What is the Cannabinoid CBN? Cannabinol or CBN is another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant and it appears to result from a breakdown of THC, so it’s considered a breakdown product. It’s found in the plant in varying amounts and it is a little bit different than some of the other cannabinoids because of the fact that it’s not naturally synthesized by the plant. It’s more of a breakdown or degradation product or a metabolite of THC.
CBN is psychoactive and it’s what’s gives most of the sedative effect of cannabis you hear a lot of Cannabis Indica versus Cannabis Sativa. CBN is actually what’s making you sleepy and CBN can be found in any cannabis. It’s produced over time or with heat. So older cannabis or your cannabis that’s been stored for a long time is going to have a high level of CBN.
What potential medical properties does CBN have?
It also appears to work as an anticonvulsant. It has antibacterial properties and it also has anti-inflammatory properties. It also appears to stimulate osteocytes, which are bone cells. It’s being looked at for treatment of bone disorders such as osteoporosis. It also appears to inhibit skin cell formation and some people say that this may have some benefit down the line once we really understand what it’s doing in skin disorders such as psoriasis.
How CBN emerge in cannabis?
Let’s take a look how CBN synthesized in the cannabis plant. CBN starts with Geranyl pyrophosphate and Olivetolic Acid, like mostly cannabinoids. Those two come together for an enzyme catalyzed reaction and they form Cannabigerolic Acid also known as CBGa. CBGa folds upon itself into rings and makes THCa with using THCa- Synthase which is an enzyme.
From THCa to CBN
The THCa decarboxylase and it lose that Carboxylic-acid and form THC. THC over time or heat will be degrade into CBN. What happening is, when it is losing hydrogen-atoms and forming double bonds in the ring of the molecule structure, it causes a weaker interaction for this compound with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. That weak interaction is what leads to the sedative effect and the sleepiness, drowsiness associated with CBN.
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How is the CBN content measured?
When cannabis is tested in a testing facility, CBN can be measured. And usually it’s under 1%. A patient can actually look to see if that’s something that they’re interested in a higher percent or lower percent. Because it does cause sedation.
Laboratories tests for CBN using a high-performance liquid chromatograph also known as an HPLC. The HPLC is much more sensitive instrument then the other instrument that’s used to test for cannabinoids sometimes called the GC or gas chromatograph.
The HPLC doesn’t degrade any of these compounds like the GC. The GCS uses heat, so it degrades some of these compounds. Whereas the HPLC can test them in their natural state.
The way of measuring affects the result
What happens with the GC? It has established that the CBN is formed by either heat or time. The same thing with the decarboxylation of this THC. On about 140 degrees Celsius we start to see a conversion of THC to CBN where. The GC must operate at much higher temperatures.
Heat transforms the cannabinoids
So when you do a test with the GC for those Cannabinoids, you’re going to have a slightly lower CBD number, because the CBD with heat can be converted to THC. With heat the THC can then be converted to CBN. So you going to see a slightly lower CBD numbers.
With GC you might get a slightly lower number and with CBN you’re going to see a higher number than you would with HPLC testing. Is CBN actually in the plant? No it’s a function of the heating process of the GC. And since THC and CBD are degraded with heat that’s why professional laboratories test for all of the cannabinoids with an HPLC.