What is CBC cannabinoid? A brief introduction

what is cbc cannabinoid


  • CBC (cannabichromene) is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa plant.
  • Like CBD, CBC is legal and non-intoxicating, so it does not cause a high.
  • Research suggests CBC has modest anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects.
  • CBC is thought to stimulate CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

Cannabichromene (CBC) is one of over 140 phytochemicals (collectively referred to as phytocannabinoids) that are found in the Cannabis sativa plant. CBC was identified in 1966 and is one of the most abundant phytocannabinoids alongside Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN).

CBC concentrations have been found to range between 0.05 and 0.3%, so it is expected to be present in most broad-spectrum CBD Oil products. Like CBD, CBC is a legal cannabinoid, unlike THC which is controlled.

CBC cannabinoid and the ECS

CBC and other cannabinoids influence the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a large cell-signalling network that regulates various bodily functions, including pain, inflammation, and sleep.

The ECS comprises the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, endocannabinoids (including anandamide [AEA] and 2-arachidonoylglycerol [2-AG]) which bind to these receptors, endocannabinoid transporters, and enzymes which break down endocannabinoids once they’ve performed their function.

Cannabinoid receptors are found in various parts of the body. CB1 receptors are the most abundant in the brain and are predominantly expressed in the Central Nervous System or CNS, while CB2 receptors are expressed abundantly in cells of the immune system and organs such as the spleen.

what is cbc cannabinoid

These distributions imply that activation of these receptors will induce different physiological responses. This is relevant when considering differing symptoms of various health conditions. For example, THC causes intoxication (or a cerebral “high”) via stimulation of the CB1 receptors, while stimulation of CB2 (as is the case with CBC) receptors does not appear to contribute to this.

CBC cannabinoid effects

Cannabichromene (CBC) is one of the most abundant phytocannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa plant. It has modest antinociceptive (blocking the detection of a painful stimulus by sensory neurons) and anti-inflammatory effects, and can add to the effects of THC in vivo (rodent studies). (This does not mean that CBC is like THC in terms of causing a high – it does not.) How CBC exerts these effects is not yet clear, so more studies are needed.

This recent study (Udoh et al., 2019) sought to determine the functional activity of CBC at CB1 (most abundantly found in the brain and CNS) and CB2 receptors (mostly found in the immune system and periphery). CBC activated CB2 but not CB1 receptors. The study concluded that CBC is a selective CB2 receptor agonist or activator. CBC may contribute to the potential therapeutic effectiveness of some cannabis preparations, potentially through CB2 receptor-mediated modulation, by reducing inflammation. 

What is already known

The phytocannabinoid cannabichromene (CBC) has anti-nociceptive (pain-blocking) and anti-inflammatory effects in vitro (in test tubes) and in vivo (in living organisms). How CBC exerts these effects is, as yet, largely unknown.

What the Udo study adds to our knowledge of CBC cannabinoid

This study shows that CBC is a selective CB2 receptor agonist.

CBC has a higher in vitro efficacy than THC (without the intoxicating effects) and activates CB2 receptor regulatory pathways.

What is the clinical significance?

Cannabis plants contain CB2 receptor-selective compounds like CBC that could reduce inflammation without producing intoxication (so will not cause “a high”).

Researchers expect CBC to be a more powerful and effective choice over CBD for inflammatory pain.

In summary, we can expect to see more research on CBC – another potentially exciting and beneficial cannabinoid, along with CBD, in the management of common health conditions.

Naturecan strives to bring the best of legal, safe cannabinoid supplements to all consumers that are interested in supporting their health with plant-derived supplements. With this in mind, Naturecan is monitoring CBC research closely, so watch this space!

Written by our qualified expert, Moyra Cosgrove, Head of Nutrition at Naturecan, SENR Registered Nutritionist and DProf candidate at LJMU


Udoh, M., Santiago, M., Devenish, S., McGregor, I.S. and Connor, M. (2019) Cannabichromene is a cannabinoid CB2 receptor agonist. Br J Pharmacol, 176 (23), 4537-4547. Online: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31368508/