Though tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are perhaps the two most well-known cannabinoids(chemical compounds derived from the cannabis plant), other cannabinoids can also be extracted that have proven health benefits. One such cannabinoid is cannabinol (CBN). Sharing a similar chemical makeup to THC, CBN is actually produced when THC is oxidized. Being heated or exposed to oxygen for prolonged periods of time will enhance the oxidation process, which is why CBN is oftentimes more present in aged or poorly stored cannabis. Like all cannabinoids, CBN works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors that regulate a variety of bodily activity, and are activated by cannabinoids such as THC or CBD.
There are two types of receptors: CBD1 and CBD2. CBD1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and nervous system, where CBD2 receptors are mostly found in the immune system and gastrointestinal tract. Cannabinoids can, therefore, have different effects on the body depending on which receptor they tend to bind with. CBN is thought to bind primarily with the CBD2 receptor, which means that it can be responsible for reducing inflammation, pain, and inducing/regulating appetite. CBN is also known to stimulate bone tissue growth, regulate the amount of skin cells, and perhaps most promisingly, induce and regulate sleep. Moreover, it is worth noting that CBN has little to no psychoactive effects (unlike THC), which makes it a viable and harmless option for anyone seeking health benefits from cannabinoids. That said, it is important to remember that each person’s endocannabinoid system is different, and therefore doses and types of cannabinoids will affect everyone differently.
Of all the known health uses for CBN, one use that stands out, in particular, is for sleep. In the United States, approximately 50 – 70 million adults have a sleep disorder of some kind. The most common of these disorders is insomnia, in which 30% of adults report suffering from short-term symptoms and 10% report chronic insomnia.CBN can act as a sedative and sleeping aide for those suffering from insomnia or who struggle with other issues related to sleep. Research shows that CBN has the power to prolong the length of sleep and that its sedative properties can be enhanced when combined with other cannabinoids such as THC. Furthermore, CBN can act as an organic and natural alternative to other chemically-laden sleeping aides. In fact, consuming 2.5mg to 5mg of CBN induces the same level of sedation as up to 10mg of pharmaceutical sedatives such as diazepam.
In addition to functioning as a sleep aide, CBN can also help maintain bone health, regulate skin cells, and reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that CBN can help stimulate stem cells that foster bone tissue growth, which in turn can be used to heal and prevent bone fractures. Similarly, CBN can ease the overgrowth of skin cells, which means that it could help combat skin conditions such as Psoriasis. Like CBD, CBN also has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. There is still relatively little research regarding CBN and its uses, so it possible that there are even more health benefits that are yet to be discovered.