When we think of cannabis, we most commonly think of THC and CBD, the most common cannabinoid compounds. But CBC, another cannabinoid, is a powerful secondary cannabinoid not to be missed. In this guide, we’ll explore what is CBC oil, summarize the existing scientific research on CBC, and answer some of your frequently asked questions!
Cannabichromene (CBC) is a non-intoxicating, legal cannabinoid present in cannabis and hemp. CBC can be used to make tincture oils and other therapeutic hemp-based products, such as cartridges and edibles. CBC is associated with pain-killing effects, improved mental health and neurogenesis. However, there is limited scientific evidence on CBC’s benefits.
If you are new to CBC oil and would like to know its benefits, effects, legality and usage, then carry on reading…
What is CBC Oil?
CBC oil is made with full-spectrum extracts from hemp plants, with less than 0.3% THC. CBC oil is much like CBD oil, in that products come in tincture form and contain a specified number of milligrams. Many brands sell CBC oil products infused with terpenes, to enhance the overall benefits.
CBC is a secondary cannabinoid, and acts on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Studies show that CBC is a CB2 receptor agonist. There is no clear research available on how CBC interacts with the CB1 receptor. CBC may interact in TRP cation channels, in a similar way to CBD.
Benefits of CBC Oil
As mentioned above, it’s hard to make any solid claims about the health benefits of CBC. We know that the compound has unique effects, and that the ECS is a vital cog in our all-round health. But without the studies, it’s ultimately speculation. And remember, always contact a medical professional for health advice – we aren’t doctors, this content is for educational purposes only!
CBC Oil for Pain
Research suggests that CBC can help to reduce inflammation. This makes sense since CBC is a CB2 receptor agonist, and this receptor has a direct communication line with the body’s immune system. This makes CBC a potentially effective painkiller. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBC may also be useful for those with arthritis.
Tincture oils make for an ideal pain remedy, thanks to the fast-acting effects offered by under-the-tongue, sublingual absorption. Inflammation flare-ups are best managed by treatments that provide fast relief, hence the appeal of CBC oil.
CBC Oil for Depression and Anxiety
Cannabinoids have been touted as possible mental health treatments, and CBC has demonstrated potential for both depression and anxiety. In a study examining the antidepressant properties of multiple cannabinoids, CBC was found to be effective, along with CBD. The study’s authors argued that CBC “may contribute to the overall mood-elevating properties of cannabis”.
A study on rats showed that CBC may be useful in reducing anxiety. Researchers treated a group of rats with CBC, and discovered they performed better on stress-related tests than untreated rats. The promise from this study merits further research.
CBC Oil for Acne
Like other cannabinoids, CBC also has benefits when applied topically (i.e. on the skin). A 2016 paper found that CBC – in addition to two other cannabinoids, CBDV and THCV – has potential as a “highly efficient, novel anti-acne agent”.
It’s no shocker that CBC may work for acne, given its anti-inflammatory effects. Soothing inflammation of the sebaceous glands and cutting down sebum production is key to controlling acne. CBC seems to work in the same way as an acne remedy as CBD.
In regard to CBC oil, this product should be applied on the skin for maximum benefit. Topical application is not the most cost-efficient use of a tincture oil – you could consider combining it with another cream you use.
CBC Oil for Neurogenesis
Neurogenesis is an important, brain-growing process that can help stave off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s in later life. Encouragingly, studies suggest that CBC has neuroprotective properties, and may also help to stimulate neurogenesis in crucial parts of the brain.
A 2013 paper documented how CBC raised the viability of adult neural stem progenitor cells. In other words, CBC helps to promote neurogenesis. Unfortunately, this research doesn’t appear to have been built upon over the past few years. However, the current evidence indicates that non-intoxicating cannabinoids help protect the brain.
CBC Oil Side Effects
Due to the overall lack of research on CBC, little is known about its side effects. However, general cannabinoid science suggests non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBC are low risk, with minimal abuse and addictive potential. Therefore, it’s unlikely that CBC comes with any nasty side effects – and if it did, we would probably have heard about them by now.
Research indicates that endocannabinoids are present in the pregnancy and breastfeeding processes. Since CBC may affect the natural levels of endocannabinoids in the body, it’s feasible that CBC could interfere here. But again, the dangers of CBC seem relatively low here, in comparison with THC.
Legality of CBC Oil
CBC oil is totally legal in the United States. Even though the federal government still bans marijuana and its compounds, the legalization of hemp has created a space for cannabinoid products.
Hemp-based oils, such as CBC oil, are legal if the overall THC content is less than 0.3%. This law allows for the production and sale of non-psychoactive products, while preventing hemp and cannabis from being used for recreational purposes.
How to Use CBC Oil
CBC oil, and tinctures in general, are renowned for having plenty of uses. We’ve picked out three main ways that you can take and benefit from CBC oil.
As a tincture: This is the consumption method most use with tinctures. Sublingual absorption, where the CBC is passed into the bloodstream via sublingual glands under the tongue, works more quickly than oral administration.
Tincture effects tend to be noticeable within a few minutes – the longer you hold the oil under the tongue, the more CBC is absorbed. A tincture oil product will state how much CBC is in both a drop and a full dropper, for accurate and consistent dosing.
In food and beverages: Hemp-derived CBD oil can be added to recipes and stirred into beverages. This method is ideal if you want to mask the natural, hempy flavor of the oil, or simply want the effects to last longer. CBC oil consumed this way works more like an edible – essentially, a slower onset of effects, but an extended overall experience.
Adding a rich source of MCT fatty acids to the recipe (e.g. coconut oil, butter, cream) may help increase bioavailability and boost the effectiveness of your CBC oil product.
On the skin: The skin is laden with CB2 receptors that CBC can interact with to produce therapeutic effects. Simply lather the oil onto the skin – as it is or combined with another topical – and let the CBC work its magic. CBC applied on the skin does not travel around the body, however, so don’t expect any mental benefits if you use the oil in this way. But topically applied CBC may be good for localized pain relief.
CBC Oil Correct Dose
The lack of evidence is not helpful when determining the correct CBC oil dose. However, as with CBD, the relative safety of CBC makes it possible to experiment with confidence. CBC-infused oils are quite pricey, so we suggest starting with a low dosage and building it up, so you never use more than you need.
The most suitable dosage will also depend on the type of CBC product. You may need a higher dose if using a CBC-isolate product, as this wouldn’t have any other cannabinoids or terpenes to complement CBC’s effects. Mixing CBC oil with MCT fatty acids is an effective trick for getting more from your dose.
CBC vs CBD
CBC and CBD have more in common than not. CBD products are cheaper, simply because hemp plants produce the cannabinoid in much higher quantities. Research points toward CBC having a complementing role in hemp extracts, and therefore taking CBD and CBC together, as part of a full-spectrum product, may be the way to go.
For example, both cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. If attempting to relieve arthritis symptoms or boost brain health, taking both makes more sense than choosing between them!