CBN: The Sleep-Inducing Cannabinoid

CBN: The Sleep-Inducing Cannabinoid

CBN is a popular cannabinoid, but what should we know about CBN and sleep? This minor cannabinoid has always existed in the cannabis plant in small quantities, but it is gaining in popularity for its potential healing properties. Currently, CBN is mostly used by the general population as a sleep-inducing aid. However, it may do more than just induce sleep—many fans of CBN report that it makes for longer-lasting, more satisfying sleep.

To understand how CBN can lead to better sleep, it’s important to understand what it is and how it works. While CBN is a cannabinoid like THC and CBD, it has different traits, effects, and properties than THC and CBD. By understanding where CBN comes from, what it does, and what it can do, you can determine if it’s right for you.

What Is CBN?

THC and CBD are two common cannabinoid names, but they aren’t the only compounds found in the cannabis plant. In fact, there are around 150 different cannabinoids that have been identified, all of which have their own unique characteristics and effects on the brain and body.The newest cannabinoid to take the stage is cannabinol, commonly referred to as CBN. While its effects have been the subject of less research than its cannabinoid counterparts, CBN is gaining in popularity. Researchers believe CBN is promising in that it may be beneficial in the treatment of some common ailments.

CBN is found in the cannabis sativa plant, though it can be produced semi-synthetically. Unlike some other cannabinoids, it is not present in substantial amounts in fresh cannabis flower. Instead, CBN is a product of the oxidation process. In other words, it is the result of a process that occurs when heat, light, and/or air cause THC to degrade. This degraded THC then forms CBN. For this reason, it is found in far larger quantities in dried cannabis that has been stored at elevated temperatures for some time. As mentioned, CBN can also be created synthetically.


CBN and Sleep: FAQs

While CBN is a cannabinoid, it is not as well-known as THC and CBD. As a result, it is a bit more mysterious to many people than the two major cannabinoids. Here we answer some common questions about CBN.

Q: Does CBN Have Psychoactive Effects?

A: Like CBD, CBN will not produce a high like that associated with THC. Also like CBD, CBN can modulate the effects of THC on the body. However, most cannabis researchers believe that CBD, when used along with THC, can balance potentially negative effects often experienced from THC, such as paranoia and anxiety. CBN can serve to increase some of the effects of THC, including drowsiness.

What causes the high when THC enters the body is its binding to CB1 receptors. CB1 receptors are found near the brain and nervous system. CBN also attaches to the CB1 receptors, but it has a much stronger connection with the CB2 receptors found in the immune system’s cells and tissues. These receptors play an active part in neurological behaviors. It is believed that compounds that target the CB2 receptor could provide a myriad of promising treatments and new drug discoveries that will naturally treat many disorders and avoid the side effects of drugs that attach to the CB1 receptor. This is what makes CBN so unique.

It is important to note that CBN binds to receptors with a much lower affinity than that of THC. It also has significantly less affinity to the CB1 receptor than to the CB2 receptor. Thus, while its behavior is like THC, it is much milder, providing much more subtle relaxation effects than THC. CBN is classified as a non-intoxicating compound but is considered mildly psychoactive as it does interact with the brain.

Q: How Strong Is CBN?

]A: When THC molecules break down, they become less potent. As a result, CBN is calculated to represent about 25% of the potency of THC. However, while CBN is a byproduct of THC, it does not have the same effect on the user. That is, it is not intoxicating and does not produce a high. CBD can cause slight psychoactive reactions in exceptionally large doses, as CBN is the weakened remnant of THC. In general, CBN is a much milder cannabinoid than THC.

Q: How Long Does CBN Take to Affect Most People When Used as a Sleep Aid?

A: On average, the onset time of CBN is 30 minutes. However, it is recommended that most people wait at least an hour before assuming CBN has had no effect or taking another dose. In fact, some people report CBN has taken up to one hour and 15 minutes to take effect.

It is important to note that a variety of factors can play a role in the onset time you can expect, and these often vary from person to person. For example, onset time can vary depending on the form in which CBN is taken (e.g., capsule, oil, topical, edible). Furthermore, everyone’s body interacts with ingested substances a bit differently. Body weight can affect the rate of absorption of products, as can metabolism, and either may speed up or slow down the time it takes for CBN to reach and bind to cannabinoid receptors. It should also be noted that those with increased sensitivity to other cannabis products should expect the same sensitivity to CBN.

Q: How Is CBN Different From CBD?

A: CBN differs from CBD in that it does not exist independently within the sativa plant like CBD but is formed as a direct derivative of THC. In addition, while CBN can bind with both CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD binds with neither and merely interacts with and modulates the receptors with enzymes. While the benefits of CBN are less extensive than those associated with CBD, CBN is forging its own place in the ever-growing list of therapeutic cannabis components.

Q: Is CBN Safe to Use With CBD?

A: CBN seems to have beneficial effects when used along with CBD. In fact, CBN appears to optimize the already beneficial effects of CBD. For example, when combined, users report that CBN and CBD had heightened pain relieving characteristics, anti-inflammatory properties, and effects of diminished feelings of anxiety. More research is needed, though, to conclude any certified assertions about CBN, as well as its effectiveness when coupled with CBD.

Q: How Are CBN Products Made?

Manufacturers use a process called decarboxylation to produce CBN. This entails exposing THC-rich strains of cannabis to UV light at extreme temperatures to dry out the cannabis. This forced oxidation ages the THC to mimic the natural aging process and, thus, produces CBN.

Q: Is CBN Detectable in Drug Tests?

A: Because CBN is a direct derivative of THC, there is evidence that shows CBN usage may cause a positive result when testing for THC. It is also possible that CBN can make virtually undetectable traces of THC in your specimen more prominent. Thus, CBN usage could boost small traces of THC, resulting in a positive test. For that reason, use caution if you are required to pass a THC test for employment.

Q: Is CBN Legal?

A: CBN is legal in states where recreational or medical cannabis is legal, including Arizona. Like CBD—and unlike THC—CBN was not specifically scheduled as a controlled substance. The 2018 Farm Bill, which approved the production of industrial hemp and cleared the way for CBD products, states that products produced from plants containing less than 0.3% THC are legal in all 50 states.

How CBN Can Lead to Better Sleep

Because of its mild attraction to the CB1 receptor, it is not surprising that CBN can lull subjects to sleep when taken in the appropriate dosage. In fact, of those who have tried CBN as a sleep aid, many say it was the best night’s sleep they’ve ever had. Some even report that they feel less groggy the next morning, especially when paired with melatonin.

CBN’s most well-known potential benefit, drowsiness, is listed as a side effect in many products, especially when taken with CBD. Many others choose to take CBN with melatonin to harness the sleep-inducing benefits of both compounds. However, with the proper dosage, CBN taken alone can be a useful component in treating insomnia and other disorders that affect sleep.

How? While research is ongoing to discover the precise effects CBN has on sleep, its known effects are already key indicators of why this compound is so effective at promoting sleep. Like CBD, CBN works to reduce arousal in many of the bodily systems that create pain, stress, anxiety, inflammation, and more—an effect regularly demonstrated in animal studies. By alleviating this overactivity, CBN can make it easier for you to achieve sleep.

CBN Sleep Products and More

While CBD and THC can be found both naturally in cannabis flower as well as within a wide variety of products, CBN is far less mainstream. As mentioned, CBN is also not present in therapeutic amounts in most cannabis flower.

Currently, CBN can be purchased in the form of oils, capsules, tea bags, tinctures, patches, and disposable vape pens. It can also be purchased as a CBN isolate. More easily ingested CBN products are emerging as well, such as CBN soft gels, CBN gummies, and other edibles.

Many CBN products contain a variety of cannabinoids, including CBD or even THC, so read the label before you purchase. If you don’t wish to consume THC, you’ll want to look for a CBN product that excludes THC.

If you want to experiment with products containing both CBN and THC but you’re new to THC consumption, look for no more than 2.5mg of THC per CBN dose. These levels can be increased with experience and tolerance but start slow so you can gauge their effects on your symptoms.

CBN Products

Pictured here: 5mg: 1mg CBN ‘Sleep’ Midnight Blueberry by Camino

Other Potential Uses of CBN

CBN has the potential to treat many other conditions.

Here are some of the most common effects CBN may have on patients:

Wound Healing and Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Preliminary research shows that CBN has antibacterial properties. When CBN cream is applied to the skin of clinical trial participants, it appears to be beneficial in treating epidermolysis bullosa, a rare disease that causes blisters on the skin. Scientists are hopeful that the potential antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of CBN cream can aid in the healing of chronic wounds on the skin where long-term inflammation has previously prevented healing. Its anti-inflammatory properties and pain-relieving tendencies also give it the potential to improve the symptoms of such conditions as Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Reduced Eye Pressure

CBN also shows promise in treating eye conditions that are associated with high pressure in the eye, such as glaucoma, which causes damage to the nerve in the back of the eye and leads to vision loss and blindness. CBN may help slow down the progression of the disease by diminishing high eye pressure. Because CBN is believed to be highly effective at treating high eye pressure, even more so than CBD and THC, eye drops infused with CBN are available for glaucoma patients.

Anticonvulsant and Neuroprotective Properties

CBN is believed to relieve symptoms of conditions in which seizures are a symptom, including epilepsy. In addition, studies show that the compound may serve to protect brain and nerve cells from early cell death. Together, these properties could mean CBD is useful in reducing the effects of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and more.

Pain Relieving Properties

As mentioned earlier, CBN, when mixed with CBD, may play a potential role in decreasing muscle sensitization. This suggests that CBN may be helpful in relieving chronic muscle pain in sufferers of muscular pain disorders like fibromyalgia. While definitive research is not yet conclusive, studies are in the works, and researchers believe there’s more to CBN than meets the eye.

Other Areas of Study

CBN has been involved in the study of potential treatments for other illnesses, as well. Again, this research is still in the preliminary stages.

A list of some of the conditions CBN has been studied about in treatment purposes follows.

  • ADHD
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Dental conditions
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Arthritis

The Last Word About CBN and Sleep

CBN and Sleep

The best way to determine whether CBN can lead to better sleep for you is to try it. You’ve already taken the first step in educating yourself about CBN and determining if it is a safe option for you personally. You now also likely have an idea of the capacity in which CBN can be the most effective holistic treatment for your personal ailments. Always keep in mind that more research is needed for scientists to better understand how CBN can lead to better sleep, but there is enough preliminary evidence to suggest it is worth a try.