Know Your Cannabinoids: What is CBN?
- Posted by vds-seo
- On April 15, 2021
- 0 Comments
In this post, you’ll learn:
- There are over 100 known cannabinoids, of which THC and CBD are the most common.
- CBN is a natural cannabinoid that’s created when THC is broken down by light or heat, and it is more common in older cannabis.
- More research is needed to demonstrate the effects of consuming CBN. Still, the current state of research shows that it may play a key role in reducing pain, fighting bacterial infections, and delaying the development of glaucoma.
At the microscopic level, cannabis is teaming with naturally occurring chemical compounds. You’re probably familiar with two of the most common ones: THC and CBD. What you may not be aware of, though, is there are hundreds of other cannabinoids. While there’s a significant lack of depth in the research into these other compounds, they still are worthy of mention.
CBN is such a cannabinoid. The current state of scientific inquiry shows there are some potentially positive effects of using CBN. With so much still to explore with this cannabinoid, it’s important to know how it compares to its more common cousins and how its use may help people.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds given off by cannabis flowers. When cannabinoids interact with the body, they create the effects people often associate with cannabis use.
This interaction occurs through the body’s endocannabinoid system. Our body naturally produces endocannabinoids, which cannabinoids resemble molecularly and mimic in behavior. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is fairly recent. Yet, this bodily system appears to play a key role in regulating the body.
When cannabinoids enter your system, they bind to one of two main receptors: CB-1 and CB-2. CB-1 affects our brain, while CB-2 affects our brain. This may be why THC, which tends to bind with CB-1, has more of a psychoactive effect than CBD, which binds with CB-2.
THC is probably the most famous and common cannabinoid. It’s responsible for providing a sense of euphoria that occurs when you consume cannabis.
When you purchase cannabis products, you have probably noticed that they contain a THC percentage label on their packaging. This number indicates the concentration of THC on that specific product. Cannabis flower can range anywhere from low single digits to 30% or even higher. Concentrates, though, have THC levels that can reach into the low to mid-90s.
THC is used for both recreational and medical purposes. However, not all states have decriminalized or legalized consuming THC-containing products for the sake of recreation.
The other common cannabinoid is CBD. CBD is an increasingly popular addition to creams, oils, and gummies. While research still needs to be conducted to fully demonstrate its benefits, many people take CBD-infused products to help with anxiety, depression, and pain relief. The only FDA-approved product containing CBD, Epidiolex, helps treat epilepsy and seizures.
However, research continues to look into CBD’s potential efficacy in treating a wide range of syndromes from Alzheimer’s to multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. A recent review of studies also found that CBD may play role in reducing the growth and spread of tumors in patients with pancreatic cancer.
Unlike THC, CBD does not provide a sense of euphoria or otherwise feelings of being “high.” This is part of the reason that researchers have focused on CBD as a potential treatment.
According to the National Institute of Health, over 100 cannabinoids have been identified in addition to THC and CBD. Beyond the common examples, several cannabinoids are often found in measurable amounts in cannabis:
- CBCV: Cannabichromeravin
- CBDV: Cannabidivarin
- CBC: Cannabichromene
- CBG: Cannabigerol
- CBGV: Cannabigerivarin
- THCV: Tetrahyrdocannabivarin
Currently, THC is the only known cannabinoid to have intoxicating effects when consumed. However, the addition of these cannabinoids can change how the body absorbs THC. Again, more research is needed to properly demonstrate how these cannabinoids interact with the body.
What is CBN?
You may notice that CBN is not listed above. That’s because the cannabis plant doesn’t create CBN in the same way THC or CBD is. CBN is created when light and heat cause THC to break down. Old cannabis, cannabis exposed to light, and cannabis left unrefrigerated will usually have higher CBN concentrations than fresh cannabis.
So, genetics play an indirect role in the creation of CBN. Cannabis plants can be hybridized or cultivated to increase the concentration of THC for specific strains. However, it’s the process of THC breaking down that will determine the levels of CBN within a strain. As age helps, in part, with the conversion of THC to CBN, there can be different levels of the latter cannabinoid even in cannabis flower cultivated from genetically identical strains.
What Does CBN Do?
Research into CBN dates back to at least 1975, when a small-sample study showed that it worked like a sedative. A more recent study found that consuming cannabis that contained THC and CBN was more likely to induce these sedative effects. There appears to be some disagreement in the scientific community as to whether CBN creates an intoxicating effect, as the cannabinoid does bind with the CB-1 receptor of the brain. However, it does so at about one-tenth the strength as THC’s interaction.
The history of research into CBN may date back several decades, but the research is not especially deep. So, it’s important to note that any potential benefits have not been demonstrably proven, and using CBN for medical purposes has not received the approval of the FDA.
The research that does exist, though, demonstrates some points in favor of CBN’s efficacy. For instance, studies show that CBN may act as an antibacterial agent even against resistant bacteria.
A study conducted on rodents found that CBN was able to delay the onset of ALS. Another found that CBN helped stimulate appetites in rodents, too. A third rodent study found that CBN may have some efficacy as an anti-inflammatory agent. This means that CBN could have a role in reducing pain.
CBN was also shown to reduce intraocular pressure in rabbits. Intraocular pressure often leads to glaucoma, meaning this cannabinoid may help delay the onset of glaucoma’s development or serve as a treatment.
Potential Side Effects
Currently, there are no known harmful side effects of CBN. That may sound like good news, but it’s more of a sign that more research is needed to better understand how CBN interacts with the body. Both THC and CBD are known to offer consumers side effects that range from paranoia to nausea. So, it’s likely that as research continues, potential side effects of consuming CBN will be discovered.
Medical and Recreational Cannabis in Colorado
Options Medical Center operates cannabis dispensaries in Wheat Ridge and Boulder, Colorado. Our menu contains the highest quality cannabis products due to our long-lasting relationships with growers and producers throughout the state. Browse our online menu today or stop by our dispensary to see what we have to offer.
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