There’s Still So Much to Learn About Cannabinoids

Of the 113 known phytocannabinoids found in the hemp plant, cannabicyclol (CBL) is one of the least known, least researched, but arguably most interesting. There seem to be a few reasons for its unexplored status.  

First of all, while it is present in many varieties of cannabis, its concentration amount in trichomes, or the hair-like appendages on the cannabis plant, is typically low. Secondly, only a few studies have been conducted on CBL’s possible therapeutic effects, the results of which have shown CBL to have little biological activity, or have been inconclusive. It is suspected that it may have a place in an entourage effect, in which it works to have a therapeutic effect when bundled with other cannabinoids. But again, more research is needed.

Finally, CBL has an interesting and unique chemical structure and synthesis, and this is what most studies have centered on, thus far, rather than medicinal applications.

What’s So Interesting About CBL?

CBL is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is synthesized via the degradation of another phytocannabinoid, cannabichromene (CBC). Much like THC degrades to CBN, CBC degrades to CBL when exposed to light. In one study it was discovered that ancient samples of cannabis from China (dating back to 2,700 BCE) contained high concentrations of CBL and CBN, which had broken down from CBC and THC, respectively.

Cannabicyclol was first discovered in 1964, and has the molecular formula C21H30O2. Other cannabinoids have similar formulas, such as THC and CBD. Cannabicyclol is unique because of the arrangement of its atoms and the absence of double bonds. Cerebral effects arise as a result of the presence of double bonds found especially in THC. Because cannabicyclol has no double bonds, it doesn’t cause these psychoactive effects.

The Therapeutic Effects of Cannabicyclol

Because cannabicyclol is produced in very minute amounts by the cannabis plant, there is very little research on this compound. A great deal more studies need to be performed in order to discover the medicinal properties of CBL. At the moment, the scientific community is very skeptical about research on CBL. Researchers may need to use the entourage effect. This highlights the interaction between cannabicyclol and other cannabinoids.

Studies carried out by Steep Hill Labs have shown a ray of hope on the anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory effects of cannabicyclol. It has been found to be resistant to decarboxylation, meaning that it is heat resistant and does not convert CBC to CBL readily. Additionally, research has shown that it can regulate muscle contractions and also affect reproduction. However, information on this is scarce and further investigation is required in order to arrive at conclusive results.

The Future of Cannabicyclol?

Steep Hill Labs has given very promising conclusions on the therapeutic benefits of cannabicyclol. However, there is a need for more research to corroborate these claims. It is not likely that the scientific community will channel its attention on this compound in the near future as there are other cannabinoids with higher potentials, which are also found in much greater amounts in the cannabis plant, especially CBD and THC. But that does not mean that CBL is not worth investigating. This chemically interesting yet unknown phytocannabinoid may hold the promise of untapped therapeutic benefits or medical applications.


Míčka, Tomáš. “Getting High to Get Well: Scientific Evidence of Therapeutic Uses of Cannabinoids and Terpenoids.” 15 August 2013. Web. Accessed 27 August 2018.

Seshata. “Cannabinoid Science 101: What is Cannabicyclol (CBL)?” Sensi Seeds. 14 April 2017. Web. Accessed 26 August 2018.

“Cannabicyclol: Understanding Cannabinoid Basics.” Royal Queen Seeds. 2 March 2018. Web. Accessed 26 August 2018.

Russo, Ethan B., et al.Phytochemical and genetic analyses of ancient cannabis from Central Asia.” Journal of Experimental Botany. Nov. 2008. Web. Accessed 27 August 2018.

“Cannabinoids.” Steep Hill. Web. Accessed 26 August 2018.

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