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What is Cannabinolic Acid?

Cannabinolic acid (CBNA) is the precursor molecule for cannabinol (CBN). CBNA is converted to CBN via decarboxylation.

The process of heating Cannabis within an applied measure of time, to trigger the compounds within the plant is known as Decarboxylation. Usually, Cannabinoids found in either the Cannabis plant or marijuana are inactive except they are activated by applying heat as they possess extra carboxyl ring that is attached to their molecular chain.

Related: The Differences Between CBN and CBD

This process of decarboxylation is what allows free interaction of cannabinoids with the endocannabinoids that is released in the body. In essence, the application of this process on cannabinolic acid (CBNA) is what produces Cannabinol.

CBN-type cannabinoids are the fully aromatized derivatives of THC, and although they have been isolated from different Cannabis extracts, they are thought of as artifacts.

Concentration of CBNA in Cannabis Plants

The concentration of CBN in cannabis products (marijuana, hashish and hash oil) increases during storage of these materials while the D9-THC concentration decreases, but at a different rate.

As late as 1927 it was claimed that ‘cannabinol’ has a rotation of 150°, although it has already been shown that it lacks rotation. In the early 1930’s Cahn again obtained pure cannabinol, reinvestigated and expanded the chemical degradations reported earlier by Wood.

In the 1930’s the only available route for structural elucidation of a novel natural product was by chemical degradation to known compounds, followed by a crossword- type effort to establish the structure.

On the basis of the extensive chemical degradations, Cahn arrived at the conclusion that cannabinol has the partial structure 1.

Cannabinoids, the main constituents of the cannabis plant, are being increasingly studied for their medicinal properties.

Cannabinolic acid (CBNA; 1) was synthesized from tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA; 2), a major constituent of the cannabis plant, by aromatization using selenium dioxide mixed with trimethylsilyl polyphosphate as catalyst in chloroform.

Purification was achieved by centrifugal partition chromatography, and the final product had a purity of over 96 % by GC analysis.

How Does CBNA Work In Our Bodies?

As stated earlier, cannabinolic acid (CBNA) is what birth cannabinol (CBN) through exposure to sunlight, ultraviolet light or heat within a period of time.

Hence, cannabinolic acid (CBN) can be said to also portray similar benefits like cannabinol (CBN) although the amount of cannabinol (CBN) that can be found in the cannabis plant is quite low.

Related: How Does CBD Work?

Through extraction processes, we can isolate the already low amount of CBN or CBNA from plant matter.

Benefits of CBNA

One of the main significances of cannabinol (CBN) is its ability to stimulate appetite. This same result can be achieved through consuming Cannabinolic Acid (CBNA) due to the resemblance in their chemical structures, and how they interact with our body.

Moreso, cannabinolic acid can serve as a good seizure regulator. Insomnia, pain and inflammatory issues might also be attributed to CBNA consumption.

Interesting Facts About Cannabinolic Acid

Cannabinolic acid may act as an effective sedative. More research is needed to come to a conclusion in this benefit, though.


Bercht, C.A.L., Lousberg, R.J.J.C., Ku¨ppers, F.J.E.M., Salemink, C.A., Vree, T.B., Van Rossum, J.M., 1973. Cannabis. VII. Identification of cannabinol methyl ether from hashish. Journal of Chromatography 81 (1), 163–166.

Cahn, R.S., 1933. Cannabis indica resin, part IV. The synthesis of some 2:2 dimethyldibenzopyrans, and confirmation of the structure of cannabinol. J. Chem. Soc., 1400– 1405. 1

Casparis, P., Bauer, E., 1927. Studien ueber Haschisch, Rundarstellung des cannabinols. Pharm. Acta Helv. 2, 108– 129.

Harvey, D.J., 1976. Characterization of the butyl homologs of D1-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabinol and cannabidiol in samples of cannabis by combined gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 28 (4), 280–285.

Mechoulam, R., Gaoni, Y., 1965. Hashish. IV. Isolation and structure of cannabinolic, cannabidiolic, and cannabigerolic acids. Tetrahedron 21 (5), 1223–1229.

Wood, T.B., Spivey, W.T., Easterfield, T.H., 1896. XL-Charas. The resin of Indian hemp. Journal of the Chemical Society 69, 539.

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About the Author - CBD Expert Dale Hewett

Dale Hewett Author
Dale Hewett

Dale Hewett is the owner and founder of New Phase Blends. He discovered his passion for CBD use after suffering from injuries sustained while on Active Duty in the US Army. His number one priority is introducing the same CBD products that he himself uses for relief to others who can benefit from them.

Dale holds a Master Degree of Science, and is the inventor of the popular, CBD-based sleep aid known as ‘Sleep.’ He’s given multiple lectures on CBD to institutions such as Cornell’s MBA student program, and Wharton’s School of Business.

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