An Introduction to the CBN Cannabinoid

CBN Cannabinoid

Since the popularization of CBD in recent years, it’s more common to see cannabis recognized as a true medical treatment. And there’s a good reason for this recognition, of course – CBD seems to have a number of medicinal benefits. However, CBD and the psychoactive THC aren’t the only compounds found in the cannabis plant.

Lately, the cannabinoid CBN (or cannabinol) has been rising in popularity. CBN is a cannabinoid that can be synthesized out of THC. Much like CBD, there is both scientific and anecdotal evidence pointing to the health benefits of CBN. For instance, it might be a beneficial treatment for mood and anxiety disorders, such as depression or generalized anxiety. There are even claims that CBN can help treat insomnia.

If you’ve recently heard CBN brought up in cannabis-related circles, you probably want to know more about this compound and what it can do. So, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to the CBN compound.

What Is CBN?

Cannabinol – more commonly known as CBN – is one of over one hundred cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Although some of these compounds have psychoactive properties (like THC), that isn’t the case for CBN. In this way, CBN has some properties in common with CBD – if someone consumes either of these compounds, that person won’t become euphoric or high.

While it’s not psychoactive, CBN can actually be created from the THC compound. The CBN cannabinoid begins to form when THC is oxidized. This is also why it’s more common to find naturally occurring CBN in mature cannabis plants rather than younger specimens.

How Is CBN Created?

CBN is created through the process of oxidation. In simple terms, oxidation is what occurs when a chemical compound changes because it was exposed to oxygen. More specifically, the oxidized compound loses some of its electrons.

When you take a closer look at the CBN molecule, you’ll quickly notice that it’s incredibly similar to a molecule of THC. They’re almost identical, actually; the major difference being the four atoms of hydrogen that THC has lost. THC loses these hydrogen atoms when it’s continuously exposed to heat, light, or air.

What Is CBN Extraction?

In some cases, CBN is simply the natural byproduct of THC that was exposed to heat or light. While it’s possible for CBN to develop on its own, there are also ways for people to speed up this process. When CBN is created in a processing laboratory, this is known as extraction.

The main motivator of CBN extraction is the creation of products containing larger quantities of CBN. Extractors might even create CBN due to an overstock of THC, for instance. One possible solution to this problem is to convert THC into CBN and produce a wider variety of cannabinoid products.

To begin the process of CBN extraction, the plant material (containing THC) needs to be soaked in ethanol or CO2. This will pull out both terpenes and cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. At this point, an evaporator can be used to remove the solvent from the mixture. The evaporator utilizes a combination of vacuum and heat processes. The result is a crude extract, which will then be distilled to create purified distillate.

The Potential Benefits of CBN

The Benefits of CBN

We’re still in the early stages of CBN-related studies, so it’s difficult to make definitive claims about its properties or benefits when consumed. However, this is an overview of what we know or suspect thus far.

CBN as a Sleep Aid and Insomnia Treatment

Based on our current understanding of the CBN cannabinoid, this is perhaps the most promising benefit. A study found that of all the known cannabinoids, CBN has the strongest sedative properties. The results of this study suggest that CBN may have sedative qualities that are more powerful than pharmaceutical sleep aids.

The aforementioned study also claims that if a person is to consume between 2.5 and 5 mg of CBN, they can receive the same level of sedation as consuming between 5 to 10 mg of diazepam/Valium. When combined with CBD, the sedative qualities of CBN grow even stronger. For those looking to reduce or eliminate their use of pharmaceutical sleep aids, CBN appears to be a promising alternative.

CBN as a Treatment for Inflammation

In this way, CBN is actually quite similar to CBD. CBN is capable of modulating endocannabinoid levels. Thanks to the influence of CBN, certain immune cells start producing anti-inflammatory effects. CBN is also able to target other compounds associated with inflammation.

Notably, CBN shows potential as a treatment for glaucoma. This is because the CBN cannabinoid is a vasorelaxant – in other words, it can relax the walls of blood vessels and help bring down blood pressure. So, CBN can reduce pressure and increase blood flow in the eyes of someone with glaucoma.

CBN as a Treatment for Bacterial Infections

CBN, alongside other cannabinoids, may be an effective means of treating Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA. From the perspective of a healthcare provider, MRSA can be a particularly frustrating infection; not only can it thrive in any part of the body, but it’s also resident to the majority of antibiotic treatments.

Once MRSA develops, it can be difficult to get rid of. CBN (as well as five other cannabinoids) seems to have antibacterial properties, making it a potential treatment for MRSA. Additional research needs to be done to confirm these effects.

CBN as a Pain Relief Treatment

The CBN cannabinoid also appears to have analgesic abilities, operating along the same pain pathways that THC does. This seems to influence neuron activity in cells that are sensitive to capsaicin. For those unfamiliar, capsaicin isn’t just the spicy part of chili peppers – it’s also a common ingredient in topical painkillers.

By causing nerves to become more sensitive to capsaicin found in gels and creams for arthritis, CBN may be capable of elevating these pain-relieving effects. Alongside arthritis, CBN may also be able to boost the effects of topical treatments for backaches, pulled muscles, and more.

There’s also evidence suggesting that CBN can perform as a hypothermic agent. Essentially, this means that it’s able to lower a person’s body temperature. When you combine this effect with the anti-inflammatory properties of CBN, the cannabinoid may be able to relieve burn symptoms (when used topically).

CBN as a Way to Increase Appetite

You may have heard that CBD can be consumed to suppress appetite – however, CBN could have the opposite effect. There are many reasons why a person might want to boost their appetite, whether it’s due to unexpected weight loss, cancer, or the treatments associated with cancer.

CBN for Bone Growth

CBN could be capable of activating stem cells after these cells have been recruited from bone marrow. Ultimately, this leads to the creation of new bone cells. Due to this capability, CBN may be an effective way to stimulate bone production. Stem cells can be converted into many other types of cells, including fat, muscle, bone, and cartilage cells.

The CBN compound might also be responsible for boosting fibroblast cell production — these are the cells that generate collagen and are found beneath connective tissue. All of this means that CBN may be capable of treating fractures and wounds, encouraging a faster recovery time.

What Forms Is CBN Available In?

What Forms of CBN

Right now, CBN products are still relatively limited, even if the compound is gaining popularity. One reason for this is simple: the CBN extraction process can be complicated. It’s important that the cannabinoid is isolated carefully before being concentrated in products.

If you’re looking at CBN products that are already on the market, there are a few options to choose from. Similar to other cannabis products, CBN comes in several forms – including tinctures, oils, topicals, capsules, and edibles.

For CBN products to be at their safest and most reliable, the compound needs to be isolated from organic hemp. Then, using a sophisticated extraction process, the product is likely to be free of any THC content. If there’s even a small amount of THC remaining in a CBN product, this could result in the user becoming high.

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