Cannabinol, or CBN, is a mildly psychoactive component found in cannabis which, like strongly psychoactive THC, is derived from tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A). CBN is created when THC-A oxidizes.
CBN can be used effectively as a sleep aid or sedative. This cannabinoid has also been shown to help regulate the immune system and works to relieve the pain and inflammation caused by several conditions, including arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Studies show that it can be used to reduce the intraocular eye pressure caused by glaucoma. CBN acts as an anticonvulsant, so it is also beneficial to patients suffering from seizure disorders including epilepsy.
CBN is a cannabis-derived compound that may help sleep, along with other benefits for health and treatment for illness and disease.
CBD (cannabidiol) and TCH (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the best known and most well studied of the cannabinoids. But CBN was actually the first cannabinoid to be identified by scientists.
CBN occurs naturally in the cannabis plant as the plant ages. That’s because over time–and when heated or exposed to oxygen–the cannabinoid TCH converts to CBN. CBN can also be produced from THC that’s extracted from cannabis.
Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects. There is no “high” or any other mind-altering effect from CBD. On the contrary: CBD on its own has calming effects. Research says CBN has very mild psychoactive effects. CBN appears to have potentially powerful sedative effects (more on that in a moment) which might explain at least in part the questions about its psychoactive properties.
CBN as a sedative. There are indications that CBN is a powerful sedative. Research in mice has shown that CBN can prolong sleep time.
CBN as a pain reliever. Research indicates that CBN has analgesic or pain-relieving capabilities in the body. CBN appears to influence the activity of neurons that are sensitive to capsaicin. (Capsaicin, you might know, is found in chili peppers, and an ingredient added to many topical pain relievers.) These capsaicin-sensitive nerves are important to the body’s pain signaling and perception.
CBN as an antibiotic. Research shows CBN has the ability to fight bacteria. A 2008 study found CBN one of several cannabinoids (including CBD) effective in treating MRSA, a bacterial infection that is resistant to antibiotics.
CBN as an anti-inflammatory. Like CBD, CBN appears to have anti-inflammatory capabilities. Scientists working to better understand how the human endocannabinoid system affects the immune system. Cannabinoids, including CBN, are being examined for their possible therapeutic role in treating inflammatory disease.