A future for cannabichromene (CBC) in respiratory medicine?

by Duncan Fisher

October 18, 2022 - 2 min read

One of the complications of sepsis, the body’s exaggerated, cytokine-driven inflammatory response to infection, is acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This is a life-threatening condition, associated with raised levels of interleukins and interferon-gamma, in which lung tissue is damaged, and there is marked edema and hypoxemia. There being no target-specific treatment for ARDS, the search is on for novel intervention. 

Some cannabinoids are known to have anti-inflammatory effects, and would seem therefore to be of promise in controlling ARDS. Of particular interest is cannabichromene (CBC), one of the most abundant of the phytocannabinoids. CBC is knownto be an agonist to the CB2 receptor, activation of which appears to modulate inflammatory responses, and also an agent that acts through two of the transient vanilloid receptor potential cation channels, which are themselves involved in a great variety of cellular processes, that include immunological  modulation of inflammatory response.

A recent study, published in the Journal of Cannabis Research (2021 Oct 1;3(1):45), deployed an inhaled CBC treatment against a mouse model of induced ARDS. Histology, immunochemistry, and flow cytometry showed that CBC was indeed able to reverse the hypoxia, increasing blood oxygen saturation by 8%, attenuate pro-inflammatory cytokines by 50% in the lungs and blood, and protect lung tissue from further destruction. Analysis also supported the likelihood that CBC renders its effects through the TRPA1 and TRPV1 channels, whose expression increased 5-fold in treated lung tissues. 

A useful feature of CBC, from the standpoint of translational medicine, is that it is nota scheduled compound with the US Drug Enforcement Agency. This could keep simple its deployment in clinical trials. Another is its apparent ease of delivery by inhaler. Also useful is what we now know about possible cross-talk between TRPs and at least one of the two cannabinoid receptors. There could well be practical synergies in more than one mechanism of action in future therapy for ARDS. 


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The foregoing is a report on trends and developments in the cannabinoid industry. No product described herein is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or syndrome. 

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