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Hemp is full of surprises. While most attention has been focused on CBD and THC, Hemp contains over a hundred cannabinoids that have not been studied properly yet.
Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring compounds found in the leaves and flowers of Hemp. CBD has attracted the most attention because it is the cannabinoid found in most abundance in Hemp—CBD accounts for approximately 20% of the Hemp flowers. Also, it is non-intoxicating, making it safe for people to take without having hallucinations or feelings of ‘high.’
Now that research is slowly expanding into the full potential of Hemp, we are looking into the other cannabinoids to determine how they can impact and improve our lives. So far, research has mainly concentrated on CBDA, CBG, CBC, CBE, and CBN.
Cannabinol (CBN) is one of the many cannabinoids found in Hemp. This article explains what CBN is and what we’ve discovered out so far about it.
What Do We Know about CBN?
CBN is the precursor of THC. This is the reason why researchers neglected it at first, for fear it would have the same hallucinogenic effects as THC. However, as studies tentatively looked into CBN, more knowledge about this cannabinoid emerged.
It turns out that CBN is mildly psychoactive, about 10% as intoxicating as THC. It appears to help with conditions such as insomnia, anti-inflammation, and pain relief.
CBN is now firmly under the radar of doctors and researchers to determine its potential as a healing tool.
What Is CBN?
CBGA is the precursor of all cannabinoids. CBN is derived from THC, which is born from CBGA.
As Hemp grows, cannabinoids grow too; sunshine, photosynthesis, and time help Hemp develop all its cannabinoids. When the plant is mature, it is time to cut the flowers and leaves to extract all the benefits of the hundreds of its cannabinoids.
THC and CBN: a Parent and Offspring Relationship
When CBGA produces the first cannabinoids, CBD and THC are among them. Most Hemp flowers are picked while fresh and blossoming, but if left uncut to oxidize under the sun and in the air, THC decomposes and slowly turns into CBN.
Freshly harvested Hemp flowers, buds, and leaves contain very little CBN. CBN can only be found in significant quantities if the flowers are left to slowly age on the Hemp plant.
However, many Hemp farmers hesitate to leave their flowers and buds to age just to produce CBN because they would lose other cannabinoids. Since there are only traces of CBN in fresh Hemp flowers, obtaining CBN can be rather tricky.
Is CBN Legal?
The law states that THC needs to be less than 0.3% for Hemp production to be legal. Since CBN is the oxidized form of THC, using industrial Hemp to produce it poses an extra hurdle. Only CBN produced from industrial Hemp is legal across all 50 states. However, while some cannabis strains have high THC content, industrial Hemp has been specifically chosen and grown for its low THC content.
Obtaining CBN from industrial Hemp, therefore, is especially difficult. Due to the low THC content, it requires huge quantities of flowers and buds. These need to be left to oxidize and age on the plant before cutting them.
Producing CBN from marijuana would be much easier, as marijuana’s content in THC typically varies between 10 and 20%. Compared to the partly 0.3% of THC found in industrial Hemp, this difference is quite significant. However, marijuana production and consumption are still illegal at the federal level and only a handful of states have legalized its use.
CBN Benefits and Uses
Now that research has determined that CBN is not particularly intoxicating, it is easier for scientists to look into its health potential.
CBN for Inflammation
Studies have shown that CBN might help with inflammation and pain relief. Inflammation is a major cause of discomfort. Arthritis, IBS, Crohn’s disease, and asthma are typical examples of auto-immune disorders that are caused by rampant inflammation in the body.
While inflammation is one of the body’s main defenses against intruders, inflammation diseases occur when parts of the body swell without a reason. The immune system attacks areas of the body such as joints in the case of arthritis or the gut in the case of Crohn’s disease. It makes them swell because it falsely thinks there is an intruder.
In such cases of “false alarm,” the inflammation causes chronic pain and significant discomfort, leading to poor quality of life.
Doctors are constantly looking for drugs, medication, and other remedies that can help with inflammation without causing serious side effects. Naturally, much research has focused on exploring the world of Hemp and its cannabinoids.
CBN against Viruses and Microbes
Hospitals and doctors increasingly come across viruses, pathogens, and microbes that have developed resistance to antibiotics. Researchers are constantly striving to find effective compounds that can help people fight infections.
Although it is not yet clear how, studies have shown that CBN could be an effective treatment for MRSA; a group of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
People catching MRSA face an uphill struggle to get rid of the bacteria. Further research is needed to understand the mechanics behind CBN’s apparent effectiveness against bacteria. Once we understand how it works, we should be able to develop specific medicines to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
CBN for Better Appetite
People enduring chemotherapy or people suffering from specific diseases often have a poor appetite. As a result, they are getting fewer nutrients in their body and can develop deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and other necessary sources of nourishment. Unfortunately, there is no way to make people eat more.
Research suggests that CBN might help people increase their appetite and enjoy larger meals. This could greatly improve their quality of life and wellbeing.
Fighting Glaucoma with CBN
Glaucoma can cause a loss of eyesight. Fluids build up in the eye and put pressure on the optic nerve, which gets damaged and cannot send the proper signals to the brain.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and possibly antioxidant properties, CBN appears to have neuro-protecting qualities that make it a potential treatment for glaucoma. If CBN manages to reduce eye pressure, the optic nerve would not get damaged and eyesight would be preserved.
Interestingly enough, CBD seems to have the opposite effect to CBN: it may increase intraocular pressure, thereby exacerbating glaucoma. Might adding CBN to CBD let glaucoma sufferers enjoy CBD’s benefits? That is something for future research to determine.
Why Is CBN Used for Sleep?
CBN has long been perceived as a helpful sleep remedy, in part because of its connection with THC. Evidence is still scarce but anecdotal evidence seems to support that view.
In studies, CBN appeared to be effective in alleviating sleeplessness and prolonging deep sleep in people. However, it was used in conjunction with THC and other cannabinoids, so it is difficult to identify the true potential of CBN on its own. As with so many things concerning Hemp Oil and cannabinoids, more research is required.
What we do know is that CBN appears to interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors: CB1 receptors are located in the brain and are involved in sleep patterns.
CBN, CBD, and Melatonin
To determine CBN’s potential against insomnia, a significant number of studies are specifically examining the interaction between CBN, CBD, and melatonin.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body. It is associated with sleeping and sleep patterns. Our body produces melatonin during the night to keep us asleep. Melatonin levels start dropping as the sun rises and it’s time to get up.
The combination of lower melatonin levels and sunlight makes us wake up and keeps us awake during the day. As the evening approaches, melatonin levels start increasing again and peak during the night.
People having trouble sleeping or complicated sleeping patterns often take extra melatonin to assist with their sleep. Frequent travelers also take melatonin to reduce the effects of jet lag.
Is CBD Good for Insomnia?
Researchers studying insomnia often examine CBN in conjunction with CBD. That’s because CBD has been advocated as a helpful sleep aid. Studies have shown that CBD may be helpful with insomnia, improving the quality of REM sleep.
One possible explanation is that CBD may alleviate feelings of anxiety. Since a major cause of sleeplessness is anxiety stopping people from having a restful night, people taking CBD might be more relaxed before bedtime, finding it easier to fall asleep.
It may, then, seem strange that CBD also appears to help people stay awake during the day. It may simply be that, when CBD keeps you awake and busy during the day, you will feel tired and ready to sleep by night. However, it may also be that CBD is biphasic: it may have one effect at a lower dose and its opposite at a high one. This shows how little we understand cannabinoids—but also how much promise they hold.
Already, there are various products in the market that combine CBD with melatonin. This combination seems to make for an effective natural sleep remedy. The theory is that CBD helps with anxiety and aspects of insomnia while melatonin assists with the circadian cycle and helps the mind rest at night and wake up during the day.
As for CBN, its potential in dealing with insomnia is still being researched. Because of CBN’s close relationship to THC, scientists have been reluctant to delve into it. Now that research has demonstrated the many potential benefits of cannabinoids, CBN is starting to get the attention it deserves.
CBN, CBD, and the Entourage Effect
Perhaps the most promising result might come from choosing products that include various cannabinoids, such as CBD and CBN, alongside terpenes and flavonoids. This is the case with Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil.
There is increasing evidence that together is better. When all the natural compounds of Hemp such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are combined, then they seem to work better and increase each other’s potential. This is called the entourage effect.
Preliminary research has confirmed so far that taking all compounds together lets them work more efficiently and have an effect that is greater than the sum of each individual compound.
Therefore, taking Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil with melatonin lets you get the most out of Hemp. Each cannabinoid will work in conjunction with the terpenes and flavonoids to provide the maximum effect.
What Are the Side Effects of CBN?
Literature does not suggest any serious side effects to CBN consumption. The most frequent side effects mentioned in studies were tiredness, dizziness, and drowsiness. Reducing the dosage seemed to help people limit the side effects.
However, cannabinoids interact with medication and drugs, because they are all broken down in the liver. CBN may interact with antibiotics, blood pressure medication, antihistamines, blood thinners, cholesterol medication, immunosuppressant drugs, and pain medication.
As with all cannabinoids, it’s best to talk with your doctor before taking CBN, especially if you’re suffering from a condition or are on any kind of medication, even the over-the-counter kind.
CBN Has Great Potential but We Still Need to Unleash It
CBN has only been studied in the last few years. Its close relationship to THC used to make scientists cautious. Now that we know that CBN doesn’t share THC’s intoxicating effects, we are starting to unlock its potential. So far, preliminary evidence suggests that CBN may help with insomnia, inflammation, loss of appetite, infections, and glaucoma.
However, we are still a long way from prescribing CBN for specific conditions. We first need to determine dosage, study CBN’s side effects, and determine how it interacts with other cannabinoids.
For example, CBD is a beneficial natural remedy for anxiety and insomnia. Does using it in combination with CBN make it more potent? Might the combination of CBD, CBN, and melatonin be the answer millions of people who can’t relax and sleep through the night are looking for? If so, then we would have a valuable natural therapy for a problem that affects one-third of the American population.
As with all things Hemp, more research is required. What we do know is that it’s an exciting time to live in!