Even the most casual of cannabis users will have heard of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), the two chemical compounds claiming the spotlight in the cannabis industry.
THC is what induces the psychoactive sensations many people seek, and CBD is generally known for its medicinal, therapeutic effects.
Both THC and CBD belong to a group of closely related compounds called cannabinoids, and the cannabis plant can produce over 100 different kinds of them.
And while THC and CBD are the most prominent and well-known cannabinoids, cannabinol (CBN) has been gaining considerable attention in recent years for its medical and recreational uses.
What is CBN?
CBN comes from decarboxylated THC. This usually happens with aged cannabis that’s dried out a bit after continual exposure to light and air, or any other source of heat. It causes the THC to degrade and form CBN.
Researchers first discovered CBN when they noticed how the THC had become CBN in cannabis and had undergone a prolonged period of storage.
You see a lot of CBN gummies entering the market today, along with CBN oils and tinctures, taken mainly for the therapeutic effects they are believed to induce.
How CBN works in the body
As with any psychoactive and medicinal plant compounds, for them to take effect, they need to bind to receptors present in the human body.
Cannabinoids, such as CBN, affect the body by binding to a subset of neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids. The receptors are known as CB1 and CB2.
What is CBN good for?
CBN shows a lot of promise for its medicinal and recreational benefits. While CBN does seem to cause more psychoactive effects than CBD, they’re still mild when compared to the high THC can induce.
The main benefits CBN may have to offer are therapeutic and medicinal, as shown in some preliminary studies, but more research is still needed to fully understand what CBN is good for.
CBN may improve sleep
The primary benefit for which CBN may show promise is its use as an effective sleep aid. That’s why it’s known amongst cannabis consumers as the “sleep cannabinoid” because of the potentially positive calming effects CBN may induce.
What’s interesting is that for it to possibly act as a sleep-improving agent, CBN has to work “synergistically”, or in tandem with not only the other cannabinoids but also with terpenes, the chemical compounds responsible for each cannabis plant’s unique fragrance and flavor.
Terpenes supposedly contribute to each plant’s therapeutic and medicinal properties, especially when combined with the other naturally occurring cannabinoids in the plant, such as CBN.
It’s this combination of all the chemical compounds working together that gives rise to what’s known as the “entourage effect,” which involves the full spectrum of the cannabinoids and terpenes present in any given plant.
CBN gummies, tinctures, or capsules may help produce the full-spectrum entourage effect and induce the plant’s inherent medicinal properties. If that proves to be the case, CBN might become the ultimate aid for those who struggle to get proper shut-eye.
That said, the evidence we have is anecdotal, which means, its sleep-inducing properties still need to be properly researched.
CBN may help relieve chronic muscle disorders
One study on rats revealed CBN’s potential to relieve chronic muscle problems common in disorders such as fibromyalgia. That said, CBN’s ability to ameliorate chronic muscle disorders has yet to be tested in clinical trials.
CBN may mitigate natural cell death
A study by InMed Pharmaceuticals suggested that CBN could be more capable than CBD as a treatment for eye conditions like glaucoma.
When CBN was applied to retinal cells damaged by heightened atmospheric pressure, the cells showed more resilience and an increased ability for survival.
The study highlighted CBN’s “neuroprotective” potential because it can mitigate or possibly even prevent natural cell death, contributing to the protection of nervous system cells.
CBN may be used as an antioxidant
The research on this is far from definitive, but findings from one study showed that CBN, like vitamins C and E, might help neutralize free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are unstable atoms leftover from broken-up oxygen molecules, which then start causing “oxidative stress” by bonding to other atoms and molecules in our bodies.
The oxidative stress caused by free radicals contributes to illness and aging because of how they damage the cells they bind to.
If further studies prove CBN’s ability to neutralize free radicals, it might turn out to be the ultimate antioxidant.
CBN could help reduce inflammation
CBN may exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, as shown in a study carried out on rats. The reduced inflammation was seen specifically with the kind caused by arthritis. It will be interesting to see these results reproduced in studies carried out on humans.
CBN potentially improves attention span
CBN may work as an attention booster for people who struggle to focus. If CBN continues to prove itself as an effective sedative, relaxant, pain reliever, and as a neuroprotective agent, it may also help reduce the kind of brain fog caused by anxiety and stress, allowing people to improve their focus.
The future of CBN
Given how new CBN is to the cannabis scene, it will be exciting to see its benefits confirmed by more research studies. So far, the research on CBN is quite promising. There’s plenty of evidence pointing to its multiple health benefits and its enjoyably mild psychoactive properties in higher doses. Sales for edibles such as CBN gummies and CBN oil will likely maintain their trend toward upward growth.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.