What Is CBT? Benefits and Side Effects of Cannabitriol

Cannabitriol may be a next-gen anticancer agent.

Dr. Abraham Benavides is an international cannabis science advisor, health coach, and full-tuition merit scholar of the GW School of Medicine. Abe pioneered and published first-author research with the Cannabis...

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Cannabitriol is found both as a naturally-occurring THC analog in plants and a metabolite of delta-9 THC.

Our bodies make CBT as an oxidized metabolite of delta-9 THC. Unlike delta-9 THC, CBT is thought to be nonpsychotropic but no in vivo studies exist to determine its benefits or side effects.

In silico, or computer-based, CBT studies done in recent years give us the first insights into the potential uses of CBT. The newest and most promising CBT research interest is in regard to inflammation and hormone-sensitive breast cancer. Virtual predictions are bringing new attention to an old cannabinoid and give hopeful direction.

What Is CBT? 

Cannabitriol (CBT) is actually a long-discovered cannabinoid that is only recently being examined. CBT was first discovered in 1966 by researchers at Hokkaido University in Japan, but its structure wasn’t mapped until 1976

CBT can be found mostly in type I, or THC-dominant, cannabis. This makes sense given CBT is derived from delta-9 THC. There is also a fair amount of CBT in type II cannabis, which has a balanced 1:1 THC:CBD profile. It can also be found in the pollen of male hemp plants along with cannabicitran (also abbreviated CBT or CBT-C), a separate cannabinoid often confused with cannabitriol. 

Until recently, there were 9 known isomers of CBT. The discovery of a new form (isomer) of CBT in 2022 makes at least 10. This shows how little we have explored the CBT family.

What Are the Benefits and Effects of CBT?

Currently, the known potential effects of CBT are limited to mostly theoretical and virtual computer models. Here’s what they predict CBT could do, pending further research:

Prevention and Treatment of Hormone-sensitive Breast Cancer

Virtual screening and modeling shows CBT has the potential to engage with breast cancer as a potent aromatase inhibitor, as well as block (antagonize) estrogen receptor alpha (ER-α).

These are two critical components of preventing and targeting breast cancers that are hormone-sensitive. However, these predictions from in silico studies need to be followed up with in vivo studies.


Computers predict that CBT may have anti-inflammatory actions by intervening in the TNFα and PPARγ pathways. These are common targets of many cannabinoids that explain part of their anti-inflammatory functions. Therefore, this seems likely to hold true once CBT is tested in live subjects.

What Are the Side Effects of CBT? 

Currently, the short and long-term side effects of CBT are entirely unknown – but it is most likely not psychoactive.

Therefore, we may reasonably expect to see the most common side effects of non-psychotropic cannabinoids, like CBD:

  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness or sleepiness

Will CBT Get You High?

Scientists are pretty sure these days that CBT won’t get you high because research suggests it doesn’t appreciably bind to CB1 receptors. Still, this is not necessarily certain for all currently known or newly-found CBT family members. 

In early research, racemic CBT was thought to have enough slight structural rearrangements (stereochemistry) to cause a high in dogs. It is important for researchers to find out which CBT isomers could be psychotropic, but so far it doesn’t seem like the original CBT is.


Cannabitriol could bring helpful, new advancements to the field of breast cancer research. Its potential anti-inflammatory and non-psychotropic effects present advantages worth further research.