In recent years, the cannabis industry has grown rapidly, both medically and recreationally. As a result, an increasing amount of scientific research is being conducted on the plant and its potential applications and benefits, with a plethora of information available to consumers. Therefore, if you’re no stranger to cannabis, it’s likely that you know that cannabinoids are the plant’s naturally produced compounds – of which there are 113 that have been identified – that have individual effects and benefits on the human body when consumed. It’s also likely that you’ve heard about tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) – arguably, that cannabis plant’s two most well-known and popular cannabinoids.
Cannabinol (CBN), on the other hand, is still relatively unheard of, despite the fact it has multiple potential health benefits. In this article, we describe the cannabinoid and explain its possible uses.
A Lesser-Known Cannabinoid
CBN is one of the 113 identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plant but is usually only present in high amounts in older cannabis. This is because it is created when THC ages over time as a result of heat or exposure to oxygen. However, unlike THC, CBN is non-intoxicating (although it’s worth noting that research is limited, with some experts claiming it increases THC’s euphoric effects).
While some people actively seek out older cannabis in order to consume higher levels of CBN than that available from fresh or cured cannabis, brands are beginning to offer cannabis products that contain isolated CBN – usually in the form of edibles or tinctures.
The Benefits of CBN
Although current research is limited, a few studies have been conducted regarding some of CBN’s potential benefits and effects. Although much more attention and focus are required in this area, the results so far seem positive, suggesting that CBN can be utilized as the following:
- Anti-inflammatory: CBN has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that may be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis and similar conditions, as well as some neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s – this was demonstrated specifically in one study on rodents in 2016.
- Antibacterial: Recent studies also suggest that CBN may have powerful antibacterial properties, as it was found to be effective at fighting strains of MRSA that are resistant to traditional, conventional antibiotics.
- Glaucoma treatment: One specific condition that CBN is thought to be effective in treating is glaucoma, as it effectively reduced intraocular pressure in rabbits during a study. However, it must be noted that research is still in the early stages, and CBN has not proven to be superior to the conventional medicines that are currently recommended for the condition.
- Neuroprotectant: In a recent study on rodents, researchers discovered that CBN was able to delay the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), thereby providing a possible treatment. It could, therefore, also be a possible treatment for other neurodegenerative conditions.
- Appetite stimulant: In another study on rodents, CBN increased the subjects’ food intake, suggesting it effectively stimulates appetite. This could, therefore, provide a non-psychoactive alternative to THC.
Is CBN a Sedative?
Some research indicates that CBN has sedative effects – for example, one study on mice showed that it prolonged sleep time. However, there is also research that suggests this is a misconception, such as results from a small study on humans in 1975, during which participants were given isolated CBN, isolated THC, and a combination of CBN and THC. None of the participants reported feeling tired after consuming CBN, but they reported some drowsiness after consuming THC. However, after taking both, participants reported higher levels of drowsiness, suggesting that it is the combination of CBN and THC that has the sedative effect – a theory that has been supported by experts in recent times. According to Dr. Ethan Russo, a leading neurologist and cannabis researcher, there is another possible explanation for CBN’s seemingly sedative effects: “Pure CBN is not particularly sedating … But it is typically found in aged cannabis in which the monoterpenoids have evaporated, leaving the more sedating oxygenated sesquiterpenoids. This accounts for the discrepancy.”
As with most things related to cannabis, more research needs to be conducted into CBN to corroborate the initial findings discussed in this article – currently, there simply isn’t enough evidence to make definite claims regarding CBN’s health benefits. However, the limited study results that are available suggest that it’s likely to be beneficial to those who consume it – hopefully, there will be further investigation into this in the near future so that we’re able to utilize the cannabinoid to the maximum.