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According to Science, the Cannabinoid CBC (Cannabichromene) Has Significant Antibacterial Properties


According to Science, the Cannabinoid CBC (Cannabichromene) Has Significant Antibacterial Properties

Cannabinoids are a major focus of study for scientists who want to understand the complexities behind marijuana and how it affects the human body. They are natural chemical compounds that occur in the Cannabis sativa plant. Most people know or have heard about delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) because it is the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana, but over 100 cannabinoids [1] have been identified to date. In this article, we explore the cannabinoid Cannabichromene (CBC), the “second most abundant cannabinoid in drug-type cannabis,” for its remarkable antibacterial properties [2].

For general information about whether a Florida medical marijuana recommendation is right for you, schedule an exam with one of our Florida Medical Marijuana Doctors. You may complete our eligibility survey in just 5 minutes to find out if you pre-qualify for a recommendation.

Phytocannabinoids and Cannabinoids

Understanding the components of the marijuana plant can be difficult because of its complexity. With so many terms, classes, and types of marijuana compounds, some clarification is necessary. The specific difference between phytocannabinoids and cannabinoids is that phytocannabinoids is an umbrella term relating to any cannabinoid (chemical compound) that naturally occurs within cannabis plants. “These naturally occurring cannabinoids are distributed among ten subclasses, including Δ9- and Δ8-THC, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), Cannabinodiol (CBND), cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabitriol (CBT) and miscellaneous type (30 known)” [3]. 

The most commonly known cannabinoids are THC, CBD, and CBG. In contrast, the human body makes its own cannabinoids known as “endogenous cannabinoids” consisting of lipids and ligands created by the endocannabinoid system. Each phytocannabinoid interacts in specific ways with the endocannabinoid system [4]. For the purposes of this article, we explore the antibacterial properties and interaction between the phytocannabinoid Cannabichromene and the endocannabinoid system.

What is Cannabichromene (CBC)?

Less discussed than other cannabinoids found in marijuana, Cannabichromene (CBC) has many nutritional benefits. Scientists consider this cannabinoid to be the “stem cell” of cannabinoids because it contains the chemicals necessary for the development of the important and commonly known cannabinoids THC and CBD [5]. CBC is produced in the trichomes of the cannabis plant and is non-intoxicating. It works by binding to cation channel proteins in the body (known as TRPA1), rather than the more commonly known receptors CB1 and CB2. Long known for its antibacterial properties, it has also been shown to improve many medical conditions, including pain, cancer, inflammation, depression, and acne [6].

MRSA: A Case Study 

Many cannabinoids, including cannabichromene, contain antibacterial properties. This is important because pharmaceutical drugs can become ineffective when the bacteria they are designed to treat become resistant. New research has determined, for example, that some cannabinoids like cannabichromene are unaffected by superbugs like MRSA that tend to become drug-resistant.

Since the 1950’s when it was tested as a treatment for tuberculosis and other serious diseases, cannabis has been known for its antibacterial properties. Limited by lack of knowledge and the controversy surrounding recreational use of cannabis, research into using it as an antibiotic has been very limited. Giovanni Appendino of Piemonte Orientale University in Italy, and Simon Gibbons of the School of Pharmacy at the University of London, U.K., are creating new research methods to discover ways in which cannabinoids can kill MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)– a bacterium that impedes the healing of infections because it is resistant to antibiotics. It is common for people to carry MRSA on the skin, but when those with weak immune systems absorb it through an open wound, it can spread through the body, causing life-threatening infections. 

Antibiotic resistance is rapidly increasing among many populations, with some strains becoming resistant to a drug called vancomycin that is used as a last resort when other drugs have failed. Remarkably, Appendino, Gibbons, and their team of researchers used cannabinoid extracts to attack six different strains of MRSA and found they were able to kill the bacteria as well as vancomycin and other antibiotic drugs! “The cannabinoids even showed exceptional activity against the MRSA strain that makes extra amounts of the proteins that give the bugs resistance against many antibiotics [and allow the bacteria to] hoover up unwanted things from inside the cell and spit them out again” [7]. Frank Bowling of the University of Manchester has treated MRSA-infected patients successfully by using maggots, and said, “any alternative treatment that removes MRSA from the wound and prevents it from spreading into the body is fantastic and preferable to using antibiotics that have strong side effects and against which resistance is already developing” [7].

Cannabinoids Testing for Antibacterial Activity

The study Antimicrobial Activity of Cannabis sativa L. published in Scientific Research (March 2012) details the ways scientists tested the cannabis sativa plant for its antimicrobial properties. Using petroleum ether, methanol extracts, and the oil of the plant seeds, scientists looked for activity when cannabis was mixed with bacterium using the cup plate agar diffusion method. Each of the bacterium were mixed with the agar then placed into petri dishes that were then incubated for 18 hours. Afterward, scientists measured the growth diameter of each bacterium to check for changes. Each of the cannabis extracts when combined with the bacterium exerted antibacterial activity in varying but substantial degrees, measured in millimeters [8]. While more research is needed to bring understanding to the reasons behind why cannabis provides antibacterial properties, the future is bright with potential that cannabinoids like CBC will deliver greater results in attacking drug-resistant bacteria.

Is Medical Marijuana Right for Me?

Whether medical marijuana will help your condition depends on many factors best evaluated by a medical doctor. If you feel you may benefit from medical marijuana, the first step is to take our eligibility survey. In just 5 minutes, you could pre-qualify for a Florida medical marijuana recommendation. A Florida Marijuana Marijuana Doctor can then determine if you qualify during an in-person exam. For more information, visit


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