What Is CBN?

What is CBN, and why should marijuana and hemp processors care? The CBN cannabinoid (or cannabichromene) is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. It’s one of 113 different compounds known as cannabinoids. CBN can be synthesized from THC, but it also occurs naturally in plants at very low levels, specifically in more mature plants.

For years, scientists have been interested in how CBN affects humans when ingested. It appears to have a positive impact on mood and anxiety disorders like PTSD or depression. There is also scientific and anecdotal evidence with users claiming CBN helps manage insomnia. Research about CBN is somewhat slim, though there is promising information that it may provide relief for a variety of conditions like inflammation, glaucoma, convulsions, lack of appetite, and chronic pain.

As more research continues into the potential benefits of using CBN for medical purposes, it will become more apparent how this cannabinoid affects people differently depending on their route chosen for consumption. It is believed this difference may be because, when taken orally rather than by inhalation, there are fewer psychoactive properties to CBN, which could alter its impact on the body.

See Precision Extraction founder and CTO Nick Tennant’s high-level explanation of cannabinoids in “Cannabis Extraction Explained: Understanding the Wide World of Cannabinoids” on YouTube.

How Is CBN Created?

CBN is produced naturally in marijuana plants when THC ages, which is why it’s often found in high amounts in older cannabis plants that have been exposed to more heat and light. Those who enjoy the effects of this non-intoxicating compound may seek out more aged marijuana because some think its benefits are more potent than those from a fresh batch.

CBN Extraction

THC can also be processed and turned into CBN in a processing laboratory. Extractors looking to create a diverse portfolio of cannabinoid products can add another product to their lineup by converting THC into CBN. For example, if extractors have an overstock of THC, they can pivot and transform the material for more revenue with this conversion.

The Process: CBN extraction starts by soaking plant material in CO2 or ethanol, to pull out cannabinoids and terpenes. The solvent is then removed from the mixture using an evaporator that uses both heat and vacuum processes, resulting in a crude extract that requires further distillation to make the purified distillate. For example, below is an example of an ethanol extraction process for making CBN:

Step 1:

Chill the ethanol solvent to the required temperature.

Step 2:

Soak the cannabis material in the chilled solvent, then extract the CBNa through a closed-loop centrifuge.

Step 3:

Filter out any particles left in the chilled solvent/crude oil mix.

Step 4:

Evaporate the solvent to remove ethanol from the plant crude oil.

Step 5:

Use decarboxylation to create CBN from the CBNa.

Step 6:

Distill the CBN molecules from the crude oil using wiped film distillation.

Step 7:

Test the resulting distillate to measure the concentration.

If further purification of CBN is desired then the use of chromatography to isolate and purify the extract is required. With chromatography, the resulting extract is of a higher potency and quality. A High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) device is recommended if you anticipate setting up a CBN extraction lab.

The potential CBN market is evidenced by the many brands that offer tinctures, oils, capsules, and edibles with isolated CBN, with many products marketed as sleep aids. Full-spectrum CBD-based products have provided users with an easy way to test out the CBN cannabinoid to see if it eases lifestyle issues like insomnia, chronic pain, or anxiety, and it’s popularity is likely to increase as cannabis becomes more socially acceptable.

Is CBN the Next Big Thing?

A quick search of Google Shopping brings up thousands of listings of full-spectrum hemp products that list CBN oil as an ingredient, including remedies for:

  • Blemishes
  • Insomnia
  • Pain relief
  • Stress reduction
  • Mood enhancement
  • Anxiety relief

This popularity would indicate to many that CBN may become another popular and desirable medicinal extract from the marijuana plant, much like CBG and CBD. Financial trend experts predict CBN will increase in popularity for therapeutic use.

The biggest potential issue for CBN and other marijuana and hemp derivatives is the current federal law on hemp and marijuana products. While the federal government doesn’t specifically regulate CBN, individual states may choose to make laws against the processing or sale of the CBN marijuana plant product, as many states have already done with Delta 8.


How Precision Can Help Make CBN Extract

Precision is a manufacturer and distributor of some the best ethanol extraction and post-processing equipment required to make CBN extracts. The pairings of ethanol extractors, filtration presses, solvent recovery units, wiped film distillation systems and the ancillary equipment are expertly configured by our system integration experts.

Need more hands-on help than just installation? We can offer help with our comprehensive catalog of on-site training courses delivered by our experienced extraction technicians.

CBN Extractor
Extraction Equipment
  • Ethanol Extraction
  • Filtration
  • Solvent Recovery
  • Decarboxylation
  • Distillation
  • Crystallization
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