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What Are Cannabinols In CBD And How Do They Work?

Cannabinols In CBD, often known as CBN, is a cannabinoid found in modest amounts in fresh cannabis plants; but, as cannabis ages and oxidizes, the amount of CBN increases. It appears that when THC is broken down, CBN is created as a by-product. THC will convert to CBN with time and oxygen. Because CBN is found in larger concentrations in "old" cannabis plant material, its medical qualities were largely overlooked until recently. Cannabinol, like CBD, is being investigated as a non-impairing therapeutic help for persons who are sensitive to or want to avoid THC. CBN is now found in a variety of cannabis products, including topicals, edibles, capsules, and more. CBN content in milligrams should be indicated on product labels in legal and regulated states.

How CBN Works In The Body

The central nervous system is unaffected by CBN. CBN has been demonstrated to have substantial immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory activities in a range of immune cells, including T-cells, B-cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells. CBN may also help with the natural cycle of cell life and death by reducing the synthesis of cytokines (a protein that triggers immune and inflammatory responses in the body). According to recent research, CBN is transformed by the liver into a form that binds better to the CB1 receptor when eaten orally, indicating that ingestion is a favorable route to receive CBN.

A transparent tincture bottle with black cover filled with CBD oil sitting on a bunch of cannabis leaves
A transparent tincture bottle with black cover filled with CBD oil sitting on a bunch of cannabis leaves

Common Effects And Uses

At the time of writing, the major benefit of CBN being promoted to consumers is as a sleep aid/sedative. CBN appears to stimulate hunger in rats in preliminary trials, which is wonderful news because CBD suppresses appetite. It also appears to have potent anti-inflammatory qualities, which could be beneficial for a variety of ailments such as asthma and arthritis. CBN's antibacterial qualities could be useful in a variety of situations, and it's even been shown to kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The germs were also successfully destroyed by CBD and THC.

CBN may also be effective for bone regeneration and encouraging the formation of new stem cells in bone marrow, though additional research is needed. CBN stimulates the same neural pathways in the body as THC, according to research. The capsaicin-sensitive sensory nerves are so named because they are sensitive to capsaicin, the active heat-producing ingredient in hot peppers. Along with CBN and THC, it's frequently utilized in infused pain-relief topicals. CBN has also been proven to inhibit the formation of keratinocytes, a kind of skin cell that becomes hyperactive and produces scaly growths in psoriasis and eczema.

What Is Decarboxylation?

Decarboxylation is the alteration of cannabinoids that occurs when they are exposed to heat and, to a lesser extent, time. When cannabis is heated (smoked, vaped, etc.) at the molecular level, the carboxyl group (an acidic group commonly present in biological molecules) on each cannabinoid detaches—it decarboxylates. The cannabinoids become active as a result of this. Heat is what causes cannabinoid acids like THCA and CBDA to shed their A and transform into the molecules we're familiar with, such as THC and CBD. Decarboxylation can occur over time, although it is more likely to occur when the substance is heated.

Cannabinoid Acids

Cannabinoids are naturally present in an acidic form as the living cannabis plant grows and develops. The chemical predecessors of more well-known cannabinoids like THC and CBD are these cannabinoid acids.

Decarboxylation, or the conversion of cannabinoid acids into more recognizable forms, occurs when the plant is heated (for example, by smoking, vaping, or cooking with it). Acids such as THCA and CBDA (the "A" is added to indicate the acidic state) are transformed into active chemicals such as THC and CBD. These two types of cannabinoids are sometimes referred to as "acidic cannabinoids" and "activated cannabinoids." Our endocannabinoid systems can also employ acidic cannabinoids, and evidence suggests these may be more effective than activated cannabinoids.

According to preliminary study and anecdotal evidence, the acids in their natural state have excellent therapeutic benefits on their own, without causing euphoria or impairment (like those associated with THC, for example). At the time of writing, the bioavailability of cannabinoid acids is a topic of controversy and investigation, with preliminary data indicating that some cannabinoids, such as CBD, may be better absorbed in their acid state while others, such as THC, are better absorbed in their activated forms.

Because acids are most easily available in fresh plant material, it may be difficult to obtain a source of fresh cannabis unless you live in a state where home-growing is permitted. Some companies sell tinctures containing cannabinoids acids, but they're only available in states where marijuana is legal.

An image showing how cannabidnols are broken down before being used
An image showing how cannabidnols are broken down before being used

Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) serves as a "parent" or precursor to other acids such as THCA and CBDA. CBGA is broken down into THCA and CBDA by synthases, which are natural enzymes found in cannabis. CBGA has been found to have analgesic (pain-relieving), antimicrobial, and maybe antiproliferative (cancer-fighting) effects on its own.

THCA, like all other cannabinoid acids, has no side effects. Anti-inflammatory, antiemetic (vomiting), antispasmodic, antiproliferative, and neuroprotective activities have been discovered. It may also be useful in the treatment of insomnia and as an appetite stimulant, according to preliminary research.

While additional research into the effects of CBDA is needed, some preliminary studies have revealed that it may be useful in the fight against cancer, and it has been proven to suppress the growth of aggressive breast cancer cells. CBDA may have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and nausea-fighting effects.

Medical Uses Of Cannabinols

  • Analgesic (pain relief)
  • Sleep aid
  • Bone growth
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anticonvulsant
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Antiproliferative

Physical Effects

  • Relaxation
  • Sleepiness
  • Hunger

Conditions Treated


THC degradation begins when the cannabis plant is harvested and no longer receives nutrients from the roots, causing cannabinoid biosynthesis pathways to be disrupted.

The euphoric qualities of marijuana are weakened as a result of this. Keep in mind that raw cannabis contains THC in its inactive form (THC-A), which converts into CBN-a, or cannabinolic-acid, as it ages.

Cannabis must be exposed to air and allowed to oxidize in order to increase CBN levels. This has the same impact as wrongly storing cannabis.

About The Authors

Suleman Shah

Suleman Shah - Suleman Shah is a researcher and freelance writer. As a researcher, he has worked with MNS University of Agriculture, Multan (Pakistan) and Texas A & M University (USA). He regularly writes science articles and blogs for science news website immersse.com and open access publishers OA Publishing London and Scientific Times. He loves to keep himself updated on scientific developments and convert these developments into everyday language to update the readers about the developments in the scientific era. His primary research focus is Plant sciences, and he contributed to this field by publishing his research in scientific journals and presenting his work at many Conferences. Shah graduated from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (Pakistan) and started his professional carrier with Jaffer Agro Services and later with the Agriculture Department of the Government of Pakistan. His research interest compelled and attracted him to proceed with his carrier in Plant sciences research. So, he started his Ph.D. in Soil Science at MNS University of Agriculture Multan (Pakistan). Later, he started working as a visiting scholar with Texas A&M University (USA). Shah’s experience with big Open Excess publishers like Springers, Frontiers, MDPI, etc., testified to his belief in Open Access as a barrier-removing mechanism between researchers and the readers of their research. Shah believes that Open Access is revolutionizing the publication process and benefitting research in all fields.

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