The Heylo Cannabis Blog

CBT: The Mysterious New Cannabinoid on the Block

CBT: The Mysterious New Cannabinoid on the Block

Published
January 30, 2019
What is CBT (cannabacitran) and why should we care? Here, Pat Reynolds of Confidence Analytics reveals his journey to learn more about the little-known cannabinoid CBT in cannabis.

What is CBT (cannabacitran) and why should we care? Here, Pat Reynolds of Confidence Analytics reveals his journey to learn more about this little-known compound in cannabis.  

CBT, short for cannabacitran, is a cannabinoid that is quickly gaining consumer and scientific interest. Unfortunately, neither community seems to know much about this mysterious compound.. Web searches for "CBT" turn up little useful information, and often confuse cannabicitran with another mysterious cannabinoid called cannabitriol (or, better yet, cognitive behavioral therapy). The lab I work for, Confidence Analytics, recently added CBT to our cannabinoid assay, and I wanted to find out more about it.

Wait - so what do we actually know about CBT or Cannabacitran?

So what do we actually know about CBT? I asked Zack, our Resident Chemist and Chromotographer Extraordinaire, for his thoughts on the the topic - it went something like this:

PatMan [3:43 PM]
What statements can we make about cannabacitran (CBT) - quantitatively, comparatively, etc. - with regard to other cannabinoids / molecules?

blizzard.wizard [4:17 PM]
Well, it's another standard that's available, and a chemist would think it could form as a reaction product from processing. Chemically, CBD [is to] THC [as] THC [is to] CBT - i.e. CBD is a diol, THC is a mono-ol mono-ether, CBT has no alcohol groups and is a di-ether. It also retains on a column more than any other cannabinoid we've studied, and as such is a good tool for assessing method performance. I think we might see it more in distillate...

what is cbt cannabacitran a cannabinoid in cannabis
The science is still very much out on the potential human effects of CBT

Unpacking the science of CBT

Let’s break down Zack’s response a little bit:

  • A “standard” is a solution containing a precisely-known quantity of a compound, and standards allow us to find and quantify those compounds in other matrices. As there is a standard available for CBT, we can use it to look for it in cannabis flower and concentrates. So one answer to the question “why are we looking for CBT?” is simply “because we can”.
  • Diols, mono-ols, mono-ethers - these are all different classes of chemical compounds, or molecular structures. Suffice it to say that as we know the structure of CBT we can place it in one of these groups (the di-ether group). From what we know of other di-ethers, we can make predictions about how CBT will react in the presence of other compounds, and perhaps verify those predictions with experimentation.
  • Columns, methods, retention - these are common terms in chromatographic analysis, but here’s some context for the non-chemist:
  • Chromatography is the science of separation: samples are prepared in a solution, and the solution is pressured through a column. The material within the column causes compounds in the solution to separate, and a detector quantifies the compounds as they exit the column.
  • The timing of the exit from the column of each compound is a measure of how much the column retains said compound. The properties of the CBT molecule mean that it “hangs around” on the column for a long time, and exits the column last.
  • Thus, when we see CBT, we know that we have come to the end. How long it took to get there informs us about the performance of the method, with regard to the total number of compounds detected along the way.

Predictions and Observations of CBT

Zack’s final comment - that we may see it more in distillate - is is accordance with our observations to date. We’re still looking, but the data so far does show CBT in distillates more than other concentrates. Interestingly, it looks like Type III flower (high CBD, low THC) will yield more CBT from a distillation process than Type I (high THC, low CBD).

None of our observations thus far inform us as to the effect of CBT on humans, and to date no scientific studies on human or animals have taken place. As we continue to shine the light of legalization on this amazing plant, we can build on what we know to advance education and understanding. To some degree, the more we learn and discover about cannabis, the more we understand just how little we know. In the case of CBT, it is indeed very little.

Where Can I Find CBT?
Heylo's latest Dutch 47 and Remedy both have 0.1% CBT... while it might not be a lot, it's something! We'll keep you up to date with other products carrying CBT here.


Heylo Cannabis' topicals feature organic terpenes from True Terpenes. We recommend you check them out for any botanical terpene needs. Get 10% off True Terpenes using this link.

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