If you’re familiar with the cannabis plant, chances are you know about its most recognized cannabinoids: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
These, however, aren’t the only chemical compounds found in cannabis.
The truth is that the cannabis plant produces more than 100 cannabinoids and while you're probably familiar with something like CBD, a new cannabinoid known as CBN or cannabinol has been found to be highly-beneficial CBN and non-intoxicating compound.
What does cannabinol do? The jury is still deliberating, with many studies slowly being released and new ones taking place, each examining the benefits and effects of this remarkable cannabinoid. Below we will explore in further detail what the effects of CBN are based on what we know so far and start to form an understanding of what does cannabinol do?
What Is CBN?
The first cannabinoid identified by researchers, cannabinol develops naturally in the cannabis plant over time.
This is because, when exposed to heat or oxygen, THC converts to CBN.
As a result, older or oxidized cannabis flowers are typically high in cannabinol. The CBN content inside the plant, however, is usually less than 1% in cured or aged cannabis flowers.
CBN is also derived from THC that’s been extracted from cannabis.
What Are the Benefits of Cannabinol?
Though research on CBN is still in the early stages, the compound’s preliminary benefits are far-reaching.
These effects include:
Research conducted in mice reveals that CBN can increase sleep time. Some studies show that the sedative effects of CBN are stronger when combined with THC, though additional research is needed to understand the full scope of CBN’s sleep-enhancing abilities.
Scientists have found that CBN boasts pain-relieving abilities. This is because CBN helps to regulate the activity of neurons that are sensitive to capsaicin, an ingredient found in chili peppers that is added to topical pain relievers. These nerves are key to the body’s pain signaling.
Bone Healing and Growth
Some cannabinoids, including CBN, can help to produce new bone by activating the stem cells. Experts have also found that cannabinol and other cannabinoids may be useful in treating fractured bone and reversing the bone loss that occurs in osteoporosis patients.
While CBD has been found to suppress the appetite, CBN has the opposite effect. Research has shown that CBN can actually stimulate the appetite—making the compound a therapeutic treatment for cancer patients and other people who have a hard time maintaining an appetite.
Cancer, Epilepsy, and Glaucoma Protection
Early evidence reveals CBN can help treat a number of illnesses. Cannabinol is being studied for its ability to slow the spread of cancer cells. The cannabinoid also boasts powerful anti-convulsant capabilities, and other studies have shown it can help to treat glaucoma as well.
Anti-Inflammatory and Antibiotic Capabilities
CBN has anti-inflammatory capabilities that can potentially treat inflammatory disease. In addition, research shows cannabinol is equipped to fight bacteria. One study even found cannabinoids like CBN can treat MSRA, a bacterial infection resistant to antibiotics.
How Does CBN Work Inside the Body?
The majority of cannabinoids—including CBN—chemically bind with cannabinoid receptors in the body. These are found in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a network that helps to regulate physiological functions and mood.
From the body’s immune response, to sleep and appetite, the effects of CBN are truly expansive. This is where the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 come in. These receptors can either strongly or weakly bind with different cannabinoids, exerting a range of potential effects.
Like its parent molecule THC, CBN is better-equipped to bind with the CB2 receptor than the CB1 receptor. Cannabinol can also slow or prevent the production of neuronal-signaling enzymes, thereby reinforcing its pain-relieving effects.
We don’t know about you, but this sounds pretty good to us.
The Verdict on Cannabinol
Helping to induce and maintain sleep is one of the most popular effects of CBN, but in small doses it's also been shown to promote relaxation.
Research, however, continues to explore other potential applications—cementing cannabinol’s reputation as a safe and modern medical cannabis product.
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