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Guide On The Benefits Of Cannabinol

Guide On The Benefits Of Cannabinol

You’ve probably heard of THC and CBD, but what about cannabinol (CBN)? This relatively unknown compound was actually the first cannabinoid to be isolated from cannabis all the way back in 1896.

Thanks to the immense popularity of CBD, interest in CBN and other minor cannabinoids is growing. CBN may have many beneficial properties and there’s a popular belief that it’s an effective sleep aid.

Read on for our science-based guide on the benefits of cannabinol.

Guide On The Benefits Of Cannabinol cannabis leaves outside at sunset

What is CBN?

Cannabinol is one of over 120 phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by plants), the main active compounds in cannabis. Most of us are only familiar with THC and CBD because they’re the two most abundant cannabinoids and have received the most attention.

However, there are dozens of so-called minor cannabinoids, which are typically found in trace amounts. CBN is one such compound.

CBN is unique because it’s produced from the breakdown of THC, which is why its levels are higher in older cannabis. However, CBN is non-intoxicating so it won’t get you high.

Early research suggests that CBN has many potential benefits, some of which are similar to CBD. That’s why many CBD companies are starting to sell CBN-rich products.

Potential Benefits Of CBN

Cannabinol hasn’t seen much research because it’s a minor cannabinoid. Having said that, there are some interesting study findings. For starters, CBN may have anti-inflammatory properties like most other cannabinoids.

Another study found that CBN and several other cannabinoids had antibacterial effects against bacteria resistant to standard antibiotics. Meanwhile, a study in mice with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a rare neurological disease, reported that CBN delayed its onset. This highlights that CBN may have neuroprotective properties.

Another animal study found that, unlike CBD, CBN increased appetite in rats. This means it could work as an appetite stimulant. In particular, it may be a promising non-intoxicating alternative to THC, which is already used to stimulate appetite in people with HIV-related wasting.

One more rat study found that CBN reduced muscle pain, suggesting that it may help with chronic muscle pain disorders such as fibromyalgia. Finally, older studies in cats and rabbits found that CBN could reduce eye pressure, as a result, it could help with glaucoma.

CBN & Sleep

There’s a prominent belief that CBN has sedative effects that could help you sleep better. That’s why many CBD brands market CBN-rich products as sleep aids.

This idea originates from cannabis users who found that older cannabis, which contains more CBN from the breakdown of THC, had stronger sleep-inducing effects.

However, the reality is that pure CBN is not sedating. This was demonstrated by a 1975 study where people were given THC and CBN. Pure CBN did not have any sedating effects. However, it seemed to enhance THC’s sedating effects when they were used together.

As such, one possible explanation is that the CBN in old cannabis strengthens the sedating effects of THC. Another possibility proposed by renowned cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo is that aged cannabis contains larger amounts of sesquiterpenes, a more sedating type of terpenes.

What’s the Difference Between CBD & CBN?

Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are both non-intoxicating phytocannabinoids found in cannabis. Those similarities aside, they have quite a few differences.

The first major difference is that CBD is the second most common cannabinoid in cannabis and the most abundant in hemp (low-THC cannabis), whereas CBN is a minor cannabinoid present in much smaller amounts.

A related difference is that CBD comes from cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which is made directly by the cannabis plant. CBN, on the other hand, is created over time from the breakdown of THC.

That’s why levels of CBN are low in fresh plants but can reach significant amounts in older cannabis.

Another difference is that CBD is sourced from hemp, whereas CBN is typically made from regular cannabis because of hemp’s low THC levels.

While they do share anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, pain-relieving, and neuroprotective properties, CBD and CBN also differ in their effects.

For example, it has been indicated that CBD could reduce appetite, whereas CBN may have the opposite effect. Similarly, whereas CBN has been shown to reduce pressure, CBD might increase it.

There’s also much more research on CBD than CBN. Finally, CBD is approved by the FDA for treating epilepsy, whereas CBN has no approved uses.

How Does CBN Work?

Similar to other phytocannabinoids, studies suggest that CBN interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

This vital system consists of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2), endocannabinoids made by our bodies, and special enzymes.

The ECS plays a considerable role in maintaining homeostasis, a healthy state of internal balance, by regulating brain function, immunity, metabolism, and other key processes.

Compared to THC, CBN has a lower attraction to CB1 receptors, which are common in the brain and other parts of the nervous system, but a stronger one to CB2 receptors, which are abundant in immune system cells.

This means cannabinol may have stronger effects on immune rather than cognitive health.

Early research has also shown that CBN can interact with other parts of the body, such as FSH, a hormone involved in the reproductive system.

Having said that, more studies are needed before we can understand CBN’s effects as well as CBD.

CBN Dosage

Just like with other cannabinoids, the optimal cannabinol dosage varies by individual. It depends on your weight, genetics, the type of product you’re using, and other factors.

That’s why healthcare experts recommend the “start low and go slow” approach to dosing cannabinoids. You can begin with 5-10 mg of CBN and see how you feel over the next two hours.

If it’s not enough, gradually raise your dosage over time until you settle on the amount that gives you the desired effects.

Side Effects Of CBN

At this time, there’s no research looking at the potential side effects of CBN. With that said, we know that CBN is non-intoxicating (unless it’s combined with THC) so, it won’t get you high.

That means CBN is likely as safe as CBD. Research has shown that CBD has a few minor side effects, such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and lightheadedness.

Alas, if you’re concerned, it’s best to talk to your doctor before using cannabinol products.


Is CBN legal?

Cannabinol derived from hemp is federally legal. However, CBN sourced from regular cannabis is technically only legal in states where recreational marijuana is allowed.

What is CBN good for?

Studies suggest that CBN has many beneficial properties but more research is needed before we can say anything conclusive.

Does CBN help with sleep?

Despite its reputation as a sedative, sleep-supporting cannabinoid, there isn’t much evidence. The only study we have found that CBN enhanced the sedative effects of THC.

Which is better for pain CBD or CBN?

There isn’t enough research on CBN to say for sure. At the same time, CBD’s analgesic (pain-relieving) effects have been demonstrated in multiple studies, so it’s certainly the more research-backed option.

What kind of CBN products are there?

CBN can come in many forms, including cannabinol isolate, oils, and capsules. In most cases, it’s paired together with CBD in full-spectrum formulations.

Cannabinol: More Research Is Needed

Cannabinol is a non-intoxicating minor cannabinoid that comes from the breakdown of THC. Although CBN is similar to CBD, it also differs in some ways, such as its concentration in cannabis.

Cannabinol has many potential benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, neuroprotective, pain-relieving, and appetite-stimulating effects.

However, claims that CBN works as a sleep aid are somewhat overblown. All we know for now is that it may enhance the sedative effects of THC.

Further human research is needed to better understand the potential benefits of CBN and other minor cannabinoids.

The information provided is for informational purposes only. We do not claim to treat or cure any health ailment or condition. Please consult your doctor or healthcare provider before trying any new product. We are not responsible for any adverse reaction(s) you may have to any of the products featured on this site. See our T & C for more information.

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