Cannabinol: An Introduction to CBN

We’ve all had that moment when you reach into the back of a cupboard or dig up an old stash can and find a long lost nug. It’s no longer that sticky icky, more like jumbley crumbly. But you light it up anyway in hopes of getting The Most High. Instead, you probably got the most sleepy. That’s in large part due to CBN, a cannabinoid found most often in old, oxidized cannabis.

It’s Degrading

Cannabinol, or CBN, is one of the lesser-known, less researched cannabinoids but was actually the first to be isolated in its pure form all the way back in 1896. Originally, people thought CBN was the reason cannabis got you high. After THC was discovered to actually be the intoxicating agent in the plant, there wasn’t much interest in studying CBN. It was discovered that unlike many other cannabinoids, CBN doesn’t descend from CBG (like THC and CBD). Instead, CBN forms from the degradation of THC. When cannabis is exposed to too much oxygen or ultraviolet light, THC breaks down and forms CBN. Hence, that lost little nug having high amounts of it.

Sleepy Weed

Most of the research done on CBN has so far only been conducted on rodents. While that means that much needs to be done before any conclusive health benefits can be understood, it has shown a promising start. These studies have shown that CBN has the potential to be anti-bacterial, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory. It’s a promising appetite stimulant. This is important for those seeking appetite stimulation without the psychoactive effects of THC.

One area of study that has advanced beyond rodent studies but still remains somewhat inconclusive is CBN as a sleep aid. Many people call old weed “sleepy weed.” While it’s true that aged cannabis has a higher sedative effect, it may not be solely attributable to CBN as it often is. When isolated, CBN hasn’t proven to be particularly sedative. Studies remain small so there is still a lot of research to be done on this but it's more likely that sleepy weed earns its reputation elsewhere. A plausible source is the combination of CBN and THC, working together to create a tranquilizing entourage effect. It also may have nothing to do with CBN but with the terpenes that are found in older weed. Still, many companies are starting to isolate CBN in the form of tinctures or edibles and are often touted as sleep aids. Hopefully they come with small amounts of THC and put you right to beddy bye.

The Most High Side Effect

While CBN on its own is non-intoxicating, you still have the potential to get The Most High. When combined with THC, it can compound the euphoric effects of the psychoactive cannabinoid. Which means you can be The Most High as you nod off.

As more research is conducted, we’ll see more and more CBN pop up in dispensaries. In the meantime, give your nugs a little sunbath on the kitchen counter if you want that good sleep.