The marijuana plant can contain as many as 100 different cannabinoids in addition to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), today, we are focusing on cannabinol, the cannabinoid better known as CBN.
Cannabinoids are a group of compounds that are active constituents of cannabis; each cannabinoid is responsible for certain chemical effects that interact and bind with the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
CBN is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that stems from CBGA (cannabigerol acid), the precursor cannabinoid to the three main cannabinoids: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromene acid (CBCA).
When the plant develops THCA, with time, and exposure to heat and prolonged UV light, the THCA cannabinoid loses a carbon dioxide molecule, then synthesizes to eventually become THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid that is most commonly found in cannabis. THCA can also be converted into CBNA over time with prolonged exposure to air that will cause the THCA to oxidize and lose hydrogen leaving us with CBNA, and like the other acidic cannabinoids, exposing CBNA to heat or UV light will convert CBNA to CBN.
CBN can be found in high amounts in older cannabis and is best known for its sedative properties, however, researchers have discovered the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits of CBN when tested on strains of MRSA bacteria which cause infections in different parts of the body and most commonly found on the skin, nose, and moist areas of the body. Along with the benefits mentioned above, studies show that CBN can also reduce intraocular pressure which is one of the most significant risk factors for glaucoma as well as delay the onset of ALS and other neurodegenerative conditions and help with stimulating appetite.
The effects of cannabis are fascinating; many consumers assume the intoxicating high comes from the potency of the strain, a.k.a THC or CBD but the high you feel comes from an entourage effect of cannabinoids and terpenes that work together to create a full-spectrum experience that amplifies your high and activates therapeutic benefits.
Traces of CBN can be found in cannabis but as the flower ages and begins to degrade CBN becomes the prominent cannabinoid next to THC and CBD. Cannabinoids work together with terpenes to create an ensemble of effects and give the cannabis flower its personality. Terpenes contribute to the way a cannabis strain tastes and smells, and they are primarily responsible for the therapeutic relief from inflammation and anxiety we experience.
A human study performed in the 1970’s determined that CBN alone did not induce sedation, but THC by itself did cause subjects to become drowsy therefore researchers began to believe that it is the combined effects of cannabinoids and terpenes that deliver the entourage effect of benefits.
Dr. Ethan Russo, a leading cannabis researcher, and neurologist explains that CBN is not mainly sedative but because high traces of it are found in aged cannabis flower, many assume that it is the component that is going to help with insomnia, but it is the simplest monoterpenoids that have evaporated leaving a more sedating oxygenated sesquiterpenoids which contain three isoprene units that may be responsible for the sedation.
Myrcene is a monoterpene generally found in cannabis, and along with linalool, are known to help with insomnia. As cannabis ages, the terpenes begin to evaporate and morph into oxygenated isoprene units that work in sync with the cannabinoids to create the intoxicating but therapeutic high.
Because CBN research is still premature, it is challenging to identify CBN as a sedative cannabinoid without taking the strain’s terpene profile and other cannabinoids into consideration.
The traits of cannabis strains are often lost or disappear as a result of poor storage. When oxygen is sealed with your cannabis flowers, the oxygenating process begins immediately and starts to convert cannabinoids and strip away beneficial terpenes.
Proper storage in an airtight glass container like the Canlock is highly recommended for all strains of flower. Heavy-duty sealed glass devices such as the Canlock will keep your batch of flowers fresh and preserve the strain’s cannabinoid and terpene profile for a full-flavored smoke while preventing flowers from oxygenating and losing its therapeutic value.