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Cannabis contains hundreds of cannabinoids, but THC is the most popular among users. Another well-known cannabinoid is CBD which has seen a rise in popularity thanks to its unique healthful effects, notably as a sleep aid.

But this article is not really about CBD or THC – it’s about CBN, a lesser-known cannabinoid rapidly gaining recognition among consumers. CBN’s recent recognition has a connection with sleep, and as more people become interested, consumers ask questions like – what is CBN, and what are its qualities? And, most importantly, is CBN good for sleep? 

What is CBN?

CBN is one of the many cannabinoids in the hemp plant, but its concentration in cannabis is low.

CBN is a byproduct of the deterioration of THC. When you heat THC and expose it to oxygen or air, it will undergo a process known as decarboxylation and produce CBN.

You can find CBN in aged weed because, with time, heat and oxygen will decarboxylate it to make CBN.

Users may think that CBN has psychoactive properties because it is derived from THC, but that’s not the case; CBN is far less psychoactive.  

What’s the Difference Between CBN and CBD?

They sound alike but are they the same? CBD and CBN interact with the same CB2 receptors in your endocannabinoid but produce different effects.

While CBN is obtained from THC, CBD exists independently in cannabis. CBD is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in cannabis compared to CBN, which is in low quantities. Dried and aged plants contain more CBN, but it is still low compared to CBD.

CBN costs more than CBD because it is present in low concentrations and, therefore, is complex and time-consuming to isolate. 

Researchers have studied CBD extensively, and it has proven sedative effects. On the other hand, there isn’t enough wide study on CBN for sleep because its use is not as widespread as CBD.

However, as CBN grows in popularity and more users report its therapeutic effects, there will be more research into its benefits. 

Is CBN Good for Sleep?

Is CBN good for sleep? It depends on who you ask. Users have reported improvements in sleep after using CBN for sleeping, but science is yet to test these claims due to limited research into the effects of CBN. Marketers and retailers market CBN as a sleep aid, but is this claim valid?

Users are familiar with the sedative effect of cannabis, so what if CBN acts with other cannabinoids and terpenes to produce an entourage effect

Josh Townsend, CEO of Sandland Sleep, said, “Within a hemp or cannabis plant, there are several other compounds than just the cannabinoids. It is generally believed that all these compounds work in synergy to give the cannabis/hemp plant its medicinal properties. This effect is called the entourage effect.”

It is possible that users felt sleepy after taking CBN, but it is also likely that the product they consumed contained other cannabinoids that worked with CBN to induce sleep. Certain terpenes, like linalool, beta-caryophyllene, alpha-pinene, and cedrol, aid sleep. 

Dr. Ethan Russo, the neurologist who made the term “entourage effect” popular, said, “If someone uses pure CBN, they’re not going to find it particularly sedating.” Hence, CBN may induce sleepiness along with other cannabinoids and terpenes, but pure CBN may not be as effective. 

Townsend said they have been able to extract certain terpenes and combine them in formulation to augment CBN’s effects.

In essence, CBN works best in combination with other compounds. 

THC and CBN for Sleep: What Does the Science Say?

Scientific research on cannabis has been few and far between for a long time because of historical stigmatization and federal prohibition.

Scientists have been conducting more studies into cannabis because it has grown in popularity. However, these studies focus on the rock stars of cannabis, THC, and CBD, meaning CBN research is still in its infancy, and the claims of CBN for sleep are yet to be ultimately confirmed or disproved.

What few scientific results there are prove inconclusive. One study conducted in 1975 on five men showed that the volunteers felt “drugged, drunk, dizzy, or drowsy” after they took THC, but the same feelings were absent when they took CBN. The CBN only slightly increased the effects of THC. 

Steep Hill, a cannabis science and tech company, initially likened CBN to diazepam, the popular sedative noted for its powerful effects. The company later backtracked and said, “Initially, it was reported that CBN was a promising adjunct in the treatment of insomnia, but with the advent of a few small trials, sedative qualities have not been observed.” 

CBN for Sleeping: To Buy or not to Buy?

One of the first things you must consider when buying cannabis and cannabis products is the source. Licensed dispensaries are subject to stringent quality control measures, so the products you buy are safe.

If you want to try CBN for sleeping, we recommend buying from only licensed dispensaries and starting with small doses to see how your system reacts. You may have to try out a few products before you find one that works for you.

Is CBN good for sleep? Try it and find out for yourself. 

Where Can I Buy CBN Products?

Many brands offer CBN products in different forms; they usually come as tinctures and edibles like CBN gummies.

We have to tell you, though, that they don’t come cheap because nature does not produce CBN in large quantities, and the extraction process is complex.

Alternatively, you can make your CBN. Since aged weed contains CBN, you can buy and leave it to age before consuming it. 

Potential Benefits of CBN

Apart from sleep, there are other reported benefits of CBN. As we’ve said before, there’s limited research into CBN, so these benefits are not yet confirmed, and the effect of CBN may vary from person to person.

There’s a need for more research to confirm these beneficial effects. More so, since many of the experiments on CBN use animal subjects, scientists need human subjects and extensive studies to guarantee the results. 

Treatment for Epidermolysis Bullosa

Epidermolysis Bullosa is a rare condition that makes the skin fragile and susceptible to blistering. Researchers are testing CBN as a potential treatment for this painful condition, and so far, the results are promising.

InMed Pharmaceuticals is currently conducting clinical trials with CBN cream, and the trials have entered the second phase. The company said that participants found the cream to be well-tolerated on normal, intact skin and open wounds. Essentially, it caused no delay in wound healing.

Also, its senior vice president of preclinical research and development said CBN may possess anti-inflammatory properties that could be “beneficial in healing chronic wounds where healing has been prevented by prolonged inflammation.” 

Helps Relieve Muscle Pain

A 2019 study on rats found that CBN may help relieve chronic muscle pain disorders like fibromyalgia and pain in jaw joints, muscles, and nerves. Scientists are yet to verify this outcome in human studies.  

Antibacterial Qualities

In one study, five cannabinoids, including cannabinol, were effective against Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which proved resistant to traditional antibiotics.

The study said, “Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) has long been known to contain antibacterial cannabinoids.”

However, scientists need to carry out more studies to confirm this early outcome.  

Potential Treatment for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is the most common adult-onset motor neuron disorder, but patients have limited treatment options. Clinical studies conducted on mice have shown that cannabinoids may help delay the onset of ALS. 

Scientists treated rats with CBN over 12 weeks and found that the cannabinoid significantly delayed the onset of ALS. 

The neuroprotective quality of CBN may help prevent or reduce natural cell death and, as a result, protect cells and structures in the nervous system.  

Glaucoma Treatment

High eye pressure, known as intraocular pressure, is a risk factor for glaucoma, an eye disease that damages the optic nerve in the back of the eye leading to vision loss and blindness.

Lowering intraocular pressure can help slow down glaucoma development and improve vision. A study on rabbits showed that CBN helps reduce intraocular pressure.

Another study by InMed Pharmaceuticals found that retinal cells treated with a topical CBN application showed a high survival level when exposed to high pressure. CBN also performed better than CBD and THC in these tests. 

Appetite Stimulant

THC helps stimulate appetite, but CBN may be an effective alternative for those who want increased appetite without psychoactive effects. In studies performed on rodents, rats treated with CBN ate more food suggesting the cannabinoid may help stimulate appetite.  

What are the Risks of CBN?

Scientists have not studied CBN enough to understand the risks but cannabis and cannabis products are mostly safe. Any risks may be due to misuse, like taking too much or contamination during production. 

Mislabelling and contamination pose potent risks for consumers. To stay safe, only buy from only licensed dispensaries and check the label so you know what you’re buying.

Make sure a third-party lab has tested the products before you buy them. Also, check for the certificate of analysis; the certificate should have information on the levels of cannabinoids contained in the product and the presence of any heavy metals and pesticides. 

If you’re on medication, speak with your doctor before you take CBN for sleeping because it may interact with other drugs. 

Also, adhere to the stated dosage or start with a low dosage to check how your body reacts to it. Note that everyone’s bodies are not the system, so just because it worked for your friend doesn’t mean it will work for you. 

If you notice any side effects or allergic reactions after taking CBN, call 911 or your local poison control center.  

Does CBN Show up on a Drug Test?

If you’re worried about an upcoming drug test, it’s best not to consume CBN. Mark Ratner, M.D chief science officer of Theralogix, a nutritional supplement company, said, “There is evidence that use of CBN could inadvertently lead to failed drug tests.”

In one study, CBN led to a positive result in two different drug tests, and in one test, CBN had an additive effect on THC.

In an additive effect, CBN helps boost the presence of THC, so even if you have undetectable levels of THC in your body, the presence of CBN can increase the THC levels and result in a failed drug test.  

Is CBN Good for Sleep? Elevate Holistics Can Answer Your Canna-Questions

There are so many cannabinoids and marijuana-related compounds, and understanding them all can be tough. That’s why you need a trusted and capable guide that understands cannabis and can help you make sense of all the terms and regulations.

At Elevate Holistics, we put you first – we have up-to-date information on compounds, products, and laws to provide you with a premium cannabis service that guarantees satisfactory results.

Do you have more questions about CBN, want an appointment with a qualified marijuana doctor, or want to find a licensed dispensary? Our team of experts can help.

Click here to book an appointment and get your medical marijuana card 100% online, 100% hassle-free.

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About the author

Ally Hilbert is the Content and SEO Manager here at Elevate Holistics, working to publish and run Elevate’s blogs and landing pages, as well as conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, and more. After having brain surgery at the age of 17, Ally became fascinated with medical cannabis and its benefits, and, at 18, had her first CBD-related piece published. Today, she’s been writing about cannabis for the past six years, and simply can’t think of a better company to get to do it for. When she’s not writing or editing, Ally’s side-by-side with her pup Sadie in Seattle.
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