What Is CBD, CBN and THC?

Higher Education
September 13, 2021

In cannabis, there are multiple letter combinations used to describe the properties of the plant. Here we’ll explore CBD, CBN and THC. Each is a component of the cannabis plant, and they each affect the human body differently. So knowing a bit about CBD, CBN and THC will help you be a smarter cannabis consumer.

What is CBD?

Let’s start with CBD. CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid (ka-nab-in-oid) that’s found in both cannabis and hemp plants. CBD has grown in popularity and accessibility since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed. That bill made hemp legal to grow in the US and brought thousands of CBD products to market.

There has been significant research on CBD (because it isn’t on Schedule I, like cannabis). From that work, we know that CBD has shown positive results in treating seizures, pain, and nausea – it is also used against antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA. People use it for its calming and mood-improving properties, too.

What’s the difference between CBD, THC and CBN (cannabinol)?

When THC is oxidized (exposed to light and air), CBN is formed. It isn’t bred or modified into a cannabis strain. CBN or cannabinol (ka-nab-in-ol), is a nonintoxicating substance contained in cannabis sativa plants. While CBD and CBN have some of the same effects, they’re two different molecules as CBN comes from deteriorated cannabis, while CBD comes from genetically modified marijuana and from hemp.

Neither CBD or CBN will make you high, but they do have a calming effect when combined with THC. People who often consume cannabis know that CBD can tone down an overly intense high. For instance, if you eat too much of an edible or dab too much and are feeling anxious or paranoid, a dropper of CBD can help remove the edge. Interestingly, CBD and THC share the same molecular structure, but how the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms are arranged makes different effects on the human body. CBD has little or no psychoactive effect, and THC is all about that.

What is CBN Used For?

CBN has some of the most essential and powerful health benefits of the entire plant. It has been showing promise in several studies—it contains antibacterial properties and is a neuroprotectant. That means it may help with:

That means it may help with:

  • The symptoms of and onset of diseases like ALS and other degenerative neurological disorders.
  • Appetite stimulation, which helps people who don’t tolerate THC very well. With one of the post-COVID-19 infection symptoms being smell and taste loss, CBN might help people who aren’t feeling the urge to eat as they once did.
  • CBN has also shown promise in relieving the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
    It also has a calming effect and can help with sleep as well. Its sedative effects are believed to come from terpenes in cannabis, not solely the CBN. CBN is a bit harder to come by than CBD or THC-rich products in your local dispensary but is not impossible to find.

Benefits of THC

THC or tetrahydrocannabinol (tetra-high-drow-ka-nab-in-ol) is part of the reproductive system of the cannabis Sativa plant and is the primary ingredient in cannabis that most people want to get more of—it’s what gets you high, relieves pain, aids in sleep, has remarkable neurological effects and increases pleasure in most people. Both CBN with THC will give you a sleepy high—so save that old flower for bedtime.

THC was isolated (discovered) in Israel by Raphael Mechoulam in 1964. The Bulgarian chemist found that when cannabis is smoked, THC is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain. It attaches to the endocannabinoid receptors located in three important parts of the brain—the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. These parts of the brain are responsible for thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and movement. THC affects each of those areas in different ways for different people. Still, for the most part, people who consume cannabis on a regular or occasional basis do it for improved or more creative thinking, focus, decreasing the effect of powerful negative memories as in events that cause PTSD, increasing pleasure during sex and other sensory activities like making art or hiking.

The Entourage Effect

Keep in mind that the cannabis plant and all of its compounds are meant to work together—nature is smart in that way. It’s called the entourage effect, and it’s a source of discussion when it comes to isolating THC and CBD. Essentially, each of the compounds in cannabis works in harmony with others. The collection of those parts make the plant effective for a variety of health and wellness conditions.

When looking for cannabis solutions for better health, knowing your alphabet and what the compounds might do for you is good. Check out our menus, and when in doubt about a product, just ask one of our store budtenders.

As always, feel free to ask a New Standard budtender at our Michigan dispensaries about any of our cannabis products. We got you.

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