What is CBN?

What is CBN?

Before we jump into exactly what is CBN, it’s helpful to have a little background information to understand things at a higher level. By definition, full-spectrum hemp extracts contain a diverse range of beneficial compounds. These include flavonoids, terpenes, and fatty acids, as well as a variety of cannabinoids. So far, they’ve identified over 100 distinct cannabinoids. It is likely that cannabinoids work together in complementary and overlapping ways to promote a balanced response within the body. In some cases, a cannabinoid in isolation may be recommended.  

One of these cannabinoids found in hemp is cannabinol (CBN). It was the first phytocannabinoid to be isolated in the 19th century. CBN is a minor cannabinoid that is formed through the oxidation of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  After hemp plant material is exposed to light, heat, and oxygen, the naturally occurring THC becomes CBN.  Importantly, CBN does not have intoxicating effects meaning you won’t feel “high”. 

Fellow cannabinoids CBC and CBG have also shown specific benefits. Learn more by reading our posts “What is CBC?” and “What is CBG?”. 

Yes, with a caveat.  As of January 2024, CBN products are legal in all states, except Oregon, under the 2018 Farm Bill as long as they are produced from hemp plants that contain less than 0.3% THC. As laws are continually evolving, it’s important to consult your state’s laws and regulations. To make sure the products you are interested in meet the legal guidelines look for a list of ingredients as well as a certificate of analysis (COA). If one or both of these things are not provided, you may want to consider spending your money somewhere else. Read our blog post on how to read certificates of analysis to learn all you need to know about COAs. 

What Does CBN Do? 

CBN interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), but possibly in different ways than other cannabinoids. The primary receptor sites of the ECS are called CB1 and CB2. As a general rule, CB1 receptors are primarily concentrated in our central nervous system and spinal cord, and CB2 receptors are mostly located in our peripheral tissues and immune cells.  CBN has been shown to have a binding affinity to CB1 receptors, which play an important role in sleep.  

What Are the Potential Benefits of CBN? 

Much like how CBD has specific benefits, CBN has been shown to provide a range of unique benefits. Some of the potential benefits of CBN include: 

  • CBN helps you stay asleep*     
  • CBN supports a good night’s sleep*     
  • CBN supports quality sleep*    
  • CBN supports decreased nighttime awakenings* 

How Do I Take CBN? 

Advances in science and manufacturing techniques mean that CBN-isolates and CBN-dominant hemp extracts will likely become increasingly available as oils and in ingestible and topical forms. CBN is also available in other formats, such as gummies and soft gels. 

What is CBN Isolate? 

CBN isolate is made by removing everything but the CBN from hemp extract. The benefit of using CBN isolate is that you can gradually increase (or decrease) the amount of CBN you take each day based on how your body is responding to it, as well as on what life happens to be throwing your way!  

How Will CBN Make Me Feel and How Long Does It Take to Work? 

The short answer to both questions is the same as it is for CBD, “It depends.” It depends on many factors such as the starting point of your body’s systems, as well as the concentration of CBN you’re using. The bottom line is that CBN may affect everyone a little differently and work gradually over time. Dietary supplements like Charlotte’s Web™ hemp extract products are crafted to work with your body naturally. Results come by way of steady use, which will make beneficial changes more sustainable. 

Scientific Research of CBN   

CBN has been shown to provide a range of unique benefits. CBN has a reputation for helping with sleep, and recent human research studies have supported this reputation. In a recent study conducted by Charlotte’s Web Chief Scientific Officer, Marcel Bonn-Miller, people who took 20mg of CBN for 1 week showed improved sleep outcomes compared to placebo, particularly through reducing overall sleep disturbance and number of nighttime awakenings. Interestingly, this study also tested the combination of CBN and CBD and found that adding CBD to CBN did not improve sleep as well as CBN alone. 

To Sum It All Up 

Anecdotal reports from people who use CBN suggest that it is particularly useful for sleep, and this has been supported by several research studies.  Specifically, 20mg of CBN, before bed has been shown to help you stay asleep and to support a good night’s sleep. Research on CBN is still in its early stages, but more studies are happening, and we need them to get a more complete picture of how CBN works and what it can do. So far, the findings for this lesser-known cannabinoid are promising, especially when it comes to asleep quality.