CBN: The Latest & Greatest Cannabinoid

Nov 29, 2021

CBN has been gaining traction in the cannabis world, and for good reason! Here we’ll lay out the benefits of CBN, the differences between CBD and CBN, and why the cannabinoid is being used more frequently as of late. 

CBD vs. CBN

Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are both cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are thought to interact with a series of receptors in the body known as the endocannabinoid system. 

With CBD being a more mainstream cannabinoid, many people are much more familiar with it than with CBN. And as many people know, CBD has exploded in popularity due to its effects on everyday anxiety, pain relief, and sleep.

In comparison, there has been very minimal research on CBN. However, the research that has been done suggests that it has the potential to reduce pain and act as a sedative. 

What exactly is CBN?

CBN is considered a minor cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. This means that it occurs at lower concentrations than the two major cannabinoids, CBD and THC. Because of this, it is more difficult to isolate CBN for medicinal and research purposes. 

As a reminder, the CBD tinctures and gummies we love are most commonly extracted from the hemp plant. In this same hemp plant, THC can be found in low quantities – 0.3% or less is the legal limit in the United States. 

When the THC that is extracted from the hemp plant oxidizes, or is exposed to large amounts of heat and light, it breaks down and turns into CBN. Similar to CBD, CBN is not psychoactive and is a non-intoxicating compound. So, it can best be understood as the cannabinoid created when THC ages. 

Benefits of CBN vs. CBD

The endocannabinoid system regulates various processes in the body, such as pain, memory, mood, immunity, stress, and sleep. And as mentioned before, different cannabinoids affect various aspects of this system. 

The way different cannabinoids bind with receptors in the body has a big impact on their overall effect. For example, when THC binds to these receptors, it leads to a euphoric, intoxicated, or “high” feeling. When CBD binds to these receptors, it may lead to feelings of relaxation, without the intoxicating high of THC. In comparison, when CBN binds to these receptors, it is believed to have a sedative effect. 

CBD is known more commonly to affect pain, stress, and mood, while CBN is better known to influence sleep regulation. 

Think of it like this: CBD is a very broad cannabinoid that encompasses several different aspects of the endocannabinoid system. That is why it is believed to help regulate everything from inflammation and pain relief, to sleep and anxiety. In comparison, the effects of CBN are more streamlined and specific to sleep. 

If you need more localized sleep aid, try CBN (along with CBD for that entourage effect). If you’re looking for more general effects on overall anxiety and relief, CBD is your best bet. 

Potential Benefits 

While research on CBN is limited, it is believed to serve as a sleep aid, appetite stimulant, and anti-inflammatory agent. If you’re looking to improve sleep and are a little weary of the appetite stimulant effect – don’t worry – when you're sleeping, leptin levels increase. These hormones tell your brain that there’s no need to trigger a feeling of hunger while you’re sleeping.

So when CBN comes into the mix, your natural leptin levels will most likely counteract the appetite stimulation and leave you feeling that sedative effect instead. 

2 is better than 1 

While CBN is believed to be potent on its own, cannabinoid effects are thought to be more powerful when consumed together. This tendency is called the “entourage effect.” For this reason, when the two cannabinoids are taken together, it may have a more pronounced effect on the body.

It is thought that CBN’s sedative properties are due to its ability to work alongside other compounds in the hemp plant. Some research suggests that mixing them together will help them work better than taking them separately.

Why is it expensive?

CBN products can be more expensive than other cannabinoid products because they are harder to isolate. First, CBN is not found directly in the cannabis plant – but rather in the oxidation of THC – so it cannot be as easily extracted. This process can be more tedious than simply isolating cannabinoids naturally found in the plant.

Similarly, because there is much more research and vetting of CBD and THC, these cannabinoids are much easier to find and purchase.

How to Consume

Because of the rise in popularity, CBN is becoming more readily available in various products, especially those with CBD included. Since these products will be most commonly taken for sleep, it is nice to opt for an oil that can be placed under the tongue. With sublingual application, you will be able to feel the effects quicker, because it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. 

Or, you can also go for a gummy or edible, which must be digested before you feel the effects, but is another popular way to consume the cannabinoid.

All in all, CBN is a promising cannabinoid believed to help with sleep and relief. Try it out with some CBD or other cannabinoids and you should be all set for a great night’s sleep! 

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