Updated on July 9, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Although it’s taken several decades, many people are finally waking up to the benefits of medical marijuana. Despite this, marijuana continues to carry a stigma. It’s important to understand the facts about cannabis – especially for those who have a chronic illness or a debilitating disease. Even if you’re not suffering from an ailment, chances are you know someone who has a condition or illness that can benefit from medical marijuana.
Weed can be an effective treatment for many health conditions. There are more than 85 compounds in the cannabis plant that we call cannabinoids. The most well-known are THC and CBD. Below, we take a closer look at one called cannabichromene (CBC). Like CBD, CBC doesn’t get you “high” and can have numerous medical benefits.
Cannabichromene is one of many chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in marijuana plants. Cannabinoids bind to receptors that are part of your endocannabinoid system. This vast network affects your mood, memory, time perception, thinking, appetite, sleep, pleasure, immune response and coordination.
The exact effect of injesting cannabinoids such as CBC depends on the type, amount, level of natural cannabinoids already in your system and other variables. CBC isn’t psychoactive but does have pain-relieving and sedating effects. Though CBC is beneficial on its own, it works best with other cannabinoids. This relationship is known as the entourage effect.
CBC is in every marijuana plant and is known as one of the “big six” in medical marijuana research.
CBC has the molecular formula C21H30O2 and was once the second most plentiful cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. This statistic was found in the 1970s, when scientists were researching pure tropical strains. Since then, breeding practices focused on THC have changed the typical plant’s composition. A 2004 study shows that CBC is now the third-most common compound in the marijuana plant.
Researchers have completed many experiments on CBC since its discovery in 1966, and, due to the popularity of breeding various strains of marijuana, the benefits of CBC and weed in general are being discovered every day.
Although CBC is less popular than the well-known THC, CBC offers countless therapeutic capabilities. Even though CBC doesn’t have the psychoactive effects that THC has, users are still able to take advantage of the numerous health benefits.
Compared to other minor cannabinoids, and there are hundreds of known cannabinoids, we have much more research on CBC. Like THC and CBD, CBC comes from an acidic form of the compound. All three come from cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA. CBGA then becomes THCA, CBDA or CBCA. While THC and CBD originate from THCA and CBDA, CBCA turns into CBC when exposed to heat. While CBC has the same molecular formula as the two significant cannabinoids, it has a different assembly, giving it its own unique properties.
We understand that the DNA of cannabis can be difficult to understand. After all, it’s difficult to memorize over a hundred cannabinoids. That’s why we’re focusing specifically on CBC and other cannabinoids that can be mixed with CBC to help others with physical and mental sicknesses.
As we all are aware, many people use marijuana simply for the psychoactive effects given by the THC in the cannabis plant. However, when it comes to CBC, this is not the case. In fact, CBC has no psychoactive effects when you use it on its own. Cannabinoids like THC have psychoactive effects, meaning they affect your thinking or cause a “high.” But, when you take a cannabinoid without psychoactive effects, you can still take advantage of its health benefits without feeling impaired. That’s why CBC comes in handy for those who don’t want to get “high.”
Since a few other cannabinoids lack psychoactive effects, this trait of CBC doesn’t make it exceptional by itself. However, it shows some unique properties when used with THC. While it doesn’t cause a “high” on its own, CBC can make the psychoactive effects of THC stronger when you take the two cannabinoids together.
Research has found CBC also works differently from other cannabinoids. While cannabinoids usually activate cannabinoid receptors in your endocannabinoid system, CBC doesn’t activate either of them. Instead, it interacts with different receptors like TRPV1 and TRPA1, which are tied to one’s perception of pain. It seems that when CBC activates these receptors, your body creates more endocannabinoids.
Research shows that patients can use CBC for a wide range of medical purposes. Some of the benefits of CBC include:
Also, when we begin to use CBC in more medicinal marijuana, we can use it to amplify the effects of other cannabinoids. If we develop medicine based on endocannabinoids created by your body, we could use it to boost their impact. Patients who need to benefit from THC’s health benefits could also take advantage of CBC’s ability to make THC stronger. Scientists are working around the clock to come up with all the mixtures of marijuana properties to provide people with proper medication. By knowing the reactions of various cannabinoid mixtures, we can better treat people suffering from illnesses.
Because CBC, THC and other cannabinoids can be combined to create other benefits for users, it’s important to speak with a medical marijuana doctor regarding your health condition. Your doctor and the budtender at your dispensary can help you decide what type of pot suits your needs. Whether you have a mental or physical ailment, medical marijuana can ease your symptoms and increase your quality of life.
CBC fits right in with the cannabinoids we already use to relieve a variety of health problems. This makes for a perfect and healthy match when it comes to other cannabinoids. CBC can help patients with conditions we already address with CBD and THC, such as:
As you can see, the benefits of using CBC are numerous. With each passing day, more and more research reveals benefits of treating certain illnesses with cannabinoids and specifically, CBC. There’s still a lot of work to be done, though. As each day passes, more and more people seek out methods of relieving their pain and symptoms from the previously mentioned conditions and diseases.
It is highly likely that a loved one or someone you know has been affected by cancer. Due to the countless types of cancers ranging from rare to common and everything in-between, it’s more important than ever to know your options when it comes to relieving symptoms with medicinal marijuana.
CBC has shown to prevent tumor growth and is the second-to-most potent cannabinoid at inhibiting the growth of new cancer cells. By preventing new cancer cells from spreading and continuing to divide, cannabinoids can essentially stop cancer in its tracks.
The second most-lethal cancer for women, breast cancer, is a common cancer that, if left untreated, destroys everything in its path. Doctors treat breast cancer with chemotherapy, radiation and other severe forms of treatment. Medical marijuana is a great way to manage the side effects of these harsh treatments such as nausea and loss of appetite as well as potentially reduces cancer cells.
When it comes to harsh and devastating diseases such as cancer, there’s nothing worse than watching a loved one suffer – especially senselessly. That’s why it’s imperative that we continue to learn more about the benefits of pot.
As far as depression is concerned, countless prescriptions in the world claim to do the trick. This should be expected though since thousands of people in America suffer from depression. In fact, an estimated 16.2 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in 2016. This is an astronomical number that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Although it’s not always the case, anxiety is sometimes heavily related to depression. Anxiety is also a common form of mental illness that plagues many people around the world. Some of the anxiety disorders that people suffer from are:
In addition to these anxiety disorders, there are many others. When it comes to treatment for anxiety and depression, medication and cognitive behavioral therapy are the most common.
Medical marijuana helps patients cope with their mental illness by alleviating symptoms of anxiety disorders. Although some experience increased anxiety when it comes to weed, this isn’t always the case. It should give you some relief in knowing that once you talk to your doctor about your illness, they will help find the right strain of marijuana that will ease your anxiety and treat your symptoms.
CBC is an effective anti-depressant on its own — far more effective than CBD. One 2010 study found 10 times less CBC was necessary to have the same anti-depressant effect from CBD. However, it again does best combined with other compounds thanks to the entourage effect.
When it comes to finding cures and using herb to alleviate symptoms, anxiety and depression are at the top of the list. In 2010 for instance, a study from the University of Mississippi identified a significant antidepressant effect of CBC in rat models. Hopeful studies such as this one give us a glimpse into the future of the benefits of medical marijuana as it relates to mental illness.
Another common ailment that many people suffer from is inflammation. Due to a wide array of autoimmune diseases, inflammation has unfortunately become a frequent symptom that many people suffer from. Thankfully, CBC, especially when used with THC, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. From shoulder pain to gastrointestinal pain and everything in-between, inflammation can affect various parts of the body randomly or all at once. This causes inflammation to be one of the most frustrating and uncomfortable symptoms for people. However, CBC can reduce swelling and fight inflammation.
Sometimes going hand-in-hand with inflammation is another irritating symptom we can all face – pain. When it comes to pain, everyone’s tolerance level is slightly different. However, that doesn’t mean each person’s pain isn’t real. In addition to helping relieve inflammation, 2011 research found that CBC and CBD stimulated pain-reliving networks in animal models.
An inflammatory disease, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, can also be treated with medical marijuana. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy is a nerve disease that causes weakness, pain and numbness in our bodies. Patients who have this nerve disease also experience other symptoms such as depression, motor deficits, double vision and more.
The nerve disease is often treated with physical therapy, immunotherapy and corticosteroids. If treated with pot, however, the symptoms brought on by chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy can be alleviated. Some of the symptoms that marijuana can ease when it comes to this nerve disease are:
Additionally, CBC acts as an antinociceptive, reducing pain caused by nerve damage, and as an antidiarrheal, treating gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Marijuana is widely known for helping with inflammation. Since inflammation and inflammatory diseases are so common, it’s fantastic that herb is can treat these problems without the harmful side effects common to other treatments.
It starts as a headache or maybe you’re sensitive to the light or various sounds. Then come nausea, fatigue and even blurred vision. We’re talking about a migraine, of course.
For many of us, migraines come and go. They may be difficult to deal with and bring us down for a day or two, but then we bounce right back. However, for those who live with chronic migraines, it’s a completely different story – especially since there is no cure.
If you live with chronic migraines, you know how difficult it can be. From fainting to the pulsing, aching headaches, the symptoms are unbearable. Not only are the symptoms of chronic migraines extremely difficult to deal with, but they also stick around for a longer amount of time than usual.
Unbearable headaches, accompanied by a wide array of other intolerable symptoms, can bring anyone down. Those who suffer from chronic migraines can alleviate symptoms with medical marijuana. Reducing symptoms of nausea, pain and vomiting, pot is an excellent way to cope with chronic migraines.
While THC is better at relieving pain, it can also cause unwanted side effects like anxiety. For these people, CBC might be a better alternative for pain relief. Once again, CBC also enhances the pain-relieving effects of THC or CBD when combined for more powerful pain relief.
It seems as if new benefits of weed are constantly being discovered. However, research has been going on for quite some time. In fact, in the 1980s, CBC was found to have important antibacterial properties. On top of that, research revealed that CBC contained anti-fungal properties as well.
Fungi are seen in humans, plants and animals. In humans, CBC has shown to eradicate fungi at comparable rates to prescribed antifungals. In addition to this, cannabis topicals can be applied to certain nail fungi in order to get rid of the fungus.
Those with Crohn’s disease, a disease of the intestinal tract, know all about pain. For instance, those with Crohn’s disease suffer from severe pain and a variety of symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and more.
Living with Crohn’s disease can be quite difficult with sufferers experiencing depression, anxiety, extreme fatigue and even malnutrition. The symptoms and side effects continue to pile on once those with Crohn’s disease take antibiotics and other drugs.
However, by using medical marijuana, those who suffer from Crohn’s disease will see their symptoms alleviated. From nausea to depression, weed once again proves to be a healthy, satisfying form of medicine for those living with a chronic condition such as Crohn’s disease.
In addition to Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis is another type of inflammation worth mentioning. Due to inflammation of the colon, patients experience symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain. Thankfully, marijuana can help ease the symptoms of both of these inflammatory bowel diseases.
The benefits of weed are numerous and as each day passes, more positives about marijuana are being discovered. For instance, a mouse study in 2013 found that marijuana, specifically CBC, had a positive effect on cells that are important for brain function. Because pot can promote the growth of new brain cells, this groundbreaking study gives hope for diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
CBC has excellent potential as a medical compound, but it isn’t used often in medical marijuana. However, the future is bright when it comes to marijuana research. New patients can get evaluated by a cannabis-friendly doctor and join a medical marijuana program to stay up to date with new developments. Current patients should keep in touch with the staff at their dispensary so they know when CBC medication becomes available. To stay in the know with marijuana updates, sign up for our newsletter.
As always, it’s best to be in tune with your body and acknowledge any pain you might be experiencing. By taking note of your symptoms and ailments, you can be better prepared once you see a doctor. Likewise, if a marijuana doctor knows what symptoms to address, they can better serve you and find the medicinal marijuana that’s right for you.