For many of us, the best-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. However, neither of these were actually the first cannabinoid identified by scientists. That distinction belongs to CBN cannabinol.
All the way back in 1899, a paper was submitted by Thomas Wood, W.T. Spivey, and Dr. Thomas Easterfield describing their discovery of the compound. As such, CBN could be considered the start of serious research into cannabinoids and their medicinal effects.
Unfortunately, in the century of cannabis research that has followed its discovery, CBN hasn’t gotten as much attention as THC and CBD. As a result, there’s still a lot to learn. However, upon examining the tantalizing results of the studies that have been conducted, it’s clear that CBN may yet have enormous unlockable potential.
What is CBN?
CBN is the abbreviation used for Cannabinol. It is a naturally occurring component of the cannabis plant. Moreover, the plant ages and the THC breaks down to produce CBN. Other decomposition processes, including oxidation and heat exposure, will also convert THC to CBN.
What Effects Does CBN Cannabinol Have?
Is it Psychoactive?
Reports vary regarding whether or not CBN is psychoactive. According to Psychology Today, some research says it is entirely non-psychoactive. While other research indicates mild psychoactive effects. Nevertheless, individuals have reported little to no psychoactive effect from ingesting CBN.
As a Sedative
CBN has shown promise in some studies as a sedative. There are also many anecdotal accounts of individuals who have found insomnia relief through it. However, further research is needed to confirm or deny this effect.
It is possible that to achieve sedation, CBN needs to be combined with other cannabinoids. For example, sesquiterpenoids have been shown to produce a drowsy effect, which may be amplified in combination with CBN.
As an Anti-Inflammatory
There are a few different ways that CBN has been shown to work as an anti-inflammatory. One is through the topical application of CBN to treat psoriasis.
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease, characterized by the over-production of a type of skin cells called keratinocytes. Whereas, CBN has been shown to effectively inhibit the proliferation of these keratinocytes.
Other studies have shown that CBN may be effective in reducing arthritis pain. Once again, this comes down to the apparent anti-inflammatory properties that cannabinoids possess.
As an Antibiotic
Alongside the cannabinoids CBD, CBC, CBG, and THC, research has indicated CBN has strong antibacterial properties. An article published by The American Chemical Society in 2008 reported that these cannabinoids were highly active against a strain of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria.
As a Treatment for Cancer
Perhaps the most exciting application being explored for cannabinoids is as a cancer treatment. Some cannabinoids, including CBN, may be able to suppress cell signals and reduce cell proliferation and viability in certain types of cancerous tumors.
While this research is ongoing, the effectiveness of cannabinoids in fighting tumors appears to be heavily dependent on the type of cancer. Furthermore, some cancers that seem to respond positively to cannabinoids include lung carcinomas, gliomas, lymphomas, and skin carcinomas.
The Future of CBN
CBN Cannabinol has already been shown to exhibit a wide range of beneficial effects. In the future, research will no doubt continue to reveal more exciting applications for this naturally occurring cannabinoid.