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As the legalization of medical marijuana spreads like wildfire from state-to-state, public opinion on the medicinal properties of the plant grows more favorable. A large factor in this push has been the proven homeopathic and therapeutic properties of Cannabidiol (CBD)—one of the primary, non-psychotropic compounds found in the cannabis plant. And now, another one of the lesser-known compounds within the plant cannabinol (CBN) is making its way into the limelight.
But what is cannabinol exactly, and does it have medicinal benefits?
While CBN may be new to you, it’s not to researchers. It was amongst the very first cannabinoids ever discovered and isolated in 1899 by TB Wood. At the time, Wood believed this rare cannabinoid to be the main active compound of the plant that caused psychoactive effects we’ve now come to associate with marijuana, including:
It would take researchers several decades before they discovered tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and were disabused of this notion. That said, thanks to recent studies (which we’ll touch upon later) we now know that cannabinol is a cannabinoid yielded from the THC degradation, and it does not have the same psychoactive effect as other medical marijuana by-products.
Let’s break that down.
Simply put, there is very little CBN in any given cannabis plant. Most estimates range from .5% - 1%, whereas CBD accounts for up to 25% of any given cannabis plant, with higher concentrations in hemp and lower concentrations in marijuana. Hemp is found to have less than 0.3% THC content, whereas marijuana has more than 0.3% THC. When a cannabis plant is exposed to oxygen or heat—particularly as it matures—its THC content breaks down into CBN. According to Analytical Cannabis, this is why its medicinal properties have only recently come to light:
After all, most researchers believed CBN to be a waste by-product, unworthy of further examination. That all changed after a study by Steep Hill labs, which showed that CBN could deliver the most sedative effect of all cannabinoid substances. The discovery led to a renewed interest in the therapeutic effects of CBN and its role in regulating the endocannabinoid system. The process of creating it comes with time and the natural breakdown of raw cannabinolic acid. If left for several weeks, the cannabis will begin to produce CBN naturally.
So, as marijuana grows stale, it loses its psychoactive potency in exchange for increased sedative properties. This is especially true if the CBN can be extracted and isolated into a CBN oil.
Due to its relatively recent rediscovery, there is not nearly as much research on CBN as there is for CBD and THC, so it becomes difficult to make conclusive substantiations as to its medicinal efficacy and therapeutic benefits. However, initial studies are promising and its emergence ensures that more studies on its homeopathic properties will continue to be conducted in the near future.
What we do know now is that the degradation of THC into CBN shares similar properties to cannabidiol(CBD) and is most effective when working synergistically. This is convenient since CBN can be found in many CBD products.
Knowing this, alleged benefits of CBN include:
CBD oils will typically come in one of two forms:
Both contain CBN but have one main difference—THC. Research shows that full spectrum CBD has all of the cannabinoids and terpenes that are typically extracted from the cannabis plant. As Ministry of Hemp writes:
Full spectrum CBD oil is a popular choice due to what’s called the “entourage effect.” Essentially, the benefits of each cannabinoid are enhanced when taken together. This includes the compounds like THC, CBD, CBC, CBN and many others.
That said, the tetrahydrocannabinol within full spectrum hemp is only in trace amounts and the psychoactive effects are negligible. Federal law states that to be considered CBD oil it must come from the Hemp plant, which can’t legally contain more than 0.3% THC. On the other hand, broad spectrum CBD oil seeks to remove any trace amounts of THC but maintains all the other cannabinoids. This is ideal for people—particularly those in the government or in sports—who want to experience the benefits of CBD oil but don’t want any trace of THC in their system.
Fast-acting, full spectrum hemp extract formulated with CBD, CBN and a synergistic botanical terpene complex to induce relaxation and tranquility for restorative rest and rejuvenated, balanced days.
Plant People is on a mission to help connect and heal people through the power of homeopathic remedies. Our fast-acting, organically-grown, full spectrum hemp extracts contain everything you need to help balance a busy life. From CBD skincare to CBD tinctures, our products are created to help you live a better life through the power of plants. They contain CBD, CBN, CBG and more.
Wood, T. Journal of the Chemical Society. Cannabinol pt. 1. (1899). https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/1899/ct/ct8997500020/unauth#!divAbstract
Medical News Today. What is Marijuana? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/246392.php#what-is-marijuana
Mouratidis, G. Analytical Cannabis. Beyond CBD: Exploring the Health Benefits of CBN in Cannabis. (2019). https://www.analyticalcannabis.com/articles/beyond-cbd-exploring-the-health-benefits-of-cbn-311488
Steep Hill. Cannabinol (CBN): A Sleeping Synergy. (2017). https://www.steephill.com/blogs/34/Cannabinol-(CBD):-A-Sleeping-Synergy
Nargarkatti, P. NCBI. Cannabinoids as Novel Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. (2009). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
Zygmunt, P. Journal of Neuroscience. Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabinol Activate Capsaicin-Sensitive Sensory Nerves via a CB1 and CB2 Cannabinoid Receptor-Independent Mechanism. (2002). https://www.jneurosci.org/content/22/11/4720.full
Ministry of Hemp. CBD vs CBN: Differences, Benefits, And Uses For Two Potent Cannabinoids. (2019). https://ministryofhemp.com/blog/cbd-vs-cbn/
PBS. Is CBD Legal? (2019). https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/is-cbd-legal-heres-what-you-need-to-know-according-to-science