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It’s no secret that our beloved herb holds over 100 different cannabinoids in trace amounts. Give those traces to a scientist and interesting things happen. You might be surprised to learn that CBN is the first phytocannabinoid ever to be isolated back in 1896. It was rediscovered in 1940 and erroneously classified as the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. Twenty-four years later, in 1964, Yechiel Gaoni and Raphael Mechoulam isolated THC and realized that its aged counterpart, CBN, had no psychoactive effects. This non-intoxicating compound was more than just a useless byproduct of stale weed, but a valuable cannabinoid that held many benefits.

Photo by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash

So What Exactly Is Cannabinol (CBN)?

When the cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is heated or ages, it becomes Cannabinol (CBN). The decomposition and oxidation of THC creates a chemical change, and the THC transforms. All of the psychoactive properties of THC disappear, and what we are left with is a constituent that offers incredible pain relief, exceptional sleep promotion, and even antibacterial properties.

How is CBN made?

CBN doesn’t exist on the fresh cannabis buds. The magic begins when the buds are removed. Most dried marijuana has 1% or less of CBN at first, but as it is exposed to light, heat, and air, that amount increases. A United Nations study suggests that within four years the potency of THC reduces 50%, indicating that this time period would allow a substantial transformation of THC to CBN. Some say that it only takes a few weeks exposed to the elements for CBN to gain a viable presence in someone’s stash.

The quantity of CBN in the plant material is trace amounts. It isn’t so small that you won’t feel the difference when you smoke it, but scientists won’t waste their time extracting it. Smoking stale weed isn’t exactly a sought after practice either. Aging marijuanna isn’t comparable to wine or cheese, and it’s certainly not as delicious. That’s why most companies don’t do it.

Most CBN products aren’t actually harvested or aged at all. They never grew from the earth or sat around for years in a barrel. Since naturally produced CBN is on a tiny scale, it isn’t practical for pharmaceutical use. Like CBD, CBN products use biosynthesis or chemical synthesis to reproduce the cannabinoid in a lab where it can be mass produced. These products are all over the market, but most do not contain only CBN. In order to understand why, you must know how CBN works.


Photo by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash

How CBN Works…

As a Sedative

As a sedative, CBN is a team player not a loner. Alone, the cannabinoid is lazy; it does nothing. In this study, they found that CBN needs to partner up to get you snoozing and that sidekick is THC. Together, they become a dynamic duo that packs a sedating punch, making THC solo look wimpy in comparison. If you aren’t a fan of psychoactive THC, you’re in luck. With CBD in the mix, CBN is also a winner that has been drawing the attention of medical research. Not only is it just as effective, if not more than most sedatives on the market, it also has great potential as a powerful anti-convulsive.

As a Painkiller

This study discovered that CBN releases neuropeptides from sensory nerves to relieve pain. Unlike its fellow cannabinoids, cannabinol does not work off of CB1 and CB2 receptors. When paired with others that do, the combined effect can be dramatic. The result of cannabis’s pain relief is not only analgesic but anti-inflammatory. It reaches the source of the pain and works to reduce the inflammation that causes it.

As an Appetite Stimulant

Some people like to lose weight and eat less. CBN is not for those people. Just like its predecessor THC, CBN has demonstrated the ability to whet the appetite well. A study in 2012 conducted an experiment with lab mice to prove this theory. With their research, they determined that CBD reduced hunger while CBN increased it substantially.

As a Treatment for Glaucoma

In a study done with both rats and cats, researchers found that chronic topical application of CBN made a considerable difference in animals with glaucoma. Their ocular tension lessened within the first dose and was significantly reduced after 9 days of consistent use.


Photo by Enecta on Unsplash

CBN in the Future

As studies continue to add up and create a long list of CBN benefits, we realize just how valuable cannabis is. The medicinal miracles in its arsenal include incredible feats such as building bone cells and fighting certain cancers. Yet, there are so many questions still left unanswered. Our understanding of cannabinoids only scrapes the surface! Gradually, we will learn more about the ways it can assist us on our quest for good health and Medithrive will deliver that news to you. This special component of aged cannabis proves that good things really do come to those who wait.

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