Due to its recent explosion in popularity, you’ve probably head of CBD. Maybe you’ve overheard positive reports from users and are curious about its effects. But, do you know about CBN? As you can probably guess, CBN is very similar to CBD. The two substances, both derived from cannabis and hemp plants, share some similar properties, but are pretty different when it comes to how they interact with the body. Here’s everything you need to know about CBN.
What are CBD and THC?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp plants. It’s non-psychoactive and won’t cause a high feeling. Instead, users have reported feelings of relaxation and calm, reduced anxiety, improved sleep, and even lessened sensations of pain. THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive compound that gives users of marijuana that high sensation. Different cannabis strains have different levels of each compound. Some cannabis strains are bred to be higher in THC, while others are bred for their high CBD content.
Both THC and CBD work by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, but do so in different ways. THC binds directly to the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system and activates them. The result is a more intense effect, including intoxicating effects. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t bind to the receptors. Instead, it activates the chemicals your body already produces to stimulate those receptors and enhances their effects on the body. The resulting effect of CBD is less intense on the body than that of THC.
What is CBN?
CBN is short for cannabinol. CBN is produced very differently from CBD and THC. It’s actually an oxidation product of THC. In other words, THC turns into CBN when exposed to heat and light. Unlike THC and CBD, levels of CBN aren’t controlled by the genetics of cannabis plants. Instead, the level of CBN in cannabis is based on the amount of heat and light it has been exposed to, and how old it is. Old cannabis or extracts that have been left unrefrigerated or out in the light will have higher levels of CBN.
Similar to THC, CBN binds to your body’s CB1 receptors. However, it only does so with about one-tenth the strength of THC. Therefore, it does not seem to produce an intoxicating or psychoactive effect. However, more research is needed in this area. In fact, more research is needed in all things CBN, because, up until recently, the compound has been relatively overlooked.
What are the Potential Benefits of CBN?
Current research on CBN is very limited. There have only been a very few studies on its effects in the human body. Here’s are some potential benefits we know so far:
- A 2008 study tested CBN on strains of antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria. Researchers found it showed potent activity against these specific strains. Of course, more research in this area must be performed, but it holds potential in fighting bacterial infections that are resistant to our current antibiotics.
- Researchers in a 2005 study injected rodents with CBN as a treatment for ALS and found that it delayed the onset of the condition. Researchers concluded that CBN may be a powerful tool to help provide patients with relief from symptoms of the disease.
- Appetite Stimulant. In a 2012 study on rodent studies, CBN was shown to increase the amount of food that rats ate, suggesting that it could be an effective appetite stimulant. Interestingly, CBD was shown to decrease the amount the rats ate over the same time period.
- Anti-Inflammatory. A 2016 study compared the way cannabinoids relieve pain as compared to nonsteroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). CBN was shown to reduce symptoms of arthritis among participants. Though more research needs to be completed, the chemical shows promise as a potential anti-inflammatory agent.
How Are CBD and CBN Alike and How Do They Differ?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are two different substances with two separate methods of production. CBD is a cannabinoid that’s present in cannabis and hemp plants. CBN is a byproduct of heating and exposing THC to light. It’s actually a byproduct of THC degrading or oxidizing.
However, they’re more similar than meets the eye. Neither chemical produces an intoxicating high on its own. They both provide promising health benefits without the “high” that THC produces. More research needs to be done on both substances to find out how they interact with the human body and to follow up on the preliminary studies that have been done.