What are the Health Benefits of Cannabinol or CBN?

Posted 6 years ago by Ian Shutts

We know about THC and CBD. These two, after all, are the most studied cannabinoids out of  over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. But there’s another cannabinoid that’s proving to be of equal importance, and this is cannabinol or CBN.

Cannabinol CBN

But what is cannabinol? Does it have any health benefits like THC and CBD?

What is Cannabinol?

Cannabinol or CBN is one of the metabolites of THC. It’s commonly found in aged cannabis as its THC content begins to degrade. But unlike THC though, CBN produces little to no psychoactive effects. Studies of its chemical composition revealed that it closely resembles CBD.

CBN also binds to the cannabinoid receptor type 1, but only to some degree. It, instead, has a higher affinity to the cannabinoid receptor type 2. This CBN property also makes it a pretty potent anti-inflammatory agent like THC and CBD.

CBN produces numerous therapeutic effects that benefit patients. Its medicinal potential even makes it a good alternative for patients who can’t tolerate THC. In fact, some cannabis products nowadays contain CBN.

Below are some of the therapeutic properties of CBN.

CBN as an Anti-inflammatory Agent

Studies on CBN revealed it to be a powerful anti-inflammatory cannabinoid. When it binds to the CB2 receptors of the immune cells, it triggers their cell death. It also stops the immune cells from producing more cytokines.

Cytokine signals more immune cells to flock to the area. In chronic inflammation, continuous cytokine production results in continuous recruitment of more immune cells. This abnormal inflammatory response contributes to the worsening of various medical conditions.

In this study, researchers found that CBN appears to control skin cell overgrowth in psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by an abnormal immune system. It causes itchy, scaly skin patches to grow. The study showed that CBN has the potential to treat psoriasis.

CBN as a Sedative

Studies found that CBN produces sedating effects. It promotes sleep, especially when it’s combined with THC. According to Steep Hill, a testing and analytics laboratory for cannabis, CBN seems to be the most sedative of the three best-known cannabinoids. They stated that the sedating effects of a 2.5mg to 5mg CBN is similar to that of 5mg to 10mg diazepam.

CBN acts synergistically with THC and CBD. Taken together, these three become a potent sedative that can give at least five to six hours of sleep.

cannabis and sleep

CBN as an Appetite Stimulant

An animal study revealed that CBN, like THC, also acts as an appetite stimulant. The researchers fed rats with food prior to treating them with CBN. They found that CBN increased their feeding behavior. Rats treated with CBN not only ate more, but they also ate for a longer duration of time. In addition to this, CBN-treated rats were also quicker to eat.

CBN as an Anticonvulsant

One study also found that CBN has some anticonvulsant properties. However, its anticonvulsant properties are not as potent as THC and CBD.

Another study also studied the cannabinoids’ anticonvulsant properties. However, the researchers also found that a combination of these three effectively controls seizures. Their combination significantly reduced convulsions and seizures in rats.

CBN as an Analgesic

Like THC and CBD, CBN also produces analgesic effects when it activates the cannabinoid receptors. They trigger a release of chemicals that desensitizes the cells responsible for pain.

One study in particular also showed that CBN activates a non-cannabinoid receptor responsible for pain perception, specifically pain caused by high temperatures. This therapeutic effect may be of benefit to burn patients.

cannabis and pain

CBN as an Anticancer Agent

One animal study on cannabinoids and cancer revealed that CBN has anticancer properties. Animals with lung cancer were treated using THC, CBD, and CBN, Their study revealed that CBN also improved the animals’ mean survival time.

CBN Stimulates Bone Healing and Growth

CBN appears to have properties that stimulate bone healing and bone growth. It stimulates the recruitment of stem cells from the bone marrow. These then flock to the injured area and transform into bone cells. This CBN effect has the potential to heal fractures quickly.

CBN as an Antibacterial Agent

Studies also revealed that CBN has antibacterial properties. They found that CBN effectively protects the cells against MRSA or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

CBN as an Antioxidant

Researchers also found that CBN exhibits antioxidant properties. Its oxidation profile, they found, is similar to THC and CBD, and these two are potent antioxidants.

We need more research on CBN and its therapeutic potential. We also need more human clinical studies on CBN’s effects on the human body.