Everywhere you look, something is derived from hemp. And with the 2018 Farm Bill ushering in the age of legal hemp, we aren’t surprised. In this guide, we want to spread the news about compounds that are stirring up the industry. CBN, for example, typically in the form of tinctures, is making headlines for its potential beneficial properties. But what is a CBN tincture? What is CBN, to begin with? Well, it’s one of the latest cannabinoids in our lineup, and we’re going to do a deep dive into it today.
What is CBN?
Alongside the more commonly known THC and CBD, cannabis houses a wide variety of minor cannabinoids, including CBN. Cannabinol — CBN –itself is a non-intoxicating compound created as a byproduct in the aging cycle of THC. Basically, as THC sits inactive within the cannabis plant, it breaks down into cannabinol instead. For this reason, CBN is often present in high amounts in older cannabis.
From THC to CBN, the cannabinoid’s chemical makeup changes entirely. CBN takes on new and interesting properties not found in as much abundance as the base compound of THC. This has led to an entirely new line of testing strictly around CBN as an isolated component.
We were completely fascinated by cannabinol, which led us on the journey to adding it to our product line. Full-spectrum, our CBD+CBN oil has been effective for many shoppers. What is CBN oil good for, though?
4 Potential Benefits of CBN
We aren’t making any direct medical claims or statements, but we do want to share the research behind the cannabinoid. More clinical trials and studies are necessary to draw conclusions, but the potential is too ripe not to mention. Below are just some potential benefits that research into CBN tinctures and other CBN products has unlocked.
Recent studies may have found CBN to have extremely potent antibacterial properties. In a lab, CBN was tested on MRSA strains resistant to traditional antibiotics. CBN has proven to be effective as an antibacterial agent against these strains. This could lead to a new line of defense against bacteria as they become progressively more resistant to established treatments.
In a study based on rodents, researchers looked into the potential use of CBN to combat ALS. Results show the onset of ALS symptoms are delayed with cannabinol. Of course, this was a study on rodents, and the results for humans still remain inconclusive.
We await more refined clinical testing with a wide, varying set of human participants. However, there is a chance CBN or CBN tinctures could potentially act as a powerful tool in the combat of ALS. It may even go beyond that, helping to combat other neurodegenerative diseases as well.
In a separate rodent study, CBN was shown to impact the effects of arthritis. More than 1.3 million people across the US suffer from rheumatoid arthritis — just one of many inflammatory conditions. We need more research, but this could help alleviate pain from otherwise debilitating conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
More research is underway following a study on rabbits meant to observe the effects of CBN on intraocular pressure. According to the reports, CBN was shown to reduce this pressure in the test subjects. To date, intraocular pressure is the largest factor in the development of glaucoma. CBN and CBN tinctures could prove to be an effective treatment given further study.
What is a Tincture?
Typically, a tincture consists of a plant extract or some animal material dissolved in ethanol (ethyl alcohol). In herbal medicine, alcohol-based solutions have various ethanol concentrations but are at least 20% for the purpose of preservation. Ethanol is good for both acidic and alkaline constituents. This gives it a major advantage as a solvent. In the CBD and hemp world, nowadays, the word “tincture” is used interchangeably with the word “oil.”
Other mediums used to distill tinctures include vinegar and glycerine. A tincture using glycerine as a solvent is known as a glycerite, and generally makes a poorer solvent than ethanol. Vinegar is best suited for obtaining alkaloids but comes up short as a solvent for acidic components. This is due to vinegar’s already acidic nature.
For those who prefer not to or cannot take an alcohol-based tincture, these alcohol-free solvents provide a safe alternative. And if you’re wondering what is a CBN tincture in this context, it’s likely alcohol-free. For example, our tinctures and hemp oils are all alcohol-free. It will all come down to the brand you decide to purchase from.
These alternatives are also useful because they give a tincture the ability to avoid denaturing certain components. Things like proteins become “pickled” in alcohol-based solutions and lose their potency. It can also affect aromatic compounds, removing them from the final product.
The FDA’s Thoughts on Tinctures
With all of this being considered, it’s important to know most tinctures are categorized as supplements by the FDA. Most are not studied in-depth for efficacy, so it’s always a good idea to proceed with caution.
It’s a big reason we always recommend only ever purchasing from a trusted, reliable source. As a hemp brand, we strive to maintain transparency. From our lab results to the ingredients lists on every product page and bottle, you’ll always be in the know.
And if you’re taking any prescription medication, speak with a medical health professional if you’re unsure about incorporating a CBN tincture into your routine.
A Quick History on Tinctures: Did You Know?
The origins of tinctures date back to the same era as distilled alcohol! This might go as far back as ancient Egypt. Egyptians soaked herbs in alcohol to create tinctures and cordials (which was a tincture with much lower alcohol content).
The distillation of alcohol wasn’t embraced in Europe until the 1400s and didn’t become widespread until the 1500s. By the Victorian era, tinctures served as common medical applications. When modern medicine moved into emphasizing the use of pills, traditional tinctures began their decline into obscurity.
What is a CBN Tincture Shelf Life?
As tinctures and their uses regain popularity, more people are becoming educated in the traditional way it was prepared. Tinctures are highly concentrated and doses are small and can be diluted, which obscures the taste if it’s overly potent. They require no additional preparation once created and have a high shelf life.
If you’re wondering what is a CBN tincture shelf life, it comes down to the brand. Our CBN tinctures, for example, have a shelf life of 18 to 24 months.
4 Misconceptions Surrounding CBN
As with most issues surrounding cannabis, the world of CBN is rife with misconceptions and assumptions. Some of this is based on the prior understanding that surrounds THC and CBD, likely because they’re more common. Others could be outright fabrications that are repeated because they have not been proven false in a lab setting yet. Below is a list of common misconceptions floating around that may make information about CBN cloudy.
1. CBN is only a sleep aid
Most claims to CBN fame have it pinned solely as a sleep aid. This may leave you a little confused, especially since insomnia wasn’t listed as one of the potential benefits above. CBN is often referred to as a type of super sedative — but that reputation is deceptive.
The study surrounding the sedative effects of CBN is still in its infancy. One human-based study did in fact look into this concept back in the 1970s. The study consisted of a small number of subjects. However, none of the respondents noted that CBN made them feel sleepy.
So how did CBN become known for its sleep-inducing properties? The study involving isolated CBN also tested CBN+THC, as well as isolated THC. THC alone produced mild drowsiness. The combination of both produced the strongest drowsy side effects.
This could have led to the idea that CBN produces drowsiness. People do also report that older cannabis makes them feel tired. Older cannabis has a larger amount of CBN compared to fresh flower. This could have sparked the myth that it was solely responsible.
2. CBN is the same compound as CBD
This idea may come from the fact that cannabinol and cannabidiol have similarly spelled names. A quick glance they may look like the same word. The acronyms don’t help much, being only one letter different. But CBD and CBN are two very different compounds, with two unique molecular makeups.
Each compound also has unique properties that impact the human endocannabinoid system differently. Although they both directly interact with the same part of the brain, they do so with different effects.
CBD is also naturally produced within the cannabis plant as a stand-alone compound. From the time of planting to harvest, the CBD content grows. CBN, on the other hand, is the result of THC oxidizing. This occurs much the same as how alcohol content in wine forms as grapes age in the barrel.
The compound makes up a smaller portion of the cannabinoid content in flower when the bud is fresh. Over time, though, more THC will oxidize into CBN. If you go this route, you’ll be eventually left with a CBN-rich plant.
3. CBN is illegal
Some people are still unclear about the legal status of compounds derived from cannabis plants. This is due to the federal law regarding THC-heavy strains. But CBN is derived from industrial, legal hemp, a closely related cousin to THC-heavy marijuana strains. People who don’t know the difference may be confused about what is legal and what is still off-limits.
CBN derived from hemp is legal across all 50 states under the 2018 Hemp Farming Act. This bill removed hemp from the list of controlled substances. It also freed up states to farm hemp as a resource. This happens to cover hemp farming for beneficial supplements like CBN tinctures, CBD extracts, and more.
4. CBN can get you high
People wanting to add rare cannabinoid compounds to their daily routine are put off by a fear that CBN may get them intoxicated. This is due to the limited knowledge people have on the differences between cannabis and hemp. It doesn’t help that some sources refer to CBN as psychoactive, while others say it’s non-psychoactive.
Cannabis is bred in legal states to be heavier in delta-9 THC, which is the psychoactive component in weed. But legal hemp is grown with an intended THC count that falls below 0.03%. This is well below the amount needed to use for recreational purposes.
Furthermore, CBN is derived from this very low percentage and undergoes a complete molecular change during its conversion. The process of oxidation and exposure to UV light creates a new compound entirely. Think about how fermented fruit is no longer the same as it slowly changes to alcohol. The concept here is similar.
The Future for CBN Tinctures
With a short history of medicinal cannabis, tinctures, and CBN itself out of the way, the concept of a CBN tincture becomes much clearer.
Every day, the cannabis and hemp industries grow (no pun intended). Further studies are underway, and knowledge about this plant is more socially accessible than ever. Part of that growth and research is thanks to CBN. And as the compound becomes more mainstream, we’re excited to see CBN tinctures show off their massive array of properties.