Is CBN the fountain of youth? Here’s what a recent study found
It turns out that one of the ways your brain cells can stay sharp over time is with a steady dose of CBD. A few days ago, the brilliant scientists at Salk unveiled this fantastic discovery. They said that CBN, a minor and relatively unknown cannabinoid, has the potential to protect brain cells from the negative effects of aging.
Research on medicinal cannabis has been going on for many decades. For most of that time, scientists have focused more on the therapeutic properties of the main cannabinoid compounds (i.e. THC and CBD). Less attention has been paid to lesser cannabinoids such as cannabinol (CBN), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), acid (CBNA), cannabidivarin (CBDV), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabigerol (CBG) and acid (THCA). We’ve begun to see an influx of research into these side compounds.
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Scientists say these little cannabinoids have more to offer medicinally. New researchers are studying how these compounds are broken down and how they interact with the endocannabinoid system, emphasizing their effects on the brain.
Cannabinol and the human brain
Cannabinol has a similar molecular structure to THC, the main difference being that it is not psychoactive. The compound’s non-psychoactive property has resulted in it being less regulated by federal agencies. The Salk researchers are pleased to announce their latest influential studies, which found that cannabinol (CBN) positively affects the brain. For the past decade, scientists around the world have tried to study the medical potential of CBN. However, the federal ban on the cannabis plant has limited these studies.
The primary route to cell death is via oxidative injury. This is usually followed by neurological disorders in older people. This new study describes how cannabinol can protect brain cells, also known as nerve cells, from the harmful effects of this pathway. The results of this study were published in the online journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine. The detailed report implies that cannabinol could be an effective drug to treat or treat age-related neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Scientists assume that CBN has a high potential to protect nerve cells in old age.
Salk study research
Professor Pamela Maher, senior author and director of Salk’s Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, said her team discovered the anti-neurodegenerative effects of cannabinol. She mentioned that her team was investigating how the cannabinoid protects nerve cells from oxidative stress and death, which are key contributors to the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
According to Neuroscience News, Maher and her team of brilliant researchers believe this discovery would lead to the development of new drugs and treatment regimens to treat various neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Maher’s lab had researched the use of cannabinol in the past, and this latest research was conducted to build on the early discoveries. In the preliminary study, the team found out what protective properties CBN has on the brain and how drugs for neurological diseases could be obtained from CBN.
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This current study focused more on how CBN works in the body. During this study, the Salk scientists took into account the oxytosis and ferroptosis processes, an important factor in aging and diseased brain cells. The oxytosis or ferroptosis process occurs in aging brains. The mechanism is induced by the gradual loss of glutathione, an antioxidant, with age. It results in significant damage or death of nerve cells through lip oxidation. The study began by administering CBN to nerve cells to observe how they limit the oxidative effects. The scientists then proposed a different mechanism to induce oxidative damage.
After testing healthy and damaged brain cells with cannabinol, the following observations were made. The report states that the administered cannabinol protects the nerve cells. They also observed that the mitochondria, the powerhouses of a cell, were protected from oxidative damage.
The mitochondria in healthy cells were compared to those in damaged cells. Maher and her team found that the mitochondria in the damaged cell appeared to be folded into a round shape to protect them from further damage. These curled-up powerhouses are commonly seen in the brain cells of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.
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On the other hand, the healthy cells housed correspondingly functioning mitochondria. The powerhouse in these cells remained in its regular, unfolded form.
Maher wrote that her team successfully demonstrated that cannabinol could help maintain mitochondria in nerve cells. She added that the protective effects of CBN drive the proper functioning of the powerhouse.
Zhinin Liang, co-author and postdoc says smoking evidence shows cannabinol is safe for human and animal consumption. This can be related to the lack of psychotropic effects after consuming CBN. The researcher said that CBN acts on specific cells in the body while also exerting therapeutic effects.
Maher also noted that her team’s findings show implications for other neurodegenerative diseases related to glutathione depletion. The dysfunction of a nerve cell’s power plant leads to further damage to neighboring tissue. CBN’s potential to heal and maintain powerhouse functions suggests that it could be used to treat other parts of the body besides the brain. This opens the ground for further research beyond the context of neurodegenerative diseases. The next agenda item for the team is to reproduce the above study in a preclinical mouse model.
RELATED: CBD might not make you fail a drug test, but CBN might
Other researchers who contributed to the success of this study include University of California’s Brendan Duggan, Antonio Currais, David Schubert, Devin Kepchiaz, and David Soriano-Castell Salk. Funding was provided by the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Salk, the Shikey Foundation, the University of California, the Bundy Foundation, and the National Health Institute.
Salk’s CBN research points to the need for more research into less studied cannabinoids. Most of these minor cannabinoids have shown little therapeutic potential in the limited amount of research that has been conducted.
Some of the therapeutic benefits that CBN possesses include pain relief, stress reduction, and anti-inflammatory effects, as evidenced by anecdotal evidence. This supports Maher’s argument that more comprehensive research needs to be done.
This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been republished with permission.