What is CBN (cannabinol) and how does it work?


What is CBN (cannabinol) and how does it work?

CBD, a cannabinoid known for its great calming properties, has played an important role in the recognition of marijuana by the world of official medicine as an effective medicine. Although it may still be too early to state this definitively, the evidence accumulated so far supports the effectiveness of CBD, especially for anxiety and epileptic seizures. But what is CBN and what distinguishes it from CBD?

The world is still pondering how to classify CBD, whether as a permitted substance or whether it will be banned in certain countries. Sooner or later it will have to answer this question because a new cannabinoid is gaining notoriety. And it is doing so at a rapid pace. We're talking about CBN, or cannabinol - a marijuana ingredient with which the medical marijuana world is pinning great hopes, justified in fact. So how does CBN stack up against CBD?

What is CBN and what distinguishes it from CBD?

Let's start with CBD, a non-psychoactive unlike THC or CBN cannabinoid naturally found in cannabis flowers. CBD is formed through the process of decarboxylation, when it transforms from cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) into the active form, which is CBD. The same happens when tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is transformed into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabigerol acid (CBGA) into CBG, and cannabichromenoic acid (CBCA) into CBN.

CBN from comes from heavily overripe marijuana when the molecules that make up THC are broken at the cellular level. This explains why researchers discovered the properties of cannabinol (the professional name for CBN) relatively recently. Until now, CBN was considered a byproduct, or even a waste product of THC, not worthy of attention. That all changed after a study by Steep Hill Labs showed that CBN may be the most calming of all cannabinoids. This discovery caused the medical world to once again turn its eyes to CBN and its role in regulating the endocannabinoid system.

How is cannabinol formed?

What at first glance differentiates CBN from CBD is the chemical structure of both cannabinoids. The base of all known is cannabidiolic acid (CBGa for short). He, in turn, produces the other components needed to create THC - CBDa and CBCa (the acidic forms of THC, CBD and CBC). All of the cannabinoids desired by humans for their properties (recreational or medicinal) produce an effect during the combustion process. This is why many cannabis users prefer to smoke and dab it rather than consume it through the oral route.

CBNa, the component that breaks down into CBN, is produced from "aging" THC (when exposed to UV light). Therefore, a living, growing plant will not have CBN in it. The process of CBN formation takes time until the acids in marijuana begin to break down. A THC-rich plant that is held for a few weeks will begin to naturally produce CBN.

Current research on cannabinoids

Perhaps the most striking report as to the therapeutic properties of cannabinol comes from Steep Hill Labs, which studies marijuana. Scientists at this facility have concluded that cannabinol is the most sedating of all known cannabinoids, and its efficacy is superior to pharmaceuticals available for use. Steep Hill Labs researchers claim that consuming 2.5 to 5 mg of cannabinol produces the same effects as taking 5 to 10 mg of diazepam (Valium). The study also associates CBD and CBN as a natural pair of allies that, when acting together, produce much better effects.

Unfortunately, there are still not many studies related to the effectiveness of cannabinol. However, based on those that have been conducted so far, optimistic conclusions can be drawn. A 2012 study showed that cannabinol is also very helpful in stimulating the appetite of rats. By the way, CBD, on the other hand, was shown to have the completely opposite property - it blocks appetite. A 2006 study found that CBN can work synergistically with other cannabinoids to control the proliferation of cells in a certain type of lung cancer. Back in 1984, researchers conducted tests on rats suffering from glaucoma - they found that chronic (sustained) delivery of cannabinol to them significantly reduced intraocular pressure (aka eye pressure).

So how does CBN compare to CBD?

CBD is known worldwide for its "healing", properties and lack of psychoactive effects. Here we see another difference between CBD and CBN. Since cannabinol is a by-product of THC, it therefore has minor, mild psychoactive properties - especially those extracted from industrial plants, as they cannot contain more than 0.2% psychoactive THC(in the case of Poland). It is estimated that cannabinol is only 1/10 the potency of THC, and this means that you need to pack a massive dose in order for its use to produce similar effects.

Leaving aside the chemical structure of the two cannabinoids, CBN and CBD react with the human endocannabinoid system in vastly different ways. CBD binds rather weakly to CB1 and CB2 receptors found in our nervous and immune systems. Instead, it increases the production of endocannabinoids, which bring about the homeostasis desired by the nervous system. Cannabinol, on the other hand, reacts almost not at all with both receptors, but more research in this area is needed to clarify its detailed mechanisms of action.

What are the health benefits of cannabinol?

Although there are big differences between both cannabinoids, CBD and CBN have almost the same health-promoting attributes. CBN additionally has great sedative properties and its use can be an excellent alternative to traditional medication for many conditions. So let's list just some of CBN's health-promoting properties:

  • Analgesic: Studies have shown that cannabinol can abolish pain because it "rearranges" the pathway of nerve signals that are sent to the brain through neurons
  • Antibacterial: CBN is a staunch enemy of the virulent bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Infections caused by it are highly resistant to antibiotics.
  • Anti-epileptic: As a by-product of THC, CBN also has great anti-convulsant properties, which is great for preventing epileptic seizures.

CBN is now considered a kind of tranquilizer complex, which has the potential to help those suffering from conditions such as insomnia and anxiety disorders. While the results of the studies conducted so far are promising, more studies need to be conducted to confirm the indisputable anti-epileptic properties of cannabinol.

Side effects of CBN use

In general, cannabinoids are harmless to the human body, but all of them obviously have side effects if taken in excess, in large doses. Cannabinol is no exception. Inexperienced users absorbing a lot of CBN in a short period of time may experience unwanted effects such as fatigue, mental confusion, loss of appetite or excessive sleepiness.

All of these unwanted effects of CBN abuse can be avoided very easily. All you need to do is measure your dosage carefully and start your cannabinol supply with small doses. The side effects of excess cannabinol are very similar to those associated with CBD overdose.

Is cannabinol legal?

As far as Poland is concerned, the legality of cannabinol is regulated by European Union regulations. Products with a THC content of less than 0.2% are legal - hemp oil, pills with CBD, creams, etc. Products with cannabinol in their composition can be easily purchased, for example, on the Internet.

What does the future hold for CBN?

Research on cannabinol is still in its early stages, but the medical world has already developed the first extracts and tinctures. Insomnia is an often neglected affliction that has long-term negative side effects, however, and here CBN has a lot to offer such patients.

Read also: What is CBC (Cannabichromene) and how does it work?