“CBN, or cannabinol, was actually the first phytocannabinoid isolated from cannabis back in the 1930s. It is created by the breakdown of THC over time via light, heat, or oxygen,” explains Dr. Felecia Dawson, a physician and cannabis advocate. “It’s much weaker than THC at the cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1) and does not appear to be intoxicating when taken orally.”
CBD, on the other hand, is the other main cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, and it is non-psychoactive. This means CBD doesn’t produce that “high” feeling, and — in fact — offers a whole host of other potential health benefits, including treating stress and anxiety, pain, and even insomnia. It has even been studied for its impact on weight loss.
When you look at cannabis, there are more than 100 cannabinoids — AKA a group of substances found in the cannabis plant. You’re probably familiar with two of these: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the cannabinoid most of us are familiar with because it’s the substance in cannabis responsible for the psychoactive or “high” effects commonly associated with cannabis use.
But what is CBN? And how is it different from other cannabis products, like CBD? We asked the experts, and here’s what we learned.
Understanding the differences between CBD vs CBN
It’s no secret that cannabis-based products are surging in popularity. Many states have legalized cannabis, and CBD products can be found almost everywhere — you might’ve even spotted it on the shelves at your local grocery store. But with this increased popularity comes a rise in other cannabis-based products, including Delta-8 THC, and now cannabinol, also known as CBN.
Double exposure of researchers and Cannabis tree. Researchers are researching marijuana extracts THC and CBN for medical and business use. The researcher is analyzing the medicine related innovation.
Unlike CBD, which has been studied widely in both animals and humans, there aren’t many studies on the use and benefits of CBN. A 2019 study in rats looked at the combined use of CBD and CBN, and researchers found that the combined use of these compounds produced more muscle pain relief than the individual compounds themselves, but — as mentioned earlier — the effect on humans hasn’t been well studied.
Does CBN have any benefits?
Whatever the intended usage of either compound, a patient should always consult a qualified doctor, before consuming any natural remedy or supplement that potentially has unforeseen contraindications. With the recent explosion in CBD products, less scrupulous vendors that are looking to cash in on the latest fad, may not produce a high-quality product that is lab tested for purity. Even worse, the CBD may contain useless amounts or dangerous additives.
One such vendor was called out by Consumer Reports when “Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that the products, all from Diamond CBD, a publicly-traded company, contained a compound called 5F-ADB. That compound, often found in illegal synthetic marijuana products such as “K2” and “Spice,” can trigger paranoia and panic attacks, increase heart rate and blood pressure, and cause convulsions, organ damage, and even death, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. ”
CBN and CBD are acutely different when it comes to their effect on most consumers’ appetites. While CBD can act as a mild appetite suppressant, CBN tends to stimulate one’s appetite.
According to Mary magazine’s blog, while CBN purportedly has a sedating effect on most users, CBD purportedly tends to cause a feeling of alertness rather than sluggishness, the morning after bedtime consumption.
“The pharmacokinetics of CBN seems to be in between 1/6 and 1/10 of the potency of the CB1 receptor (cannabinoid receptor type-1) that THC is,” Sigman elaborates.
Innumerable outlets report that CBD is non-psychoactive. Whoever is parroting this term is incorrect. CBD is psychoactive to a much lesser degree than THC; however, it is non-intoxicating, for the most part. People in 12-step or other substance abuse recovery programs report feeling “something” on high doses of CBD, because not all CBD products are equal. Therefore consumers who do not wish to get high must be careful to choose a reputable brand with a proven below 0.3% THC content.
Naptime and the munchies.
“We found that CBN slightly prolongs the sleep time in barbiturate-induced sleep in mice. There is no current information that I am aware of that proves CBN is a sedative, even though it is already being marketed as such,” says Zoe Sigman one of the principal researchers at Project CBD, a leading think tank and non-profit CBD information site.