There's a lot of talk about cannabidiol (CBD) and what it can do for people. Many people use it to relieve pain, unwind from a stressful day, or start the day with better focus and concentration.
A newer cannabinoid to come onto the scene as specialized products are made with cannabinol (CBN).
Many brands are marketing this cannabinoid as a sleep aid because of its rumored sedative effects—What sort of effects can you expect? How long does the feeling last? How do CBD and CBN compare? And how do you know you've purchased a quality CBN product?
- CBN is a minor cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It's a metabolite of the THC molecule breaking down from oxidation and UV exposure.
- CBN found to support mind and body relaxation and sleep when used alongside other cannabinoids in a full spectrum or THC-broad spectrum product.
- As a metabolite of THC, CBN and THC share many of the same effects—muscle relaxing, inflammatory support, and the munchies.
- Unlike THC, CBN is non psychoactive. It does not produce intoxication in most people.
- With more research emerging on CBN and its potential health benefits, CBN hemp strains, oil, gummies, and capsules are becoming more popular.
First Off, What Is CBN?
CBN stands for cannabinol, and it's one of over a hundred active compounds found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinol was the first cannabinoid to be discovered when researchers looked into the actions that produced the high from marijuana.
It was at first mistaken as the primary psychoactive compound, but it turns out CBN is a metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the true main psychoactive cannabinoid. CBN is formed as the THC molecule degrades from UV exposure and oxidation.
CBN is a minor cannabinoid, which means it's not found in very significant quantities in cannabis plants. CBN is found more concentrated in older marijuana flowers. It's been given the nickname the "sleep molecule" because many marijuana users found that older flowers produced a "couch-lock" and sleepy effect, and aged marijuana buds will naturally have higher levels of CBN.
This theory was later debunked in more current research investigating the therapeutic benefits of CBN.
It was discovered that CBN isn't solely responsible for some strains' sleep aid qualities and that CBN was best used alongside other cannabinoids like THC and CBD to produce a more relaxed effect profile in strains of hemp and marijuana.
Related Article: What Brands Aren't Telling You About CBN Isolate
What Are CBN Oil Effects?
Some people say that cannabinol has an extremely sedating effect, while others report feeling more alert and clearheaded after CBN. So, what's the verdict? What does cannabinol feel like?
No one can quite agree on what cannabis feels like.
The reason why the cannabis Sativa plant (hemp and marijuana) can produce such an array of feelings lies in the phytochemical (cannabinoids and terpenes) composition of the cannabis plants and the user's genetics and lifestyle.
The molecular structure of cannabinoids (number and arrangement of atoms) closely resemble neurotransmitters in a system designed to support our body's ability to maintain balance or homeostasis. This system is called the endocannabinoid system.
Related article: The Endocannabinoid System and CBD
As a metabolite of the THC compound, CBN's shape allows it to bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors in our body. While they're both very similar, CBN doesn't appear to unlock the same flood of feel-good hormones that induces the marijuana high from THC, so it's classified as a non-intoxicating compound.
Activating these receptors with CBN may help balance mood, metabolism, the sleep-wake cycle, pain sensation, and the immune response.
Summary Of Research On The Potential Benefits Of CBN
Preliminary research suggests that CBN may have a range of potential benefits, including anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. This section will summarize some existing scientific evidence on CBN's potential health benefits.
While further research is needed to confirm these findings, this preliminary research provides some promising clues about CBN's therapeutic potential.
1. CBN May Cause The Munchies
Most people associate marijuana use with "the munchies." But what causes this phenomenon?
It turns out that the shape of the THC, CBN, and CBG molecules are a good fit for certain receptors involved with producing the sensation of hunger.
In this rodent study, CBN increased food consumption and duration of feeding time without any dangerous side effects . These early stages of research on the effects of CBN on appetite are promising as CBN could be a viable alternative for those who need an appetite boost without getting high from THC.
2. CBN May Have Antibacterial Properties
It's believed that cannabis Sativa plants produce cannabinoids to protect the plant from harmful bacteria, pests, and the environment.
A few studies suggest that CBN may have antibacterial actions that inhibit the growth of microorganisms that cause disease. This in vitro study observed that CBN and other cannabinoid concentrates inhibit the growth of several methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria strains .
MRSA is troublesome because it's resistant to many forms of our typical antibiotic treatments. More research is needed before we'll see human studies underway, but CBN shows promise to treat conditions related to bacterial infections.
3. CBN May Provide Muscle-Relaxing Benefits
Some people report that this cannabinol helps relax muscles and ease discomfort from muscle spasms cramps. Or tension headaches without producing intoxicating effects.
Researchers found that CBN on its own and combined with CBD offers potent anticonvulsant and analgesic effects (pain relief) in an in vitro study . The combination of CBN and CBD seemed to have longer-lasting effects than isolate compounds.
4. CBN May Support Eye Health
Glaucoma is an eye condition characterized by abnormal eye pressure (intraocular pressure) that damages the optic nerve over time. This condition reduces vision and can lead to blindness.
When medical marijuana programs were established, one of the eligible conditions as glaucoma, as THC had been observed in some earlier studies to reduce intraocular pressure  temporarily.
CBN may also provide support for eye health without inducing intoxicating effects—unlike THC. One study found that CBN successfully relieved intraocular hypertension in rabbits . Again, this research shows its potential medical benefits, but as of right now, there's not enough evidence to suggest that CBN should be used to treat glaucoma in humans or replace current treatments.
Can CBN Products Help With Sleep?
CBN isolate products are becoming extremely popular in the cannabis space as a natural way to promote sleep. The problem with this marketing is that it lacks substantial scientific evidence.
The rumor emerged from people smoking high CBN cannabis flower or aged cannabis and experiencing a heavy, relaxed body and sleepiness. Leading cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo argues that this was due to the degradation of the THC molecule, which then lessens the psychoactive nature of the flower initiates the transformation of other phytochemicals—not just THC into CBN .
Most studies looking at CBN's health benefits found that it produces more substantial effects combined with other cannabinoids to produce the entourage effect. If you're looking to use CBN products to support a good night's sleep, it's best taken as a full spectrum or THC-broad spectrum extract rather than a pure CBN product .
Related Article: What Is The Entourage Effect
There are many cannabinoids found to support healthy sleep cycles through their ability to tone the endocannabinoid system, which helps to keep the sleep-wake cycle in homeostasis.
CBN acts on certain receptors to support anti-inflammatory functions and muscle relaxation that may help some people fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night, depending on what causes their insomnia, but it's not known as a particularly sedative compound.
Does CBN Get You High?
CBN is considered a non-psychoactive compound. However, some people who take large doses of CBN may experience a very mild high—but this is rare.
You can think of cannabinoids as keys that bind to certain receptors to unlock a function in the body.
CBN is formed as THC breaks down, so it's no surprise that the two compounds have similar molecular structures, but even the subtle differences in the arrangement of atoms can drastically alter its effects.
CBN and THC bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors—When CB1 receptors located in the central nervous system are activated, it releases a flood of neurotransmitters like dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin that illicit a high. THC has a much greater affinity to the CB1 receptors than CBN and CBD.
Unless you're taking exceptionally high doses of CBN, you're very unlikely to feel intoxicated.
Is CBN Legal?
CBN is regulated under the same laws as CBD with the introduction of the 2018 Farm Bill Act.
As long as the CBN is derived from hemp plants that contain less than 0.3% THC, it's considered legal. The problem is that it's very difficult to get high concentrations of CBN from hemp plants, as CBN is a byproduct of THC oxidation.
When shopping for CBN products, make sure you know the source of the extract. While some states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal programs, marijuana and THC remain on the federal list of Schedule I substances.
Look to see that the company discloses its CBN sourcing information. It should come from Farm Bill compliant hemp plants and come with third-party lab testing to prove its cannabinoid profile.
What Are The Doses For CBN Oil?
There's not much research available on the dosing for CBN oil and its effects as there are CBD products, but what we do know is that CBN and CBD seem to have very similar doses.
It's always best to start with lower doses and work your way up to help the endocannabinoid system adjust to the supplemented cannabinoids. Most product dosage ranges start at around 20–50 mg of CBN per serving—but you will need to test out the compound for yourself and see how you react to it, and adjust accordingly.
What Are CBN Side Effects?
There isn't much known about the side effects of CBN, but it appears to be very safe and well-tolerated, similar to CBD.
Most of the negative experiences with CBN involve taking large doses and poor-quality products, so it's advised that you build up your doses slowly and only shop for CBN with reputable brands.
Some of the side effects of CBN you should look out for include:
- Changes in appetite
- Upset stomach
- Dry mouth
Thankfully none of the side effects of CBN oil are long-term, and they should subside after the CBN has run its course through your system. The effects of CBN can last 4–6 hours, depending on the dose and your metabolism.
Some people may also experience negative drug interactions when taking a CBD product or CBN products as cannabinoids and most prescription medication are metabolized by the liver, so you must speak with your doctor before looking to include popular cannabinoids into your wellness regimen.
How Do CBN and CBD Compare?
CBD is the most researched cannabis compound next to THC, and it's found abundantly in hemp plants.
Many people turn to CBD for pain relief, sleep aids, digestive support, mental focus, and much more. The compound works by supporting overall endocannabinoid system function.
CBD doesn't have an affinity to bind to cannabinoid receptors, but it may increase sensitivity to binding to endocannabinoids and has been shown to increase levels of the body's endocannabinoids by inhibiting the enzymes that break them down.
Current Research On CBD On Potential Medical Benefits
- CBD To Support Epilepsy: Numerous studies suggest that CBD is an effective treatment for epilepsy due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-convulsive actions [8, 9 ]. Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved pharmaceutical prescribed for rare and difficult to treat forms of epilepsy.
- CBD For Cancer Research: This in vivo study observed that CBD effectively induced cancer cells death and inhibited tumor growth. CBD and other cannabis compounds are currently researching their anticancer potential in phase I and II clinical studies .
- CBD For Immune System Support: CBD has a low affinity to CB receptors but seems to have greater actions for supporting the endocannabinoid systems' ability to regulate the immune system by inhibiting cytokines responsible for inflammation .
While the studies on CBD as a treatment for certain conditions in the future are bright, more research on human patients is needed. We do not recommend that you use CBD to cure, treat, or mitigate any health concerns. You should seek professional advice from your doctor before taking CBD with any medication.
What To Look For In A Good CBN Product?
Always do your research when shopping for cannabis products. The company should disclose the following information:
- Hemp sourcing
- Extraction methods
- The concentration of cannabis compounds
- Third-party lab testing
Neurogan CBN is derived from Farm Bill-compliant hemp crops in the United States and extracted using sophisticated supercritical CO2 extraction methods to yield higher CBN concentrations. You can find all third-party lab testing on our products on our website organized by batch number or scan the QR code on your product to view its results.
We only use full spectrum or THC-free broad spectrum CBN extracts because we strongly believe in the evidence pointing to CBN's superior effects when combined with other phytochemicals from the hemp plant.
The Takeaway: Future Of CBN
Research on CBN use for medical treatment for health conditions is still ongoing and limited. Overall, the recent scientific research on cannabinol is very encouraging and suggests that CBN could play an important role in the future of cannabis-based therapies.
The effects of CBN seem to vary in individuals depending on the product, dosing, and the individual's health. The general sentiment of CBN use seems to be very calming and relaxing. Many people enjoy CBN products like oils and CBN gummies to ease muscle tension and support a good night's sleep.
There are currently no CBN products approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or mitigate any health conditions. If you have an underlying health condition, it's best to consult your doctor for professional advice.
The best CBN products are full spectrum or broad spectrum extracts as they provide more potent and well-rounded effects. You should be cautious of marketing claims on CBN isolate products as there's a lack of scientific evidence for its ability to provide support for anxiety or sleep on its own.
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