What Is CBN - The Benefits Of This 'New' Game Changing Cannabinoid

What is CBN?

With a growing movement around natural wellness and plant-based remedies, it’s safe to say that the medicine cabinet of every other household in America now contains some form of CBD. Whether it’s a bottle of tincture, pet treats for your furry friends, or your nightly face mask, this wildly-popular cannabinoid has been breaking down walls. But step aside CBD, it’s time for your sleepy cousin to share the stage. CBN, or cannabinol, is beginning to show up on shelves worldwide. So you may be wondering, what exactly is CBN and what are the differences to CBD? We’re here to help with that… 

Where does CBN come from?

CBN is nicknamed the “sleeper” cannabinoid, for several good reasons. Studies dating back to the 1970’s & 80’s* show that CBN tends to have sedative effects, especially when combined with other cannabinoids. Due to research showing sedative qualities, many scientists and cannabis producers now believe CBN could provide more restful sleep. Originally isolated in 1896, CBN was actually the first cannabinoid discovered in the cannabis plant, but actually forms through the aging process of THC. As THC passes through peak development in the cannabis plant, it begins to degrade and form new compounds, primarily CBN. CBN was discovered in higher concentrations in older cannabis, and for that reason, originally had a less desirable reputation. Cannabinol was originally considered to be the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that THC was fully isolated and identified as the phytocannabinoid that gets you “high.”  

Further research, partially credited to that one special friend finding the nug they lost weeks ago between the couch cushions, proved that this cannabinoid tends to carry sleepy effects, and can actually help users stay asleep longer as well. Over the last few years professional cannabis and hemp growers have been able to isolate or extract this cannabinoid. While CBN is rapidly gaining popularity, it’s actually one of the least researched of the known phytocannabinoids to date. So there’s a long road ahead to understand its full potential…

What are the benefits? 

With this discovery, many hemp and cannabis brands are now harnessing the power of CBN to help promote something we could all use a little more of… sound sleep! Trouble sleeping is truly an epidemic, as millions of people worldwide struggle to either fall asleep, have sound/regulated sleep, or simply get their full 8 hours every night. While some of us may be more sensitive than others, sleep is truly everything. A good night’s rest is essential for healthy cognitive function, immune system performance, liver, heart and kidney health, not to mention managing stress and daily wellness. Without good sleep or a proper REM cycle, our body and mind do not have the opportunity to properly restore overnight, essentially recharging for optimal performance the following day. Sleep is a key element in the body’s ability to achieve homeostasis - a balanced and harmonious state in which all internal systems and organs function optimally. 

While Cannabinol (CBN) actually comes from the breakdown of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, CBN has very little to no intoxicating effects and does not get you “high.” Nearly all of the THC is gone at this stage, due to oxidation. Therefore, it provides feelings of sleepiness and relaxation without the mind-altering effects. This makes CBN a fantastic natural sleep aid for those seeking out the benefits of cannabis without the unwanted head high. With research supporting the combination of cannabinoids for further efficacy (affectionately known as the Entourage Effect), many cannabis/hemp brands are creating products for sleep using CBN, CBD, CBG & THC. Many believe that the aged compounds of other phytocannabinoids and terpenes, found as trace amounts in CBN, contribute to the sedative properties.

Additional research on CBN shows positive results for a variety of wellness benefits. It is thought that CBN targets our CB2 ECS (endocannabinoid system) receptor and regulates immune system function.* Several studies performed on rats showed positive responses in CBN serving as a powerful antiseptic (antibacterial) agent in combating several strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), more commonly referred to as staph infection.* This was also true of CBD, CBC, CBG and THC. A more recent study performed on rats also showed that CBN & CBD, especially in combination, proved to be an effective analgesic agent (pain-relieving). Results from the study showed that CBN only interacts with the CB1 receptor (located in our central nervous system) on a mild level. However, it also releases peptides through sensory nerves to help alleviate pain. Additional studies show that CBN may be an effective remedy for dealing with inflammation and preventing neurological degeneration, however further research on humans is needed to provide conclusive evidence. 

How should I use it?

Aside from tapping into that two month old stash that makes you feel like you’ve become one with the couch, CBN is beginning to show up in a variety of forms: oils, gummies and capsules are just a few. Metolius Hemp Company recently launched our newest product, aimed at providing a better night’s rest for all - River Dreams. A mixable sleep powder that combines the benefits of both CBN & CBD Isolates, along with the calming (and essential) mineral Magnesium. The beauty of River Dreams? It’s a super convenient and effective way to dish out an exact dose of CBN:CBD at bedtime- just mix your serving of River Dreams with 2 oz of water and you’ll be drifting off to dreamland real quick. It also tastes great (natural cherry flavor) and doesn’t leave you with that groggy feeling the next morning like many other sleep aids, such as melatonin. Give River Dreams a try with our 6 Night Trial Vial - the perfect way to see if CBN can help you catch some zzz’s! 

Studies to Reference: 

CBN as powerful antiseptic agent: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18681481/

Biological effects of various cannabinoids: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32899626/

Differences & Benefits of CBD & CBN: https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-vs-cbn

CBD & CBN as mild pain-relief treatment: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31158702/

CBN Sleep Study: https://www.steephill.com/blogs/34/Cannabinol-(CBD):-A-Sleeping-Synergy


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