As research continues to uncover more and more about the chemical makeup of cannabis, industry experts are identifying specific elements of this plant that can make a significant difference in everyday ways. Many have already heard about cannabidiol, or CBD, one of the market’s more prominent ways to treat pain, but in fact, this compound is only one of many that can be utilized.
Depending on who you ask, there are at least 80 different cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant, with some sources noting up to 113 individual elements that can be isolated. Today we’re exploring one cannabinoid in particular, but first, let’s gain a greater understanding of just how these compounds work within our bodies and what makes them so unique.
What Is A Cannabinoid?
The cannabis plant is composed of a multitude of chemical compounds just like any other plant or living organism. These building blocks are called cannabinoids and are excreted from the plant. What makes a cannabinoid so special is the way it reacts in the human body, and this interaction with our brain chemistry is what has led so many to use cannabinoids as medicine.
In the 1980s, researchers discovered that we have specific receptors in our brains that trigger a neurotransmitter release. Not only does THC affect our psychological state as many have known for decades, but other singular elements in cannabis can also impact the way our body functions. In short, you can think of cannabinoids as a communication system within the brain, working to deliver messages between cells and helping to maintain health and proper functionality.
Many cannabis users may talk about THC without actually knowing that it is one of many cannabinoids. Rather than just acting as the substance responsible for your high, this chemical is working deep within the brain to emit a reaction. In the last several years, CBD has also made major headlines as a cannabinoid that has the potential for incredible medical applications.
CBD – Cannabidiol is often used to treat anxiety, relieve pain, help with inflammation, and much more. Individuals who are outspoken about their CBD use have even claimed that it reduces the symptoms of seizures and can help with cancer treatment. Presently, the Food and Drug Administration has not made any formal claims about CBD or the efficacy of any other cannabinoids, however, only time will tell before that changes.
The New Cool Kid on the Block – CBN
Perhaps the next big cannabinoid that individuals will see on dispensary shelves is CBN. Its full name is cannabinol and it can be compared to CBD in some ways. Cannabis users will note that like CBD, CBN can assist in the reduction of anxiety, relieves pain, and acts as an anti-bacterial. While more impactful benefits include the potential for bone cell growth and aiding in appetite stimulation, there’s one instance in which it is poised for tremendous value.
Cannabinol has also been found to harbor a strong sedative effect, and lab studies have shown that only 5 mg of CBN is just as effective as a 10 mg dose of diazepam, more commonly known by the brand name Valium. For individuals who struggle with insomnia, and even the stress and anxiety that often leads to nights of restless sleep, it’s hypothesized that a small amount of CBN can make a huge difference. While more research is certainly needed to ensure that this cannabinoid is being used effectively, the initial results are promising.
Aside from gaining a deeper understanding of the true value that CBN brings, it will also be essential to determine the best methods of consumption. Most marijuana flower on today’s market only contains trace amounts of CBN and is certainly not enough for users to notice any effects. Yet as cannabis oxidize with age, its THC actually converts to CBN. Rather than having to wait for this process to occur, industry experts are working diligently to expedite this process to create oils and edibles that will deliver the same therapeutic effects without a psychoactive high.
The discovery of additional cannabinoids is exciting for industry officials and testing experts, including, Ionization Labs, a Green Ocean Sciences, Inc. company. As a leader in the cannabis testing field, the Ionization Labs team see an immense amount of potential for CBN. Rather than focusing efforts solely on the cultivation of THC-rich cannabis, cannabis growers can begin to fine-tune their plants in order to achieve maximum CBN potency. Ionization Labs is on the forefront of cannabis testing and business solutions, offering easy-to-use systems that give growers real-time data about their plants. By combining these methods with the increased awareness of CBN use in people’s daily lives, cultivators across the nation can continue to work toward developing cannabis products that offer immense value.
About the Author:
Cree Crawford is the President & Co-Founder of Ionization Labs, a Green Ocean Sciences, Inc. company. Ionization labs is committed to simplifying the testing process by developing testing and data analytics solutions that meet the needs of professional operators in the cannabis industry. Ionization Labs has created high-frequency/low-cost in-house testing solutions that are easy to use, affordable, and utilize the same technologies as state certification labs. They combined chemical analysis hardware platforms with proprietary industry specific software and a turn-key testing package subscription that delivers exceptional results. Crawford’s passion is cannabis education and he sees Ionization Labs’ data analytics testing solution as an industry platform that can perpetually help the industry with aggregation of chemical data acquisition.