In your trio of best friends, one of you isn’t sleeping well at night. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): More than one-third of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
According to experts, of the 100-plus unique chemical compounds (called cannabinoids) scientists have discovered in cannabis, three of the most studied appear to play a part in helping us get that all-important rest we need. You probably already know THC and CBD pretty well.
Let us introduce you to cannabinol, or CBN.
In a country craving more sleep, it’s no wonder that the cannabinoid CBN is starting to stir up excitement for its own benefits.
We’ll explain how CBN works, dig into the actual science around this cannabinoid and recommend the best CBN products below.
What is CBN (Cannabinol)?
CBN is a cannabinoid produced when THC is heated or exposed to oxygen and light over time. So, CBN is usually found in aged cannabis.
Yep: CBN is basically degraded THC that’s lost its high-inducing potency. If you’ve ever found a forgotten stash of flower in your closet, smoked it and felt sleepy afterward, you may have stumbled upon cannabis with high levels of CBN.
What are some of CBN’s effects and benefits?
Again, the research is pretty limited, but what we do know so far is that CBN may:
• Make you sleepy. When paired with THC, it’s been found to — maybe — have some sedative effects. Maybe. A 1975 study with a tiny sample size of five men found that participants reported feeling “more drugged, drunk, dizzy, and drowsy” than they felt when they were given THC alone, though another small study found “CBN produced no detectable changes” in THC’s effects.
• Relieve pain by interacting with neurons that not only signal pain but also respond to local tissue injury.
• Treat skin conditions like psoriasis or burns when used topically.
• Stimulate appetite. One study involving rats found that CBN made them quicker to eat, eat more and for longer periods of time.
“It’s exciting that customers are coming in and asking our Caliva wellness consultants about CBN and its benefits. Both science and the consumer market are just beginning to learn about the potential of several more of the powerful 100+ cannabinoids in cannabis — not just THC and CBD,” Murphy Adams, Caliva Education Supervisor.
How does CBN (Cannabinol) work?
First, a refresher on cannabinoids: These naturally occurring chemicals found in the cannabis plant interact with our bodies to produce an array of therapeutic effects and improve our health. They are, essentially, what make cannabis medicinal. Cool, right?
CBN is no different. When CBN, like other cannabinoids, enters your bloodstream, it attaches itself to receptors in your endocannabinoid system throughout your body (called CB2 receptors) in a lock-and-key fashion. It may also bind with receptors in the brain, called CB1 receptors, though researchers believe their connection with CB2 is more powerful.
The result of this interaction differs depending on where the receptor is located, but the goal for all cannabinoids is always to restore balance. CBN may also affect how various hormones and neurotransmitters work, and could be effective for pain management and inflammation, appetite, bone health and other conditions.
While more research is needed to understand how CBN works on its own, experts do believe the compound plays an important role in “whole plant medicine.”
In other words, CBN works in synergy with other cannabinoids and cannabis compounds to enhance the overall benefits of a product — this phenomenon is called the “entourage effect,” and it’s pretty powerful stuff.
How does CBN compare to CBD and THC
The million-dollar question, of course, is: Will CBN make you feel high (like THC does) or calm (like CBD does)? Well, TBH, science isn’t quite sure.
Some research indicates CBN is non-psychoactive, and other studies suggest CBN has very mild psychoactive effects. Either way, you probably won’t feel like you’re flying after consuming a product rich in CBN.
In fact, while CBN currently has the reputation of being an effective sedative, there’s actually very little quality research to back that claim up.
Dr. Ethan Russo, Director of Research and Development at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, told Leafly that while CBN isn’t a proven sedative, the addition of CBN (or another cannabinoid in general), may increase the powerful entourage effect (when multiple cannabinoids multiply each others’ effect).
3 of the best CBN Products
Though it’s still a fairly new — and growing! — category, Caliva has a handful of high-quality CBN products available. While you can find small amounts of CBN in some flowers strains, edibles are the most effective way to consume CBN. Here are three of our recommendations.
Is there anything more soothing than a cup of warm tea before bed? Each tea sachet includes 3 mg of THC and 5 mg of CBN, and infused with peppermint, chamomile, valerian root, lemon myrtle, licorice root, rosemary, lemongrass, lavender and cornflower petals. We’re sleepy already. Also available in single dose sachets.
Everything you need to know about this product is in the name. With a balanced ratio of THC and CBD, plus CBN and lavender aromatherapy, a few hits off this disposable vape pen before bed may be all you need to call it a night.
For no-muss, no-fuss medicine to help you chill, these 100% plant-based, vegan and non-GMO capsules contain 5 mg of CBN and include three terpenes known for their relaxing effects.