Cannabicyclol (CBL): What We Know About This Minor Cannabinoid

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Cannabicyclol (CBL): What We Know About This Minor Cannabinoid

CBL is one of the least studied minor cannabinoids. However, this compound is worthy of further study to learn more about its effects and potential contribution to cannabis’ entourage effect. 

This guide explores the cannabinoid CBL, its effects, potential benefits, comparison to other minor cannabinoids, and CBL products and strains.

What is CBL?

Cannabicyclol (CBL) is one of the many minor cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp plants, although it only occurs in tiny amounts. CBL forms when cannabichromene (CBC), another minor cannabinoid, enters into decarboxylation, a process where a compound degrades into a new substance due to factors such as acidic conditions, heat, UV light exposure, or even air. This origin makes CBL structurally similar to cannabinol (CBN), which also derives from another cannabinoid (THC). 

Effects

Researchers don’t know nearly as much about CBL as they do cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBN. However, scientists know that CBL, as a derivative of CBC, is likely non-intoxicating because it does not contain any double bonds in its molecular composition like THC does. Additionally, CBL may contribute to the entourage effect, the theory that cannabis compounds work synergistically to enhance each other’s therapeutic properties.

Here’s how cannabinoids function through the entourage effect:

  • Cannabinoid Interaction: Cannabinoids like CBL bind to or influence the activity of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) found throughout the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS regulates functions like sleep, mood, appetite, and pain.
  • Mechanism of Interaction: CBL does not bind directly to CB1 or 2 receptors. However, it could influence their sensitivity, making them more responsive to THC and CBD, and enhancing their effects

CBL’s structural similarity to CBC and CBN could also mean it has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-tumor effects.

CBL Research

Here is what researchers know so far about cannabicyclol. 

  • A team of Israeli researchers discovered CBL in 1966 during studies focused on the degradation of other cannabinoids. This same team was the first to reveal the structure of CBD and THC and identify the endocannabinoid system. 
  • CBL has ties to ancient cannabis strains, appearing in a 2,700-year-old cannabis sample discovered in China in 2008.
  • Scientists have conducted considerable experimentation into CBL’s thermophysical properties and chemical reactivity, showing that it has much in common with cannabigerol (CBG). This background provides a thorough collection of data for future chemical and pharmaceutical applications.
  • Advancements in extraction techniques will make studying CBL more viable in the future. 

Potential CBL Benefits

CBL’s structural similarity with other cannabinoids indicates it may have therapeutic potential, which is amplified when combined with cannabis’ full spectrum of chemical compounds. 

  • CBL’s structural similarity to CBC and CBN means it may also have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory properties without the psychoactive effects associated with THC. 
  • As a derivative of CBC, one of the “big six” cannabinoids prominent in current medical research, CBL might share that cannabinoid’s antimicrobial properties.
  • CBL might amplify the efficacy of THC and CBD-based therapeutics for conditions involving inflammation and bacterial infections. 

CBL vs CBC

 CBL is a minor cannabinoid that only occurs in trace amounts, while cannabichromene (CBC) is one of the most prominent secondary compounds in the cannabis plant. Still, they share some similarities.  

  • CBL forms from CBC when it degrades, so the two cannabinoids can share therapeutic properties. Research suggests CBL may be helpful for conditions that CBC supports, such as cancer, pain, inflammation, and depression.
  • CBC and CBL are both non-intoxicating because they lack double bonds in their chemical composition.

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CBL vs CBD

CBL and CBD share non-psychoactive properties. However, their known similarities end there. CBD is an abundant and well-studied cannabinoid, while CBL is scarce in cannabis plants and has little research available. CBL's lineage as a metabolite of CBC gives it a significantly different lineage than CBD. Further studies into CBL will reveal more about how CBD and CBL stack up against each other. 

CBL vs THC

CBL and THC don’t appear to have much in common. THC is one of the main compounds in cannabis plants. THC also has a double-bond molecular structure, allowing it to interact with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and give cannabis its famous psychoactive effects. Further studies into CBL could reveal if it shares any therapeutic effects with THC, such as pain-relieving properties. 

CBL Products 

CBL is relatively unknown and occurs in small amounts, so products centered around this minor cannabinoid are not common yet. A few products that feature CBL include: 

CBL Isolate by GVB Biopharma

CBL isolate is a scarce raw material designed for industry use. This flavorless white crystalline powder contains 95% to 99% pure CBL extract and works as a bulk cannabinoid ingredient for determining the exact CBL dosing in other products. It is available in bulk and incorporated into various product types, such as edibles, capsules, and tinctures. 

THCV Disposable Vapes by Secret Nature CBD

The Secret Nature THCV Hemp Cartridge includes CBL in an unaltered extract featuring a full-spectrum formula of organic cannabis cannabinoids and terpenes. These live-resin THCV vape pens contain nearly 2 mg of CBL per gram. According to the brand, CBL occurs when CBC in the high-THCV strain oxidizes post-harvest, creating an elevated entourage experience. 

CBC Oil by NuLeaf Naturals

Full-spectrum CBC oil, such as from NuLeaf Naturals, is a whole-plant extract that contains a significant amount of CBC (60 mg per mL, in this case) combined with a synergistic range of other naturally occurring cannabinoids, like CBD, CBG, CBN, and more. CBC oils like this likely offer more significant quantities of CBL than other product types because CBL is a derivative of CBC, but the amount is still small. 

CBL Strains

CBL is a rare minor cannabinoid, so most strains contain trace amounts. However, the CBL cannabinoid is a byproduct of CBC degradation, which could occur at higher levels in aging strains rich in CBC.

Cannabis cultivars with higher CBC concentrations (and likely higher CBL content) include:

  • Blue Cadillac: This indica-dominant hybrid has a relatively balanced ratio of CBD to THC. The effects are relaxing and calming without intense sedation, providing an overall sense of happiness. 
  • Maui Dream: This sativa-dominant hybrid cannabis strain offers a high THC content ranging from 19% to 26% with minimal CBD levels. Maui Dream provides a potent high, known for its uplifting, calming, and cerebral effects and the potential to relieve stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
  • Three (3) Kings: This sativa-dominant hybrid is a trinity of Headband, Sour Diesel, and OG Kush. People report feeling uplifted and happy, making it popular for depression and anxiety. Medical patients appreciate its versatility to relieve pain, stress, and nausea without heavy sedation. 
  • Jorge’s Diamonds #1: This indica-dominant strain by Dutch Passion contains over 25 years’ worth of esoteric cannabis genetics. It offers high THC content upward of 17%. Sleepiness and relaxation are common effects, with people using it to treat insomnia, depression, and muscle spasms.
  • Jack Herer: One of the most renowned CBC strains, Jack Herer is a sativa-dominant hybrid featuring high levels of THC and CBD. This medical-grade strain is famous for stress, anxiety, and depression, with consumers describing the effects as energetic, creative, and uplifting. 

Bottom Line

Cannabicyclol (CBL) is a minor cannabinoid that the industry knows little about. However, some believe it could hold potential for future therapies due to its structural similarity to other non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBC, CBD, and CBG, which have known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 

ACS Laboratory performs high-quality hemp and cannabis testing for various cannabinoids, including CBL, terpenes, and flavonoids, to help brands and consumers understand their products. Contact ACS Laboratory to learn more about cannabis potency testing.  

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