Most people have heard of THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid, and CBD, the wildly popular non-intoxicating compound. But there are numerous other lesser-known cannabinoids that also hold great potential.
One of these is CBN or cannabinol. CBN has been gaining increased interest lately for its sedative and relaxing properties. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what CBN is and how it can improve health and well-being.
What is CBN?
CBN, or cannabinol, is a mildly intoxicating cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It is produced when THC, the psychoactive compound most associated with the cannabis “high”, oxidizes and breaks down over time. THC converts to CBN through heat, light exposure, and aging.
Fresh cannabis plants contain very little CBN. Older, degraded cannabis material contains higher levels as the THC transforms into CBN. Commercially available CBN is typically synthesized from CBD, rather than extracting it directly from aged cannabis.
So, in summary, what is CBN? It is a cannabinoid derived from degraded THC that provides potential therapeutic effects, most notably sedation. Now let’s explore those effects in more detail.
CBN as a powerful sedative and sleep aid
The most touted benefit of CBN is its potent sedative quality. Research indicates CBN may be one of the most sedating cannabinoids identified thus far.
What is CBN good for then? First and foremost, improving sleep. Insomnia and other sleep disorders affect millions. Pharmaceutical sedatives carry risks and can impair functioning the next day. CBN offers a natural alternative.
Studies on mice found CBN extended sleep duration. Small human trials also report solid anecdotal evidence of CBN’s sleep-enhancing qualities. Many describe CBN as creating a calm relaxation ideal for sleep onset.
Using CBN isolates or combining CBN with other sedating compounds like terpenes myrcene or linalool can maximize these deep relaxation benefits. Those struggling with sleep issues may find the sedative properties of CBN helpful for getting better rest.
CBN as an appetite stimulant
What does CBN do in terms of appetite? Research indicates CBN stimulates hunger, working as an appetite enhancer, especially in combination with THC.
One study found that aged cannabis with higher CBN content increased food intake in rats more than pure THC alone. The combination created an entourage effect that amplified appetite stimulation.
For those looking to increase appetite, particularly patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, or eating disorders, CBN could provide an all-natural hunger boost. CBN’s ability to enhance appetite shows therapeutic potential.
CBN for pain relief and anti-inflammation
What are CBN effects when it comes to pain, inflammation, and cramping? Studies indicate that CBN has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, though less potent than THC and CBD.
Limited evidence suggests CBN may help relieve pain from conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and nerve damage. One study in rats found a CBN vapor spray reduced pain responses. Topical CBN applications may also decrease localized pain and muscle cramping.
While not as powerful as other cannabinoids for pain, CBN does offer ancillary analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits, especially when combined in entourage formulations. For those suffering from painful health conditions, CBN can provide additional relief and enhanced sleep for recovery.
CBN’s neuroprotective antioxidant effects
In studying what CBN is, researchers have uncovered its promising antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. Oxidative stress from too many free radicals in the body contributes to aging and disease.
Studies have found CBN scavenges excess free radicals, reduces lipid peroxidation, and activates antioxidant pathways in cells. These effects protect neurons in the brain from toxicity and degradation.
Through its neuroprotective antioxidant activities, CBN may play a role in treating conditions involving oxidative damage like neurodegenerative disease, nerve damage, and stroke recovery. More research is still needed, but the implications are exciting.
Anti-nausea and increased appetite in cancer/HIV patients
Nausea and appetite loss are common side effects of chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS medications. What does CBN help with in these patients? Evidence indicates CBN may work as an antiemetic to control nausea, while also improving appetite.
One study of THC and CBN combinations found promising effects on reducing vomiting caused by chemotherapy drugs. CBN also stimulates hunger signals which could counteract insufficient eating in those with HIV or cancer.
While not definitive yet, initial research suggests CBN may provide a natural alternative for increasing appetite and controlling nausea in those undergoing chemo or taking antiviral medications. A powerful benefit for seriously ill patients.
Antibacterial effects against MRSA
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a dangerous bacterial infection and a growing health threat as resistance increases to antibiotic drugs. Early studies reveal CBN may help combat this issue.
Several tests have found CBN exhibits antibacterial qualities against MRSA, preventing growth and infection. In one study, CBN was effective against MRSA at lower concentrations than common antibiotics like chloramphenicol.
While more research is still essential, CBN demonstrates promising antibacterial activity, especially against drug-resistant superbugs like MRSA where traditional antibiotics are failing. This unique therapeutic value makes CBN’s medical potential extremely valuable.
Anti-convulsant effects like CBD
Evidence suggests CBN may also function as an anticonvulsant or anti-seizure agent comparable to levels of CBD. Research has uncovered how CBN reduces seizure duration in mice and displays anti-convulsant mechanisms.
Studies indicate the combination of CBN and CBD extends the anticonvulsant benefits more powerfully than either cannabinoid alone. This highlights how CBN nicely complements other cannabis compounds through the entourage effect.
Those taking CBD oil to reduce seizures may find that adding CBN can boost effectiveness, allowing lower CBD doses to achieve the same benefits. For reducing convulsions and muscle spasms, CBN should not be overlooked.
Enhanced THC effects with CBN combinations
While CBN is generally non-intoxicating alone, full-spectrum cannabis extractions contain optimal combinations of both THC and CBN. How does CBN interact with THC? Research shows CBN may amplify certain effects of THC.
In studying what is CBN cannabis, scientists found CBN increased intoxication from THC when the two were combined, particularly in terms of drowsiness. CBN also enhanced THC’s ability to stimulate appetite and worked alongside THC to provide analgesic effects.
When creating cannabis products for relaxation, appetite boosting, or pain relief, combining THC, CBN and other synergistic compounds like terpenes leverages these entourage benefits most powerfully.
CBN dosage and usage guidelines
Hopefully, this gives you a good overview of what is CBN and its many intriguing therapeutic potentials. But how much CBN should you take and what’s the best way to use it? Here are some dosage and usage tips:
- Oral tinctures/oils (1-10mg)
- Vaping/smoking flowers with CBN (2-8% by dry weight)
- Transdermal topicals with CBN (0.5-3% concentration)
- Edibles like gummies or capsules (2-10mg per serving)
- Start low and increase slowly to find the optimal dose
- Take 30-60 minutes before bedtime for sleep
- Pair with CBD, THC, and terpenes for the entourage effect
The most common CBN dosage range is between 2-10mg and it is not recommended to exceed 10mg until more studies guide higher doses. CBN pairs best with other cannabis compounds.
CBN: An exciting new (old) cannabinoid
Even though CBN was one of the earliest cannabinoids discovered, it has taken a backseat to THC and CBD over the years. But research is now revealing how this old cannabinoid has some exciting new potential yet to be unlocked.
In summary, what is CBN? CBN is a mildly intoxicating compound produced when THC degrades over time. It provides potent sedative qualities that make it a standout choice for sleep issues. But beyond that, CBN also offers pain relief, neuroprotection, antibacterial effects, and anti-convulsant benefits.
The more we learn about this lesser-known cannabinoid, the more versatile medical applications it seems to possess, especially when combined synergistically with other cannabis compounds. CBN deserves a place next to CBD and THC as a therapeutic compound to enhance health and well-being.
So don’t underestimate the power of CBN! With proper education on what is CBN and how to use it with proper dosing, this cannabinoid offers a wealth of possibilities for improving natural health through the amazing entourage of cannabis compounds.