Chances are, you have heard of cannabidiol (CBD), one of the naturally occurring active compounds (called cannabinoids) found in cannabis and hemp. But, have you heard of CBN?
Although its name bears a close resemblance to CBD, cannabinol (CBN) offers distinctive effects and benefits that set it apart from both THC and CBD. CBN is obtained by oxidizing THC, the main cannabidiol found in the cannabis plant. Unlike CBD, which is not considered psychoactive and does not cause a mile-altering “high,” CBN is considered to be mildly psychoactive and produces a sedative effect.
In terms of chemical composition, CBN is similar to THC. Both THC and CBN bind to CB2 receptors; in addition, THC has a higher affinity for the CB1 receptor than CBN. CBN also acts as an agonist to the TRPV2 receptors, affecting several biological systems in the human body, and therefore, potentially having useful applications in reducing pain and inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and treating skin conditions. However, currently, CBN is receiving a lot of attention due to its potential benefits and applications in treating sleep disorders. Since many prescription sleep medications cause undesirable side effects and even dependence, there is a need for finding effective and natural solutions for treating sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
Although research surrounding CBN is still new, scientific evidence already shows that synthetic derivatives of CBN have the potential to increase the duration of sleep. In addition, it seems that the sedative effects of CBN are particularly increased when paired with THC. In addition, CBN has some pain-relieving effects, and also can potentially delay progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Another study shows that CBN may act as an antibiotic and have potential applications in treating antibiotic-resistant infections.
According to Dr. Niket Sonpal, a New York-based gastroenterologist and professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, “CBN works by interacting with the body’s natural endocannabinoid receptor system, which influences our intrinsic hormones and neurotransmitters.” In his interview with Bustle, Dr. Sonpal said, “This then translates into changes of mood, energy, appetite, modulation of pain, and even sleep.”
Since the field of CBN research is relatively new, its health benefits and therapeutic applications are still being researched. Undoubtedly, the development of CBN-containing products and supplements will follow, including oils, edibles, and tinctures. It is also important to note that CBN may act differently in different individuals, and it is important to consult your health practitioner before trying any CBN-containing supplements.