The CBN cannabinoid (cannabinol) is one of over 100 compounds estimated to be present in the cannabis plant. It’s these cannabinoids that stimulate a range of effects, from the psychoactive ‘high’ of THC to the relaxation of CBD alongside an array of medicinal qualities contributed by these and other cannabinoids.
Against this background, the CBN cannabis compound has become the latest cannabinoid to receive attention and is already being marketed as an aid to sleep. Other health and wellness claims made about CBN include antibacterial functions, with research published in The Journal of Natural Products (2008) suggesting that it produces ‘potent activity’ against a variety of MRSA strains.
So if THC produces a ‘high’ and CBD produces a relaxing ‘low’, what is the CBN effect? Some research indicates that it has a psychoactive quality, but at a much reduced level than THC. Other research suggests that just 5mg of CBN is the equivalent to 10mg of Diazepam. However, CBN is difficult to synthesize in large quantities, and therefore any product claiming to be high in CBN should be properly scrutinized.
Which Strains Are CBN Rich?
Unlike other cannabinoids, the CBN cannabis compound is present in miniscule amounts in fresh cannabis (less than 1%), therefore developing a ‘CBN rich’ strain of marijuana is out of the reach of cannabis breeders for now. If you are interested in experiencing the effects of CBN then the best advice is to take a few buds… and leave them to age! This is because CBN is a metabolite of THC; a metabolite is a substance formed from metabolism; a good example of this is glucose or fructose - both are metabolites of fruit. CBN is created when THC becomes oxidized (ie exposed to oxygen) or, to put it into simple terms ‘mature weed’!
Mature Weed and the CBN Effect
While modern cannabis culture has an obsession with ‘fresh’ cannabis buds – stinky, strong and filled with colourful flavours – in other cannabis cultures around the world, the attributes of well matured cannabis have been well recognized for centuries. Traditional medical cannabis tinctures and treatments often involve cannabis matter that has been aged over time.
Meanwhile in Jamaica, older generations savor the smoothness and balanced effects of ‘brown weed’, which is the phrase used for well matured cannabis buds. Any outdoor cannabis grower who cultivates for self sufficiency will also be aware of the joys of mature weed as, if dried and cured effectively, buds will store for over a year. While the buzzy potency deteriorates, the buds produce different effects in the form of a deeper, more relaxing (and paranoia free) sensation.
Just as we are reappraising traditional (non-cannabis) home remedies after decades of relying soley on pharmaceutical solutions, perhaps taking a closer look at traditional cannabis remedies will reveal higher levels of CBN.
The Future of CBN
Aside from potential sleep, anti-bacterial and appetite stimulation qualities, CBN has been shown to be anti-convulsive which could help sufferers from epilepsy and seizures and be effective for pain relief. Nevertheless, while the past couple of years have seen an increased interest in CBN, there has so far been relatively little scientific research into this particular cannabinoid to explore its full potential.