Cannabinol or CBN is one of the many non-psychoactive compounds among a total of 113 known cannabinoids. It is present in trace amounts in the cannabis plant and is found mostly in an aged plant. Unlike other cannabinoids that are synthesized from either CBG (Cannabigerol) or cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), CBN is synthesized as a metabolite of THC.
The reason behind the presence of CBN in aged cannabis is the fact that instead of stemming out from CBG or CBGA (parent cannabinoids), it is a degraded product of the psychoactive cannabinoid compound tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). The THCA converts to cannabinolic acid (CBNA) after prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light (sunlight) or air. CBN is formed as a result of the decarboxylation of CBNA.
Molecular Formula of CBN – C21H26O2
The CBN molecules are lipophilic and hydrophobic and are soluble in fats, so they dissolve easily in solvents like ethanol and methanol.
CBN is known to show sedative properties with some research studies showing sedative effects of CBN equivalent to sedative effects of diazepam, a mild pharmaceutical sedative, when used in a ratio of 1:2. With the above results it is inferred that the sleep-inducing effects of certain cannabis strains like Indica is contributed by CBN.
Several research studies to determine the accurate effects and possible medical uses of Cannabinol are underway. Some of the studies show that CBN may help in addressing skin conditions like psoriasis or burns; may have antibacterial properties; and, possibly delay the symptom onset of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Currently, the research on the effects of Cannabinol on the human body is lacking, so we cannot determine its accurate effects and medical uses.