, from the eyes to the toes. Thus, CBC can exert its beneficial effects all over the body and this allows its medicinal value to multiply.

A very important turning point for the future of cannabinoid products came after a 2015 mice study conducted in Israel. [11]

The scientists found that CBC and the other cannabinoids found in hemp can enhance the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects of CBD.

The cannabinoids can all act together in a manner termed as the entourage effect and thus, help to increase the medicinal value of CBD dramatically.

On the basis of their results and following investigations, scientists concluded that it was better to consume CBD products enriched with other natural hemp cannabinoids rather than consuming just pure CBD.

How is CBC Extracted from Hemp?

The discovery of CBC was reported in 1996. [12] In the following years, experts found some varieties of hemp and marijuana to contain more CBC than others.

They were also able to identify the gene needed for CBC production in the plant.

Farmers and industrial CBC producers use this to their benefit now.

They cross-breed their hemp plants in such a way that some of the plants accumulate the CBC gene and this allows the concentration of CBC to increase. [13]

The extraction process begins with the grounding and drying of the hemp plant. Then, carbon dioxide gas or special fluids are used to extract all the different cannabinoids.

To separate CBC from the other cannabinoids, multiple rounds of chromatography and recrystallization are done. [14]

There is still a lot of potentials to tap in the pharmaceutical applications of CBC and this is leading to competition between companies.

Within a short span of time, multiple patents have been registered for methods of CBC extraction and methods to increase CBC concentration in the plant. [15],[16],[17]

Health Benefits of CBC

A review article published in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics clearly highlighted that the health benefits of CBC all stem from its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties. [18]

Inflammation contributes to the development and progression of many diseases. A study conducted as early as 1981, found CBC to show considerable anti-inflammatory effects.

Multiple studies have reiterated this result in the years thereafter. [19],[20],[21]

CBC may be able to bind to CB2 receptors on immune system cells and stop them from releasing pro-inflammatory chemicals.

By reducing inflammation, CBC can also help alleviate pain. [22]

The anti-inflammatory actions of CBC were found to be as effective as those of phenylbutazone (a drug used to treat pain and fever) at equivalent doses in a mice study.[23]

Since CBC is less toxic than phenylbutazone i.e. it does not produce as severe side effects, it can be administered in larger doses and this can offer greater therapeutic benefits. [24]

Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease showcase elevated inflammation levels and oxidative stress.

CBC can neutralize the radicals and oxidative species contributing to inflammation and in turn it can help normalize the immune system and free it from stress. [25]

Furthermore, mice studies suggest that by bringing raised inflammation levels back to normal in the stomach and intestine, CBC can prove to be a promising treatment option for intestinal diseases. [26],[27]

The dermatological industry never stops searching for novel anti-acne treatments. A 2016 study concluded that the remarkable anti-inflammatory actions of CBC make it a promising tool for this condition. [28]

CBC was found to effectively reduce excessive oil production, which is a characteristic symptom of this condition.

Since the anti-microbial properties of CBC were found to be strong enough to overcome antibiotic-resistance in Staphylococcus aureus strains, CBC is being explored as an alternative treatment to antibiotics. [29][30]

This group of bacteria is known to cause a variety of serious respiratory diseases.

CBC can weaken tumors by inducing self-automated death in cancer cells.

The aggressiveness of breast, prostate, colorectal, leukemia, gastric, thyroid, and glioma cancer cells was reduced after treatment with CBC in a laboratory study. [31],[32]

However, the rank of potency is as follows: CBD, CBG and then CBC. Thus, unless CBC can show greater effectiveness than the other 2 in clinical trials, it may not be utilized for cancer treatments in the future. [33]

The cousin cannabinoids of CBC, namely CBG and CBN, have shown anti-depressant effects. The same can be seen with CBC according to mice studies.

CBC doses ranging from 20 mg/kg/day to 80 mg/kg/day were adequate to provide anti-depressant effects and with no risk of side effects. [34],[35]

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, CBC can provide anti-fungal activities. [36]

The Different Ways of Consuming CBC

After CBC is extracted from hemp, it is concentrated into a solid, known as CBC isolate. The isolate can contain small amounts of other natural hemp cannabinoids.

The isolate can be consumed as it is, or it can be processed into another product.

To consume the isolate on its own, you can dissolve it in water and drink up the solution or you can add it to food.

If you want to avoid the hassle of mixing CBC isolates into food or liquid, you may want to purchase CBC beverages or CBC edibles.

The isolate can be turned into CBC gummies. These can have a more flavorful taste and can attract more customers as a result.

The gummies can be used consumed like a snack at intervals throughout the day.

CBC isolates can be transformed into a CBC tincture by dissolving the isolate in a carrier oil and ethanol.

A tincture is placed under the tongue from where it can rapidly be absorbed into the bloodstream. [37]

CBC isolates can be mixed into cosmetic and topical formulations. These formulations may be a face cream, a hand cream, a shampoo, a conditioner, a body wash, a deodorant spray, a lip balm, an eye cream or a face wash.

For skin conditions, some people find topical applications more effective than oral supplements. So, for acne, you could try a CBC-enriched acne ointment.

The ointment can offer quick localized relief when applied directly onto damaged areas of the skin.

Some websites are offering CBC vape products. However, vaping can lead to respiratory problems so, only purchase such products after consulting a doctor.


For a CBC product to be legal, it must not contain more than 0.3% THC. Always check the product label for THC concentration, especially as consuming THC can lead to highly negative effects.

The US FDA has not yet approved CBC isolate for medicinal use. This is due to the lack of clinical trials investigating the safety and efficiency of CBC across a range of different diseases. [38]

CBC products are available for self-initiated use. If you are planning to use a CBC product, consult a doctor first. They can better advise on which product type is suitable for your needs.

CBC supplements can disrupt the metabolism and effectiveness of medicines broken down by the liver. [39]

You must consult a doctor for dosage before using CBC supplements with your regular medicine.

In a mice study, CBC treatment showed side effects like: sleepiness and drowsiness in some of the participants. [40]

On the basis of pre-clinical studies, scientists think that if CBC is used for intestinal inflammation, it may cause constipation as a side effect. [41]

We advise you to start with low doses (5 – 10 mg/kg) and then slowly increase it if you are experiencing positive results. [42] Consult a doctor for more tailored advice on dosage.


CBC has displayed a multitude of potential health benefits including, anti-depressant activities, soothing pain, and inflammation, fighting bacterial diseases and weakening cancerous cells.

The strong anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and pain-relieving properties of CBC make it a promising therapeutic agent against a wide array of diseases including the common skin condition, acne.

Most scientists agree that CBC can exert its effects on the human body through vanilloid receptors and the endocannabinoid signaling system.

CBC is a relatively abundant cannabinoid of hemp and marijuana plants. The progress made in identifying and proving the medicinal benefits of CBD can certainly help propagate further interest into CBC.

There are online websites already selling CBC products in a wide array of forms, including gummies, oils, solids, tinctures and more.

Be sure to consult a doctor for dosage and further information on the method of consumption before purchasing a CBC product.

Future clinical trials investigating the safety and efficiency of CBC will allow this cannabinoid to also become a popular supplementation to traditional treatments.