by Seshata on 19/06/2013 | Consumption

Cannabinoid science 101: Cannabinol

Cannabinoids Cannabinol (CBN) is arguably the third best-known cannabinoid after THC and CBD. Mildly psychoactive, CBN is thought to act as a weak agonist of both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and is known to have various medical uses including as an anticonvulsant and antiemetic. CBN may also be partly responsible for the sedative effect of some cannabis varieties.


Cannabinol (CBN) is arguably the third best-known cannabinoid after THC and CBD. Mildly psychoactive, CBN is thought to act as a weak agonist of both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and is known to have various medical uses including as an anticonvulsant and antiemetic. CBN may also be partly responsible for the sedative effect of some cannabis varieties.

Cannabinoid science 101: Cannabinol

Chemical structure

CBN is a product of THC degradation, and has the chemical formula C21H26O2 and a molar mass of 310.43 g/mol. The unstable THC molecule, which has the formula C21H30O2, loses four hydrogen atoms (which give the THC molecule the tetrahydro- prefix) to form CBN; this process is facilitated by heat and light, and does not require the action of an enzyme.

As with all other cannabinoids, CBN is a hydrophobic, lipophilic molecule. As well as being soluble in fats, it also dissolves readily in solvents such as ethanol or methanol.  The melting point of CBN is approximately 77°C, and the boiling point is 185°C. At room temperature, CBN is a colourless crystalline solid.

The molecular structure of cannabinol
The molecular structure of cannabinol

Cannabinol in the EC system

As well as being a partial agonist of both main cannabinoid receptors, CBN has been shown to inhibit the action of the almost ubiquitous adenylyl cyclase reaction, which catalyses the vital energy-transporting enzyme ATP and converts it to cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), another important signalling enzyme, and pyrophosphate.

The THC molecule, structurally identical to cannabinol save for the extra hydrogen atoms
The THC molecule, structurally identical to cannabinol save for the extra hydrogen atoms

Physiological properties

CBN has also been demonstrated to suppress immune cell function, as well as exhibiting some antiemetic and anticonvulsant effect, although the latter two properties are far weaker than those found in THC and CBD. However, various derivatives of CBN are currently being studied for their pharmacological properties, Nabilone being the best-known of these.

When cut and stored, the THC in cannabis begins to degrade to CBN
When cut and stored, the THC in cannabis begins to degrade to CBN

Use in medicine

Nabilone, traded under the name Cesamet in many counties including the U.K., has been extensively studied and is currently available on prescription as an antiemetic and treatment for neuropathic pain. According to subjective reports, nabilone does not induce a “high” and instead induces a soothing effect on the body.

Nabilone has been demonstrated to ameliorate symptoms of fibromyalgia, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, among many others. Nabilone is also effective against inflammatory bowel disease, particularly ulcerative colitis.

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Johnny Five Eagles Szuros

Hi, my name is john and I lost my leg 4.5 years ago. Man alive they did not manage the pain properly after the surgery and my specialist said that doctor should be fired. No ph ysician should take your narcotics away after 2 days after the amputation. It is unfortunately going to cause a stink over there abd many docxtors and nurses know she did that and they all complained to management who shut everybody up to see what i was going to do. It was rough. When I was released they gave me Cesamet and boy did I ever get stoned from that. It really helped for thje neuropathic pain in my leg. The pain comes back and the doc 'made' me go buy a medical grade vaporizer and he started the paper work required to obtain some, which by the way are comparable to Amsterdam /coffee house prices. 30 dollars Canadian for 2.5 grasms and things like that. So if you are sick and disabled one cannopt ever hope to be able to afford this. Whaqt I plan to do i s buy their shake and make oil and put it away. I would bake with it and I have some good stove top and Jamacain Rum recipes : I can process1/4 pound of weed in 120 minutes on the stove. comesout really good and it is tasty. I cannot afford to buy their medical marijuana becaus even for a disabled person on a disability subsidy they cannot get their pot covered. So imagine me who had a script for 2 grams a da and I can buy 2 ounces at 280 each minus 20%. Comes out to 448 Dollars Canaadian. That is half of my check. That is a lot of money. Marijuana is helpful for many things and the /government doesn't want to be bothered with it. Poor sickm people cannot ac cess this medicine. Kratom is getting like that too. I know a guy who bought 44 lbs of the stuff and sellls a 400 gram sample for $300 Cda. Pretty wild. Everybody wants to get rich off of people like me. Thereis a unique device that when the put it in the vicinity of an accupuncture poimt near the ankle assuming it was still down there and whole. My leg got really warm and the pain went entirely away for 8 days. He wouldn't tell me the name of the device or who built it. I mean some weird device that puts a revovling magnetic field near that spot if my leg was there. So something clearly is there in the chi body? I donm't knoww wwhat it is. Wew got into a fight and he literally maan handled me out the back door. There are things out there that I know work and they are not addicting. Thios Kratom is lkicking again and /I feel like I am having a flashback,Thanks for listening. We used to be ablew to grow 4 plants for ouselves. Big Farma is doing it. Old tobacco operations have been converted to grow ops etc. You guys keep up the good work. Thanks and I want to get seeds and growq at the cxottage. Outin th4e bush and if anybody goes near them /I have booby traps and two very well trained police dogs who patrol in the area off leash. They

14/03/2015

Steve Skrobot

I knew this was a post by Johnny because there is one thing you can count on, he doesn't know how to leave a short reply to anything.

06/06/2015

bushrat

The more legitimate information we have about herb the easier it is to take the wind out of the sails of the know-it-alls . Thank you from an old smoker. Bushrat.

27/06/2016

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