What is CBCV?

Uncovering the secrets of this mysterious minor cannabinoid.

CBCV cannabis hemp plant
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CBCV, or cannabichromevarin, is one of roughly 140 similar chemical compounds (cannabinoids) present in all varieties of cannabis. It’s a propyl homolog of cannabichromene (CBC), non-intoxicating, and won’t induce a euphoric high like delta-8, delta-9, or any other THC isomer. However, CBCV is potentially psychoactive insofar as it influences or modulates brain chemicals, which is why researchers are studying its anticonvulsant benefits. Further, since it’s almost chemically identical to CBC, many believe they share the same anti-stress, anti-depression, anti-stress, and anti-inflammation benefits. 

Unfortunately, despite being discovered as far back as 1975, very little else is known about CBCV.

What is CBCV?

Definition: CBCV is short for cannabichromevarin and is one of over 140 similar naturally-occurring chemical compounds (cannabinoids) present in all varieties of cannabis, including hemp and marijuana. It’s non-intoxicating and won’t cause a euphoric high but is potentially psychoactive insofar as affecting the brain and its chemicals, producing subtle mood-altering effects. 

Chemical formula: CBCV has the chemical structure C19H26O2 and is a propyl cannabinoid, meaning its structure has a three-carbon atom tail. In contrast, CBC, which is CBCV’s pentyl cannabinoid counterpart, has a five-carbon atom tail. Cannabis plants biosynthesize CBCV via naturally occurring divarinic acid. In contrast, CBC is biosynthesized via olivetolic acid. Asian cannabis and hashish commonly have higher quantities of propyl cannabinoids, including CBCV.

CBCV cannabichromevarin molecular structure

Minor cannabinoid: Unlike cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBCV is a minor cannabinoid, meaning it makes up <1% of cannabis’ overall cannabinoid profile. 

Conversion: CBCV originates from cannabichromevarinic acid (CBCVA). Conversion of CBCVA to CBCV occurs when exposed to heat, also known as a decarboxylation process, whereby a carbon atom is released from a carbon chain. In other words, CBCVA stops being an acid and converts into a fully-fledged cannabinoid. 

Discovery: CBCV was first discovered in 1975 by researchers at the University of Nagasaki while analyzing the Meao variant, a marijuana strain grown in Thailand. Since its discovery, research has been limited. Very little is known about its effects, benefits, or safety. 

Current research on CBCV

Cannabis flower with CBCV cannabinoid

The current research on CBCV is limited, and very few preclinical or clinical studies exist on how it interacts with your body. 

The lack of research isn’t shocking. Major cannabinoids such as CBD, THC, and cannabigerol (CBG) have taken up most of the spotlight in terms of research, leaving most minor cannabinoids to sit by the wayside. 

However, that’s not to say CBCV research doesn’t exist — you’re just limited to one very recent study on its potential anticonvulsant abilities when combined with other minor cannabinoids. 

CBCV as a potential anticonvulsant

In a recent preclinical study, researchers discovered a combination of CBCV, CBCVA, CBCA, and CBC has significant anticonvulsant qualities in mice test subjects experiencing hypothermia-induced seizures. The research team believes CBCV and all other CBC derivatives “may constitute part of the mechanism through which artisanal cannabis oils are anticonvulsant in patients”.

CBCV Benefits: What is it good for?

The benefits of CBCV are still somewhat unknown. Still, judging by the limited research shown above, we can safely say it has potential as a decent anticonvulsant, especially in combination with other cannabinoids. 

Furthermore, since CBCV is almost identical to CBC, we assume they share very similar benefits.

Research shows CBC binds to vanilloid receptor type 1 (TRPV1) and transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1). Activation of both receptors can influence pain perception and prevent enzymes from breaking down anandamide. 

Anandamide is an endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) produced naturally by the brain. It’s also known as the “bliss molecule,” creating feelings of happiness and pleasure. CBC’s preventing anandamide breakdown means prolonged and more effective mood-elevation.

Researchers also suggest CBC’s modulation of TRP channels could combat COVID-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines in the lungs and blood by as much as 50%. CBC is also a selective cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) agonist, which could prove beneficial for modulating inflammation. 

Lastly, CBC is thought to have anti-depressant and anti-stress qualities in rodent test models, especially when paired with CBD, THC, and CBG.

CBCV effects: How does it make you feel?

Aside from being a non-intoxicating cannabinoid with no ability to induce a euphoric high, very little is known about how CBCV makes you feel. 

Packing a bowl of cannabis flower

However, since CBCV shares many similarities with CBC, we presume their effects are almost identical. 

The effects of CBC include:

  • Happiness
  • Mood elevation  
  • Relaxation 
  • Stress reduction

Is CBCV legal?

Yes, CBCV is federally legal under the Agriculture Improvement Act (2018 Farm Bill), provided it’s sourced from hemp plants carrying no more than the 0.3% THC limit (by dry weight). Anything over this limit and the hemp is immediately categorized as marijuana, a federally controlled substance under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This categorization means all marijuana substances are prohibited, including marijuana-derived CBCV. However, marijuana and marijuana-derived substances are legal medicinally or recreationally across many US states. 

How does CBCV compare to THC and CBDA?  

CBCV vs THC

  • While CBCV doesn’t induce a euphoric high, THC does by binding to cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors found throughout the brain and central nervous system.
  • Unlike CBCV, THC is not a homolog of CBC, nor is it a propyl cannabinoid. They both have different chemical structures.
  • CBCV and THC have potential anticonvulsant benefits for patients with epilepsy. However, THC might also conversely be a proconvulsant and a poor controller of seizure episodes. 

CBCV vs CBDA

  • Like CBCV, CBDA does not induce a euphoric high, nor does it affect your thinking, memory, or judgment.  
  • CBDA is the acidic form of CBD before the decarboxylation process. CBCV is the decarboxylated form of CBCVA.

Neither CBCV nor CBDA is thought to have much affinity with your cannabinoid receptors, acting as weak receptor agonists. Instead, they both have more of a relationship with other receptors separate from your endocannabinoid system. CBCV potentially interacts with your TRPV1 and TRPVA1 receptors, while CBDA influences 5-HT serotonin receptors.

Conclusion 

As with most minor cannabinoids, CBCV remains a mystery to researchers, industry professionals, and consumers. However, CBCV’s similarity to CBC and its benefits make it a promising cannabinoid, especially when combined with other essential cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG, and THC.

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