Seizing Upon CBC as the Next Big Thing in the Hemp Market

By William SumnerHemp Business Journal Contributor

Hemp has undergone a renaissance over the past several years, driven primarily by its industrial uses and high concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD). Featuring a host of purported medical benefits yet none of the intoxicating effects of THC, CBD has seen retailers stoke public awareness of it as a strategy to commercial success.

Since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed last December, there has been an explosion in license applications to cultivate hemp. In 2018, there were 3,546 hemp licenses issued across the United States. As of last month, that number had more than quadrupled in 2019, with 16,462 licenses issued (a 364% increase).

The states seeing the sharpest spikes in license applications have been agricultural states which traditionally relied on tobacco cultivation, such as Kentucky and North Carolina. Tennessee has led the charge nationally in 2019, with 3,200 hemp licenses issued.

While industry operators scramble to crown themselves as the king of CBD, several are hoping to draw attention to the multiplicity of other cannabinoids to be found in hemp.

Precision Plant Molecules (PPM) is one such company. It is a specialty processor focusing on formulating hemp extracts containing high concentrations of minor cannabinoids (though THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids, Cannabis sativa contains more than 100 different such compounds).

Despite the lack of research across decades of prohibition, what is known about minor cannabinoids suggests that some – like cannabichromene (CBC) – may have productive medicinal effects.

Using a proprietary process, the company is creating extracts and distillates with custom cannabinoid profiles. Hoping to carve out its market niche with minor cannabinoids, PPM recently released the first commercially available high-purity distillate of CBC.

First discovered in 1966, CBC is touted to possess a host of similarities with CBD. Both molecules are derived from cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), broken down by exposure to heat or ultraviolet light (the two molecules share the same chemical formula, though their atomic structures differ).

Research indicates that, like CBD, CBC interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. CBC bonds most effectively with the TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors, linked to one’s sensitivity to pain. Some studies have shown that CBC may help treat pain and inflammation without some of the side effects observed from use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

CBC may also play a critical role in the entourage effect, in which cannabinoids act synergistically to modulate the overall effect of hemp and cannabis. One study found that when used together, CBC and THC can more effectively address inflammation than when used separately.

Should more studies confirm the efficacy of CBC and other minor cannabinoids, companies could gain first-mover advantages by following PPM’s lead, formulating distillates with customized cannabinoid blends.

William Sumner

William Sumner is a writer for the hemp and cannabis industry. Hailing from Panama City, Florida, William covers various topics such as hemp legislation, investment, and business. William’s writing has appeared in publications such as Green Market Report, Civilized, and MJINews. You can follow William on Twitter: @W_Sumner.