What is CBN?

What is CBN?

The legal hemp plant is comprised of hundreds of compounds, the overwhelming majority of which are highly beneficial to human health. These compounds can be divided into three categories: lipids, carbohydrates and sugars, and proteins.

Carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins are undoubtedly crucial to hemp’s chemical makeup. That being said, lipids generate some of the more useful effects for human health. Lipids are fat-soluble compounds that include cannabinoids and terpenes.

Produced by resin glands in the hemp plant, cannabinoids are chemical substances that interact directly with the endocannabinoid system to produce different effects on the body. Like cannabinoids, terpenes also induce positive bodily effects; however, they are aromatic compounds that do not interact with the endocannabinoid system directly.

Whether you’re entirely new to hemp or you’re a seasoned aficionado, you’ve likely heard of CBD, one of the most popular cannabinoids derived from the hemp plant. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has gained mainstream popularity in recent years due to its versatile health benefits.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is another popular cannabinoid known for producing the intoxicating “high” that characteristically accompanies marijuana use. Though controversial, a maximum of 0.3% THC may be included in legal hemp products per the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. This amount is extremely low, so those consuming federally legal hemp or CBD products containing 0.3% THC will not experience any notable psychoactive effects.

Although CBD and THC are arguably the two most well-known cannabinoids, they are far from the only compounds derived from the hemp plant. In fact, hemp possesses at least 113 recognized cannabinoids, and researchers believe the list is far from finite!

The current list of known cannabinoids can be divided into ten categories:

  • Cannabidiols
  • Cannabinols and cannabinodiols
  • Cannabigerols
  • Cannabicyclols
  • Cannabichromenes
  • Cannabielsoins
  • Cannabitriols
  • Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinols
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinols
  • Miscellaneous cannabinoids

Each of these classes of cannabinoids carries a variety of potent effects and benefits. Today, we’re concentrating on CBN.


What is CBN?

The highest amounts of cannabinol, or CBN, can be found in old, dried hemp flowers. This is because CBN is formed after the hemp plant is harvested and oxidized, or exposed to oxygen. When subjected to air, light, or heat, a certain amount of THC degrades and creates the metabolite CBN.

Although THC is the precursor to CBN production, it is important to note that CBN is not psychoactive and will not show up on a drug test.

Despite the fact that CBN’s popularity pales in comparison to CBD and THC, knowledge of CBN predates either of these cannabinoids. CBN was actually the first cannabinoid to be formally discovered by researchers, isolated from Indian hemp in 1896. Later in the 1940s, CBN was studied further and its structural composition was scientifically defined.


What is the difference between CBN and CBD?

Like CBD, CBN is not a psychotropic compound and does not produce the high associated with THC, despite the fact that CBN results from THC degradation. CBN will, however, increase the intoxicating effects of THC when both cannabinoids are consumed together.

CBN and CBD may share many similarities, but they are unique in their molecular structure and the ways in which they activate endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body. CBN is also classified as a minor cannabinoid because it is found in smaller quantities relative to CBD, which is prolific in most cannabis plants and is thus considered a major cannabinoid.

Hemp plants can be bred to produce certain amounts of CBD, thus the existence of high-CBD hemp strains. CBN conversely results from processes that occur within the plant; therefore, it is impossible to produce high-CBN hemp strains.

When ingested together, CBN and CBD induce a synergistic entourage effect where each cannabinoid’s therapeutic benefits combine to increase the overall healing potential. This can be particularly helpful for people suffering from debilitating conditions who are searching for a wellness boost that isolated cannabinoids alone don’t quite deliver.


How can CBN benefit your health?

Multiple studies have found that isolated CBN boasts a variety of health benefits. Like other cannabinoids, it stimulates both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system to induce positive effects throughout the body.

CBN is most well-known for promoting better sleep, especially when combined with small amounts of THC to induce a drowsy state. We love these full spectrum Dream Gummies from Bee’s Knees Wellness, specially formulated with CBN, CBD, and melatonin to combat insomnia!

In addition to sleep troubles, CBN may also alleviate chronic pain and inflammation. This study found that a combination of CBN and CBD relieved chronic muscle pain in rat models with fibromyalgia. Another study concluded that CBN reduces inflammation by acting on the same mechanisms as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), making them a viable alternative to these drugs, which often carry unwanted adverse side effects.

CBN may act as a neuroprotectant and potentially treat conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) per this study. Here, CBN delayed disease onset by two weeks. Further studies are needed to confirm its ability to mitigate symptoms of the disease, but researchers are hopeful. Another recent study found that CBN mediates neurodegeneration, a condition that drives debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s, among others.

CBN may offer relief from the intraocular pressure characteristic of progressive diseases like glaucoma. According to this review, CBN effectively reduced systemic ocular hypertension in rabbits, suggesting the same effect may be observed in human beings.

Similar to THC, CBN may stimulate appetite. This study found that the administration of CBN increased food intake in rats. Because CBN is non-psychoactive, it may present a viable alternative for patients seeking an appetite stimulant that does not carry the characteristic high that accompanies THC ingestion.

Alongside other cannabinoids, CBN may act as an antibacterial agent. This study found that CBN effectively staved off multiple strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in clinical settings. Because MRSA can be very difficult to treat and require heavy antibiotics that often induce unwanted side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance in patients, researchers have a vested interest in alternatives like CBN.

While CBN isn’t as popular as cannabinoids like CBD, its restorative capabilities are worth due recognition. As researchers continue to investigate CBN and its therapeutic potential, we hope to gain a more robust understanding of the cannabinoid and how it interacts with the human body.

time Sep 29, 2023

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