CBC vs. CBD: Which Cannabinoid Is Better for Anxiety Relief?

Research is revealing that both CBC and CBD can have a positive impact on reducing anxiety, however, while one has several studies backing it, the other one doesn’t.

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Both CBC (Cannabichromene) and CBD (Cannabidiol) offer exciting potential aids for reducing anxiety without triggering the paranoia associated with marijuana, or better said, delta-9 THC. Anxiety is something many of us know all too well about, and desperately wish we had an effective aid for treating it. So let’s take a look at both cannabinoids and what they can do for stress and nervousness, so you know whether you should try CBC or CBD for anxiety

Often touted as helping with everything from reducing drug-resistant epilepsy to managing nervousness, there is a major thing you need to know about CBD oil benefits. And that is, the majority of CBD products (not only oil)  are full spectrum. This means they contain the full range of cannabinoids and terpenes cannabis can produce. And yup, that means they include CBC. And yes, you guessed it, all these compounds are coming together to provide the many benefits associated with CBD items. 

With that all said, CBD, the cannabinoid itself, when explored through research, has shown several ways it can positively modulate stress and nervousness. First, there is the endocannabinoid system (ECS), composed of CB1 and CB2 receptors. While associated with the ECS, CBD has a more indirect approach to it. While it can directly interact with ECS receptors, it may be better at influencing the production and breakdown of endocannabinoids like anandamide. 

CBD has a more direct effect on receptors like Serotonin Receptors (5-HT1A), Vanilloid Receptors (TRPV1), Adenosine Receptors, and potentially GABA Receptors. All of these can lead to reducing anxiety — sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly, e.g., anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects can influence anxiety.

CBC’s Potential for Anxiety Management

Compared to CBD, research on CBC’s benefits is much less defined. However, it appears that CBC can modulate anxiety, reducing stress, by interacting with the same receptors CBD does. The degree CBC cannabinoids do this — and whether their manner of activation is always the same (agonist or antagonist) — is currently hard to say. However, we do know both CBC and CBD are non-intoxicating. 

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Looking at anecdotal reports, it gets a little bit trickier, because, as we learned above, cannabinoid-based products often include multiple cannabinoids together and in different ratios. Unlike with other lesser-known cannabinoids like delta-8 THC, during my research, many people weren’t confident saying what CBC’s true benefits were, which included anxiety. 

Interestingly, this brings us back to our research, which is finding that CBC’s may have a greater synergistic need for the other cannabinoids to unlock its full benefits. Whether this means CBC can promote the entourage effect better than CBD is still inconclusive. 

Comparing CBC and CBD: Efficacy, Research, and Accessibility

Efficacy for Anxiety Relief

CBC: While research has witnessed that CBC may have potential anxiolytic properties through preclinical studies, human clinical trials are severely lacking. While anecdotal reports appear to back CBC’s ability to reduce stress, as always, there are usually several uncounted-for variables with cannabis items that make it impossible to say for sure. Then, CBC itself may have a greater role in promoting the entourage effect, allowing other cannabinoids to be more efficient in reducing anxiety. 

CBD: Extensively studied, while one should always be careful touting cannabis’ benefits, research is pretty definitive, with evidence CBD can provide positive effects on anxiety through modulation of several receptors. However, the degree is much less clear, especially when we include the entourage effect and its potential. 


Accessibility in the Market

CBC: Depending on your state, you may have trouble finding CBC in a physical brick-and-mortar store. And when you can find it, you likely won’t have a lot of options, which tends to increase the products’ price. Now, some of that trouble will go away when taking your search to the interwebs. 

CBD: Like its research, CBD products are considerably easier to find, with it being the main non-intoxicating cannabinoid to flood the market after the passing of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill. And CBD items come in way greater varieties and are often more affordable — though that gives CBC a pathway to follow. 

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CBC: In 2018, The U.S. Agricultural Act, often just called the Farm Bill, allowed the legal sale and use of cannabis items containing no more than 0.3% delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. These items are defined as being derived from industrial hemp plants. States are allowed to make their own laws regarding the individual cannabinoids, but due to CBC’s lesser-known status, many states have not officially looked into CBC. As such, please stay up-to-date. 

CBD: Again, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD items are legal as long as they don’t contain more than 0.3% delta-9 THC. Unlike CBC, CBD’s popularity has led to every state in the U.S. having language regarding the sale and use of CBD in their law books. 

How to Choose Between CBC and CBD for Anxiety

Due to the lesser-known nature of CBC products, currently, I lean toward recommending CBD items over them. CBD’s popularity has led to better products that can better attest to their safety and efficacy. For example, there are more review sites and watchdog groups that can help weed out — pun intended — poor CBD items. As well, there is more research that explores and can attest to CBD’s benefits and safety. 

With that said, this does not discount CBC and its potential role in helping anxiety. In fact, most CBD items will contain some CBC, and it may have a strong synergistic effect, allowing other cannabinoids like CBD to produce greater positive effects on anxiety. As always, please reach out to a healthcare professional if you have any concerns regarding cannabinoids and their effect on your health. 

Nicholas McKenzie - Cannabis Research Specialist

Nicholas McKenzie - Cannabis Research Specialist

Nicholas has spent the last ten years teaching gardeners, businesses, and enthusiasts how to succeed in the exciting and ever-changing world of cannabis. Whether he’s in the field getting his hands dirty or in the lab studying cannabinoids and their uses, Nicholas is passionate about bringing well-researched, factual, and concise information to an industry that very much needs it.

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