If you have been following along, you know we’ve been stepping up our cannabis education game, just in time for 420. For some of us, school has been out of session for years, but who can ever know enough about weed?
Cannabis produces minor cannabinoids that are definitely worth learning more about. These medicinal compounds are unique to cannabis, and can be vary widely in terms of their effects and medicinal benefits. So, if you want to know how your cannabis will affect you this 420, learning about the different cannabinoids is the first step. Today, we’re diving into Cannabinol, better known as CBN, which is thought to be a sedative cannabinoid, but is it really? CBN is a compound that is created when THC ages, which means that it’s usually present in high amounts in older cannabis. This might be a turn-off for some, but others actually seek out older cannabis just to enjoy the effects of CBN. It isn’t particularly plentiful in fresh or cured cannabis, but it can often be found in older cannabis, particularly cannabis that has been exposed to a lot of oxygen. CBN is actually created from THC when it is exposed to oxygen over time. Not surprisingly, some people seek out older oxidized strains of cannabis for this very reason.
By now you may be thinking, what’s up with the sedative thing? Cannabinol has developed a reputation as a sedative cannabinoid. However, if you’ve read about CBN before, you were probably surprised that you didn’t see “insomnia”, on the list of medical benefits. That’s because reputations aren’t always what they seem. So even though CBN is often praised as a super-sedative, but there’s more to the story. Back in the 1970s, science took a cursory glance to answer this question. The human study was small, and none of the respondents reported that CBN made them feel sleepy.
So why does everyone say that it works as a sedative? Firstly, people noticed that older cannabis, which is high in CBN, makes them sleepy. Thus began the relationship assumed it must be the CBN. In actuality, it may be that CBN and THC work together to cause the sedative effect. In the same study that found CBN didn’t make subjects sleepy, researchers tested different combinations of THC alone, CBN alone, and CBN and THC combined. While THC produced some drowsiness on its own, the combination of the two produced even higher levels of drowsiness. So those enjoying high CBN cannabis, which also contains THC, have noticed the synergistic effects and assumed the sedative effect was attributable to the CBN alone. Science hasn’t deeply explored the question of CBN’s effectiveness, but with more money pouring into research as cannabis enters various stages of legality in the US, this could change.
CBN is frequently thought of as a sedative cannabinoid, but it’s much more than that. Studies show that it has antibacterial, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been may be a potent antibacterial agent, showing effectiveness against antibiotic-resistant strains of MRSA in lab tests. In the future it might be used to fight off bacterial infections that our usual antibiotics can’t heal. It may also be a powerful neuroprotectant, since it was shown to be an effective treatment for ALS, delaying the onset of the condition. Though the study was conducted on rodents, this means it may be a powerful tool in the fight against neurodegenerative conditions. CBN is also an anti-inflammatory agent capable of helping those with rheumatoid arthritis. It’s also believed to stimulate appetite and ease symptoms related toglaucoma. While more research needs to be done, this could end up being an incredible help to those suffering from the debilitating condition.
Leaving your cannabis out in the open air might not be the most efficient way of getting CBN. Brands are beginning to offer products with isolated CBN, usually in the form of tinctures or edibles (and, ironically, marketed as sleep aids). However this 420, these pure CBN products might be a great way to test out the cannabinoid yourself and see if it’s helpful for you.