CBN, the short form of cannabinol, is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid that is gaining popularity for its therapeutic potential. Labeled as the “sleeper cannabinoid,” this molecule is promising to make a substantial impact on the emerging field of cannabinoid-based therapy; the use of naturally occurring bioactive compounds fin cannabis and hemp as therapeutic agents.
There are over 100 different phytocannabinoids in hemp and cannabis, THC and CBD being the common ones. Cannabinol that is mainly abbreviated as CBN, is primarily found in aged plants.
The Difference between CBN and CBD
CBN and CBD differ in the way that they interact with the endocannabinoid system. Consequently, the two molecules have different therapeutic potentials. Research on CBD is in the advanced stages while that on CBN is still preliminary.
Both CBD and CBN are non-psychoactive. This means that, unlike THC, they will not cause an alteration in one’s mental status when consumed. However, the two compounds interact differently with systems in the body, such as the dynamic endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD has a weak affinity to both receptors of the endocannabinoid system (CB1 and CB2 receptors). The mechanisms of action of CBN in humans have not been well elucidated. While several studies have been conducted on CBD, CBN research is still in the preliminary phases.
The Connection between CBN and THC
CBN is found in higher amounts in cannabis that has aged. This is because THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid, oxidizes into CBN over time. A 1999 study investigating potency loss in cannabis found that THC converts into CBN as the buds mature and age; this happens due to oxidation.
Is CBN Good for Sleep?
One preliminary human study has shown that CBN has powerful sleep-promoting effects. The research results were published in the International Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in July 2021.
The study, “Use of a Water-Soluble Form of Cannabinol for the Treatment of Sleeplessness,” involved 60 participants with different sleep disorders. The researchers investigated four parameters of sleeplessness: difficulty falling asleep, difficulty remaining asleep during the night, early morning awakening (EMA), and nonrestorative sleep (NRS).
All the 60 participants were treated with hemp-derived nano-treated CBN starting with a dose of 2mg/day for females and 3mg/day for males. The participants were able to fall asleep faster and remain asleep for a longer duration. The incidence of early morning awakening also decreased in most of the participants. Generally, participants reported improved quality of sleep. Only 13 participants experienced adverse effects which were resolved by adjusting the dose of CBN.
The researchers concluded that CBN was effective as a sleep-promoting agent and recommended further clinical studies.
Other Benefits of CBN
There isn’t enough research on all the medical benefits and effects of CBN. Here is what preliminary research is revealing about CBN:
CBN is an Appetite Stimulant
A recent mouse study showed that CBN has appetite-stimulating properties. In the study, mice offered CBN ended up eating regularly and for a more extended period. Further research is needed to strengthen the evidence generated by this preliminary finding.
CBN has Antibacterial Properties
The potential of cannabinoids to address antibiotic resistance has not been fully addressed. However, a recent study on CBN in 2008 showed that CBN has excellent antibacterial properties against MRSA which is a difficult-to-treat bacterial infection. Other cannabinoids that were investigated in this study include cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), and Delta (9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which showed significant therapeutic potential against a variety of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) strains that have clinical relevance. This definitely lays the foundation for future studies in this area.
CBN has Pain-relieving Properties
A study carried out in 2019 on rats showed that CBN and other cannabinoids can relieve myofascial pain. The study was investigating the analgesic potential of CBN, CBD, and a combination of both in myofascial pain. Peripheral application of these cannabinoids provided analgesic relief for chronic muscle pain. Future human studies will help to paint a clearer picture of the pain-relieving properties of CBN.
Possible CBN Interactions to Keep in Mind
Cannabinoids such as CBN may interact adversely with some medications. Therefore, it is essential to talk to your healthcare provider before taking CBN oil if you are on the following drugs;
- Blood pressure medications.
- Cholesterol medications.
- Pain medications.
- Prostate medications.
- Blood thinners.
- Anticancer medications.
Where to Purchase CBN Oil
Unlike CBD, CBN products are relatively hard to come by, especially if quality is a top consideration. Naturally, CBN can be found in higher amounts in aged cannabis plants. However, there are better ways to come across high-quality CBN that does not involve aged cannabis plants.
A few forward-thinking CBD companies are now offering CBN oil and other CBN products. A couple of them blend the CBN with other ingredients, especially CBD, to provide greater therapeutic benefits.
When looking for the best CBN products, the best place to begin your search is the internet. That said, you must know what to be on the lookout for. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
- Confirm that the CBN is derived from premium hemp that has been grown using organic farming practices. Hemp-derived CBN will contain less than 0.3% THC, making it federally legal and non-psychoactive.
- It is advisable to go for full-spectrum CBN, infused with additional cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. This will offer you entourage benefits.
- Scrutinize the certificate of analysis (COA), confirming the purity and potency of the product. Do not rely entirely on claims made by the company; ensure that a third-party lab has verified this.
How To Consume CBN
CBN, like CBD, can be consumed in a variety of ways. CBN gummies and capsules are ingested orally; they can be washed down with a cool beverage. CBN tinctures come in a dropper bottle and are best consumed sublingually. CBN edibles would also be another interesting area to explore.
An optimal dose for CBN oil would be a starting dose of 10-20mg a day, preferably in the evening because of the sedative effects. However, the dosage can be adjusted to suit one’s unique needs. It is okay to increase the dose to 20-30mg a day if you need to amplify the effects. In case you find that this is still not working, you can consult with your medical doctor for a suitable alternative.
- Kaufmann R. Use of a water-soluble form of cannabinol for the treatment of sleeplessness. Int J Complement Alt Med. 2021;14(4):186–190.
- Wong, H., & Cairns, B. E. (2019). Cannabidiol, cannabinol and their combinations act as peripheral analgesics in a rat model of myofascial pain. Archives of oral biology, 104, 33–39
- Appendino, G., Gibbons, S., Giana, A., Pagani, A., Grassi, G., Stavri, M., Smith, E., & Rahman, M. M. (2008). Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. Journal of natural products, 71(8), 1427–1430.
- Farrimond, J. A., Whalley, B. J., & Williams, C. M. (2012). Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns. Psychopharmacology, 223(1), 117–129.