CBN may be useful as an antibacterial, appetite stimulating, neuroprotectant, sleep aid, and more.
There are one hundred and thirteen known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, but most people can only name two. While THC and CBD dominate, a potent minor cannabinoid named CBN (Cannabinol) has many potent medicinal effects. CBN cannabis oil may just be the next big thing in cannabis circles.
What is CBN Cannabis Oil?
CBN is present in very small quantities in the cannabis plant. It doesn’t form during natural plant processes like other cannabinoids, but rather it forms after the harvesting of cannabis buds via the degradation of THC.
The process commences when THCA — the acid form of THC — begins to slowly oxidize after harvesting. During this degradation process, it loses four hydrogen atoms and becomes CBNa. With continued aging, the release of carbon dioxide occurs and it finally converts to CBN.
CBN cannabis oil forms when CBN extracts from the cannabis plant infuse with a carrier oil. Like THC, CBN is also fat-soluble, so infusing with fatty acids is a must to maximize bioavailability. Coconut oil, MCT oil, and butter are the most commonly used mediums.
Is CBN Intoxicating?
As with many of the minor cannabinoids, the science isn’t yet clear. What is clear though is that CBN does not exhibit anywhere near the same levels of intoxication as its not-so-distant cousin THC.
Studies are divided though on the extent to which CBN is intoxicating. A Brazilian study, published in Pharmacology (1975), focused on the effects of CBN in men and suggests that it enhances the effects of THC. But, when consumed alone, no measurable intoxicating effects occurred. Conversely, a separate study published in Life Sciences (1985) found the compound to exhibit mildly intoxicating effects.
For now, it seems that any intoxicating effects of CBN are much more keenly felt when the potent synergies with THC play out. When it comes to CBN cannabis oil, it seems that patients can safely consume it to treat a range of conditions without fear of intoxication.
The Applications of CBN Cannabis Oil
CBN as a Nueroprotectant
A rodent study by World Federation of Neurology Research Group on Motor Neuron Diseases (2005) found CBN to be beneficial in delaying the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This is a rare neurological disease that involves the neurons responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement. Researchers found that the application of CBN over a twelve week period “significantly delays disease onset.”
The Antibacterial Properties of CBN
One area where CBN shows significant promise is in combating the problem of antibiotic resistance. An Italian study — published in the Journal of Natural Products (2008) — suggested that CBN alongside other cannabinoids displayed “potent activity against a variety of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains of current clinical relevance.”
In what may become a major issue facing humankind in the future, the antibacterial benefits of CBN may well come to the fore.
Appetite Stimulation Minus the Intoxication
While appetite stimulation is one of the medicinal benefits offered by THC, the associated downside for many patients is intoxication. CBN may be the very solution that many patients are looking for. A study — published by Psychopharmacology (2012) — put forward the idea of CBN being a viable replacement for THC as an appetite stimulant. Researchers in the rat study noted the induction of increased feeding without the associated intoxication of THC.
Pain and Inflammation
A study published in Faseb Journal (2012) investigated new potential treatments of diseases characterized by acute and chronic inflammation and fibrosis. After investigating a host of cannabinoids during the study, evidence suggests CBN was able to reduce collagen-induced arthritis. Researchers believe that CBN’s mechanism of action is in altering the perception of pain signals in the brain.
Does CBN Benefit Sleep?
CBN has links to improving sleep, but there is more to this theory than meets the eye. In the early days of cannabis research, many growers harvested their plants as the trichomes turned amber. It was thought that the higher levels of THC would eventually convert to CBN and impart the sedative effects.
While the aforementioned research does attribute CBN to increasing drowsiness when used in conjunction with THC, it’s not clear that CBN alone helps to induce slumber.
Well respected cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo attributes the sedating effects in such instances to the evaporation of certain terpenes. In aged cannabis, the issue of degradation also extends to terpenes, not just the degradation of THC to CBN.
Where to Find CBN
CBN exists in aged cannabis flower, but that’s not the ideal source. While it may be richer in CBN, aged cannabis is also devoid of other useful compounds, most notably terpenes.
A better alternative is to source some CBN cannabis oil. Many manufacturers have produced CBN cannabis oils and forms of edibles which are available for purchase in dispensaries.
Like most minor cannabinoids, human research on CBN is still lacking in comparison to THC or CBD. While benefits do seem to exist, many find that the best way of consuming CBN is to experiment with doses and combinations. From what we know so far, CBN exhibits some potent synergies with THC as well as being a useful medicine in treating certain conditions alone.