Cannabinoid Profile: CBN

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Written by Cara Wietstock

Cannabinol (CBN) is a cannabinoid that develops after dried flowers are overexposed to the elements.

CBN is actually a product of decarboxylated CBNA. The cannabinoid develops as THCA breaks down from being exposed to open air for too long. Exposure like this can turn the THCA into CBNA. And as we mentioned, when decarboxylated CBNA becomes CBN.

This is a psychoactive cannabinoid. It is a partial agonist to CB1 receptors but mostly interacts with CB2 receptors. Because CBN is formed by degraded THCA, it is commonly found in low grade baled cannabis and traditionally created hashish. Since degraded cannabis is generally higher in CBN modern cultivation and production processes minimize the formation of the cannabinoid.


Though it is currently not listed in any of the schedules set out by the United States or the United Nations, it is still considered an analog of THC which is very clearly listed as Schedule 1. For this reason, one could be prosecuted in most states if found in possession of the cannabinoid despite it not being officially scheduled.

Despite the government technically considering this cannabinoid illegal, many studies from other countries have concluded that it is valuable as medicine. One study done on rats in the UK concluded that CBN was a valuable appetite stimulant. Other studies show that CBN may even have anticancer properties. Until more studies and clinical trials are done we won’t be able to do any work to free this plant for patients. There are nonprofit organizations raising money for this research, check out more about that in our May/June Issue.

Studies have shown CBN to be valuable:

  • Appetite Stimulant
  • Antibiotic
  • Potential ALS Medicine
  • Pain Reliever
  • Anti-Asthmatic
  • Sedative
  • Lower Ocular Pressure
Formula‎: ‎C21H26O2
CAS Number‎: ‎521-35-7
Solubility in water‎: ‎insoluble in water soluble in …
Melting point‎: ‎77 °C (171 °F)

About the author

Cara Wietstock

Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the plant have brought her to Terpenes and Testing magazine. She now helps keep us on the cutting edge of scientific cannabis discovery as the Editor-in-Chief of the print publication.

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