Although they share potential properties, CBN and CBD are produced by the cannabis plant in different ways. Learn more about these cannabinoids, their differences, and several varieties rich in high-quality CBD and CBN.
Both CBD (cannabidiol) and CBN (cannabinol) come from the cannabis plant. They were first discovered in the 1940s and were the first two cannabinoids to be isolated from the plant. Today, scientists have isolated more than 110 cannabinoids from cannabis.
The cannabinoids are interacting with the endocannabinoid system within our bodies. This system, made up of a set of receptor cells, can modulate all kinds of bodily functions. Different cannabinoids stimulate this system in different ways, with different effects.
The best-known compound in cannabis is probably THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC was first isolated in the 1960s and is widely regarded as the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.
How does the cannabis plant produce CBD?
The cannabis plant does not produce cannabinoids such as CBD and THC naturally. Instead, it first produces acidic versions of these compounds, which are then broken down to produce other compounds.
The first cannabinoic acid to be formed in the cannabis plant is CBGA or cannabigerolic acid. As the plant matures, four different enzymes begin to break down this compound into CBG (cannabigerol), THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), CBCA (cannabichromene acid) and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid).
When cannabis is harvested and refined, these acids begin to break down in a process known as decarboxylation. As cannabis is hung to dry and be “refined”, heat in the atmosphere begins to break down the carbon bonds in these acids, turning them into cannabinoids such as THC, CBC, and CBD.
The last decarboxylation phase begins once you consume cannabis. The heat from smoking or vaporizing, for example, automatically breaks down any remaining acids into compounds that are easier for our bodies to absorb. When cooking with cannabis, it is recommended to first decarboxylate the herb in the oven before using it to make oil or butter.
How does the cannabis plant produce CBN?
CBN is also produced by decarboxylation. But unlike CBD, it is not produced from cannabis acid. Rather, it’s derived from THC. When cannabis is decarboxylated, some of the THC in the plant is automatically transformed into CBN. Alternatively, you can also age harvested buds over long periods, allowing the plant to naturally break down the THC into CBN.