Marijuana research has been slow over the last century.
- Until the federal government put a lid on most cannabis research in the 1970s, scientists were laser focused on the plant and all of its constitutive compounds.
Some people think that the only active component of the cannabis plant is the THC molecule, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. THC is one among hundreds of other cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. Researchers have been studying these compounds for decades, with CBD getting a lot of attention in recent years after it became federally legal to possess and sell. However, CBD is not the only cannabinoid in marijuana that has been on researchers’ radar for decades. CBN, or cannabinol, was the first ever cannabinoid to be isolated by scientists. It was noted and described in the 1930s by R.S. Cahn, and for years it was believed to contribute to the euphoric effects of THC. Although it does increase the effects of THC when the two are present together in high enough concentrations, it has other uses as well. Cannabinol is an effective antimicrobial that has shown efficacy in treating bacterial infections like MRSA, but it’s also capable of anti-inflammatory effects. CBN is somewhat in between THC and CBD in its potency when taken by itself, although it has shown a tendency to elicit sedation in people consuming it. CBN occurs naturally in the cannabis plant as it dries and breaks down. This makes it difficult to extract CBN because you have to know when to process a plant after it has been initially harvested.