Cannabinol, or CBN for short, is yet another trace cannabinoid. 

And it’s one of the more unique ones. If CBG had an alter ego, it’d be CBN! While CBG comes from young hemp plants and is the first cannabinoid to show up in the chronological timeline...CBN comes from old and/or overoxidized plants and is the last. While CBG may be stimulatory, CBN is relaxing and great for sleep. 

But enough analogies for now. Let’s look at what the research is saying. 

What is CBN?

CBN is a minor phytocannabinoid that researchers are studying for its anti-inflammatory and anti-insomnia properties. As far as cannabinoids go, anti-inflammatory effects are really nothing new. But CBN’s seem especially powerful, almost like it’s a stronger version of CBD or something.

CBN may also be effective enough at lowering intraocular pressure to be beneficial to those with eye problems like glaucoma. Studies going back all the way to 1984 describe that CBN “lowers ocular tension considerably.”

And while many of CBD and CBN’s health benefits overlap, their effects on food intake couldn’t be much more different. In 2012 a rodent study found that CBN actually increased hunger much like THC did. Don’t be concerned, however — even if you’re trying to slim down. When it comes to cannabis, more calories doesn’t necessarily equate to more body fat. 

Then there are the sleep-specific benefits, which are equally encouraging but much less proven. A large body of cannabis enthusiasts claim CBN is great for sleep, but so far studies have been unable to confirm this. You might just have to try CBN for yourself to know for sure...

How is CBN made?

CBN can be made in a few different ways, some of which might sound familiar at this point. Method one involves collecting the residual CBN from repeated hemp extractions. Method two involves that fancy chromatography process we mentioned earlier. But method three is most convenient of all. 

Before we explain this method, here’s a little context. Cannabinoids need to be decarbed in order to be fully bioactive; it’s decarboxylation that converts CBGa into CBG, CBDa into CBD, CBCa into CBC, et cetera. 

To make CBN, manufacturers can simply let their CBD be processed by heat for a little longer. The fully described CBD molecule will continue to oxidize and breakdown, eventually yielding CBN. This method is inefficient, but also hard to mess up. 

As an interesting aside, both THC and CBD come from CBG — and both can be broken down into CBN. We told you CBN and CBG were practically alter egos! 

Is CBN legal?

Yes, CBN is fully legal in all fifty States, so long as it comes from CBD-rich hemp and not from cannabis. Between 2014 and 2018, CBN seemed to find itself in a gray area; some considered it an illegal analog of THC. Thankfully 2018’s Farm Bill cleared things up. 

Where can one find CBN products?

Like other trace cannabinoid-based products, CBN oils and extracts are still pretty rare. One’s best bet is to take a Full Spectrum CBD product and get trace amounts of CBN that way. And if it’s better sleep you’re looking for, taking a higher-than-normal dose of CBD should match the sedating effects of CBN well enough. Countless CBD users report both sleeping better...and waking up more refreshed.