What is CBC? A Technical Guide

Well folks, it’s time to take a technical dive into the cannabinoids. We have talked about CBD, CBG, CBN, THC, and now CBC. While this may be somewhat heavy on the chemistry, for those looking for the biochemical background of the hemp/cannabis plant and how it produces all these wonderful molecules, the intellectual rewards will be ample.

Our last posts dealt with CBG (cannabigerol) and the biosynthesis of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) from CBG. We also discussed the main degradant of THC, CBN (cannabinol). Today we talk about CBC (cannabichromene), a cool cannabinoid found in the hemp plant varieties in decent concentrations.


Notice how different CBC is from THC or CBD:

As you can see (even to the untrained eye), cannabinoids come in many different chemical shapes.

Cannabichromene is unique among the major cannabinoids in that it has a fused two ring structure featuring an unsaturated pyrene ring attached to the common bis-phenol moiety. Below is the biosynthetic route to CBC, which shows once again that CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) is the mother molecule.

Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA: the mother molecule) is converted to CBCA (the acid form of CBC) though a ring closure of one the phenolic oxygens attacking the proximal double bond mediated by the CBCA Synthase enzyme. This leaves us with CBCA, which is decarboxylated via heat (as usual) to give CBC. CBC has the rather neat structure of a relatively flat aromatic bi-cycle with two hydrocarbon chains appended to the bicyclic ring on opposite sides.

The biological effects of CBC or CBCA have not been seriously explored. As with all cannabis (hemp) research, legal issues plague the gathering of data, and often the data is politicized. Until Cannabis is federally legalized (the current legal status of hemp is still convoluted and uncertain), a true readout of the effects of all the cannabinoids will be limited.

We suggest you explore CBC for yourself. It is present in high concentrations (2-10%) in Vermont hemp, and our full spectrum organic extract contains a nice portion. Try one of our organic CBD products to experience how CBC affects you.