What is the CBT Cannabinoid?

Cannabis buds full of CBT cannabinoid

As soon as you begin to familiarize yourself with cannabis and everything related to this plant, you hear terms such as cannabinoids, THC, or CBD. As you may already know, cannabinoids are the natural compounds produced by the cannabis plant responsible for the majority of the effects that different strains of cannabis can generate.  

These compounds called cannabinoids occur naturally in the resinous glands of cannabis flowers, and the most widely popular are undoubtedly THC and CBD. They are the principal cannabinoids because they are the ones that are found in greater quantity and are the main ones responsible for the effects that cannabis generates in the body. 

But THC and CBD are just the tip of the iceberg in an entire glacier of different cannabinoids. In fact, there are actually dozens of different cannabinoids classified as secondary cannabinoids that also can interact with our neurotransmitters. 

All these secondary cannabinoids appear in smaller quantities, and most of them have minor effects and benefits on their own. Nevertheless, they all participate in a synergistic effect when all the natural compounds that cannabis contains work together. This effect is worldwide popular and receives the name of “entourage effect.” Within the group of natural compounds and secondary cannabinoids that play a role in this effect, we find CBT.

What is CBT?

CBT is a minor cannabinoid or phytocannabinoids, classified as a di-ether compound, which in terms of its molecular structure is extremely similar to THC. This secondary cannabinoid is found in very small amounts in only a handful of cannabis strains.

Although CBT is relatively new to the scientific community, some studies have come up with a couple of quite interesting facts that could catapult researchers’ interest in this cannabinoid to understand better what exactly it is and all the things it could do for us. 

CBT History

In 1966, researchers Obata and Ishikawa first discovered the cannabinoid CBT.  But it wasn’t until 1976 that researchers determined the exact molecular structure of this still mysterious cannabinoid. CBT is not present in all cannabis strains, and when it is, it has very small concentrations. Because of this, it has been difficult for researchers to extract and isolate CBT for processing, study, and full understanding. 

So far, there are nine different types of CBT. Within the group of the nine different variants of CBT, there is CBT-C or Cannabicitran, a type of CBT that is normally confused with cannabitriol. Crombie and Ponsford first synthesized Cannabicitran or CBT-C in 1971. At the time, they called it citrylidene-cannabis. Then in 1974, researchers isolated this secondary cannabinoid for the first time from Lebanese hashish. So far, the configuration of the CBT-C remains a mystery.  Nonetheless, in 1977 the derivative of CBT-C called C10-ethoxy, was successfully isolated.

In 2011, the scientific community confirmed its discovery by listing CBT-C as an official cannabinoid on a journal publishing after conducting studies on a male cannabis Sativa plant using a modern chromatographic method.

CBT Cannabinoid Effects 

The sheer popularity of major cannabinoids like CBD and THC often dwarfs interest in other minor cannabinoids and the wide range of effects and benefits that these could bring.  Although CBD, THC, and even CBG are the predominant cannabinoids in most cannabis strains, more than 120 secondary cannabinoids also influence the effects that each cannabis strain can generate. 

There are virtually no studies on the effects of CBT on the human body yet. Nevertheless, some studies suggest that it could generate some effects similar to CBD in catalyzing and metabolizing other cannabinoids. However, there are no subsequent studies to confirm this belief. 

Added to this, CBT, like the rest of the primary and secondary cannabinoids present in cannabis strains, can play an influential role in the famous entourage effect that happens when all the natural compounds of cannabis, including cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes, work together. This generates a better overall performance of the properties of each of these compounds, making them act better together in our body than they would do by each on their own.

CBT Cannabinoid Benefits

The fact that this cannabinoid appears in very low concentrations and only in some strains of cannabis, together with all the laws and regulations regarding cannabis worldwide, has made the process of studying CBT and other secondary cannabinoids difficult. However, some studies suggest that CBT could have some therapeutic applications related to the effects that this cannabinoid can generate in the body. 

As we already mentioned, CBT can have effects similar to CBD in terms of assimilating other cannabinoids. A 2007 study on the addictive effects of THC found that CBT could effectively function as an antibody that could mitigate the psychoactive components of THC by catalyzing complex chemical transformations and achieving therapeutic implications for treating marijuana abuse. This suggests that CBT could diminish the different psychoactive qualities of THC and function as a non-psychoactive agent. 

Since the first isolation of this phytocannabinoid or di-ether, many theories and disputes have arisen regarding its effects and benefits. One of those theories suggests that CBT could generate some effects that could have some therapeutic applications for ophthalmic conditions such as glaucoma.

CBT and Glaucoma

A study conducted in rabbits by researcher Mahmoud Elsohly found that CBT could lower intraocular pressure, suggesting that CBT could be a potential treatment for glaucoma and other related conditions. This is because CBT shows wide expression in ocular tissues involved in the regulation of ocular tension. 

By activating the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBT, like other cannabinoid agonists, demonstrates an ocular hypotensive effect and neuroprotective effects on retinal ganglion cells. This suggests, at least at an experimental level, that CBT and other cannabinoids could act as ideal drugs in the management of glaucoma by showing good tolerance after topical application.

We still need more studies to confirm these hypotheses. Still, without a doubt, these findings have drawn the scientific community’s attention regarding the applications and benefits that CBT could have in this regard.

Is CBT Safe?

In short, we could say that CBT is safe.  However, it would be a bit irresponsible of us to claim that CBT is completely safe in every way. The truth is that we need more research into this secondary cannabinoid and the effects it can generate. 

We can highlight that there are no studies that prove any side or adverse effects of CBT in the body. On the contrary, some preliminary studies and the theories of various researchers found some benefits and therapeutic applications in CBT to treat some medical conditions.

Is CBT Legal?

Although CBT and CBT-C are not scheduled in the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances or programmed in the United States Controlled Substances Act, we always recommend making sure of checking your local state laws regarding cannabis before purchasing any product derived from this plant. 

Although some cannabinoids such as CBT, CBT-C, CBD, CBG, or CBN are not considered controlled substances, we can’t affirm that they are definitely legal substances because the laws regarding cannabis are usually ambiguous or have gray areas. 

The dizzying growth that is currently taking place in the cannabis demand and the constant changes in the laws that regulate cannabis consumption and possession could place you in an uncomfortable area or unwanted situations. That’s why we recommend being very discreet and careful when carrying and consuming any cannabis substance or derivative.

Does Hemp Contain the CBT Cannabinoid?

There is a long way to go concerning CBT because it is still a very rare cannabinoid that appears in truly small amounts and only in some strains of cannabis. CBT mostly appears in marijuana plants with high THC content, although there are some hemp varieties in which this cannabinoid also occurs naturally. 

In fact, CBT usually appears in higher concentrations in distillates from high CBD hemp plants or extractions or full-spectrum distillates made from them. So, although CBT is far from being an abundant or primary cannabinoid in hemp plants, some few strains could contain it. 

Does CBT Get You High?

At least for CBT-C, a short answer to this question would be a simple no. However, we must highlight that we still need more research on this subject as we can’t ensure that all the variants of CBT can generate the same effect as CBT-C. 

As we said, CBT is extremely structurally similar to THC. Still, the variant CBT-C can actually work as an effective dampener of THC effects on the body, working as an antibody to the chemical transformation caused by THC, thus mitigating THC psychoactive effects. We can assure that CBT contributes to the entourage effect generated by all cannabinoids and terpenes working synergistically.

How to Buy CBT

Despite the veil of mystery that surrounds CBT and everything related to it, some companies have managed to isolate and synthesize this natural compound artificially and successfully.

There are some pages online where you can already get some CBT products such as isolates, oils, and tinctures available for sale. Some of the places where you can get CBT products are:

How to Extract CBT

The extraction of this secondary cannabinoid can be quite complicated, and it has been one of the biggest impediments for researchers and scientists when studying this cannabinoid. This is because the various extraction methods already known specifically target different types of cannabinoids. We can classify the most common extraction methods for hemp and cannabis into two groups: 

Solvent-based extraction methods for hemp and cannabis:

  • Ethanol extraction (alcohol, or ethyl alcohol) 
  • CO2 extraction (Carbon Dioxide) 
  • Hydrocarbons (Butane, Propane, Hexene, among others)
  • Vegetable oil extraction (Coconut, Olive Oil, etc.)

Non-solvent based extraction methods for hemp and cannabis:

  • Water and ice extraction (Mechanical Separation)
  • Cold Pressed extraction
  • Rosin Pressed extraction
  • Screened and/or hand-pressed, some companies have extraction

Each extraction method targets specific cannabinoids and results in different types of concentrate. The main issue when extracting CBT is that it only appears in microscopic amounts. Most CBT concentrates available on the market are derived from hemp or CBD-rich plants or biosynthesized from other precursor cannabinoids.

Strains High in CBT

Due to the difficulty of the extraction and identification of CBT, there is still no official information about which strains of cannabis could be high in content of this secondary cannabinoid. Currently, most CBT concentrates available on the market are artificially biosynthesized from other precursor cannabinoids through catalysis and chemical transformation processes.

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