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Everything You Need To Know About CBN

Extraction Magazine, Media Partners

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According to data, roughly 70 percent of young adults who casually use cannabis do so to help them sleep. This is unsurprising, considering studies have shown cannabis can help with sleeping problems in the short term. [1]

However, what many people don’t realize is that there is a specific cannabinoid called cannabinol (CBN), which is the chemical cannabinoid that is the potentially most beneficial when it comes to alleviate sleeping issues like insomnia

The ‘sleepy cannabinoid’ has been discussed to help you learn everything you need to know about it, including its benefits, potential hazards, and how it’s used today. 

What Exactly Is CBN, And How Is It Used?

So, what exactly is CBN? This cannabinol was first discovered in 1940 by a team of researchers at the University of Illinois. 

CBN is a cannabinoid that is found within cannabis plants. It can only be produced from the oxidation of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Usually, cannabis that has been aged or exposed to environmental factors such as light, heat, etc. for longer periods of time, produces higher concentrations of CBN as a degradation product of THC.

Since its discovery in 1940, CBN has been closely studied by numerous physicians to determine its benefits – for which there are many. These benefits have led CBN to be infused in numerous products like edibles, tinctures, oils, gummies, vapes, and balms. 

Additionally, it’s important to note that CBN can be infused with other like cannabidiol (CBD) or even nutraceuticals like melatonin without the incurrence of adverse health effects. 

What Are The Benefits Of CBN? 

To understand the benefits of CBN, you need to first know what the endocannabinoid system is. Essentially, the ECS is a system composed of endogenous cannabinoid receptors. [2] 

Within this system, CBD, THC, CBN, and other cannabinoids attach to cannabinoid receptors to exert their action. 

For example, CNB attaches to cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) mainly present in the central nervous system and CB2 receptors expressed in the immune tissues. This allows this cannabinoid to help alleviate insomnia, sleep-related issues, pain, and inflammation within the body:

  • Seizures: Since CBN provides a sedative effect, it has shown promise as an anti-epileptic, helping individuals who suffer from seizures. 
  • Pain: It has been proven that CBN is a mild anti-inflammatory and painkiller that helps people with chronic and acute medical conditions. [3]
  • Appetite: Those who suffer from appetite loss from chemotherapy-induced nausea and other appetite-reduction illnesses and procedures can benefit from CBN since it can potentially act as an appetite stimulant.
  • Neuroprotective properties: recently, some research has shown that CBN could be beneficial in delaying the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is a disease that negatively affects the spinal cord and brain.
  • Illnesses and viruses: Some studies have shown CBN to have antibacterial properties. This could help with treating viruses and illnesses – including superbugs like MRSA. 

Can CBN induce the “high” sensation?

There has been much debate in the medical community surrounding whether CBN can be psychotropic . The general consensus is that it can be mildly psychoactive and psychotropic when taken in large doses since it is derived from the oxidation of THC

Luckily, those interested in trying CBN for its benefits can buy products that contain CBN in its isolated form without other cannabinoids present, like CBD and THC. Although it might provide a high, it will be moderate, which is why it’s best used for its sleeping capabilities. 

What Are The Drawbacks Of CBN? 

Although CBN has become more popular, it’s still unknown what the side effects of this cannabinoid are, which is why caution when using it is necessary. There is currently insufficient research, so scientists cannot completely day that CBN has similar side effects to CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. 

However, one of the known benefits of CBN is also one of its drawbacks, as it can cause excessive sleepiness, which can impede an individual’s daily life. Besides, excessive sleepiness CBN could potentially cause heart malformations – as it has in zebrafish embryos – and it may negatively interact with certain over-the-counter medications and prescriptions. [4] Nevertheless more studies should be done in order to completely understand the potential adverse effects of this cannabinoid.

The Wrap-Up

Ultimately, CBN is a powerful cannabinoid with numerous potential benefits for humankind. Unfortunately, its drawbacks are not yet known in their entirety, which is why caution is needed when using CBN-infused products. 

Current studies show promise with CBN proving useful for sleep disorders, pain, and inflammation. However, further research is needed into this cannabinol to learn how it can safely benefit people. 


  1. Cannabis use in patients with insomnia and sleep disorders … (n.d.). 
  2. Review of the endocannabinoid system – PMC – National Center for … (n.d.-b). 
  3. BE; W. H. (n.d.). Cannabidiol, Cannabinol and their combinations act as peripheral analgesics in a rat model of myofascial pain. Archives of oral biology. 
  4. Cannabinol. Cannabinol – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). 

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