A Complete Guide to CBN – Benefits, Uses, & More

Bottle of CBD underwater with cannabis leaves to the left and ripples from a water droplet moving across the surface.

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In this guide, we’ll talk all things CBN: what it is, where it comes from, whether or not it’s the same thing as CBD, and how you can take advantage of it.

CBN does a lot to support and enhance CBD, but it is its own unique chemical with individual properties and benefits. CBN and CBD work very differently in the body to produce the effects they do; CBN is more closely related to THC, but it’s still most effective when used with another cannabinoid.

To fully understand this cannabinoid and how we can use it to support our physical and mental health, we must also understand the endocannabinoid system, the entourage effect, and more. Keep reading to find out how CBN gets the job done and whether it can do so for you, too.

What Is CBN and How Does it Work?

Cannabinol, also known as CBN, is one of the many cannabinoids that can be found in cannabis plants, including both hemp and marijuana. While it may not be as well-known as CBD or THC, it still is relatively common and offers potential benefits of its own.

Cannabinoids like CBN are simply chemicals that have the ability to bind to and interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body, a complex and large network of receptors that help the body maintain homeostasis.

How Does CBN Work in the Body?

Much like CBD, CBN works by binding to specific receptors along the endocannabinoid system. 

When this process occurs, it triggers a bodily response; in the case of CBN, these responses can be advantageous for us. 

CBN differs from its cannabinoid cousins because it more closely resembles a weaker version of THC than a weaker or different version of CBD. This is because of how CBN forms in the plants it comes from – we’ll cover more on this topic later.

Is CBN Illegal?

CBN is not an illegal substance, largely because it is not considered to be psychoactive or impairing. 

It also doesn’t prompt the brain to develop a dependency, meaning that the safety risks associated with CBN use are very low.

What is CBN Used For?

People generally use CBN for the same reasons we use CBD: to manage pain, anxiety, and other conditions. 

While we don’t yet know a lot about CBN’s unique properties and benefits, research does show that CBN and CBD tend to work better together than alone.

Does CBN Work for Insomnia?

CBN is often touted as a tool for overcoming insomnia, but there isn’t much information out there to definitively support this claim just yet. 

One 1975 study suggests that CBN may have sedative properties, but it’s fairly outdated and tests only a small, specific pool of individuals, many of whom reported that CBN didn’t actually make them sleepy.

As a result, it’s impossible to fully say CBN is better for insomnia than CBD (or that it even causes consistent drowsiness). 

Still, CBN may help with insomnia overall by promoting feelings of relaxation and relieving physical discomfort, both of which can help you get better quality rest.

  • How Much CBN Should I Take to Sleep?

An ideal starting dosage for most people can be anywhere from 5 to 20 milligrams of CBN, ideally in combination with a similar dose of CBD.

There is no one correct dose to adhere to when it comes to CBN. Start with a low dose and work your way up until you find a level that produces the results you want.

  • Can CBN Cause Nightmares or Weird Dreams?

As far as we know, CBN doesn’t increase your risk of experiencing parasomnias (sleepwalking, sleep talking, etc.) or nightmares, but some individuals might find that cannabinoids in general tend to impact how they sleep. 

  • Which is Better for Sleep: CBD or CBN?

Because of the lack of information about the efficacy of CBN alone for good quality sleep, it’s hard to say if it’s better or worse than CBD (or just the same). 

But, because CBN functions very similarly to CBD, it’s not unreasonable to assume that it may be a preferable alternative for some, particularly if you tend to react poorly to CBD for one reason or another.

If managing insomnia is your goal, we recommend choosing products that have not just CBD or CBN, but both cannabinoids. 

That way you can be sure that you’re maximizing the amount of sleep-related benefits you’re reaping .

  • Can You Take Melatonin With CBN?

It’s okay to take melatonin with CBN, but it may not be advisable, at least not if CBN itself tends to make you drowsy. Excessive fatigue isn’t just hard to deal with, it can also pose safety risks or cause other problems.

If you feel you need something on top of your CBN to fall asleep at night, don’t be afraid to try something like melatonin; some extra caution may be necessary, but nothing that can’t be easily managed.

It’s best to always consult a healthcare professional before introducing new supplements into your routine, especially if you’re planning to work with many at once.

Dark haired women laying in bed staring at the clock because she can't sleep.

Which Is Better for Pain: CBD or CBN?

The jury is still out on whether CBD or CBN is individually better for pain and inflammation – without much research on just CBN and pain, we can’t know for sure just how much potential lies within or how to compare it to CBD.

There is some light, though. A 2019 study on rats, for instance, demonstrated that both CBD and CBN can be effective at treating pain.

The study also importantly discovered that a combination of CBD and CBN was far more effective than either cannabinoid was individually. 

So, both CBD and CBN can work for pain. While we’re still not quite sure which is “better” or can reduce pain the most significantly and consistently, we do have evidence that they are both individually and collectively functional.

  • Is CBN Good for Nerve Pain?

As far as we know, CBN works for nerve pain just like it does for other types of localized pain. 

Nerve pain is often the result of inflammation, so CBN’s ability to interact with the immune system can help stop the root of the problem entirely

How is CBN Made?

CBN is created when THCA, the acidic version of the psychoactive compound THC, oxidizes. When this process begins, THCA can break down into multiple types of cannabinoids, including both CBN and THC.

Because CBN’s origin is THC (whether it be THCA or regular THC that has further aged and oxidized), it’s considered to be a much milder version of the cannabinoid.

This sets CBN apart from CBD, which is considered to be completely non-psychoactive. Though CBN won’t get you high or act like THC, it may produce mild psychoactive effects when consumed in large volumes.

Can CBN Be Made From CBD?

CBN can’t be made from CBD because the two have fundamentally different chemical structures. CBN is derived from THC, which is a completely separate type of cannabinoid (one that interacts with the body and mind differently than CBD).

How Long Does CBN Last? (Shelf Life)

When properly cared for and stored, CBN and products that contain it can stay good for around one to two years, or perhaps even longer. 

Cannabinoids like CBN are subject to change and degradation over time, especially if they’ve been exposed to things like oxygen, light, and temperature changes.

But keeping your products safe and closed up can help delay this process and protect the quality of your CBN.

  • Does CBN Degrade Overtime?

Unfortunately, CBN can and does degrade as time goes on, as do other cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Even if you keep your CBN in the perfect conditions, it won’t last forever.

Instead of going “bad” and making you sick, though, CBN that’s past its shelf life loses its ability to work as intended.

Jar full of golden CBD oil to the right and a hemp bud on the left.

CBN Effects and Benefits

Though CBN is still new to the scene, it’s already the subject of an ever-increasing amount of interest as an alternative to or partner for CBD. 

While CBN and CBD in conjunction are a great option, CBN itself may have some benefits that set it apart from other cannabinoids.

What Are the Effects of CBN?

There are many benefits associated with CBN, including:

  • Pain relief
  • Lowered levels of inflammation
  • Less frequent insomnia
  • Neuroprotective properties

Again, it’s difficult to make any sure claims about CBN and what it can do because we simply haven’t done thorough enough testing to understand the answers.

But CBN has already begun to head down the same path as CBD in terms of its noticeable effects and the way consumers tend to use it. 

  • How Long Do the Effects of CBN Last?

Usually the effects of CBN linger for a few hours or so, but it really depends on how much CBN you’ve consumed and in what form.

CBN capsules or other orally-ingested products, for instance, must work their way through the digestive system and thus release their contents into the bloodstream at a slower rate.

That means that the effects of your CBN may take a little longer to set in but last for longer.

What Are the Side Effects of CBN?

There aren’t many side effects associated with CBN alone, but symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and mood changes are common reactions to cannabinoids in general and may occur.

  • Is CBN Intoxicating or Psychoactive?

Though CBN isn’t considered completely non-psychoactive like CBD is, it’s also not thought of as intoxicating. 

This is because it only produces an impairing high when consumed at extremely high levels, so much so that it would be quite challenging to achieve these results. 

Even if you were able to, the effects CBN causes only a small fraction of what a dose of THC causes.

  • Does CBN Make You Groggy?

Those who are experienced with CBN tend to report that it helps them sleep by causing drowsiness, but research has yet to back this claim up. 

CBN may still play a role in making you feel groggy, so if you notice this effect happening consistently, you’re not alone.

As more studies into CBN and CBD for sleep occur, we’ll likely have a better idea of how consistently each cannabinoid impacts energy levels.

  • Does CBN Give You a Hangover?

CBN won’t give you a hangover; in fact, cannabinoids like CBD and CBN can be quite useful for getting rid of hangovers.

Remember that CBN is not a psychoactive substance, so it won’t get you high or leave you feeling lackluster the next day.

  • Is CBN Addictive or Habit-Forming?

Luckily, CBN is not, at least as far as we know now, addictive or habit-forming, mostly because the way it interacts with the brain doesn’t teach the body to depend on it to function.

Women holding a dropper full of CBD and dripping it into his mouth.

What’s the Difference Between CBD and CBN?

While CBD and CBN might seem like they’re virtually indistinguishable, at a molecular level, the two are quite different. 

CBN resembles THC and its derivatives more closely than it does CBD, but because it’s not psychoactive, it offers many of the benefits of THC without the impairment or risk

Can You Take CBD With CBN?

You absolutely can and should take CBD and CBN together. The two cannabinoids work best together, at least in terms of the strength and quality of the effects they provide. 

  • What Are the Benefits of Combining CBD with CBN?

Both CBD and CBN have the ability to do things like lower inflammation, help with nausea, etc., but combining the two together means that these benefits will be more intense and perhaps last longer.

Thanks to the entourage effect (which suggests that combining multiple cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other parts of cannabis plants leads to a more full experience), CBD and CBN seem to perform best when they’re not alone.

So if you decide to combine CBD and CBN, you’re setting yourself up for success.

Can CBN Make You Fail a Drug Test?

CBN itself is not tested for even on a thorough drug test, but because it comes from THC and exists in products that may also have trace amounts of THC in them, it’s not a bad idea to exercise some caution if passing one is mandatory. 

Drug tests look only for THC, not CBD or other cannabinoids. But, many CBD products, even those made with hemp, have very small amounts of THC that can build up in the body over time.

The more you consume, the higher your chances of having enough THC in your system for a drug test to pick up. 

Of course, it would likely take quite a bit of product to get you to this point, but the lack of regulation in the CBD industry means that products may have more THC than what they let on.

Always err on the side of caution, but also remember that CBN itself isn’t anything to worry about. Opting for a CBN isolate is a great way to avoid this risk entirely.

How Long Does CBN Stay in Your System?

CBN can linger in your system for anywhere from a few days to a month or so depending on how much you consume.

Cannabinoids like CBN are stored in fatty tissue in the body after consumption and thus can stick around even longer after their effects have worn off.

Older women with dry hands holding out a lab test cup filled with urine.

How Much CBN Should I Take?

A good starting dose of CBN for the average adult is likely somewhere around 10 to 20 mg. If you find that this amount of product isn’t enough to produce noticeable effects, it’s okay to up the dosage until you find one that works.

Is 5mg of CBN Alot?

A dose this size certainly isn’t objectively high or anything outside the norm. If a 5 mg dose of CBN works for you and gets the job done, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with it!

Can You Take Too Much CBN?

You can take “too much” CBN in the sense that you can take in enough to produce unpleasant side effects, but it’s not possible to overdose on CBN.

When Should I Take CBN?

The best time to take CBN is likely before you go to bed at night, but if you want to reap its benefits during the day, it’s fine to take it in the morning as well. 

Consider when you want the effects of your CBN to be at their strongest to decide when it’s best to implement it into your day.

How Long Does it Take for CBN to Kick In?

CBN usually takes around an hour or so to kick in entirely, but if you inhale or sublingually consume it, you may be able to feel the effects within just 10 to 15 minutes.

How Do You Take CBN?

There is no one way to take CBN; like CBD, it comes in different forms, each of which is best suited to different people with unique needs and preferences.

Regardless of your consumption method, it’s crucial that you invest in a CBN product that has a significant amount of the cannabinoid present. Go for products labeled as “CBN” products to accomplish this goal.

If you’re looking to get started with CBN, we recommend:

  • CBDistillery CBD + CBN Oil: This tincture’s 1:3 ratio means that it delivers a good amount of CBN without sacrificing the amount of CBD you take in.

  • CBDistillery CBD + CBN Gummies: If you want something pre-measured and easy to use, these gummies are just the thing; they blend CBD and CBN together to create a product that will calm and soothe.

  • Plain Jane CBN Isolate Powder: This powder is completely flavorless, making it great for mixing into food and drinks. If you are worried about passing a drug test, this option is also a good choice because it is only CBN Isolate, meaning it has no THC or other cannabinoids. This is also the perfect way to get high, pure doses of CBN.

Final Thoughts

The future of the world of cannabis is certainly bright, much brighter and bigger than just CBD.

Cannabinoids like CBN aren’t just great supporting tools for those of us who do use CBD, they’re also promising alternatives that may be useful for developing treatments for chronic health conditions.

So, there’s a lot more to this elusive compound than just helping us sleep or reducing joint pain.

To fully take advantage of CBN, though, we must also understand CBD and how the two can work together to create an ideal therapeutic experience.

As more information about CBN becomes available, it’s likely we’ll see the way we use and understand it shift significantly. It’s possible that something like CBN may be even more powerful than we think – only time will tell!

For now, though, we know that CBN is a wonderful option for anyone looking to either enhance their CBD experience or try something new. In either case, our directory is a great resource to use as you seek out the best products for your needs and goals.

If CBN has taught us one thing, it’s that we shouldn’t underestimate any part of nature’s medicine.

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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