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CBC’s effect on other cannabinoids was exhibited in a 2011 study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Not only did the cannabinoid appear to mediate the psychotropic effects of THC, but dose-dependant administration of both cannabinoids in-vitro “led to enhanced tetrad and anti-inflammatory actions”. The most significant point of difference with CBC was that its anti-inflammatory effects weren’t a result of binding with CB1 or CB2 receptors. It remains to be seen how this mechanism of action could effectively translate to human trials.

Cannabichromene belongs to a family of organic compounds known as cannabinoids. Found inside hemp and varieties of marijuana, CBC is synthesised after CBCA is exposed to heat and light. Still, it differs from the majority of cannabinoids because it has a low affinity for CB receptors. Instead, CBC binds to TRPV receptors involved in detecting changes in temperature, and other sensations, at a cellular level.

Results showed that CBD and CBC caused “analgesia by interacting with several target proteins”. Although the study did conclude that both compounds could be useful therapeutic agents, multiple mechanisms of action still need exploring.

Supporting research

Although CBC may have benefits of its own, the majority of studies have examined the effects of CBC alongside other cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. Cannabichromene shows excellent synergy with other cannabinoids, but, despite being a major compound within the biological structure of Cannabis sativa, it’s still only produced in small amounts.

Although CBD is favoured for its reduction of inflammation and cell proliferation associated with acne, a 2016 study highlighted that CBC might have a similar effect. The cannabinoid “significantly reduced arachidonic acid (AA)-induced ‘acne-like’ lipogenesis”. Results went on to suggest that CBC, CBDV, and THCV “show promise to become highly efficient, novel anti-acne agents”.

The Department of Experimental Medicine in Naples, Italy, tested the effect of CBD and CBC on nociceptive pathways in rats. Nociceptive pain is a familiar sensation associated with breaks, burns, or bruising.

In 2006, the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics published a study examining the effects of cannabinoids on in-vitro cancer cells. Although cannabidiol (CBD) was found to be the most potent inhibitor of cancer cell growth, it was closely followed by CBG and CBC. Researchers concluded that their “data support the further testing of cannabidiol and cannabidiol-rich extracts for the potential treatment of cancer”.

Hemp farming is still a fledgling industry, but some proponents believe it has the potential to move from a niche crop to a staple of Canadian agriculture.

There are still many challenges that must be overcome before hemp farming becomes truly mainstream. While farmers no longer have to undergo a criminal records check to grow industrial hemp (it was required before cannabis was legalized), they still face other regulatory requirements such as Health Canada licensing.

Marijuana legalization and growing interest in hemp seed 'superfood' have helped boost industry

Farmers also need to be encouraged to grow a crop that may be brand-new to them, Deol says. Because the hemp plant is also good at sequestering carbon dioxide in the soil — better than many other crops — the industry is lobbying for the creation of a carbon credit for farmers who grow it. That would provide additional incentive for producers looking to branch out.

Blue Sky, which was founded in 2017, believes the key to expanding the hemp industry is "whole plant utilization." The company already has a CBD extraction facility near Saskatoon and another facility in central Saskatchewan is capable of processing 5,500 tonnes of hemp seed annually into food products like protein powder and hemp seed oil.

"For years each spring, the police would have to come out to ask, 'Mr. Lanier, is that hemp or is that marijuana?'" Lanier recalls. "And I would answer, 'If it was marijuana, would I grow a mile by a mile field of it, right beside the highway?'"