This July will see a change in the way Oregonians access products containing a certain cannabinoid. Here's an FAQ as to the how and why of these changes.
Is the gubbermint coming for my pot weed?
No, the manner in which you grow, buy and possess cannabis remains the same. This is about CBN.
You mean that teevee channel with Pat Robertson babbling about how angry and disappointed God is with me?
No, that's the Christian Broadcasting Network, a different CBN. CBN is short for cannabinol, a cannabinoid.
So like THC?
Yes, and no. It's closer to CBD, insofar as it's a cannabinoid without the intoxicating effects of THC, aka a non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
If it doesn't get you high, what's the point?
Much like CBD, it's touted as having a variety of health benefits.
Like making me taller?
No, primarily assisting with sleep issues, as well as helping with pain management. One study in 2005 showed that CBN, when used in conjunction with CBD, had neuroprotective benefits which may help slow the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS.
If you've ever smoked cannabis which was old, or poorly stored in a manner that exposed it to light, air and/or heat, you've had CBN.
Under these conditions, THC degrades into CBN, and loses 75% or more of its potency, leaving you with a cannabinoid that makes you feeling tired and lethargic. That 6-month-old pre-roll you found between the couch cushions that leaves you napping on said couch is due to CBN.
So the OLCC wants to outlaw old and poorly stored cannabis?
No, and that's not the only way CBN is made. Like CBD, it can be extracted from the hemp plant. And since CBN isn't THC, it can be sold outside of dispensaries in places where you can buy CBD products, such as grocery stores and gas stations. It's primarily found in edibles and tinctures.
Although not as popular as CBD, it's gained substantial traction with consumers in products made by some of Oregon's biggest edible producers.
Like Gron and Wyld, both of which sell products with CBN. One gummy with CBN, produced by Gron, accounts for one-third of the annual $3 million in sales of its non-dispensary sourced products. Because of the OLCC, that's about to change.
Beginning July 1, you won't be able to purchase products containing CBN anywhere other than a dispensary, making Oregon the first and only state to ban the sale of CBN products outside of dispensaries.
Why? If it doesn't get you high, what's the big deal?
"Whether it's intoxicating or not, that's kind of a secondary concern." Steven Crowley, hemp specialist at the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commiss ion, has said. "The primary concern is whether it's manufactured in a way that's safe to consume."
So starting July 1, I have to buy products with CBN solely in dispensaries. But that's it, right?
Not really. Because on July 1, 2023, CBN products can only continue to be sold in dispensaries if they get federal sign off in one of two ways. One is having the feds decide that CBN is an ingredient that meets the definition of GRAS, or "Generally Recognized as Safe."
The other is having the Food and Drug Administration determine that CBN is an NDI, or "Naturally Derived Ingredient."
The odds of that happening aren't great, and it's got the companies that make CBN infused products upset—so upset, they may leave Oregon.
"It's worrisome to see the OLCC is using its new authority to arbitrarily ban things," said the general counsel of Wyld CBD. "We've been based in Oregon forever... but if this is the way the state of Oregon addresses cannabis policy going forward, why would we be interested in sticking around here when we could find any other state that has a much more progressive view?"
Christine Smith of Gron agrees. "It's causing us to question whether or not Oregon is a great place for us to base our headquarters out of...I am considering shuttering our CBD business, or just letting it sleep for a while, because of this ban."
If you are using CBN products, consider stocking up now.