What is CBN? All About The “Sleepy Cannabinoid” And Its Benefits!

Drowsy woman with eye cover on forehead wanting to go to sleep

It’s no secret that cannabis is just about everywhere. It has been for some time now, and that trend doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. With more and more people able to legally access hemp for medicinal purposes, the demand for it continues to grow.

People have started to take an interest in all things cannabis-related, including its side effects.

Cannabinol, or CBN as it is most commonly known, is a byproduct of the THC compound found in hemp or cannabis plants. It is the result of natural degradation over time caused by exposure to heat, light, and air.

While not as well-known as other cannabinoids like THC or CBD, cannabinol has several benefits that might be right up your alley.

Keep reading to learn more about what this lesser-known cannabinoid can do for you and if you should get your hands on some of this “sleepy cannabinoid” yourself!

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoids found in cannabis plants that have been studied over the years due to its potential health benefits such as pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, anxiety relief and more.

Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which produces psychoactive effects when consumed at high doses – CBD does not cause any mental intoxication or impairment – making it safe for consumers to enjoy without fear of getting “high”.

What is CBN - Molecular structure What is CBN?

Cannabinol(CBN) is one of the most abundant cannabinoids found in cannabis sativa plants. It was first isolated from cannabis by chemist Roger Adams back in 1940.

Cannabinol is said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties when consumed, which is why you’re likely to see it used in skincare as well as edibles.

CBN is generally not targeted when consuming cannabis because it is produced at a slower rate than THC.

CBN is a non-psychoactive constituent, meaning it won’t give you any euphoric sensations or mental intoxication.

It is, however, thought to possess similar benefits as THC, making it a viable option for those who don’t want THC in their system.

How is CBN Made?

Unlike both CBD and CBG which exist independently, CBN is derived from tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) when it is decarboxylated by heat, light, or pressure.

Decarboxylation is the removal of carbon dioxide from a substance, and decarboxylated cannabis often called activated cannabis.

This decarboxylation process destroys that CBD-acid and THC-acid, making the cannabinoids available for interaction with your endocannabinoid system (ECS).

CBD and CBN – Differences & Similarities

How is CBN different from CBD?

The most notable difference between these two compounds is their interaction with the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors in your endocannabinoid system.

CBN binds primarily to the latter. This makes it more effective at providing relief from inflammation than its cousin cannabinoid. Research suggests that while CBD may help promote wakefulness or calmness depending upon its type, CBN may help induce sleep due to its affinity for the CB2 receptor.

  • CBD binds to both the neurotransmitter (CB1) cannabinoid receptor and the immune system (CB2) receptor
  • CBN on the other hand, binds more strongly to the CB2 receptor, explaining its potential to aid and induce sleep due to its affinity for the CB2 cannabinoid receptor
  • CBD exists independently in the hemp plant, while CBN is derived from THC(A) through the process of decarboxylation which makes it interactable with the ECS
  • CBN is almost exclusively taken for sleep and calmness while CBD has a wider variety of uses


CBD and CBN are both found in cannabis plants and have several similarities such as their chemical structure – with only slight variations in the molecular makeup of each cannabinoid.

  • CBD and CBN are both non-psychoactive cannabinoids
  • Both of these cannabinoids offer some similar potential health benefits like:
    • pain relief
    • anxiety relief
    • managing stress levels
    • anti-oxidant properties
    • anti-inflammatory support
    • balancing and maintaining homeostasis by interacting with our cannabinoid receptors allowing them to target inflammation, etc.

How is CBN Oil made?Person in a lab with CBN in a dropper bottle

CBN oil is made by extracting cannabinol from the cannabis flowers that have been dried and cured.

The extraction process removes the plant material, leaving behind a concentrated extract that contains high levels of CBN.

This extract is then diluted with a carrier(MCT) oil, such as coconut oil, argan oil, or hemp seed oil.

The resulting product is a potent CBN oil that can be used for various purposes.

How does Cannabinol affect your body?

CBN works in much the same way as other cannabinoids do, by working with our endocannabinoid system.

CBN is thought to be a low-level cannabinoid, meaning it doesn’t pack as strong of a punch as other cannabinoids by itself.

It is, however, still considered to be a mildly psychoactive compound, but not enough to create the “high” that comes with THC.

CBN acts as a sedative on the body, promoting feelings of calm and relaxation. It has also been reported to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with pain relief and healing.

CBN has been said to have positive effects on the central nervous system, helping to ease anxiety and promote a better night’s sleep.

Additionally, it might help to cut down on general nausea and vomiting.

Benefits of Cannabinol: What is CBN good for?

So, now that we know a bit more about what CBN is and what it does, let’s look into what CBN is good for. CBN is becoming increasingly popular as a sleep aid due to its sedative properties, but early research shows significant potential benefits.

CBN May Aid in Pain Relief

According to Steep Hill Labs in Berkeley, California, “CBN is synergistic with both CBD and THC for inducement of sleeping.” When mixed in the correct ratios, CBN may become an effective sleep aid of five to six hours duration.” Early research has shown that it may be effective at reducing even chronic pain.

Another study found that CBN was able to reduce inflammation and pain in mice1. The study’s authors concluded that CBN could be a potential treatment for health conditions like arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, but more research is needed.

The researchers also found that the result of cannabis’s pain relief is more than just an analgesic, it also has anti-inflammatory properties.

CBN Can Help With Stress

CBN can help modulate the sleep/wake cycle and has been shown to be effective in treating insomnia. Which can be a tremendous help for the many people who have a hard time falling or staying asleep due to stress and anxiety.

However, more research is needed.

Could CBN Improve Appetite?

CBN can support a healthy appetite. This is because it is a byproduct of THC, which is known to stimulate the appetite. As such, if you struggle to eat enough food, CBN may help you to maintain a healthy weight and keep your digestive system functioning properly.

Cannovia GOODNIGHT CBN/CBD Oil Drops at bedsideCan you take CBN for Sleep?

Although more research needs to be done on this magical compound, most people claim to have better sleep and more balanced sleep cycles after taking CBN consistently.

People who use our premium Goodnight CBD+CBN blend report that along with falling asleep quicker, they “stay asleep longer and wake up refreshed everyday”.

CBN and Epidermolysis Bullosa

“Based on our earlier studies, we are hopeful that our cannabinol cream will prove to be a safe and effective treatment for people living with this severe genetic skin disease.”

– Alexandra Mancini, Senior Vice President of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at InMed.

Ongoing research on CBN shows a lot of potential for its topical application to help reduce symptoms of this condition.

Epidermolysis bullosa is a rare genetic disorder that causes severe skin blistering. There is currently no approved cure and current treatments are only focused on symptomatic relief, rather than healing this disease.

Effects of CBN on Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease characterized by increased intraocular pressure (IOP) which can lead to vision loss over time.

Studies suggest that oral administration of CBN may help reduce symptoms of glaucoma since its interaction with our bodies’ endocannabinoid receptors helps regulate IOP levels in the eyes – protecting your retina and providing much needed relief from pain & discomfort.

In a recent study conducted by InMed, it was found that “CBN was superior to both CBD and THC under identical testing conditions.”

Effects of CBN on Brain

While you might already know about CBD’s amazing effects on your brain. CBN has shown neuroprotective properties2 and protection against aging brain cells3.


The benefits of CBN are not fully understood at this time as the research is still in its infancy. However, we do know that it interacts with the ECS with other cannabinoids’ effects in an unknown way, often called the entourage effect.

The entourage effect is a well-known phenomenon in which the active chemicals present within cannabis work together to produce different effects than if they were individually taken.

In this case, it’s likely that CBN interacts with other cannabinoids such as CBD and terpenes (which give marijuana its unique flavors).

For now you can expect some benefits from taking hemp derived products high in CBD containing minor cannabinoid content alongside your favorite phytocannabinoid.

Researchers remain uncertain about how eating hemp-derived products high on CBD will affect you if they contain a lot more than just cannabidiol (CBD).

The Health Benefits of CBN Combined with CBD

Both CBN and CBD are cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. CBD is well-known for its potential health benefits, but CBN is beginning to gain more attention for its unique properties.

When combined, CBD and CBN can have a synergistic effect, amplifying each other’s benefits. While research suggests that CBN offers several health benefits; however, CBN hasn’t been subject to as much scientific research as other more prominent cannabinoids.

Synergistic benefits refer to a phenomenon where the combination of cannabinoids creates a stronger therapeutic effect than any one cannabinoid on its own.

This is due to the different ways that cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system and enhance each other’s medicinal properties.

Woman waking up stretching after a good nights sleepIs CBN An Effective Sleep Aid?

CBN is known as the “sleepy cannabinoid” or the “bedtime cannabinoid” because it can promote relaxation and can be helpful for those who suffer from insomnia. When combined with CBD, which is known for its calming effect, the two combined can be especially effective as a sleeping aid.

If you’re using CBN to help with anxiety, CBD may help to reduce the amount of time it takes the symptoms to subside.

If you’re using CBN to help with pain, CBD could help reduce the intensity of the pain you feel.

If you’re using CBN for sleep issues, combining it with CBD may help you get deeper, more restful sleep.

The list goes on and on, making CBD and CBN a powerful duo.

Full-Spectrum or Broad-Spectrum CBN?

The THC levels in full-spectrum CBN and broad-spectrum CBN are the only difference between the two. Both come from industrial hemp and include the full range of cannabinoids, including CBD and CBN. However, all traces of THC have been eliminated from broad-spectrum CBN.

The lack of THC means that it may not offer all the benefits compared to full-spectrum CBN products. Full-Spectrum CBN products provide full-spectrum benefits of CBD and CBN, plus the added benefits of the other hemp compounds. These other compounds may enhance or amplify the effects of each other.

What Are The Known Side Effects Of CBN?

Although cannabinol is thought to be well-tolerated by most people, with few reported side effects. The most common side effect is drowsiness, which is not surprising given its relaxing effects.

Overall, cannabinol appears to be a safe and well-tolerated compound with a low risk of side effects. If you do experience any side effects, they are likely to be mild and temporary.

If you have any concerns, be sure to speak with your qualified health provider before taking CBN, especially if you have a serious medical condition.

CBN Oil Bioavailability

One of the main benefits of cannabinol oil is its high bioavailability. This means that your body can easily absorb and use the cannabinoid for its intended purpose.

This is because cannabinol is fat soluble, meaning it dissolves in fats and oils. When you consume CBN oil, it is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and goes to work.

This makes it a very efficient cannabinoid and allows your body to easily use it for its intended purpose.

Where To Buy CBN Products?

Bedtime routine - Cannovia GOODNIGHT CBD/CBN oil drops and a toothbrush

CBN products can be found online and in select stores across the country. Not all products on the market contain 100% pure CBN or accurate labeling information.

When you’re looking to try CBN, it’s important to buy only from reputed brands who follow FDA safety guidelines and have third party tested products with lab reports.

You’ll find a large number of brands selling it as an isolated compound, without combining it with CBD. When taken in isolation, CBN can cause drowsiness and lethargy.

However, when combined with CBD, these effects are minimized and CBN can actually provide some benefits that CBD oil alone cannot.

How to Use CBN?

CBN oil is best consumed orally through sublingual drops (under your tongue) and topical CBD products can be applied directly on the affected surface of the skin to get quick relief. Here’s a full guide on using CBD topicals.

Wrap Up

CBN is not as well-known as other cannabinoids, but it has plenty to offer. If you’re looking to incorporate cannabinoids into your life, you may want to consider it as an option.


Is CBN Psychoactive?

No, unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which produces psychoactive effects when consumed in high doses – CBD does not cause any mental intoxication or impairment. So you can rest assured that taking this cannabinoid won’t get you “high”!

Can You Pass A Drug Test With CBD Or CBN?

Yes! Since both of these compounds are non-psychoactive they will not show up on most drug tests. However if you’re worried about passing a drug test it is best to avoid consuming any cannabis products containing THC..

Does CBN Make You Groggy In The Morning?

Drowsiness is a potential side effect of taking too much at once or combining with other cannabinoids like CBD – so make sure to take your dose during the evening hours before bedtime in order to prevent feeling groggy in the morning.


  1. Farrimond JA, Whalley BJ, Williams CM. Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Sep;223(1):117-29. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2697-x. Epub 2012 Apr 28. PMID: 22543671. ↩︎
  2. Somvanshi RK, Zou S, Kadhim S, Padania S, Hsu E, Kumar U. Cannabinol modulates neuroprotection and intraocular pressure: A potential multi-target therapeutic intervention for glaucoma. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2022 Mar 1;1868(3):166325. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2021.166325. Epub 2021 Dec 16. PMID: 34921975. ↩︎
  3. Liang, Zhibin & Soriano-Castell, David & Kepchia, Devin & Duggan, Brendan & Currais, Antonio & Schubert, David & Maher, Pamela. (2022). Cannabinol inhibits oxytosis/ferroptosis by directly targeting mitochondria independently of cannabinoid receptors. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 180. 33-51. 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2022.01.001. ↩︎
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