CBN or "cannabinol" is produced when THC is heated or exposed to oxygen. This process of oxidisation converts THC into CBN. That is why CBN can also be more present in aged or badly stored cannabis, as it has been more exposed to oxygen.

Many people consider the presence of CBN to be bad as there is less THC present, but all it means is a slightly different phytochemical profile has been created, altering the therapeutic properties of the bud.



Although it does not bind as well to cannabinoid receptors, CBN is actually known to generate powerful sedative effects, especially if combined with THC. This is actually one of the most obvious effects of CBN and research has shown that 5mg of the stuff is as effective as 10mg of diazepam and other similar pharmaceutical sedatives. It is often thought that CBN contributes to the drowsy and sleep-inducing effects of indica strains as they tend to have higher concentrations of this cannabinoid.

While it has the properties of a sedative, CBN is not psychoactive, and therefore it could actually be a useful way to medicate without getting high. That being said, the content of CBN in any bud is very tiny and seldom passes the 1% mark in cured bud, although only tiny doses are required for it to affect the body.

Studies have shown that CBN could contribute to stimulating bone tissue growth by causing an indirect recruitment of mesenchymal stem cells from surrounding bone marrow. Commonly known for their ability to transform into blood cells, these stem cells are also able to turn into bone and other tissues. Potentially making it useful in healing fractures.

Another effect, almost the opposite of being able to generate bone tissue, is the ability of CBN to ease the overgrowth of skin cells. While seemingly unimportant, in patients with psoriasis (a condition where skin regeneration happens 3-4 times faster than normal due to inflammation) this could be useful in helping to regulate the body's production of skin cells. CBN also showed potential in treating psoriasis when applied as a topical, which according to a 2008 study[1], could also be effective way of treating MRSA and burns.

As with CBD, CBN is an anti-inflammatory, but it also has pain relief properties which could help to treat burns by acting on TRPV2 receptors (also known as high-threshold thermo-sensors). Although trials are yet to come, the combination of CBN and CBD could be an efficient way in treating burns victims both in pain relief and as an anti-inflammatory.



As a unique cannabinoid, CBN potentially has a variety of effects on the body that we could benefit from, such as antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, pain relief, anti-insomnia and anti-convulsive effects, act as an appetite stimulant, and as a promoter of bone cell growth. Although it seems to work best symbiotically with CBD and THC, its uses are well worth looking into.

So there we have it, another cannabinoid with a unique wealth of goodness to offer to for a variety of medical patients. As researchers are able to study CBN in more depth and certainly as attitudes towards cannabis are changed, we are sure that consumers will be able to find more and more CBN infused products that we can enjoy and benefit from such as topicals and ointments, edibles, oils and capsules. Meanwhile, don't forget about that old bit of bud you have lying around: it might be useful!


External Resources:
  1. Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. - PubMed - NCBI
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