A Guide to CBC: Research, Benefits, Products & More

A Guide to CBC Research, Benefits, Products & More

What is CBC?

Cannabichromene (CBC) is a natural hemp and cannabis compound that exhibits pharmacological effects distinct from Delta-9 THC. 

CBC exhibits strong anti-inflammatory properties and influences several functions. Specifically, CBC promotes muscle relaxation and sedation, which may help ease spasms and anxiety. It also provides pain-relieving properties and lowers body temperature. 

Unlike THC, CBC is not psychoactive, nor does it bind with the usual cannabis receptors, CB1 or CB2. However, when CBC is combined with a low dose of THC, it boosts THC's effects and increases THC levels in the brain, suggesting they interact in the body. Additionally, CBC helps reduce inflammation on its own outside of cannabis receptor channels.

CBC's unique pharmacological profile and its potential for synergistic use with THC have exciting therapeutic potential.

How is CBC formed?

CBC forms through a series of biochemical processes starting with cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Here’s an overview.

  • CBGA forms when cannabis plants combine geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid. CBGA is the original precursor to most cannabinoids.
  • Enzymes in the plant later convert CBGA into cannabichromene acid (CBCA), which is the direct precursor to CBC. This step is crucial.
  • When CBCA is exposed to heat or light, it undergoes decarboxylation, a process where it loses a carbon dioxide (CO2) molecule. This transformation converts CBCA into cannabichromene (CBC).

CBCA itself doesn’t have the same effects as CBC but serves as a necessary intermediary in the plant’s production of CBC. 

CBC’s Chemical Structure

Cannabichromene (CBC) has a side chain with five carbon atoms. Its structure includes a benzopyran ring a fused ring system with benzene and pyran rings. The molecule contains several important bonds within its ring structure and side chain, including single and double bonds. The presence of these bonds differentiates it from THC and CBD, contributing to its overall shape and chemical properties.

How Does CBC Work In The Body?

Cannabichromene (CBC) works in the body through specific mechanisms involving receptor interactions and synergy with other cannabinoids:

Interaction with Receptors: CBC does not bind significantly to endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 throughout the nervous and immune systems. Instead, CBC interacts with other receptors, such as TRPV1 and TRPA1:

  • TRPV1 Receptors: Also known as vanilloid receptors, TRPV1 plays a role in detecting and regulating body temperature and pain. CBC's interaction with TRPV1 receptors can modulate pain perception and reduce inflammation.
  • TRPA1 Receptors: TRPA1 receptors are also involved in pain sensation and inflammation. CBC's activation of TRPA1 receptors contributes to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Synergy with Other Cannabinoids: CBC also interacts with other cannabinoids in the body, amplifying their therapeutic and psychoactive impact. This synergy is called the entourage effect. 

  • How it Works: One study posits that CBC could be competing with THC for lipoprotein binding sites in the blood, which leads to more THC being available to cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in the brain. This increased brain concentration of THC likely contributes to the enhanced effects observed when both cannabinoids are administered together.​

Can CBC Get You High?

Cannabichromene (CBC) does not get you high. It lacks significant interaction with CB1 receptors, which are primarily responsible for THC’s psychoactive effects. Instead, CBC interacts more with other receptors like TRPV1 and TRPA1, contributing to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties without altering perception, mood, or cognition.

Potential CBC Benefits

Research indicates that CBC may have several wellness benefits, from antibacterial and anticancer properties to pain relief and brain health support. 


Research suggests CBC possesses strong antibacterial properties and is effective against several varieties of bacteria and fungi. 

In 1981, scientists found that CBC helped fight staph and E. coli. More recently, a 2008 study reported that CBC and other cannabinoids were as effective against MRSA, a cause of staph infection, as powerful pharmaceutical medications such as Vancomycin.

In January 2020, scientists explored CBC’s antibacterial benefits against traditional oral care products such as Oral B, Colgate, and Cannabite F. The study found that CBC significantly reduced bacterial colonies compared to commercial products, suggesting it could be a potent alternative for maintaining oral hygiene and potentially decreasing the development of bacterial resistance.


Research indicates that the presence of CBC in hemp and cannabis strains can boost the plant’s pain-fighting potential. This synergistic mechanism is known as the entourage effect.

A 2010 study showed that when CBC was combined with THC, it led to a far greater anti-inflammatory response than either cannabinoid alone. In 2011, a study on rats found that CBC and CBD effectively blocked the pain associated with collagen-induced osteoarthritis.

In November 2023, researchers further explored CBC’s anti-inflammatory mechanisms. They tested CBC on cells in the lab and mice with induced swelling, discovering that CBC effectively reduced inflammatory reactions by lowering the levels of substances that trigger immune responses, like nitric oxide and specific proteins. 


Preclinical CBC studies indicate that the compound encourages neurogenesis, a process where the brain forms new neurons. 

A 2013 study on adult mice showed that CBC helps brain stem cells (NSPCs) work better. These stem cells can turn into other important brain cells called astroglial cells. Astroglial cells protect the brain from damage caused by harmful substances and stress, which helps prevent diseases like Alzheimer's.

A 2023 study found that CBC helps immature nerve cells in mice grow into mature neurons. CBC increases the activity of genes and proteins needed for neuron growth without turning the cells into other types of brain cells. This suggests that CBC could be useful in developing treatments for nerve damage and neurological diseases by promoting healthy neuron development.


Preclinical research indicates CBC could have mood-boosting powers.

A 2023 study investigated the antidepressant effects of various cannabinoids, including CBC, on mice using behavioral tests. They found that Δ9-THC and CBC showed significant antidepressant-like effects, while CBD also demonstrated potential antidepressant activity at higher doses. However, CBG and CBN did not produce noticeable antidepressant effects. 

Key Findings on CBC:

  • Effective Dosages: CBC significantly reduced depressive-like behaviors at doses of 20 mg/kg in the forced swim test and at 40 and 80 mg/kg in the tail suspension test. These tests measure how long mice remain immobile, with less immobility indicating reduced depressive behavior.
  • Specificity of Effects: CBC's antidepressant effects did not affect general movement, indicating it specifically targets depressive behaviors.
  • Different Mechanism: Unlike other cannabinoids, CBC’s effects are not linked to the CB1 receptors, implying it works through a different biological pathway.

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Could CBC replace expensive acne creams? 

A study in 2016 showed that CBC’s anti-inflammatory properties made it an excellent acne inhibitor. It slows lipid production and inflammation in the sebaceous (oil) gland, leading to unwelcome blemishes. 

What Types of CBC Products are Available?

Consumers will find CBC tincture or oil as the most commonly readily available product, such as the broad-spectrum CBC oil tincture from 3Chi

Consumers can also find CBC isolates, capsules, muscle creams, and blended products like vapes and gummies.

3Chi CBC Oil Tincture

This CBC Oil Tincture offers a broad spectrum blend of 1000mg cannabichromene (CBC), CBD, CBN, CBG, and CBDv, enhanced with a custom terpene blend for maximum entourage effects. This 1oz tincture, extracted from hemp using CO2, aims to improve mood and overall wellness, though 3Chi admits its use remains experimental due to limited scientific studies.

Baker Wellness CBD & CBC Muscle Cream

CBD & CBC Muscle Therapy Cream combines 1000mg of cannabinoids with soothing ingredients like menthol, shea butter, and aloe vera to relax and heal muscles. This vegan cream features CBC, CBG, and broad-spectrum CBD, promoting skin health and muscle recovery. It is ideal for post-activity soreness and provides a cooling effect and deep moisturization, ensuring all skin types feel rejuvenated.

Rare Cannabinoid THC + CBC Mood Starter Pack

The THC + CBC Mood Starter Pack contains ten vegan gummies infused with full-spectrum hemp oil. Each gummy features 5mg of Delta-9-THC, CBC, and CBD to improve mood, promote relaxation, and relieve stress. Naturally flavored with lime and mint, these gummies aim to uplift spirits and provide contentment while ensuring a pleasant taste.

Extract Labs CBC Capsules

CBC Capsules Relief Formula offers a potent blend of 600mg CBC and 1800mg CBD per bottle, with each capsule containing 30mg CBD and 10mg CBC. These full-spectrum capsules aim to provide a convenient way to alleviate stress, tension, and soreness throughout the day. Featuring a 3:1 ratio of CBD to CBC, they harness the entourage effect for enhanced relief and overall wellness.

Are there High CBC Strains?

You can generally find CBC in younger plants. However, since most growers breed plants for high THC or CBD content, you’ll have difficulty finding CBC-dominant strains on the market today. A few strains do contain a small amount:

  • Maui Dream: 0.487%
  • Blue Cherry Soda: 0.462%
  • Purple Cadillac: 0.719%
  • Bubba Cookies: 0.462%
  • Charlotte’s Web: 0.432%
  • Purple Candy: 0.511%
  • Sour Tsunami: 0.486%
  • Valentine X: 0.528%

IS CBC Legal?

CBC is legal as long as it comes from compliant hemp-derived products that contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.

How Is CBDV Potency Measured?

Measuring CBC through potency tests occurs in the same way as CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. ACS Laboratory uses Ultra-High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) machinery to measure and detect CBC levels for edibles and extracts precisely. HPLC is the preferred instrument for these products due to its ability to test samples at room temperature without requiring heat, which changes the results. 

Why Should Hemp and Cannabis Brands Test for CBDV Content? Why would consumers care?

Hemp and cannabis brands should test products for CBC potency because this minor cannabinoid offers significant antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties with skin, brain, and mood-enhancing benefits. 

CBC also elevates THC levels in the brain, which means it could naturally boost strains’ psychoactive properties and therapeutic potential. 


What is CBCA, and how does it compare to CBC?

Cannabichromene acid (CBCA) is the precursor to cannabichromene (CBC) in the cannabis plant. CBCA, along with other cannabinoid acids, such as THCA and CBDA, is synthesized in the plant through the enzymatic conversion of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Upon exposure to heat or light, CBCA undergoes decarboxylation, losing a carboxyl group to become CBC. This process of decarboxylation transforms the non-psychoactive cannabinoid acids into their active forms, allowing them to interact more effectively with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS).

CBCA itself has not been as extensively studied as CBC. However, early research suggests that CBCA has rapid and potent antibacterial properties against Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), similar to CBC.  

How does CBC compare to CBD?

CBC and CBD are both non-psychoactive cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, each with unique properties and potential therapeutic benefits. CBC interacts primarily with the TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors, which affect pain perception and inflammation. 

In contrast, CBD has a broader mechanism of action. It interacts with several receptor systems, including the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, which contributes to its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects, and the GPR55 receptor, which may regulate blood pressure and bone density. 

CBD is well-known for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiepileptic properties. It also modulates the endocannabinoid system by inhibiting the enzyme FAAH, which breaks down anandamide, thereby increasing its levels and enhancing its mood-stabilizing effects .

At ACS Laboratory, we test hemp and cannabis products for CBC as part of our 10, 11, 13, and 25-Analyte Potency Tests. Contact us today to get started.