Cannabichromene – A Cannabinoid with Potential
What is Cannabichromene? It is one of 119 different identified cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant, and is abbreviated as CBC. But that doesn’t mean much to us, so let’s explore its relevance, both in terms of its pharmacology and its chemistry.
Like most cannabinoids, Cannabichromene can be used in therapeutic settings and beyond. CBC has been shown to have potential as an analgesic or pain reliever. When ingested, it stimulates the descending antinociceptive pathways and several proteins related to nociceptive control. The nociceptive pathway is a 3-neuron chain that recognizes the pain and informs the brain where the pain is located. Abnormalities in nociceptive pathways can lead to pathological pain (chronic pain). This means that CBC could lend itself in the treatment of pathological pain disorders. Given these results the compound seems promising but it must be thoroughly evaluated.
CBC’s potential role in therapy extends further, as it has been shown to be a possible anti-inflammatory. A study found CBC was just as effective an inflammatory as phenylbutazone (PBZ), but without the toxic side effects. The toxicity of PBZ has resulted in its discontinuation in the US. The authors of the study stated that, given equivalent doses, CBC’s lower toxicity opens up the potential for usage in larger doses. In a separate study, CBC was also shown to reduce gastrointestinal inflammation in specific cases. And, unlike opioids, CBC does not cause constipation.
Furthermore, CBC seems to possess some antimicrobial qualities, described in the literature as “potent” against microbes. The antimicrobial properties were not limited to just common microbes, but also displayed high efficacy against some multidrug resistant strains of S. aureus (MRSA). The mechanism of action is completely different from current antibiotic agents, which may prove useful in treatments down the road. The molecular makeup of the compound could also make it cheap and biodegradable.
Finally the cannabinoid has been shown to be promising as an antidepressant. While THC has shown effectiveness at approximately 2.5mg per kg of body weight, CBC is right behind it at 40-80mg per kg of body weight. The authors of the study stated that, “the non-psychotropic CBC elicited a significant dose-dependant reduction in immobility indicative of antidepressant-like action.” In common parlance, that means that CBC did not have the psychoactive effects of THC, but showed potential as an antidepressant.
Cannabichromene (CBC) is the decarboxylated form of Cannabichromene carboxylic acid (CBCA) and one of three major cannabinoids. It is derived from Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA), which also serves as the precursor to many cannabinoids, including THC, CBD, and CBC.
The enzyme CBCA synthase catalyzes a reaction between CBGA and Cannabinerolic acid. The ratio that these compounds are found in cannabis is determined by the ratio of enzymes and the activity of their respective genes.
Because cannabis is legally considered a Schedule 1 substance, research into the plant’s genome is highly restricted and has been severely delayed. It wasn’t until very recently that a genomic map had been produced for cannabis. More research is necessary to locate the elusive CBCAS or CBCA synthase gene so that direct modification or artificial selection for CBC can occur.
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