Today, we will discuss a lesser-known minor cannabinoid in the marijuana plant: cannabinol (CBN). We will learn the unique characteristics and the health benefits of CBN for various conditions.
Two main cannabinoids dominate the world of cannabis – CBD and THC. Everywhere you look – magazines, health websites, products – CBD and THC are the talk of the town.
These compounds do have medicinal and recreational properties, but they do not singlehandedly account for your health and wellbeing.
However, let’s first find out what is CBN and why it’s different from other popular cannabinoids.
What is CBN (Cannabinol)?
We get CBN from THC oxidation and decomposition. In simple terms, when you heat THC in the presence of oxygen, it breaks down and converts into CBN.
That is why older or aging cannabis plants contain greater amounts of CBN.
Although being mildly psychoactive, CBN produces a much lesser high than THC but is slightly more intoxicating than CBD.
What is the difference between CBD and CBN?
It’s important to understand the differences between CBD and CBN if you want to use them for managing health problems.
First off, CBD and CBN are entirely different molecules.
In terms of production, CBD is generally the second most abundant cannabinoid that the cannabis plant produces. Cannabis growers also breed different strains to produce CBD-rich varieties. However, they cannot directly manipulate CBN quantity since it produces naturally in the plant after THC breakdown.
As far as research goes, it is in the early stages for both cannabinoids. However, significant research is available on CBD making it a highly popular choice for wellness products.
Lastly, the FDA has approved a CBD-based medicine to manage seizures and two rare types of epilepsy. However, no such CBN-based product is currently available.
The Prospective Health Benefits of CBN
Despite limited scientific studies, CBN shows significant potential in managing various health conditions. Let’s look into what the existing research says.
Studies show that CBN has the potential to act as an antibacterial agent.
Scientists tested CBN against strains of MRSA bacteria (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus that causes many infections in humans) that resist conventional antibiotics. Results showed CBN to be effective against the resistant strains.
These positive findings indicate that perhaps future medicinal interventions for such infections may include CBN along with the traditional use of antibiotics.
In a mouse study where scientists used CBN for managing ALS. ALS, short for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects the brain and spinal cord and causes loss of muscle control.
Results demonstrated that CBN delayed the onset of the condition. However, this claim still needs validation in human studies, but the findings are promising. CBN might serve as a potential tool for managing ALS and possibly similar neurodegenerative conditions in the future.
CBN might also hold potential in helping individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
In another rodent study, CBN effectively helped manage symptoms of arthritis. These findings highlight the incredible potential CBN holds to help people suffering from debilitating conditions.
CBN can act as an appetite enhancer as well. In a study, rodents given CBN showed better food intake, meaning that this cannabinoid possesses effective appetite stimulant properties.
THC is also a well-known appetite stimulant but it produces intoxicating effects. CBN could serve as a safer non-intoxicating alternative for individuals:
- Seeking to increase their appetite without becoming high
- Struggling with eating disorders
- Ocular Health
CBN can also be beneficial for managing glaucoma.
A rabbit study showed that CBN and THC helped to reduce intraocular pressure which is the greatest risk factor for glaucoma.
Even though research is still in infancy, CBN could serve as a superior adjunct to existing glaucoma medications.
Potential Side Effects
Currently, there are no reported side effects of CBN.
However, this doesn’t mean none exists. It simply means that there are not many detailed studies on CBN, particularly on human subjects. Nonetheless, the future holds greater discoveries.
Although CBD and THC can also have certain side effects it doesn’t mean that consuming them is harmful or bad. It simply highlights the importance of educating yourself about these cannabinoids before using them.
As mentioned, we need more research to fully understand and discover the true potential benefits of CBN.
However, the currently available research highlights its great health benefits. Therefore, we can safely say that we will hear a lot more from the world of CBN in the future.
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