At this point, everyone is fairly familiar with CBD, the THC derivative known for its relaxing effects. But there’s a lesser-known cannabis-derivative that’s making moves in the wellness world: cannabinol, or CBN.
Despite sharing an almost identical name to CBD, CBN offers a unique profile of effects and benefits (that are, like CBD, non-psychoactive) that have researchers clamoring for more scientific investigation. So far, studies have looked at CBN’s effects on it's ability to fight insomnia, treat pain, reduce inflammation, and act as an antibiotic. CBN may also slow or reverse signs of aging when combined with other cannabinoids, making it ideal for beauty products like face masks or eye creams Vice reports.
Despite the fact that CBN is non-psychoactive – meaning, it won’t get you high — it still comes from the stuff that does get you high. As THC oxidizes (AKA exposure to oxygen over time), it converts to CBN. Oils, edibles, tinctures, capsules and patches with pronounced CBN profiles are available, though somewhat rare and expensive. Mineral Health sells a CBN blend for $160 for an ounce bottle.
According to some experts, CBN interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system and can affect the function of many hormones and neurotransmitters, which in turn influence mood, energy, cognition and focus, appetite, immune function and pain.
To date, the research into therapeutic benefits of CBN is VERY preliminary. But it’s starting to heat up, as interest in the health benefits of cannabinoids surges, and the popularity of CBD continues to grow. Research in mice has shown that CBN can prolong sleep time. Other research appears to indicate CBN’s sedative effects are amplified when combined with THC. But there is, at this point, a lack of scientific research into the sleep-inducing properties of CBN.
While more extensive research needs to be conducted on the effects of the compound, some scientific evidence from the early 2000s suggests that CBN may be useful in the development of future pain-relief and anti-inflammatory drugs that don't have traditional medical side effects, Bustle reports. A more recent overview of cannabis and its effects on sleep and health noted that “hundreds of other compounds exist in cannabis products...which can also impact sleep and wakefulness,” specifically citing CBD and CBN as examples.
It’s also important to remember that each individual will react differently to CBN and other cannabinoids, meaning that even if CBN works anecdotally for one person, it may not for someone else. If you’re considering trying out products with CBN in them, talk to your doctor or a medical professional first, especially if you’re already using other prescription or over-the-counter pharmaceutical sedatives, Bustle reminds.