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Read more about how CBC
can be used in the treatment of depression,
certain intestinal disorders, and cancer.

Category: Cannabinoids, Health

CBC: A promising cannabinoid for treating depression

CBC - depression treatment

Written by our editorial team

Last updated 6/03/2021

Our body has to constantly maintain homeostasis for us to stay alive, and the Endocannabinoid system plays an essential role in this. In order to keep things in balance, our body produces so-called endocannabinoids, which interact with the endocannabinoid system and keep these complex internal biological processes going.
But the endocannabinoid system can interact with a broad spectrum of cannabinoids, which also include plant cannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. In our previous article, we had a look at THCv, which has been shown to suppress hunger and reduce appetite – this makes it a perfect candidate for combating obesity and diabetes.

In this blog post, we will discuss another cannabinoid called CBC – the second most abundant cannabinoid next to THC in many strains of marijuana.[1] And while CBC remains largely understudied compared to other cannabinoids, such as THC or CBD, certain prospective use cases have been investigated.

If you want to find out how CBC can be used in the treatment of depression, certain intestinal disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome or Chron’s disease, and cancer, then read through this short article and learn more.


[3-minute read]

CBC is a cannabinoid found in Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica.

Unlike THC, it does not produce any psychoactive effects.

CBC increases the levels of anandamide in the body.

  • Since anandamide is a natural analgesic, this produces a pain-killer effect.

Potentially, CBC can be used to treat depression.

It also has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal effects.

It can also be used to treat other conditions:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including:
    Irritable bowel syndrome;
    Chron’s disease;
    Ulcerative colitis;
  • Neuropathy;
  • Chronic post-operative pain;
  • Cancer.

1. What is CBC and how does it interact with the endocannabinoid system?

CBC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in cannabis. Just like THC and CBD, CBC stems from the “mother cannabinoid” known as CBGA.[2] However, unlike its psychoactive relative THC, CBC does not produce a high. This is because CBC does not bind to the CB1 receptors in our central nervous systems as THC does.[7]

Interestingly, CBC also does not bind to CB2 receptors found throughout our bodies, like CBD does. But this is far from saying that CBC has no effect on the endocannabinoid system. It has been observed that CBC increases the body’s production of anandamide and other endocannabinoids. Therefore it is considered that CBC binds indirectly to the endocannabinoid system.[6]

Instead of binding to CB1 or CB2 receptors, CBC acts on other cannabinoid receptors that are responsible for turning off the process of breaking down endocannabinoids, namely TRPA1 and TRPV1 (Figure 1). Since it prevents the breakdown of naturally produced endocannabinoids, CBC additionally increases the levels of anandamide and other endocannabinoids in the body.[6]

Figure 1: CBC acts on the TRPA1 and TRPV1 receptors found in muscles, bones and the liver

CBC acts on the TRPA1 and TRPV1 receptors

Anandamide acts as a powerful painkiller, so these increased levels of the compound in our bodies produce a potent analgesic effect.[7] And while this is a promising finding in itself, studies have shown that there is much more to CBC than just alleviating pain.

2. CBC: A prospective and all-natural depression treatment

According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression.[12] If it lasts for longer periods of time, depression can be a serious health condition, since can cause the affected individual to function poorly at work, in school and in interaction with their family or friends.

There are three main groups of pharmaceutical antidepressants that are used to treat depression, including SSRIs, SNRIs and TCAs. And while these may be successful in addressing depression in the long run, they can produce a variety of negative side effects. These include anxiety, dizziness, insomnia, digestive problems, erectile dysfunction, weight gain, heart palpitations. Moreover, certain antidepressants can induce the serotonin syndrome, which can lead to seizures.[9]

For anyone suffering from depression, experiencing any of these side effects would just be adding fuel to a fire – in other words, it could make the matter worse. For this reason, it is essential to find a treatment for depression that does not produce such negative side effects. And CBC might be just that.

A study published in 2010 found that – much like some other cannabinoids found in Cannabis – CBC produces an antidepressant-like effect in rodents.[4] Furthermore, it was also found that this antidepressant effect of CBC is more powerful when used together with other cannabinoids, such as CBD or THC.[8]

The exact way in which CBC and other cannabinoids combat depression is yet to be investigated. Moreover, studies on CBC that involve human subjects are highly limited, so any data available is relatively inconclusive. However, no negative side effects of CBC have been reported so far when consumed in moderate, reasonable doses.

3. Additional benefits of CBC

In addition to its promise of being able to treat depression, CBC has also been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties.[10] Moreover, aside from these general benefits, CBC has also been studied specifically as a method of treating various conditions and their symptoms:

1) Inflammatory bowel disease

If you are suffering from any chronic digestive problems, then CBC might just be the solution you have been looking for. The endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in the onset of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).[11] This includes conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are all are characterized by an inflammation of the intestine. And while it is yet to be determined whether CBC actually has an anti-inflammatory therapeutic effect on these conditions or if it simply masks their debilitating symptoms, its potential for symptomatic treatment of IBD is undeniable.[11]

2) Neuropathic and post-operative pain

Due to its analgesic effects, CBC has been studied in the treatment of certain conditions associated with pain. Since it increases the overall levels of anandamide in the body, a continuous use of CBC can aid in alleviating chronic pain. This includes neuropathic pain and chronic post-operative pain.[3]

3) Cancer

Certain cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, have been studied for their anti-cancer effects. However, a recent study conducted by Cannabics Pharmaceuticals also studied the anti-cancer effects of CBC on human gastrointestinal cancer cells. It was found that CBC exhibits significant anti-tumor properties as it prevents the growth of cancer cells.[5]

In the same study conducted by Cannabics Pharmaceuticals, it was found that CBG – another non-psychoactive cannabinoid – also exhibits similar anti-cancer properties. If you are interested to find out more, stay tuned for our next blog post, in which we will explore these anti-cancer effects of CBG and present its other potential use cases.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Bibliography and sources

  1. Brown, N. K., Harvey, D. J. “In vitro metabolism of cannabichromene in seven common laboratory animals.” Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals vol. 18,6 (1990): 1065-70. Accessed on 2 March 2021. [URL:]
  2. Cibdol: Swiss Purity. “Discover the cannabinoid acid CBCA”. Accessed on 28 February 2021. [URL:]
  3. Cresco Labs. “CBC” Cresco Labs: Cannabinoids. Accessed on 28 February 2021. [URL:]
  4. El-Alfy, Abir T et al. “Antidepressant-like effect of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa L.” Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior vol. 95,4 (2010): 434-42. [doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2010.03.004]
  5. Health Europa. “Cannabinoids CBC and CBG exhibit anti-tumour properties on cancer cells”. Health Europa: Cannabis & CBD Research News. [URL:]
  6. Kalapa Clinic. “Medicinal benefits of cannabichromene”. Kalapa Clinic: Medicinal cannabis. Accessed on 28 February 2021. [URL:]
  7. Magnolia Oakland. “The Science of Cannabinoids: What is CBC and What Does It Do?” Accessed on 28 February 2021. [URL:]
  8. Maurya, N., Velmurugan, B. K. “Therapeutic applications of cannabinoids”. Chemico-Biological Interactions. 2018 Sep 25;293:77-88. [doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2018.07.018]
  9. National Health Service. “Side effects of antidepressants”. NHS: Antidepressants. Accessed on 28 February 2021. [URL:]
  10. Turner, C. E. et al. “Biological activity of cannabichromene, its homologs and isomers.” Journal of clinical pharmacology vol. 21,S1 (1981): 283S-291S. [doi:10.1002/j.1552-4604.1981.tb02606.x]
  11. Waseem, A., Katz, S. “Therapeutic Use of Cannabis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” Gastroenterology & hepatology vol. 12,11 (2016): 668-679. Accessed 28 February 2021. [URL:]
  12. World Health Organization. “Depression” WHO: Newsroom. Accessed 1 March 2021. [URL:]
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