This article was originally published on Flowertown, and appears here with permission.
If you’re on fairly intimate terms with cannabis, chances are you’ve wondered what happens to weed as it ages. Could it be likened to the aging of fine wine or cheese? Or are antiquated stashes best trashed?
As it conspires, your old weed might be worth holding on to (so long as it’s not moldy). Curiously, a new cannabinoid forms when the THC present in cannabis is exposed to air, light, or heat. Meet cannabinol, or CBN. Cannabinol represents one of more than 100 cannabinoids present in cannabis. CBN occurs in small quantities in most cannabis strains but really comes into its own when THC degrades and oxidizes. It’s psychoactive, but with a fraction of the intoxicating effects of THC.
Cannabinol has also helpfully uncovered the extent of humanity’s long-standing relationship with cannabis. 2500-year-old graves exhumed in Western China turned up wooden braziers and burnt stones with ancient cannabis traces. Of all the cannabinoids detected on the braziers, cannabinol was the most prominent. This finding suggests that cannabis was used for ritual purposes, and the kind of cannabis favored by the ancient Chinese was THC rich–thanks to cannabinol leaving its calling card.
CBN occurs in small quantities in most cannabis strains but really comes into its own when THC degrades and oxidizes.
Aside from its fascinating archaeological uses, cannabinol has a whole bundle of other claims to fame. CBN was the first cannabinoid to be isolated, way back in 1940. With nearly eighty …