Back to Science

CBN: Mellow Into This Cannabinoid’s Possibilities

If you’re visiting the Green Goods blog, it’s a safe bet you’re already familiar with THC and CBD, the two most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. What are cannabinoids? We like to describe them as the major “active ingredients” in cannabis: Powerful, all-natural compounds that deliver all sorts of beneficial medicinal effects to our bodies.

There’s plenty more to share about THC and CBD, and how they interface with our bodies through a crucial regulatory network called the Endocannabinoid System. But in today’s article, we’re going to focus instead on cannabinol, a lesser cannabinoid that’s better-known as CBN.

What is CBN? The answer, actually, is a bit of a head-scratcher. Because while it was the first cannabinoid to be isolated from cannabis, CBN is also one of the least understood. Is it a sleep aid, a novel approach to combating bacteria, or something else entirely? Read on for a summary of the CBN’s possibilities.

cbn introduction to possible benefits

What Is CBN? A Cannabinoid with Serious Potential

When CBN was first identified, CBN was thought to be the compound responsible for the cannabis plant’s distinctive euphoric effect. It turned out that THC gets that claim to fame, but there is a connection: CBN might be called THC’s “younger sibling” because it’s created by the natural breakdown of THC as the cannabinoid is exposed to oxygen. Like THC, CBN is intoxicating, but holds only about a quarter the power of THC.

When CBN was first subjected to rigorous study, some researchers hoped it might be a powerful sleeping aid. Let’s pause here for an old piece of cannabis lore: Legend had it that aged cannabis—in other words, cannabis in which more THC has broken down into CBN—is “sleepy.” In one small-scale human study from 1976, researchers found that CBN caused sedation in conjunction with THC, but not by itself. So, the reality is more complicated that the legend

cbn introduction to possible benefits

What Is CBN: The Cannabis Plant’s Natural Antibacterial?

Have you heard of “super bugs?” Drug-resistant microbes like Staphylococcus aureus are sounding warning bells in hospital ERs, challenging our traditional notions of how to combat dangerous bacteria. Some clinicians were heartened by a 2008 study suggesting that CBN may be effective against some of these otherwise hard-to-kill pathogens. We sure hope there is more research on this possible antibacterial benefit soon!

cbn introduction to possible benefits

CBN: How to Get This Medicine

At the moment, there aren’t many high-CBN cannabis products on the market, though we expect that to change as our understanding of this powerful, all-natural cannabinoid continues to evolve. Ask your local budtender whether there are currently any high-CBN products on the shelf today.

Do you have further questions about CBN or any of the other cannabinoids? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line; we’d love to help!

Please note that qualifying conditions vary by state, and the information relating to qualifying conditions may not apply to cannabis patients in all states.

Product availability also varies based on state program restrictions and rules, so the products discussed may not be available in all states. Be sure to check with your local Green Goods location about the products available in your state!