Cannabinol (CBN) is one of the most exciting minor cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Much of the industry is focused on THC and CBD-based products, but research is slowly uncovering the significant therapeutic potential of minor cannabinoids like CBN on the human body.
How can CBN help medical patients? Does CBN get you high? What are the effects? CBN has many potential health benefits that can aid with everything, from insomnia to seizures and so much more. Here is what you need to know about this up-and-coming cannabinoid.
What Is Cannabinol (CBN)?
CBN is a THC metabolite. In aged cannabis plants, tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) degrades to cannabinolic acid (CBNA) when exposed to light and heat. Generally, cannabis plants contain trace amounts of CBN (under 1%). However, CBN concentrations can increase over time.
In poor storage conditions, the plant’s THCA can degrade into CBNA, resulting in lower potency, aroma, and flavor. Cannabis processors may use heating methods in a vacuum oven or chemical solvents to oxidize THC into CBN. This minor cannabinoid can offer many benefits for recreational and medical users.
When taken alone, this cannabis compound does not produce a high like THC. In the human endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBN has a low binding affinity with CB1 receptors. CBN has a stronger affinity with CB2 receptors, although it is still less than THC. CBN appears to have similar properties as popular cannabinoids like CBD and THC.
Health Benefits of CBN
Compared to research into other major cannabinoids like THC and CBD, CBN research is in its infancy. While most research into CBN is based on animal studies, researchers are beginning to uncover the potential benefits of CBN. Early research indicates that CBN may help relieve pain, insomnia, inflammation, appetite loss, and much more.
CBN has many health benefits, including:
- Minimally psychoactive
- Powerful sedative
- Relieves pain
- Inhibits cancer cell growth
- Stimulates appetite
- Passes transdermal barrier ten times better than THC
- Bone growth stimulation
- Glaucoma treatment
Additional scientific research is necessary to identify how CBN affects the mind and body and safe ways to treat various health conditions. CBN appears to be a cannabinoid that should not be ignored.
1. Potent Sedative
CBN is one of the most sedative cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, especially when used with THC and the myrcene terpene. Research suggests that CBN’s sedative effects can be used as a sleep aid for those who have insomnia. Not only may it help people get to sleep faster, but it may also prolong sleep time.
A 5-mg dose of CBN may have the same sedative effect as 10 mg of Valium, a prescription medicine used as a sedative and for treating muscle spasms, anxiety, and alcohol withdrawal.
While CBN shows some promise as a sleep aid, only one major study cites its sleep-inducing effects. The study suffers from a small sample size and inconsistent dose responses. In addition, it only found sedative effects when CBN was taken with THC.
2. Pain Relief
Current research shows that CBN interacts with neurons involved with pain signaling and perception. These same neurons are affected by capsaicin, an active compound of chili peppers, known for its burning sensation. Capsaicin can be found in topicals and pain relievers. Essentially, CBN may be used to reduce pain.
Studies have shown that CBN and other cannabinoids may be effective in treating MRSA, an infection caused by a type of staph bacteria. This strain of bacteria is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. More research into CBN’s antimicrobial properties may help fight against antibiotic resistance.
THC and CBD products are powerful options in anti-convulsant treatment. CBN is also showing promise as a powerful anti-convulsant. A study on mice found that CBN has strong anti-convulsant properties, especially when used with other cannabinoids. If CBN continues to display anti-convulsive properties for muscle contractions, it may be a promising cannabinoid for patients with epilepsy.
Cannabinoids can be used for inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. While many cannabinoids have shown positive effects on inflammatory diseases, CBN is another alternative treatment option for those with inflammation. A study on mice found that CBN decreased allergen-induced mucus production.
6. Appetite Stimulant
Appetite loss can be caused by various psychological causes or medical conditions. While certain cannabinoids like CBD can suppress appetite, CBN may stimulate appetite. CBN may be helpful for cancer patients, for example, who may suffer from appetite loss due to cancer treatment.
Early research shows that CBN can inhibit and stop cancer cell growth. In one type of lung cancer, CBN and other cannabinoids were found to reduce tumor size. While CBN has displayed therapeutic effects in cancer treatment, there is no definitive research showing CBN can manage the disease.
8. Glaucoma Relief
Early research suggests that high doses of CBN may help relieve intraocular pressure, a critical risk factor for glaucoma. CBN also has neuroprotective characteristics that may keep neurons in the back of the eye healthy. Eye drop formulations featuring CBN are currently under development for glaucoma therapy.
9. Bone and Skin Health
CBN may have powerful protective properties to aid in bone health. CBN has been shown to activate stem cells in bones to create new bone cells. CBN may also be helpful in bone loss reduction, as a treatment for osteoporosis, and the promotion of bone healing.
In terms of skin health, CBN has been shown to reduce skin cell overgrowth. Topical CBN treatment may have promising effects in psoriasis treatment. In addition, CBN is much more permeable across the transdermal barrier than THC.
CBN has been shown to have neuroprotective qualities. In a study on animal models, researchers found that CBN showed positive effects when treating subjects with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). CBN was shown to delay the onset of ALS. While more research needs to be done on humans, CBN shows promise as a therapeutic tool for neurodegenerative diseases.
FAQs About CBN
Can CBN Get You High?
In small doses, CBN does not produce intoxicating effects.
Is CBN Legal?
While CBN is not explicitly listed under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), CBN is a Schedule I substance derived from the cannabis plant. The CSA defines cannabis as any part of the plant, except for stalks and nonviable seeds.
CBN derived from hemp falls in a legal gray area. In some states, hemp-derived CBN products may be legal if they have under 0.3% THC. Every state has different rules and regulations on hemp-derived CBN and other THC analogs.
What Are High-CBN Strains?
Currently, there are not many high-CBN strains compared to THC and CBD-rich varieties. Most strains have under 1% CBN. Here are a few strains that have slightly over 0.3% CBN.
- Lemon Kush
- Durban Poison
- Bubble Gum
- Purple Cadillac
- Super Green Crack
Can You Buy CBN Online?
In legal cannabis markets, CBN products can be purchased from licensed retailers. Hemp-derived CBN products are available from online retailers. Before buying CBN products, ensure they are lab-tested for purity and potency.
Final Thoughts on the Health Benefits of CBN
While THC and CBD may be the primary targets for research, CBN research is in its early stages and is slowly showcasing the health benefits of CBN. As a result, CBN is showing great promise for medical and recreational users and is being introduced into various products, including edibles and topicals.