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What is CBN? What are its benefits?

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As many of you might have heard about CBD, it would come as surprising to you that another cannabinoid CBN, or cannabinol, as revealed by research, is quite promising as a sedative and is a powerful analgesic. With CBD and THC, being the two most studied cannabinoids, CBN, or cannabinol, is a new entrant into the cannabis industry. Unhingement of cannabis legalisation policies and increasing awareness amongst the people about the benefits of medicinal cannabis, has paved the way for CBN to come to the fore.

Through this article, we understand the characteristics of CBN and its benefits, as each cannabinoid is unique and deserves attention to detail, in order to maximise its desired medicinal effect.

What is CBN?     

CBN is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid, obtained upon THC’s decomposition. Discovered way back in 1896 in its purest form, CBN is obtained upon exogenous oxidisation of THC, i.e, when THC is exposed to heat and light. Like CBD, CBN is not directly obtained from the cannabis plant, as its concentration in the cannabis plant is in the meagre range of 0.5%-1%.

As the cannabis plant matures upon ageing, the acidic form of THC breaks down into raw cannabinolic acid. Once this process is achieved, the acid is then treated with UV light, to produce CBN. The mild psychoactive tendency of CBN thus becomes negligible, with the ageing of cannabis plant, in reciprocation of increased sedative properties. Thus, it can be established that age old and stale cannabis extracts contain higher levels of CBN in them and are primarily affected by environmental factors.

How does CBN function?

Since CBN is obtained from THC, its functioning is fairly similar to that of THC. CBN is primarily known to bind to CB1 receptors in the body and also acts an agonist to the TRPV2 receptor, a naturally producing protein that regulates several biological systems in the human body. However, the binding affinity of CBN is very low compared to THC. Hence, the psycoactive property of CBN is much less prominent.  

Potential benefits of CBN

According to reports released by cannabis testing facility Steep Hill, CBN is the most powerful sedative than any other cannabinoid or pharmaceutical medicine. Apart from being a potent sedative, following are the benefits that CBN medication can help with:

  • Chronic pain relief: Helps in reducing the sensation of pain by releasing peptides from the sensory nerves. A study done in 2002 revealed that it can also transform the pain signals received by the brain. It is more effective when combined with CBD.
  • Appetite stimulant: An experiment conducted on mice showed that CBN also contributes in stimulating the appetite.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Like other cannabinoids, CBN also has anti-inflammatory properties, as it regulates the immune cells in the body. A 2010 study confirmed that, “This property of cannabinoids is mediated through multiple pathways such as induction of apoptosis in activated immune cells, suppression of cytokines and chemokines at inflammatory sites and upregulation of FoxP3+ regulatory T cells.”
  • Anti-convulsant: CBN is also found to be effective against seizures and hence, can aid treatment of epilepsy.
  • Anti-bacterial: Five major cannabinoids were tested for their potency of anti-bacterial properties, including CBN, and they showed efficacy against a variety of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains, proving it as a potential aid for MRSA treatment. Since antibiotics have not been very effective for MRSA treatment, this result is going to be very helpful.

Word from Hempstreet     

Since CBN is derived from THC, there are no specific strains that cater the right ratio of CBN. However, it is found that Indica strains have higher concentration of CBN than Sativa strains. Hence, it is important to check for the CBN composition in the cannabis extract before buying from cannabis dispensary. CBN oil, like CBD oil, is the most potent form of intake of CBN, which can be obtained by aging the cannabis for as long as possible. With CBN and its benefits being listed above, it is also important to keep in mind that, vaporising or smoking of CBN is not advisable, as the cannabis being stale might result in side-effects. CBN, not being so well-known, is still under the process of being studied for its precise properties. Although CBN has several facets as a potential medication, it is very important to consult a physician and decide on the dosage before consuming CBN induced medication.   

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18681481/

https://wayofleaf.com/education/cbn

https://apothecarium.com/blog/nevada/2018/8/3/cannabinoids-101-cbn

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