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What is CBN (Cannabinol), and How Does this Old Marvel Work?

What Is Cannabinol (CBN), and is it the Next Big Thing?

CBN cannabinol is a byproduct of aged THC that works for sleep, inflammation, and as an anti-seizure agent. It also fights harmful bacteria in some studies. Is it the next big thing in cannabis treatment? So, just what is CBN cannabinol, and how does CBN work?

We have all heard of the effects of CBD and THC. These well-known cannabis compounds get most of the attention. In this ‘Age of Weed,’ cannabis users now want to know just what is the benefit of CBN cannabinol. As it has long gone ignored, consumers are now using this THC by-product to promote health benefits. Users say it has all of the great benefits with less of the mind-bending effects. Now we can have our cake and eat it too.

The Cannabinoids

Chemists strive to isolate compounds from cannabis plant cannabinoids. The Cannabis Sativa plant and C. Indica subspecies given us over 100 distinct types. Their chemical groupings miss the mark on given them unique traits. Hence, their power to treat goes unsung. Cannabinol is one of the isolates that shows promise in healing the body and brain. We only find this ‘new’ cannabinoid in small doses until the weed ages. As the compounds grow old and oxidize, mature THC breaks down to other products. As cannabis degrades, the aged cannabis THC-A breaks down and converts to CBN-A. The further break down of CBN-A forms the end by-product CBN. Cannabinol forms slower than either CBD or THC, and in smaller amounts. In other words, as we have always known, even old weed can be an excellent weed.

How Does CBN Cannabinol Help?

It boosts the immune system and fights inflammation. There is a notable showing of pain and anti-germ properties. It helps to prevent seizures and plays a role in thermal control. As a bonus, it shows a great deal of hope as an appetite stimulant.

How Does CBN Work for Sleep and Sedation Benefits

According to the CDC, one-third of all Americans do not get enough sleep. As a result, they run higher levels of risk to get a chronic illness. These include obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. These illnesses, in turn, lead to a risk of heart disease, stroke, or mental disorders. There are many options for the sleepless, ranging from holistic to drugs. Weed users can now add another type of herb option to the list.

In the search for better sleep aids, cannabinol may help promote restful sleep. It also maintains daytime alertness. Researchers did earlier mice studies with synthetic derivatives. These studies showed the mice on cannabinol were more likely to stay asleep. Although it is a strong sedative, we lack any firm evidence for it to induce sleep. Research shows it helps people stay asleep. Combining it with other compounds like THC or CBD increases its action.

Much of the evidence we have about the use of CBN is anecdotal. Its activity is weaker than THC on the CB1 receptors. As such, we should expect sedating effects as a generous side benefit. New clinical study trials are needed to study the full effect of CBN. Of course, this will require a change in the federal legal status of weed.

While we wait for supportive trials, newer sleep aids tout the effects of cannabinol. In sleep-deprived America, many users turn to these aids as an option. It may be worth trying one of them if you are not already. Above all, if you need a good night’s sleep. Of course, talk to your doctor about your options before using it.

How Does CBN Work for Seizures?

In this disorder, the brain shows low tolerance to some abnormal stimuli. These stimuli start a seizure and with it, all the resulting problems. Clinical signs of seizures depend on the site of the epileptic discharge. Drugs that help raise the brain’s tolerance to these discharges help reduce seizures. Cannabinol is one such anti-convulsant drug.

CBD cannabinoid has strong anti-seizure effects with epilepsy treatment. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Epidiolex in 2018. This CBD derivative has treatment effects in childhood seizures. The Lennox–Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome are examples.

Comparable amounts of CBN appear less potent than CBD and THC. Despite this, it also works as an anti-seizure agent. CBN may extend seizure latency. In other words, the length of time it takes for a brain discharge to start a seizure. The anti-seizure action of CBN peaks at about 2 hours when given by mouth. Research suggests CBN may have treatment effects in many brain conditions. Parkinson's disease, catalepsy, and other illnesses may show benefit.

Anti-Inflammation & Immune Suppression

CBD and CBN both appear to fight inflammation and suppress the immune system. An anti-rejection effect blocks immune system interleukin-2 signaling. This rejection inhibits some of the immune cells and proteins in the body. CBN lowers the binding activity of some points in the immune response. This activity limits a pro-inflammation response to foreign bodies. It is a potential solution to fight certain types of cancer.

Because of its desirable traits, weed high in CBN shows promise. It may reduce long term inflammation caused by arthritis and Crohn's disease. It may help with autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis. A great deal of study points to a role for cannabinol in the treatment of inflammation. Scientists are working to understand better how the human cannabinoid system affects the immune system.


Research shows CBN can fight harmful bacteria. One study found cannabinol helpful in the treatment of MRSA infection. MRSA is a type of bacteria that resists the drugs used to treat it.

Anti-Pain Relief

Cannabinol modulates CB2 receptors to provide anti-pain properties. CB2 receptors modulate acute pain and inflammation and chronic pain. Pain that is related to muscle-spasm or surgical pain may benefit. CB2 receptors play a role in reducing cancer treatment and nerve injury. Cannabinol modulates pain signaling to relieve it. It also acts as a local pain reliever in tissue injury. This help is the key to relief from cancer and joint pain.

Another critical point is the activation of our CB2 receptors. CBN effects a separate pain pathway that THC also modulates. Like THC, cannabinol affects sensory neurons sensitive to capsaicin. This pain pathway represents another process involved in pain response. How does a good chili pepper make one feel like they are on fire? That is because they contain capsaicin, an ingredient that makes them hot. Topical medications contain capsaicin to reduce muscle and joint pain. When applied, this active ingredient triggers a sensation of heat.

Appetite Stimulation

Cannabinol has an opposite effect on CBD on appetite and eating. While higher levels of CBD can suppress appetite, CBN acts as an appetite stimulant. Evidence suggests its benefits those who have a loss of appetite with weight loss. Cancer patients treated with drugs report cannabinol helps them keep a good weight.

Are Cannabinol Benefits Psychotropic or Mind-Bending?

Research has shown that cannabinol has mild psychoactive side effects. A 2008 British Journal of Anaesthesia report explains this contrast. Indeed, cannabinol's carbon double-bonds weaken its mind-bending traits. BJA found cannabinol 90% less psychoactive than THC. CBD, when coupled with CBN, reduced the latter's psychic effects. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will feel the same THC high. Products high in CBN will not induce a THC bliss.

What is the Contrast with THC and CBD?

Plant cannabinoids, like CBN, CBD, and THC, are like our brain's cannabinoids. They each interact with our cannabinoid receptors in diverse ways. This interplay affects our physical and cognitive processes. Cannabinol modulates our nervous system. It affects the immune, digestive, and skeletal systems.

The derived cannabinol effects mirror those of THC with fewer psychoactive effects. Like THC, these have potential treatment targets in glaucoma and chronic pain. They both perform as a powerful sedative and sleep aid. They also may help with multiple sclerosis and to prevent seizures. A role in boosting one's appetite shows promise. This property helps those struggling from an appetite suppressing illness/treatment.

CBN is a different chemical compound than CBD. With this in mind, there is some relation to industrial hemp CBD. Some even consider the two to be "cousins." So there are many treatment parallels between the two cannabinoids. For example, both affect pain, inflammation, bacteria, and sedation. They also act against seizures and help treat bone fractures. They seem to have opposite impacts on appetite and anti-cancer power.

Human Endocannabinoid System

The body has two different types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1, and CB2. These receptors are on the surface of cells in different parts of the central nervous system. CBN, THC and CBD exert their effects through interaction with these cannabinoid receptors. Each receptor responds to different cannabinoids. This interaction with both receptors prevents the excess activity of neurons. Thus, in turn, reducing pain and other inflammation.

CB1 Receptors

CB1 receptors reside all over the body. There are high amounts of CB1 in the brain and spinal cord. CB2 receptors concentrate on peripheral nervous system immune cells. Natural endocannabinoids are made in the body and activate CB1. Compounds new to the body, such as weed or other drugs, can also trigger them.

CB2 Receptors

Activation of CB2 receptors works as an anti-inflammatory. Our body's first line of defense, inflammation, is an immune response. It plays a role in repairing numerous diseases and conditions. The THC and CBN in cannabis bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors. This binding activates them like our own body's cannabinoids.

How Does CBN Work?

CBN works by binding to CB2 cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. CB2 receptor proteins concentrate highly on our immune tissues and blood cells. These receptors modulate immune function, fight inflammation and also have anti-cancer promise. Its low CB1 receptor affinity explains the lack of THC-like psyche effects.

CBN works in synergy with other cannabinoids. It's more effective when combined with tetrahydrocannabinol THC and CBD. Research has studied anti-germ profiles of cannabinoid combinations. These included CBN, THC, CBD, CBG, and CBC. They conclude these activated cannabis-derived compounds are synergistic. When consumed together, they deliver potent antiseptic activity. This activity suggests that CBD products and CBN help to resist bacteria.

Moreover, combining cannabinol with THC causes more sedation. It may also be more effective when smoked. Users taking cannabinol extract by mouth do not see this efficacy.

Is It Legal?

As weed is not FDA approved in the U.S. yet, federal restrictions limit its research. The U.S. list of scheduled controlled substances does not officially list CBN. However, the DEA could consider it "Schedule 1" as a ‘cannabis extract.’ So, the DEA might be able to prosecute its sale or possession. In brief, there is vast confusion about the legal status of cannabinol.

More Research is Needed

The legal gray area was shading its status, and this limits cannabinol research dollars. Despite this steep hill, scientists have studied it for decades. Despite this, confirmed, lab tested research is still in an ‘early phase.’ We need a more in-depth knowledge of its treatment potential. Clinical trials on both animals and humans on these effects are essential. The medical cannabis industry is booming in the United States. As such, the new funding allowance for analysis is growing. In time, we will realize the clinical promise of cannabinol.


What is CBN Cannabinol, What does CBN do, What does cbn cannabinol do, What does cannabinol do,

Do You Still Have Questions about CBN?

Read our related articles on using cannabis to treat inflammation. For more info, click “CBD Oil: Ins & Outs of Nature’s Cure-All.” Also, "CBD as Holistic Medicine? Explore the Possibilities". To learn more weed facts, visit our KindHealth medical marijuana FAQ page. If you are you thinking of giving CBN, THC, and CBD a try, give us a call at (786) 953-6838. Speak with our medical pot doctors. Schedule a visit and get your med card today!


For more info:
Medical Marijuana in Sports
Sativa vs Indica: Does it Matter, Really?
Is Smoking the Only Way to Use Marijuana?
Let's Talk Terpenes: How to Maximize the Benefits of Cannabis


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