Doctors and patients alike are becoming familiar with the benefits
offered for a variety of ailments through compounds contained in medical marijuana like CBD (cannabidiol) or, to a different degree, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Cannabis contains far more compounds than just these two best-known compounds, however. One of the lesser-known compounds, CBN (cannabinol), is being studied closely because of its possible therapeutic value to patients.
CBD, THC and CBN
CBD has been found useful in pain management, as a drug that could
possibly combat cancer
and for its general anti-inflammatory properties. CBD achieves this
through its impact on certain receptors in the brain.
best-known property of cannabis, can enable pain relief, help with
nausea and diminish anxiety due to its psychotropic properties. CBN is
the third compound in medical marijuana that can help with pain
relief. In addition,
CBN has been studied for its ability to treat
How CBN Activates
Unlike CBD, which occurs separately from THC within cannabis, CBN
distills from THC.
Specifically, Steep Hill Lab describes the CBD-to-THC process as being
one of oxidization after THC degrades. During this process, THC loses
its psychoactive properties, but retains the ability to be an
anti-inflammatory while also enhancing feelings of relaxation.
Enhanced Impact of CBN on Patients
Studies have shown that CBN enhances the impact of THC and CBD in
certain types of therapies. All three compounds–THC, CBD and CBN–have
been found to have antibacterial qualities, particularly against viruses
such as MRSA. In
addition, studies have shown positive results in the impact of CBN on
lung carcinomas in
animals. That could mean that patients may someday experience similar
positive benefits from CBN as well.
Getting the Best of Cannabis
Like many mainstream medications, different medical marijuana patients
get different results from the various compounds that comprise cannabis.
One benefit to CBN is, as the National Institute of Health terms it,
the taming of
patients may need and seek the more psychotropic properties offered by
THC. For other patients, however, those very properties outweigh the
potential benefits they may experience. And that’s where CBN can make a
difference. As THC oxidizes into CBN, psychotropic properties are
tamed–thinned out, basically–and that enables patients to achieve the
anti-inflammatory, pain relief or other symptomatic improvements they
Hope for the Future
The list of ailments that medical marijuana may be able to treat or help
provide relief from grows on a near-daily basis: help for cancer
minimizing the pain of
are a few medical issues on that list. More research dollars are
beginning to flow to determine the other properties of cannabis that may
prove medically beneficial. Additionally, more formulations of medical
marijuana are being developed in different strains to help increasingly
CBN is the latest discovery that has proven to be of great benefit to
patients, and it won’t be the last. As research ferrets out more ways in
which CBN and other compounds can be used–such as the anti-tumor
properties already observed in lab animals–practitioners can begin
recommend cannabis to broader groups of patients. Medical marijuana is
already legal in 23 states as well as the District of Columbia, and its
reach grows with each election cycle as well. With the combination of
enhanced research, enhanced prescribing and enhanced availability,
patients will benefit exponentially.