In the last couple of articles in our series for cannabis newcomers, we took a closer look at cannabis’s most common cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). In this article, we go over a few lesser-known cannabinoids that deliver powerful medicinal benefits: cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabichromene (CBC). These non-psychoactive compounds can be highly effective in treating a number of symptoms. For some, they’re the ideal medicine to help ease or improve their condition.
CBN is best known as the cannabinoid that’s created when THC ages. While some see it as a bad thing when THC turns into CBN—since it means that your cannabis has aged and no longer has the same effects it once did, others actually prefer aged cannabis for this very reason. CBN has a wide range of effects that patients can take advantage of, if they know what they’re looking for.
One major reason why folks use CBN is because it can help them sleep. CBN has been shown to be extremely sedative; it’s perhaps the most sedative cannabinoid, and many use it to ease insomnia. If you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep, it might be just the thing to try.
CBN can also help with appetite stimulation so it may be helpful for patients who suffer from anorexia, cancer or other conditions that negatively impact appetite.
Research also suggests that CBN is a powerful antibiotic. Along with CBG and CBC, CBN has been shown to effectively treat antibiotic-resistant infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, may also find CBN helpful in slowing the disease’s progression. In one study, researchers were able to delay the onset of ALS symptoms in mice by treating them with CBN.
CBN may help patients with glaucoma. According to the research, the cannabinoid is effective at lowering ocular pressure, which can cause blindness for glaucoma patients.
CBG is another cannabinoid that brings with it a medley of beneficial effects. Like CBN, CBG has been shown to have antibiotic properties.
In addition, CBG is being touted as a powerful pain reliever. In fact, some research suggests that CBG is even more effective at managing pain than either THC or CBD is.
CBG is also said to help with the side effects of menopause. This may be, in part, because of its pain-relieving properties. That said, CBG also helps prevent the onset of osteoporosis and bone loss after menopause.
CBG has been shown to have anti-tumor properties, and may be especially helpful for individuals who have skin cancer. When it comes to other skin conditions, CBG can also help alleviate psoriasis by preventing the reddening of the skin.
Some patients may also use the compound to regulate their emotions. Research has shown CBG can act as a moderate antidepressant, raising serotonin levels in the brain.
Many of the reasons people use CBC are similar to the reasons why folks use CBG and CBN. Like CBG and CBN, CBC is also an antibiotic that’s been shown to help combat bacterial infections. Like CBG, CBC appears to help reduce pain, ease the symptoms of menopause and act as an antidepressant.
Some patients who use CBC do so for its neuroprotectant properties. Not only does CBC protect the brain, it actually encourages your brain to grow new brain cells in the specific areas responsible for memory and learning. When your brain stops developing new cells in these areas, the risk for neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's disease increases. CBC can be a great aid in preventing or delaying the onset of these conditions.
CBC is also a cannabinoid that’s known as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. While it can fight inflammation on its own, research shows that CBC is most effective at reducing inflammation when used synergistically with THC.
Because CBC, CBG and CBN are less well known than THC and CBD are, they’re also more difficult to find as isolated cannabinoids. There are only a few products on the market that actually isolate these chemicals. That said, if you can’t find cannabis products that are made up entirely of CBG, CBN or CBC, you may try products whose test results show higher levels of these compounds.
As it is, cannabis usually works best with a combination of compounds, rather than one cannabinoid in isolation. Now that you’re familiar with the effects of these cannabinoids, you can start making more educated decisions about which products may be best for you.
In the next installment of our Cannabis for Newbies guide, we’ll move onto another important category of cannabis chemicals: terpenes. These aromatic compounds are responsible for the taste and smell of cannabis, but also for many of its medicinal effects.
Photo credit: Jurassic Blueberries
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