The world of hemp has introduced us to a whole new world of acronyms, from THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) to CBD (Cannabidiol) to CBG (Cannabigerol) and more. And now, there’s a new cannabinoid with all new properties that are making its way on the scene. CBN or cannabinol may seem like it’s quite similar to cannabidiol at first glance, but these two compounds couldn’t be more distinct and different. They share some similarities, especially concerning how they are produced within the human body, but users will find that they each have their own set of benefits at the end of the day.
So, what is CBN? And what is the difference between cannabinol and CBD?
"We found that CBN slightly prolongs the sleep time in barbiturate-induced sleep in mice,” Zoe Sigman, one of the principal researchers at Project CBD, a non-profit information site, told Forbes. “There is no current information that I am aware of that proves CBN is a sedative, even though it is already being marketed as such."
Although CBN is known by many for its sedative properties, it is much more unique and useful than just that. In fact, many people don’t know this, but CBN was one of the first cannabinoids discovered. It was isolated in its pure form over 100 years ago, way back in 1896. Early researchers believed that CBN caused the psychotropic high from cannabis before the discovery of THC.
CBN is related to THC, however. It occurs naturally when THC oxidizes and decomposes. In other words, when the hemp plant is exposed to heat and oxygen, the THC inside is then converted to CBN.
But does it cause a psychotropic high like THC?
Not like THC. CBN does have a subtle high associated with it, one that researchers describe as being more than CBD and less than THC. In reality, the CBN purchased on the market today will not cause users any type of psychotropic high whatsoever.
The Many Different Types of Hemp-Derived CBN
The truth is that CBD and CBN are two very different cannabinoids. They may both come from the hemp plant. However, their origins are vastly dissimilar. How so? Industrial hemp plants naturally have high levels of CBD. On the other hand, CBN levels depend on several different factors, including the amount of heat and light exposure the hemp plant has seen. Remember, CBN is a byproduct of other cannabinoids like THC and thus only appear when those parent cannabinoids create a reaction.
That being said, CBN is found on the market in many of the same forms as CBD, THC, and Delta-8. If you are looking to purchase a CBN product, you can find it in the following forms:
- CBN oil - Similar to CBD oils, these are tinctures that you place under the tongue
- CBN vape oil - vape oils and additives made to vape on their own or are mixed with other e-liquids. They may come in a variety of flavors.
- CBN edibles - Similar to CBD edibles, these mostly come in the form of CBN gummies.
- CBN creams - A few CBN topicals have now hit the market, made mostly for weekend warriors or athletes who are looking for relief.
Hemp-derived wellness products are usually CBD-based, as that has become the most popular cannabinoid over the past decade. However, as the hemp and the cannabis-consuming public begins to evolve, and as stigma against these paints begins to wane, more consumers are looking for other alternatives.
In fact, products high in CBN are becoming more popular due to the compound's reputation as the "sleepy cannabinoid.” CBN doesn’t cause any psychotropic effects per se, but it has been known to have a mild sedative effect. Hence, more people are seeking it out as it helps to promote their natural sleep patterns.
"Feedback from users who have tried CBN products as a sleep-aid has been very positive," Brian Peterson, the managing editor of CBDOilUsers.com, said in a press release recently. "There is still a lot to be learned about these products from scientific research and controlled human trials. But the anecdotal evidence from users in our online community has been very encouraging."
Is CBN (Cannabinol) Legal for Consumption and Sale?
For years, we all know that there’s been a debate over the legality of hemp-derived cannabinoids like CBD and even the latest compound, Delta-8. But what CBN? Is cannabinol, everyone’s favorite nighttime compound, considered to be legal?
The answer is yes, it is and has been for a long time. Let’s explain:
Simply put, CBN falls under the exact same guidelines as CBD when it comes to legality. So, for example, hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states. As we noted in our guide on CBD, this first happened with the 2014 Farm Bill. That bill legalized hemp, and consequently, CBD with “pilot programs.” The law was confirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco in 2018, meaning that hemp-derived CBD is legal to buy, purchase, and sell anywhere in the United States.
Then a new Farm Bill was passed in 2018, legalizing hemp-derived compounds for good.
The new Farm Bill fixed all of the problems that the previous one had. As the media noted at the time, “although Washington D.C. lawmakers are still haggling over some of the details of the 2018 Farm Bill, a provision in the bill which would legalize hemp nationwide will be in the final version to be signed by President Trump, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.”
Since both Farm Bills legalized CBD, they also legalized CBN. However, both CBD and CBN can be extracted from hemp and marijuana. That means legality can be a bit complicated. To understand the legality of CBN in the U.S., you need to know the following:
- CBN from hemp is legal across the United States.
- CBN from marijuana is legal in states where marijuana is legal.
- CBN from marijuana is illegal at the federal level.
Sound confusing? It is a bit, especially when you consider the fact that CBN is CBN no matter where it comes from. Whether it is extracted from hemp or marijuana doesn’t really matter, as it’s still the same compound. But that’s the federal government for you.
What Are the Potential Benefits of CBN?
Right now, people mostly think of CBN as a “nighttime cannabinoid” because of how it promotes a person’s natural sleep patterns. But, although we’re still into the early stages of research on this incredible cannabinoid, there is some preliminary evidence that shows it could have a wide array of benefits.
Here’s a look at some of the more promising piece of research now ongoing with CBN:
- In 2011 a study in the British Journal of Pharmacology looked at the benefits of combining THC with CBN.
- More recent research found that, on its own, CBN had a myriad of benefits. However, this research was only preliminary and done in rats. But it showed the greatest promise for the future.
- CBN is known as the “sleep cannabinoid” for a reason. In 2017, researchers at Steep Hill Labs made great progress on this front, learning about proper dosing. However, according to some sources, this study was not peer-reviewed. It is still up for debate whether or not CBN acts as a promoter of natural sleep patterns.
What we do know for sure, based on both research and user accounts, is that you won’t feel anything when you take CBN, as it is a very subtle cannabinoid. Much in the same way CBD is very low-key, so is CBN.
Does CBN Have Any Side-Effects?
Like CBD, it’s more popular cousin, CBN does not have any side effects outside of the occasional dry mouth. In fact, there’s no list of side effects whatsoever, no headaches, stomach problems, confusion, or anything else. Just like CBD, it’s quite impossible even to take too much CBN, as the only thing that may happen is you might become too sleepy.
Can I Use CBN As an Everyday Wellness Product?
Many people like to use CBD (cannabidiol) as an everyday wellness product. As an all-natural, hemp-derived compound, it has a myriad of benefits and possesses no psychoactive properties. But can you do the same with a CBN (cannabinol) product?
Yes, you can. Cannabinol, like CBD, is an all-natural, hemp-derived product without any serious side effects. It’s most common effect is sleep, but most people taking it are looking to promote their natural sleep patterns anyway. CBN is safe and effective to take every day without worry.
How Does CBN Interact with the Endocannabinoid System?
Like CBD, CBN works directly with the body’s endocannabinoid system or ECS. Scientists who have studied the ECS agree that it is one of the most important systems in the body and that it is crucial in maintaining a state of balance known as homeostasis. Homeostasis is one of the most important states of being for the human body, as it helps to maintain the bulk of all of our daily functions.
We all know that CBD interacts with the ECS via the CB1 and CB2 receptors. However, how does CBN communicate with the ECS? Does it work in largely the same way?
The answer is yes.
Like CBD, CBN binds to CB1 receptors. What researchers have found, however, is that it does so at a weaker state. For example, CBN binds to CB1 receptors at about one-tenth of THC's strength, hence the reason it can be considered psychotropic but doesn’t have a high like marijuana.
CBN also binds to CB2 receptors. However, CBN doesn’t share the same pathways as CBD or THC. This is why it works with an alternative mechanism and produces varying effects as compared to the other two cannabinoids.
Comparing CBN to Other Cannabinoids
Now that we understand what cannabinol is and how it works, the real question becomes, “how does it compare to other cannabinoids?” CBN is a unique compound that shares many characteristics with other hemp-derived cannabinoids. On the same note, it differs greatly from its cousins, making it one of the most misunderstood compounds available on the market today. Let’s see how it compares to other hemp-derived compounds.
How CBN Compares to THC
While Neither CBN nor THC is considered dangerous, both are similar in a few ways. In fact, CBN is a derivative of THC and is considered to be mildly psychotropic like its parent cannabinoid. Still, with both compounds, there is no risk for addiction, abuse, or even overdose. However, THC has been known to cause temporary side-effects due to the compound’s psychoactive properties, such as:
- Dry mouth
- Red Eyes
- Increased heart rate
- Coordination problems
- Memory loss
- Slower reaction times
CBN, although considered to be mildly psychotropic, typically offers users no “high” feeling, unlike THC. The most common effect of CBN is sleepiness, which is, in fact, the reason most people take the product.
How CBN Compares to CBG
While both CBN and CBG (cannabigerol) are hemp-derived compounds that appear similar on the surface, they are quite different. CBN is a more targeted compound, while CBG is more generalized in the way it works throughout the body. Here’s a side-by-side comparison:
- Unlike THC, both compounds don’t cause a high.
- However, CBN does have mild psychotropic properties
- We know they both interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, although we have much more information about CBD right now.
- CBG is a parent compound of CBD, but CBN is related to THC.
CBN is a rare cannabinoid that we know very little about. Researchers are learning more every day. However, what we do know right now isn’t much.
What About CBD?
CBN and CBD are quite similar and quite different all at once. Both are hemp-derived compounds that are all-natural. Neither causes a high, although CBN does have some psychotropic properties. Both are pretty popular on the hemp market and are available in different forms, including oils, edibles, and creams. While CBD is used as an overall wellness product, CBN is used for more targeted reasons.
Okay, How Does CBN Differ from Delta-8?
There’s perhaps no greater difference in compounds than between CBN and Delta-8, although to be honest, Delta-8 is quite different than most cannabinoids. Products like Chill Plus Delta Force Squares and others contain both CBD and Delta-8 because they balance each other out, but whether or not CBN works synergistically with Delta-8 is still unknown. Delta-8 causes an amazing psychotropic high. However, CBN has only mild psychotropic properties and doesn’t cause a noticeable high. Some other differences between the two include:
- Delta-8 cause a psychotropic high, CBN has mild psychotropic properties
- Delta-8 and CBN are both hemp-derived
- Both compounds are legal
- Both compounds enhance the entourage effect
- Both cannabinoids are minor compounds
- Researchers are still learning more about both
While Delta-8 is loved for its high like CBD people, use it for a myriad of reasons. Both CBN and Delta-8 have a host of benefits, many of which we are still learning about today.
How to Take CBN
Along with the various types of CBN products, there are several different ways you can take CBN, depending on personal preference, need, and other factors. The following, which is similar to CBD, are the most popular ways to take CBN:
- Vape (Inhale) - Vaping or inhaling CBN works fast as the compound goes directly to the bloodstream.
- Sublingual (via CBN Oil) - CBN oil can be mixed with food or drink, but the best way to use them is under the tongue (sublingual), where they will work in under 20 minutes.
- Topical (On the Skin) - Using CBN creams as a topical is a quick and easy way to feel CBN's effects. It is not absorbed through the bloodstream in this way.
- Eating CBN (Edibles) - Eating CBN edibles takes the longest time for CBN to affect as the cannabinol has to pass through the digestive system. However, it will last the longest this way. It will take about 90 minutes to start working but last for about 8 hours.
Is CBN Right for Me?
Whether or not CBN is right for you depends on several factors. We’re still learning about CBN every day. However, we know that this cannabinoid, which has mild psychotropic properties without a high, can help promote natural sleep patterns. If you’re looking for something to supplement your CBD use, CBN may be ideal for you.