The Cannabinoid 'CBN'
What is CBN?
If you use hemp products, you have probably heard of the more popular cannabinoids, THC and CBD. But these are not the only cannabinoids in the plant. Today we’re looking at cannabinol.
Cannabinol, also known as CBN, is one of the many chemical compounds in cannabis and hemp plants. Like CBD and CBG, CBN is non-intoxicating and will not get you high. CBN occurs naturally in the cannabis plant as the plant ages. That’s because over time–and when heated or exposed to oxygen–the cannabinoid THC converts to CBN. It is known as the aged-cannabinoid.
Is CBN legal?
CBN isn’t banned by any UN convention nor is it scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act in the USA. CBN does, however, fall into a grey area of law, where the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp and its derivatives, including hemp extracts containing no more than 0.3 percent THC. CBN oil qualifies as a hemp derivative if it doesn’t contain more than the legal limit of THC.
Benefits of CBN
There are indications that CBN is a powerful sedative. Research in mice has shown that CBN can prolong sleep time. Some research indicates CBN’s sedative effects are amplified when combined with THC. But there is, at this point, a lack of scientific research into the sleep-inducing properties of CBN.
Research indicates that CBN has analgesic or pain-relieving capabilities in the body. CBN appears to influence the activity of neurons that are sensitive to capsaicin. (Capsaicin, you might know, is found in chili peppers, and an ingredient added to many topical pain relievers.) These capsaicin-sensitive nerves are important to the body’s pain signaling and perception.
Studies have also shown that CBN has the ability to fight harmful bacteria. In 2008 it was found that CBN was one of several cannabinoids (including CBD) effective in treating MRSA, a bacterial infection that is resistant to antibiotics.
Like CBD, CBN appears to have anti-inflammatory capabilities. Scientists are working to better understand how the human endocannabinoid system affects the immune system.
Appetite stimulation is one area in which CBN behaves very differently from CBD. While CBD has appetite-suppressing effects, CBN appears to stimulate the appetite. This may make CBN a therapeutic option to help increase appetite in people who struggle to maintain an appetite because of another illness, such as cancer, or its treatment.
There’s also some promising preliminary evidence that CBN may have direct cancer-fighting capabilities. Cannabinoids including CBN are being studied for their ability to slow or stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. CBN was one of several cannabinoids found to reduce tumor size in one form of lung cancer.
One of the most promising therapeutic uses for CBD is in epilepsy treatment, because of this cannabinoid’s strong anti-convulsant capabilities. Though it appears to be less strong than in CBD and THC, CBN has also been shown to function as an anticonvulsant.
Research indicates cannabinoids including CBN can help to stimulate production of new bone, by activating stem cells to help make new bone cells. There are also indications that CBN and other cannabinoids may be helpful in healing fractured bone and helping reverse bone loss, making it of interest to scientists as a potential therapy for osteoporosis.
Like CBG, CBN is one of several cannabinoids that appear to be effective as a treatment for glaucoma, as several studies have shown.
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