CBN (Cannabinol)

Cannabinol, abbreviated CBN, is a noun that refers to a naturally-occurring plant compound. Found mainly in samples of aged cannabis, cannabinol (CBN) is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid that forms as a metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

What is CBN?

CBN has a higher affinity to CB2 receptors in the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), but it also acts as a partial agonist at the CB1 receptors. Compared to THC, CBN has lower affinities to both receptors. While other cannabinoids such as THC and CBD represent a much larger percentage of the cannabis plant, CBN is usually hovering around 0.5 to 1 percent.

Cannabinoids typically derive from either cannabigerol (CBG) or cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). However, CBN occurs when cannabis is exposed to UV light or air for enough time for decarboxylation of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) to take place. With enough time under the right conditions, THCA converts into cannabinolic acid (CBNA). As decarboxylation continues, CBN eventually forms.

Insoluble in water, CBN is soluble in both methanol and ethanol, like other cannabinoids. It is often found in tinctures and vaporizes at 77 °C or 171 °F.

CBN (Cannabinol): Usage and Meaning


  • “Hey, I heard that strains with high CBN make you sleep, is that true?”
  • “Don’t leave that weed out man, exposing it isn’t good for it, that stuff about CBN being true or no!”
  • “CBN is one of the cannabinoids I am interested in learning more about.”

CBN (Cannabinol): What Does it Do in the Body?

The first major study of CBN found cannabis becomes more CBN-heavy as it degrades. There is a relationship between storage time and the concentration ratio of CBN to THC, and that relationship is connected to sample age and storage conditions.

Pain relief. Research indicates CBN is an effective analgesic or pain reliever for chronic muscle pain disorders such as fibromyalgia and TMJ.

Anti-cancer. 2020 research indicates CBN induces cancer cell death and apoptosis, inhibits cancer cell proliferation, and regulates expression of cannabinoid receptors across distinct cell lines.

Appetite stimulant. Researchers found CBN increases both the time and quantity of feeding in rats.

Anti-bacterial. According to the research, CBN exhibits “potent activity” many resistant strains of bacteria, including MRSA.

Anti-inflammatory. According to research from 2009, CBN is an effective anti-inflammatory against allergic asthma and other inflammatory disorders.

Glaucoma. A 2011 study reveals that CBN reduce the inflammation that causes intraocular pressure.

Anti-convulsant. CBN, along with the other cannabinoids, works as an anti-convulsant.

Stimulate bone growth. CBN may stimulate bone marrow cell growth, helping to create bone tissue and heal fractures.

Despite the rumor mill online, there is no evidence that pure, isolated CBN is sedating. This is true even though high-CBN strains and products can be. This could be due to a synergistic sedative effect produced by THC and CBN together, and/or because sedating terpenes remain as monoterpenoids evaporate with time, helping you sleep.


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