Cannabinol (CBN) – Could This Be The Next CBD?


You’ve heard of Charlotte’s Web and cannabidiol, but what about cannabinol?

Cannabis science is becoming more complicated by the day – cannabinoids exist by the hundreds, concentrates are being made using the most exquisite extraction methods, and we are just scratching the surface as to how therapeutic the plant really is. 

And now there’s CBN (Cannabinol)  available for consumers. 

Like Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabinol (CBN) is an organically occurring cannabinoid within cannabis plants, but unlike its relatives, CBN makes an impact in different ways. How different, you may ask?

If you’re thinking of taking the CBN plunge, here’s a guide that will answer all your cannabinol questions. 

What Is Cannabinol (CBN)?

cannabinol definition

CBN is a phytocannabinoid that exists in small amounts in dried, cured cannabis flowers. It’s estimated that 0.1% of your dried flowers consist of CBN, however, the amount is extremely dependent on the age of your cannabis buds and how they’re stored. 

First and foremost, CBN is not produced throughout a plant’s growing stages, instead, the cannabinoid is converted from degraded THC which takes place after the plant is dried and cured. Put another way, as soon as your cannabis buds are ready to be consumed, THC begins its aging process, which is called oxidation, thus gradually converting into CBN. 

THC’s aging process, or CBN’s occurrence can take place gradually or in a hurry over time, depending on how you store and age your cannabis buds as mentioned. Storing cannabis isn’t as easy as simply keeping it in the plastic bag or container it came in.

There’s a specific way to store cannabis that ensures it’ll stay fresh for a longer period of time. If it has been stored incorrectly, then you can expect a significant loss in both flavor and potency. If your cannabis has been kept out in the open, then mold and other dangerous organisms may even grow on the surface of cannabis.

It’s in the best interest of yourself, of cannabis, and whoever you’re sharing your bud with to store cannabis securely and safely.

For instance, if your cannabis buds are stored in optimal conditions, meaning they’re placed in airtight containers at room temperatures with minimal exposure to sunlight, you can expect THC to degrade into CBN slowly. On the contrary, if you expose your buds to open-air, heat, moisture and sunlight, expect THC to degrade into CBN at increasing rates. 

But why is this important?

Plain and simple: if you’re consuming cannabis for the psychoactive experience then you want your bud’s THC to degrade into CBN at the slowest rate possible, given that CBN is estimated to have at most 10% of the psychoactive potency of THC.

In other words, whenever your buds have aged, expect it to have less THC and more CBN than it originally had, and thus be a lot less psychoactively stimulating than fresh cannabis. 

CBN vs CBD – What’s The Difference?

cbn vs cbd

Cannabinol and cannabidiol are different and alike in numerous ways. Starting with the similarities – both are phytocannabinoids, meaning they’re cannabinoids produced in cannabis plants, not the endocannabinoids produced in our bodies.

Next, both phytocannabinoids are showing promise therapeutically, however, the research with CBD is much farther ahead and thus more proven. And lastly, unlike THC, both cannabinol and cannabidiol are minimally psychoactive when consumed, which bodes well for the health-first consumers. 

As for the differences, cannabinol is created through aging THC, which means its production process begins when cannabis plants are dried and cured, not throughout the growing stages.

CBD of cannabis on the other hand is created from CBDA, which is produced throughout the growing stages in large amounts, depending on the strain, while CBN exists only in tiny amounts (0.1% of a bud’s dry weight). In addition, for CBD to be consumed, CBDA has to undergo the process of decarboxylation, a process that involves heat exposure – CBN doesn’t require this process. 

To paint a more clear picture of how CBD and CBN come to be, here’s the chemical conversion process:



Lastly, both CBD and CBN provide different experiences, while sharing the same minimal psychoactive effects. CBD’s recommended use is during the day time, while CBN is recommended in the evening before bedtime. On top of this, CBN is a cannabinoid that has not been nearly researched to the extent CBD has, thus CBN’s therapeutic properties are widely unknown. 

However, here’s what the research to date is showing.

Benefits of CBN

Although the research is ongoing, CBN is making waves because of its potential in playing a sustainable role in promoting healthy sleep. These sleep-promoting effects are not widely supported by a huge amount of clinical research, however, instead they’re supported by many first-person experiences

If you’re interested in the research of the benefits of CBN, here’s what some studies are showing. In human research, CBN is showing signs of having immunosuppressive characteristics, which means it can play a positive role in reducing the activity in one’s immune system, proving super beneficial for those with immune disorders. In addition, many human studies show that CBN is used alongside CBD in treating epilepsy, therefore being an effective complement. 

As for research in animals, CBN is showing promise in treating pain and inflammation by being an agonist to TRPV2 receptors. In rats, studies support this as CBN shows a reduction in measure painful bodily sensations, while also showing signs of having anticancer and anti-tumorous properties. The data, however, is far from conclusive but if you’re looking for a framework of what CBN’s benefits from first-person experiences and the minimal amount of studies, here they are:

  • Insomnia
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Bone Cell Growth
  • Glaucoma
  • Pain and Inflammation
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Appetite
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Will Cannabinol Be The Next CBD?

cannabinol guide

Based on the studies available today, claiming CBN to have the same wide varying therapeutic effects as CBD would be wishful thinking. However, this doesn’t mean CBN has no medical use, as studies already show that it’s an effective complement alongside other cannabinoids in giving those the full power, or what’s known as “the entourage effect”, in treating ailments.

And if it’s used alone, cannabis culture is already embracing the cannabinoid for its sedative, better-sleep, minimal psychoactive properties. In the grand scheme of things, the research restrictions for cannabis have just been lifted with the advent of the cannabis legalization act spreading worldwide. Of the cannabis plant and of the compounds within it, there’s still a lot that we don’t know.

Considering the fact that the United States still has not federally legalized cannabis, we might still be a few decades out from uncovering everything that the plant has to offer. In the grand scheme of things, the United States is just one of many countries that have yet to legalize this therapeutic plant – there’s still a lot of barriers to go before the cannabis plant can be at the forefront of medical science.

That being said, the future of CBN does look bright, we’ll just have to wait and see how bright it really is!

Concluding Thoughts

If you’re wanting to take the CBN plunge, just remember that it’s a cannabinoid that comes from degrading THC, which occurs as soon as your cannabis buds are dried and cured.

The better you preserve your cannabis buds in optimal storing conditions, the more gradual the degrading rate is. And given that CBN holds roughly 10% of the psychoactive potency of THC, you may save yourself a lot of headaches by knowing this in the future!

Stay tuned for more info on cannabinoids and all things cannabis!

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