The universe of cannabinoids is as complex as it is mystical; It is in these organic compounds, from the group of terpenophenols, that the inherent therapeutic power of cannabis plants resides. To date, science knows about 113 different types of phytocannabinoids. What's fascinating is that although cannabinoids are closely related and can even derive from one another, each has a unique chemical structure. Consequently, they also carry different effects, therapeutic properties, and applications depending on the type of cannabinoid and the conditions to be treated. When talking about cannabinoids, most only think of the two most famous cannabinoids, the increasingly popular CBD and the controversial THC. But there are also other minor cannabinoids derived from CBD and THC that offer a whole range of medicinal possibilities. Among these minor cannabinoids, we find CBN or Cannabinol, a cannabinoid that stands out above the rest due to its powerful therapeutic potential. If you want to discover if you can convert CBD to CBN, we've got you covered. Read on, and you will find out everything you need to know about CBN and what processes CBD must go through in order to convert into CBN. Let's start by clarifying some basic concepts and questions.
- “Like CBD and THC, CBN also carries with it a myriad of potential medicinal properties.”
- “Although CBD and CBN both can come from the same cannabis or hemp plant, CBN does not come directly from CBD. Still, the conversion of CBD to CBN is possible…”
- “CBN occurs naturally in cannabis plants as a product of THC breakdown when exposed to ultraviolet light, air, heat, or certain bio-enzymes.”
What is CBN?CBN is a minor cannabinoid or derived cannabinoid that occurs in trace amounts in the hemp and cannabis plants but can also result from synthetic processes. Like CBD and THC, CBN also carries with it a myriad of potential medicinal properties. Although human clinical trials and research specific to CBN are still sparse, there is preclinical evidence to suggest that CBN may help with conditions such as epidermolysis bullosa, chronic muscle pain, and even symptoms of glaucoma. Anecdotal evidence also indicates that it is an excellent cannabinoid for promoting relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving sleep. CBN has been gaining a lot of attention from expert and knowledgeable cannabis users as it carries mild psychoactive effects; it can offer many of the benefits associated with cannabis without the intense high associated with cannabis use. Additionally, CBN provides a touch of extra power to better deal with severe pain and sleep problems. This is why CBN has been gaining the attention of medical cannabis lovers around the country.
Is CBN made from CBD?Although not directly, the answer is yes; CBN can be made using CBD as a starting point. The thing is that CBD must go through different processes to become CBN. The world of cannabis continues to evolve rapidly as the awareness of the science behind cannabis increases among consumers. The demand and the refined search of well-informed users for newly derived cannabinoid extracts and isolates, their specific benefits, and new forms of consumption are growing increasingly. This makes finding extracts of minor cannabinoids like CBN easier. Currently, you can even find guides on making your own extracts, from how to extract your own cannabis oil to how to make your own CBD crumble. However, making CBN using CBD as the mother cannabinoid can be a somewhat complicated and complex process to carry out without the necessary tools. Although CBD and CBN both can come from the same cannabis or hemp plant, CBN does not come directly from CBD. Still, the conversion of CBD to CBN is possible using iodine and then a series of processes to separate the CBN from impurities and the rest of the compounds resulting from the said conversion.
How is CBN madeCBN occurs naturally in cannabis plants as a product of THC breakdown when exposed to ultraviolet light, air, heat, or certain bio-enzymes. But since CBN is a breakdown product of THC and is not produced in large amounts by hemp and cannabis plants like CBD or THC, CBN is only expressed in trace amounts in plants. This is why most commercially available CBN comes from chemical processes and reactions applied to CBD from industrial hemp or THC from cannabis.
How to make CBNAs mentioned, CBN is a byproduct of THC degradation when exposed to air, light, or heat. You can find higher amounts of this minor cannabinoid in aged or long-time cured buds. However, you can also make CBN in laboratories through a natural oxidation or degradation process or chemical/enzymatic reactions applied to other major cannabinoids such as CBD or THC. The process for making CBN can vary depending on whether you are using THC or CBD as your starting point. Let's say you have a backlog of THC derived from hemp or a shipment of biomass rich in Delta-9 THC. In that case, the most common and obvious method besides the natural aging of the buds is to apply heat. Delta-9 THC is easily oxidized to CBN with oxygen and light during the decarboxylation process. A 2005 study found that the oxidation of THC to CBN occurs above 150 °C or 302 °F with a decarboxylation period of 15 minutes. Generally, the typical decarboxylation process involves lower temperatures than indicated and longer times to avoid this conversion and thus preserve the Δ-9-THC. This is why increasing the decarboxylation temperature may be the key if you are looking to convert your THC to CBN. Another alternative method to the heat used to convert THC to CBN is to use UV light. UV light degrades hemp and cannabis, facilitating a natural conversion of THC to CBN. Nevertheless, to extract CBN in a laboratory setting and on a large scale, and for isolation purposes, manufacturers typically do not use UV light or heat to convert THC to CBN. Instead, they often use well-protected, proprietary SOPs that typically involves refluxing THC dissolved in specific solvents and usually in the presence of precious metal catalysts. The process of converting CBD to CBN can be quite different and can vary depending on the manufacturer. Obtaining CBN from CBD can involve first converting CBD to THC and then applying the same oxidation or conversion process through enzymes or chemical reactions. But, according to studies conducted by Federica Pollastro at the University of Eastern Piedmont in Italy, it is possible to cleanly convert CBD and other p-menthan-type phytocannabinoids and their carboxylated precursors to CBN using an iodine treatment. The reaction obtained with this method is more significant than previously reported protocols in terms of simplicity and range of substrate, including tricyclic cannabinoids such as THC and bicyclic cannabinoids such as CBD. In summary, iodine treatment provides much easier access to CBN from crude extracts and side-cuts of the purification of Delta-9 THC and CBD from cannabis plants and industrial hemp. This increases the availability of the CBN obtained from the THC of cannabis and, in the case of hemp, dissected from other cannabinoids with narcotic properties.
How to extract CBNTo extract CBN, manufacturers generally use a Cold Temperature Ethanol Extraction method. This method involves immersing the biomass rich in CBNa or Cannabinolic Acid (CBN precursor) in a solvent, mostly CO2 or ethanol. This is the first step to separating the terpenes and cannabinoids from the biomass. Then, to remove the solvent, the resulting solution is passed through an evaporator using heat and vacuum to remove the solvent. As a result, you get a crude extract of CBN, which must be distilled to obtain pure CBN distillate. If we put it in a step-by-step, the process for the extraction of CBN by the Cold Temperature Ethanol Extraction method would be the following:
- To reduce labor and post-processing time, the ethanol solvent is chilled using the DC-40 Direct Chiller to -40c.
- The CBN-rich biomass is immersed in the chilled solvent to separate the cannabinolic acid or CBNa from the rest of the organic compounds and plant matter using the CUP series closed-circuit mechanical centrifugation.
- It is then necessary to filter out the undesirable particles and adsorbents found in the crude CBN oil.
- Once the unwanted particles are filtered out, the solvent must be removed from the crude oil using the falling film evaporator or FFE.
- Then you have to decarboxylate the crude CBNa oil to activate it and thus produce CBN. Depending on the nature of your initial biomass, other cannabinoids, such as CBD, THC, or CBG, may also be activated by removing the carboxyl group from these cannabinoids.
- After decarboxylation, the distillation process separates the CBN molecules from the crude oil using rolled film distillation, or RFE.
- Finally, the CBN distillate must go through a chromatography or HPLC test to measure the concentration levels of CBN in it.