By Sean Zucker —
Another day, another strain of the hemp plant gaining popularity by promoting possible health benefits. Similar to cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN) is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant whose effects are reported to have no or extremely mild psychoactive effects. While most research on the component is still in its infancy, early findings indicate promising sleep and pain-easing benefits, among others.
Cannabis is a complex plant with multiple components that each offers different effects. Ultimately, both their medicinal and recreational usage can vary greatly. CBN, like CBD, is hemp-derived meaning it includes less than 0.3 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This distinction is crucial as THC is the psycho-active component of cannabis that delivers a high. Neither CBD nor CBN will deliver the same feelings.
CBN is generally created when THC is oxidized or exposed to excessive amounts of heat and light. Its benefits reputedly involve aiding sleep, stimulating appetite, and treating pain as compared to its cannabinoid counterpart which research indicates helps with anxiety, seizures and pain.
Psychology Today underscored CBN’s potential benefits, noting it is a powerful sedative that not only helps people fall asleep but improves their sleep quality. It may even help individuals sleep longer. CBN’s other potential benefit may come in its ability to help individuals maintain weight in the face of debilitating medical treatments or illnesses.
“While CBD has appetite-suppressing effects, CBN appears to stimulate the appetite. This may make CBN a therapeutic option to help increase appetite in people who struggle to maintain an appetite because of another illness, such as cancer, or its treatment,” Psychology Today reported.
The Salk Institute recently identified yet another potential CBN benefit via research that indicated it could help treat age-related neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s by preserving mitochondrial function and preventing oxidative damage to brain cells.
“We’ve found that cannabinol protects neurons from oxidative stress and cell death, two of the major contributors to Alzheimer’s,” reported Pamela Maher, a research professor and head of Salk’s Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory. “This discovery could one day lead to the development of new therapeutics for treating this disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, like Parkinson’s disease.”
The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia also added to research foundation by examining how a combination of CBN and CBD could ease the pain. The researchers used test rats to determine how they responded to electronically produced pain before and after being given a combination of CBD and CBN. The tests discovered a notable difference for those given the cannabis combo with no apparent side effects.
“These results suggest that peripheral application of these non-psychoactive cannabinoids may provide analgesic relief for chronic muscle pain disorders such as temporomandibular disorders and fibromyalgia without central side effects,” the study concluded.
Forbes, however, did warn of a couple of possible side effects–the most prominent being drowsiness given the component’s ability to promote sleep and relaxation. “For this reason, we do not recommend people take CBN products during the day,” Laura Fuentes, the chief officer of science and innovation for Green Roads, a CBD products company, told the news outlet. “As more research emerges, we will have more data about side effects and drug interactions,” she added.