Hemp products with different types of cannabinoids are gaining popularity. We have already described the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG) in our previous blogs. Another very important and promising phytocannabinoid is cannabinol or CBN, which also deserves attention for the numerous beneficial effects on well-being that will be described below.
The most interesting fact about CBN is that it is the first phytocannabinoid that was identified and isolated from the Cannabis sativa plant in the 1940s by Robert S. Cahn. It was discovered even before CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)!
How is CBN done?
CBN is not biosynthesized in the hemp plant like most phytocannabinoids. Instead, it is a breakdown product of other cannabinoids. This process occurs naturally when the cannabis plant or products derived from cannabis (e.g. hemp extracts) are exposed to heat and / or light, therefore during processes such as drying or heating.
Once CBN is formed, it can be isolated from hemp biomass by extraction processes followed by several refining processes.
Alternatively, there is also a patent describing the bioenzyme synthesis of CBN, however, to our knowledge, this process is not often used for the production of CBN.
What is CBN used for?
Similar to CBG, the production of large quantities of CBN is not very simple. This is probably also why it hasn't been researched as much as CBD, for example. Regardless, there is some relevant and positive information in the scientific papers about some of the health benefits of CBN that are being discussed all the time.
The Petrocellis and collaborators (2011) demonstrated that CBN is a potent TRPA1 agonist that influences inflammatory processes in our body and modulates pain.
Another study by Wong et Cairns(2019) investigated the effects of CBN, CBD and their combinations as peripheral analgesics in animal models. The authors conclude that, based on the results obtained, the peripheral application of these non-psychoactive cannabinoids can provide analgesic relief for chronic muscle pain disorders such as temporomandibular disorders and fibromyalgia without central side effects. This was also confirmed for the combination of CBD and CBN with an even better and more potent effect.
Although there is very little data on the effects of CBN on sleep, some people link CBN with sedative effects, which help them fall asleep. To date there is only one clinical study on men since 1975 who was given CBN in combination with THC or THC alone. The authors conclude that participants who were given a combination of THC and CBN experienced stronger sedative effects than THC alone.
CBN is certainly another promising phytocannabinoid considering the potential physiological effects described. While more studies are needed to confirm these primary findings on this cannabinoid, it is clear that CBN, especially in combination with other cannabinoids such as CBD and some terpenes (which are also commonly found in hemp extract) provides a great remedy for a better well-being to be.