Over the last decade, there's been lots of talk about the potential of medical marijuana. In particular, cannabidiol (CBD) has caught on like a bushfire thanks to the numerous health benefits it is believed to have.
CBD is one of the 100+ chemical compounds called phytocannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. It forms part of a trio of well-known cannabis compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN).
CBN is relatively unknown compared to THC and CBD. This may be attributed to the fact that CBN is not synthesized directly by the cannabis plant. Instead, it is formed when THC is degraded through storage, drying (exposure to oxygen), or heating (consumption).
As a result, it is mildly psychotropic, and its effects are easier to measure when administered intravenously.
Existing research shows that CBN has significant sedative and anticonvulsant properties. It is also believed to facilitate pharmacological activities similar to the way THC does.
Moreover, it has been shown to reduce heart rate without affecting coronary blood flow. Other studies have demonstrated its role in the downregulation of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells. As a result, it is able to counteract the effects of THC by increasing the concentration of B cells.
Not much data exists on CBN's health benefits. However, anecdotal evidence suggest it might have substantial health and wellness benefits, mostly in collaboration with other cannabinoids.
How does CBN work?
Like all cannabinoids, CBN works as a neurotransmitter by building a signal bridge between the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and receptors in various parts of the body.
The ECS is a regulatory framework of cannabinoid receptors, endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), chemical messengers (neurotransmitters), and enzymes.
All these play a role in synthesizing and degrading endocannabinoids to facilitate different processes and functions. These include sleep, reproduction, fertility, mood, appetite, and memory.
CBN works by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, creating chemical shifts in the body. The shifts trigger other systems to start functioning, causing biological and physiological responses.
Benefits of CBN
Research on CBN is limited thanks to government regulations, especially in the U.S. To establish what research has found about CBN, we extended our search to Israel (little wonder it's called the "Mecca of cannabis research").
Unlike in the U.S., where most studies seem to focus more on the harmful benefits of cannabis, researchers in Israel have been trying to figure out how cannabis can support human health and wellness.
So, here are some of the benefits of CBN we discovered.
Even though most cannabinoids have shown potential in fighting inflammation, it seems that cannabinol may be the best in this department. Studies show that CBN inhibits the undesirable immune responses of T-cells.
This is important because T-cells can sometimes contribute to chronic inflammations, especially when produced in abundance. Under normal circumstances, T-cells protect the body from external invasion by pathogens.
It is also hypothesized that CBN may be used for therapeutic purposes in inflammatory disease treatment due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
To this end, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have widely been integrated into these treatments to reduce inflammation risks.
Though this assertion is backed by limited empirical evidence, our prognosis is that since CBN is anti-inflammatory, it may be used in place of NSAIDs to help treat inflammation due to various causes.
Much like CBD, CBN's impact on sleep disorders like insomnia has not been fully proven. This is mainly due to limited research occasioned by government red tape.
Nevertheless, Benjamin Caplan, M.D., a certified physician and the Chief Medical Officer of CED Clinic, contends that CBN, like most cannabinoids, has relaxing and soothing properties. These could play a role in calming active muscles, slowing down hyperactivity in the brain, and enhancing soothing physical sensations.
Cumulatively, these effects are likely to make you sleep better. In fact, some studies propose that CBN may be a more powerful sleep aid than CBD.
CBN has a reputation for being a sedative agent. A patient who had insomnia for almost 20 years found CBN helpful compared to over-the-counter supplements like melatonin.
Furthermore, researchers think CBN's sedative properties may be linked to its ability to work with other cannabinoids and aromatic terpenes like linalool and myrcene. This is known as the entourage effect.
This is why at FOCL, we have combined CBD and CBN to create a great sleep aid product formulated to help you doze off easily and wake up feeling well-rested. FOCL CBD + CBN Sleep Gummies are made from organic ingredients and potent extracts (L-Theanine and Passion Flower) to help ease anxiety and support better sleep.
So, if you've been having sleep problems, add a dose of CBD and CBN to your nighttime routine with these delicious gummies for a deeper, more restful sleep.
As always, start with a lower dose and gradually increase until you feel the desired effects. Each gummy contains 15mg of CBN and 25mg of premium CBD. If unsure, talk with your doctor to guide you on the appropriate dosage.
CBN's pain-relieving property is often pegged on the entourage effect. Research shows that, in collaboration with THC, cannabinol induces the production of calcitonin gene-related peptides in the perivascular sensory nerves.
Interestingly, other psychoactive cannabinoids cannot do this. The perivascular sensory nerves are notably sensitive to capsaicin (a compound found in chili) and play a role in signaling the body's pain perception process.
It is also believed that CBN combines with CBD to reduce pain signals thanks to its analgesic properties. This happens mainly through CBN inhibiting muscle relaxation. For this reason, it is sometimes used in treating muscle pain in patients with conditions like fibromyalgia.
A 2019 study showed that CBN and CBD reduced myofascial pain in mice. The study's primary finding was that a CBN/CBD combination was more effective than either CBD or CBN alone.
Following this study, researchers believe that a CBN/CBD combination may help relieve pain from temporomandibular disorders.
One of the earliest studies to shed light on CBN's neuroprotective properties traces back to 2005. It showed that CBN could delay the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
However, new research findings have offered more insights into CBN's neuroprotective properties.
A revolutionary study by a team of researchers from Salk discovered that CBN could prevent nerve cells from undergoing oxidative damage, a major contributor to cell death.
Research professor and head of Salk Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, Pamela Maher, said they had found that CBN could protect neurons from oxidative stress and cell death. These two are the major contributors to Alzheimer's disease.
The team had been investigating oxytosis – a process that occurs in an aging brain and is thought to cause Alzheimer's disease.
In their study, the scientists administered CBN to nerve cells and then introduced a chemical that stimulated oxidative damage. The results showed that CBN worked by protecting the mitochondria that powered cells in the neurons.
Oxidation causes the mitochondria to curl up in a C-shape in damaged nerve cells. Interestingly, C-shaped mitochondria are often observed in aging nerve cells of Alzheimer's patients.
The application of CBN was noted to prevent the mitochondria from curling, thus enabling them to continue functioning correctly. In sum, this study showed CBN's potential in protecting brain cells from damage.
Studies show that CBN may also stimulate appetite. A 2012 rat study demonstrated that cannabinol increased feeding behaviors in the animals. In the study, adult male rats were given cannabidiol, cannabigerol, and cannabinol laced with SR141716A (A CBD antagonist).
Before the treatment, the rats were fed, and subsequent food intake was recorded after the drug was administered.
The results showed that CBN prompted an increase in appetite behaviors in the rats. This was manifested in the form of frequent feeding and an increase in the amount of food the rats ate.
On the other hand, CBD reduced the frequency of eating while CBG did not induce any observable changes.
This property makes CBN an option in treatments where the subjects struggle with eating due to losing appetite.
Effects of CBN
This is an area where the lack of knowledge may underpin the uncertainty surrounding CBN. At the moment, a growing body of research shows that CBN has good medical potential thanks to its authentic and unique properties.
Even though it doesn't have as many side effects as synthetic OTC prescriptions, a few side effects of CBN have been noted.
Drowsiness and exhaustion
One of the most reported side effects of CBN is a feeling of exhaustion and drowsiness. It is believed that these effects are due to CBN's soothing nature.
However, it should be taken into account that people react differently to medications. If another person exhibited symptoms after using CBN does not mean you will.
Generally, CBN and CBN have more or less similar side effects. The most common are nausea, vomiting, and sleepiness.
Doesn't get you high
Since it's synthesized from THC, most people think CBN will also make them 'high.' Well, it turns out that CBN does not induce a 'high.' Granted, it is mildly psychoactive, but that's probably where it ends.
In fact, its non-psychoactivity is a primary reason why it is fronted as a possible replacement for THC-based supplements currently used to stimulate appetite.
THC induces a 'high,' which essentially explains why it’s increasingly becoming a less preferred option for stimulating appetite in clinical settings.
Can you mix CBD and CBN?
Yes, you can mix CBD and CBN. Since CBN is synthesized by the degradation of THC, it is most probably present in full-spectrum CBD products. You cannot rule out the possibility of getting trace amounts of THC in broad-spectrum CBD.
This implies that you're probably already consuming trace amounts of CBN with your CBD product unknowingly. However, this is no cause for alarm.
Many hemp-derived CBD products, such as oils and capsules, combine all three cannabinoids, i.e., CBD, CBN, and CBG. The idea behind this is that the compounds can enhance each other's anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and pain-relieving properties.
Our FOCL Sleep Gummies combine both CBD and CBN for the best results. So, yes, we think you can mix CBD and CBN to create a multiplier effect in reaping the benefits of both compounds.
Is CBN good for anxiety?
This is one area where CBN seems to differ completely from CBD. There is virtually no research that links CBN to anxiety.
Benjamin Caplan, a cannabis expert, and board-certified physician cited only one 2001 study that presented weak findings on CBN's ability to treat anxiety.
Indeed, after a review of numerous materials on cannabis, there is practically no hard evidence to show that CBN is a strong sedative.
Moreover, researchers tend to think that in studies where CBN has been shown to be anxiolytic, the effects may have likely been caused by other compounds and not necessarily CBN.
There is the contention that CBN's presence in a supplement might reduce the overall potency of the primary active ingredient. As a result, participants end up taking more of the supplement and, in the process, increasing the intake of the active ingredient.
On its own, it seems CBN has little impact on anxiety.
Research on CBN is scanty; researchers know very little about it. Its direct relationship with THC probably explains why there is little knowledge on it.
Remember that marijuana is a schedule I substance in the U.S. This basically means its possession is strictly controlled.
Until recently, there was virtually no research on marijuana. The limited studies in the U.S. mainly focused on highlighting the harmful effects of cannabis. As a result, the beneficial properties of marijuana compounds like THC, CBD, and now CBN remain largely unknown.
However, CBN has been largely investigated with regard to pain management, appetite stimulation, and sleep promotion. Existing findings strongly suggest that it may play a major role in facilitating these processes.