Cannabinol – The Sleepy Cannabinoid

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the most popular and most used cannabinoids today. But another cannabinoid is fast becoming just as popular, cannabinol or CBN.

Similar to THC and CBD, CBN also possesses properties that benefit the human body. Cannabidiol has the ability to reduce chronic pain and inflammation. It also has shown promise for decreasing seizures, increasing appetite, killing cancer, and promoting bone healing. CBN, studies found, has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant effects.

However, of all the cannabinoids, CBN is considered to be the most potent when it comes to sedative effects. In fact, it has been dubbed as the “sleepy cannabinoid” for its potent ability to induce sleep.

What is Cannabinol (aka CBN)?

Cannabinol is an interesting cannabinoid. Unlike THC and CBD, CBN directly came from another cannabinoid, THC. However, the transformation from THC to CBN takes time. Moreover, THC first has to degrade before it becomes CBN.

After harvesting the plant, the buds are stored in containers before they are processed. However, if the plant isn’t stored properly and it gets exposed to air, its THC loses some of its hydrogen as it oxidizes. This chemical reaction degrades THC and transforms it into CBN.

The older the material, the higher the CBN content since THC slowly but gradually degrades over time. In fact, a study analyzing the genetics and chemical compounds of an ancient cannabis found in China revealed that the material contains a very high CBN level.

However, because most growers and consumers want the plants fresh, we produce only a small amount of CBN.

But heat and UV light exposure also speed up the degradation process of THC into CBN. This benefits us, especially since we are now more aware of CBN’s therapeutic benefits and how it benefits us health-wise.

How does Cannabinol produce its sedative and sleep-inducing effects?

Cannabinol or CBN produces very potent sedative effectsOur endocannabinoid system or ECS plays a vital role in most physiological functions. It supports the immune system in modulating the inflammatory response. It also regulates pain perception, memory and learning, mood and emotions, appetite, motor and sensory functions, sexual arousal, among others.

The ECS also plays an important role in sleep. The activation of its cannabinoid receptor type 1 or CB1r is why we feel sleepy and relaxed when we consume THC.

CBN, because it directly came from THC, also binds to the CB1r. CBN, according to studies, is a partial agonist of the CB1r, activating it and producing its sedative and sleep-inducing effects.

But compared to THC and other cannabinoids, for that matter, CBN produces the most potent effect on sleep. One laboratory study on CBN showed that you only need to take a small amount of CBN for it to start producing its sedating and sleepy effects.

The laboratory report even compared CBN to diazepam. The researchers found that 2.5mg of CBN is comparable to the effects of a 5mg diazepam.

CBN’s sedative and sleep effects are potent it contributes to the couch-lock phenomenon common in consuming THC.

Can people with sleep problems benefit from Cannabinol?

Yes; CBN can be used as a sleep aid. People with insomnia and other sleep problems can find relief from this cannabinoid.

Coupled with other cannabinoids like THC and CBD, its sedating and sleep-inducing effects are amplified. However, if you can’t tolerate THC or don’t want to deal with its side effects, then choose a CBN product that contains CBD.

Together, they will boost each other’s effects in promoting sleep. They both reduce pain. They both reduce stress and anxiety. They both relax the muscles. All these are components to having a good night’s sleep.

CBD also counteracts what little psychoactive effect that CBN has.

Can taking CBN get you high?

THC is the major psychoactive cannabinoid. It produces this effect when it binds to the CB1r.

Now, since CBN comes from THC, it also possesses some mild psychoactive effects. However, its psychoactive effect is milder compared to THC.

According to a cannabis screening test for potency and safety, CBN has only about 10% of THC’s potency. But if CBN is combined with CBD, whatever psychoactive effects CBN has is diminished.

CBD has anti-psychoactive properties. It reduces the psychoactive effects of CB1r’s activation. It also binds to and activates another receptor called the TRPV1 receptor. This receptor is also known to produce anti-psychotic effects.

Can taking CBN cause an overdose?

CBN and other cannabinoids, for that matter, won’t cause an overdose. The reason is very simple, really.

There are no cannabinoid receptors in the region of the brain that controls breathing and pulse rate. So unlike opioids, cannabinoids won’t cause you to overdose.

Can taking CBN cause you to fail a drug test?

You have to understand that while CBN can be detected in a laboratory setting, this cannabinoid won’t show up in a conventional drug test.

Conventional drug tests like urine drug tests look for a specific THC metabolite called THC-COOH. They are not sensitive to other cannabinoids like CBN and CBD or their metabolites.

Is CBN a safe and effective sleep aid?

Oral CBN is lethal to mice at 13,500mg/kg. Oral diazepam’s lethal dose in mice is 48mg/kg.

According to a study done by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, one out of four Americans suffer from acute insomnia yearly. While 75% of them recover from their sleep problems, sadly, some of them go on to develop chronic insomnia.

Chronic insomnia contributes to the development of chronic medical problems like diabetes and heart problems. It can also worsen these conditions if they’re already preexistent.

So, if you’re suffering from insomnia, CBN – the sleepy cannabinoid – may be able to help you. It’s effective, safe, and won’t cause an overdose. It’s also a great alternative to THC which is known to produce psychoactive effects.

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