Cannabinol (CBN), a minor phyto-cannabinoid, is generating increased interest primarily because it is considered the “sleepy cannabinoid”. Sleep deprivation is counted as one of the most common problems we all have as a busy, stressed out society.
Scientists are studying CBN for its benefits in several areas, including sleep. Users are already reporting anecdotal evidence of CBN’s effects on sleep, learning and memory, and pain perception. This sleepy cannabinoid is gaining in popularity as researchers and consumers investigate and try the benefits of CBN.
All mammals have an endocannabinoid system that includes two receptors found throughout the body: CB1 and CB2. These receptors act in a way to help the body regulate and achieve homeostasis, a balance of bodily function and cognition. When an agonist (an agent that directly activates) plugs into a receptor, it alerts the body’s response in a particular way.
The central nervous system (CNS) is where most CB1 receptors are found, though they do appear in the rest of the body.
CB2 receptors are primarily in the immune and digestive systems and branch out to the peripheral nervous system. CBN is an agonist for the CB1 receptor, which then helps promote sleep and may play a role in learning and memory.
When activated by CBN, the CB2 receptor, may fight MRSA infections, regulate pain responses, and act as an anti-convulsant.
When taken orally, the liver converts CBN into a bio-available form that binds with CB1 receptors, making oral administration the preferred way to take CBN for sleep, as opposed to vaping.
CBN is not commonly found in an actively growing cannabis plant. It forms when the harvested hemp flowers’ THC oxidizes. When the plant is exposed to light and air, it causes THC to degrade and become CBN. During oxidation, the amounts of CBN will increase, and THC will lose its potency.
Because cannabinol comes from oxidized THC, it is considered a weak psychoactive cannabinoid with sleepy effects. Unlike the primary cannabinoids, THC and CBD, CBN will seldom form as a result of decarboxylation, a process that alters cannabis’ carbon chain, usually through heating. Therefore, oral supplementation is recommended and not smoking or vaping.
CBN oil is extracted from the hemp flower and dissolved into a carrier oil, such as coconut or MCT. CBN will not cause the same psychoactive effect as THC. However, as the harvested flowers from cannabis or hemp age, especially if left open to air and sunlight, THC will degrade into CBN.
CBN is a sedative compound that can help promote a more restful sleep and help people who suffer from conditions such as insomnia and other sleep related issues. It can be especially effective when combined with CBD and a full-spectrum formulation.
According to research, there are indications that CBN has a sedative effect and with mice found CBN prolonged sleep duration. Other research indicates that CBN’s sedative effects are boosted when used in combination with THC, which would be available in your local dispensary or your backyard, if legal.
CBN users report anecdotally that taken before bedtime CBN is an effective sleep aid, not only for inducing sleep but also for prolonged sleep duration.
CBN has not been widely studied for its sleep benefits yet; as that research develops, more objective proof of CBN’s efficacy may be forthcoming.
Like the primary cannabinoids, CBD and THC, CBN has shown neuroprotectant properties that could protect the brain and nerve cells from damage. A 2005 study found that CBN delayed the onset of ALS symptoms in mice. ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease as it’s better known as, is a deadly, progressive degenerative muscle disease.
A 2002 study on rats found that CBN provided pain relief by modifying the pain signals to the brain. A small human study in 2012 also found that CBN and its anti-inflammatory properties reduced the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. CBN was found it may be of use in treating burns, a 2008 study by Qin, Neeper, et al., reported CBN appeared to reduce patients’ perceptions of burn sensitivity.
Natalya M. Kogan and Raphael Mechoulam, PhD., the father of cannabinoid science, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, published research results showing that a mixture CBN and THC reduced interocular pressure in rabbits. Additional research could find that CBN holds promise for glaucoma patients.
A 2008 Italian study into MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, found that CBN, as well as 4 other cannabinoids, demonstrated promise in fighting several strains of MRSA. As a result, those researchers called for more study into CBN’s antibacterial properties.
CBD and CBN have important differences, but as cannabinoids they do have very similar health benefits. CBD may assist with sleep systemically regulating our bodies, CBN is considered a potent sleep aid that could provide an alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals or supplemental melatonin, which is a hormone.
While CBD is non-psychoactive, CBN is mildly psychoactive – the psychoactive potential of CBN is 10% of the strength of THC.
CBN and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system in differently. CBD doesn’t bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the nervous and immune systems, rather CBD boosts endocannabinoid production within the endocannabinoid system. CBN has a weak affinity to both receptors, but its mechanism isn’t well understood yet.
Previously, scientists and researchers focused on the primary cannabinoids and ignored minors like CBN and CBG. They believed the effects of CBN were an unimportant by-product. That was updated after a study by Steep Hill Lab, in Berkeley, California, showed that CBN might have the best sedative effects of all the cannabinoids.
This study found that 2.5 – 5.0 mg of CBN produces the same effects as 5 – 10 mg of diazepam (Valium). Steep Hill researchers also asserted that a combination of CBN and CBD provided a highly effective and synergistic sedative effect.
A study in 1984 on glaucoma in lab cats found continued use of CBN reduced intraocular pressure.
Additional research found a paper published in 2006, showed that CBN could work with other cannabinoids to control the growth of a specific type of lung cancer, and a study in 2012 found CBN worked as an appetite stimulant in lab rats.
Cannabinoid research and science will show the formal applications of CBN and other cannabinoids as US Federal cannabis laws become unprohibited. Other countries like Israel and Canada are making great advancements in specific cannabinoid research which we are all looking forward to.
Allowing medical cannabis to degrade and produce CBN is expensive and, some might say, possibly a waste of cannabis. It’s difficult to regulate the dosage and to control the synergistic effects of CBN and THC when consumed naturally.
Buying CBN oil extracted from hemp is expensive because CBN is oxidized THC, and hemp only produces very low levels of THC, if at all – CBN potency is a challenge in the plant itself.
Through extraction methods, the CBN compound can be isolated from other cannabinoids and specific doses can be added to any hemp or cannabis product with consistency and a small, additional expense.
The best source is an online store like Phytorite or a local cannabis dispensary that is knowledgeable about CBN products. Always be sure to verify the source of your CBN and see certificates of analysis. Make sure CBN you purchase online is hemp derived. You’ll want to ask about purity and potency to ensure the value you are paying for. Organically grown hemp or cannabis CBN is the safest option.
At Phytorite, we are always available to answer any questions you may have regarding to CBN or hemp products. Email at contact at phytorite.com.
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