When the topic of cannabis comes up, most people can easily cite the two major cannabinoids: THC & CBD. While these two compounds often steal the spotlight, there are actually many other noteworthy molecules produced by the plant. These compounds often offer unique benefits that shouldn't be overlooked. One of these alternative cannabinoids is cannabinol or CBN.
At first glance, the presence of CBN may seem like a bad thing. The compound is created through the aging of THC, meaning older, dried out marijuana or hemp are the primary sources for this molecule. The opposite is actually true as CBN has been studied to provide some unique effects and therapeutic effects.
Activity: Minor psychoactive cannabinoid
Molecular Mass: 310.1933 g/mol
Melting Point: 79 °C (174 °F)
Boiling Point: 185 °C (365 °F)
CBN is one of the few cannabinoids that does not directly result from the decarboxylation of its acid form CBNA. Instead, the cannabinoid is synthesized indirectly through the oxidation of THC. This process occurs through aging of THC via exposure to oxygen and light over time.
Despite being a descendant of the highly psychoactive THC molecule, CBN is observed to be either non-psychoactive or very mildly psychoactive. This fact is helped by the fact that the compound often only needs to be taken in very trace amounts to achieve significant active effects.
Currently, CBN is a hard-to-find molecule when it comes to both CBD products and medical marijuana products. This is due to the fact that the compound is produced through aging and drying of cannabis, something that is often not performed or desired by growers or manufacturers
With that being said, CBN is still found in small amounts in the marijuana and hemp used for cannabis product production. For CBD products specifically, CBN will only be found in full-spectrum products due to its relation to THC. Your best bet is to search out highly concentrated, full-spectrum offerings which would be the current best source for CBN. Still, these products only contain trace amounts of CBN. Your best bet is to scour lab reports looking for this compound.
Research points to CBN's rich potential, and the future may be bright for this cannabinoid. If the molecule gains enough traction, it isn't crazy to think there would be CBN-rich products designed in the future. The synthesis is understood and easy to perform through aging, it simply comes down to demand.
Originally published: September 9, 2018 | Last Updated: March 12, 2019
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