Cannabinoids 101: CBN
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are partly responsible for the wide array of medicinal and psychoactive effects cannabis may provide. Currently there are over 110 known cannabinoids with more likely to be discovered as studies continue to reveal the complex molecular structures of the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids interact with human physiology through the endocannabinoid system (ECS), the set of receptors that function to regulate health and promote homeostasis throughout the body. The ECS has two primary receptors, the CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor binds primarily to the brain and nervous system, while the CB2 receptor interacts largely with the immune system. The cannabis plant relies on cannabinoids binding to these receptors to produce the array of potential benefits and effects. Each cannabinoid holds unique characteristics of their own that are worth noting in order to maximize desired effects from medicating with cannabis.
What is CBN?
Cannabinol (CBN) is considered a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid known for its powerful sedative properties. When THC is oxidized, the degradation process converts THC to CBN, which may account for the sedative effect aged cannabis often carries. A 2700 year old grave excavated in China revealed preserved cannabis that contained higher amounts of CBN than any other cannabinoid.
CBN is a byproduct of THC and is typically found in small amounts in most cannabis strains, however, many cannabis based options such as topicals, edibles, capsules, tinctures, vape cartridges, sublingual sprays and more may contain higher levels of this cannabinoid. CBN was also the first cannabinoid to be isolated, previously thought to be responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis before the discovery of THC.
How does CBN work?
CBN shares a very similar chemical composition to THC and thought to primarily bind with the CB2 receptor, but may also interact with the CB1 receptor. CBN acts an agonist to the TRPV2 receptor, a naturally producing protein that regulates several biological systems in the human body. This makes CBN potentially effective for combatting pain and inflammation, bone health, controlling convulsant behavior, lowering blood pressure, and treating skin conditions.
Higher levels of CBN in any cannabis product may provide a particularly effective option for battling insomnia and reducing anxiety. CBN may also be most effective for inducing sleep in combination with other cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. Feel free to ask any of our knowledgeable patient consultants with any questions you may have.
A 1976 review suggested CBN had sedative effects, particularly when paired with THC. The pain relieving potential of CBN was studied in June 2002. CBN was shown to potentially delay progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in a September 2004 study. An August 2008 study focused on the antibacterial efficacy of CBN, along with other major cannabinoids, as a possible treatment for MRSA. A study from September 2012 examined the possible appetite inducing effects of CBN.
Keep out of reach of children. For use only by adults 21 years of age or older.
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