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CBN for Sleep

By Danyal Swan January 30, 2023
Medically Reviewed by Ciera Cammilleri
CBN Products for Sleep

If you are at all familiar with the cannabis plant, you’ve likely heard the term “cannabinoid” used to describe some of the many compounds that make cannabis so wonderful. While the best-known of these, like THC and CBD, are famous for causing psychoactive effects and relieving conditions like anxiety disorders, depression, and chronic pain, respectively, these are far from the only important cannabinoids in cannabis. In fact, researchers have discovered nearly 200 unique cannabinoids within Cannabis sativa L., each with their own therapeutic potential.

While many people first seek cannabis products to experience a pleasurable high, many others are looking for relief from a variety of mental and physical conditions. In fact, researchers have recently identified the potential of one lesser-known cannabinoid to address poor sleep and insomnia. Learn more about how CBN may help you achieve better sleep.

What is CBN?

CBN, or cannabinol, is a lesser-known cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. While it is not as abundant as other cannabinoids, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), it is thought to have a number of potential health benefits. Primarily, CBN is believed to have sedative effects and may be useful for promoting sleep, managing anxiety, and reducing inflammation. Researchers believe CBN may also have antibacterial properties and may be effective in treating pain.

CBN is typically found in aged cannabis plants or those that have been exposed to heat or light for extended periods of time. As a result, it is more commonly found in older cannabis bud or those that have been improperly stored. CBN shows promise as a natural alternative for managing a variety of health concerns and may be worth considering as part of a holistic wellness plan.

How Does CBN Compare to CBD and THC?

In addition to aged cannnabis, CBN is produced as CBDA experiences a decarboxylation reaction—a chemical reaction in which the compound loses a carboxyl group and forms carbon dioxide.  It's this chemical change that affects how it binds to the body’s cannabinoid receptors to activate them and exert mental and physical effects. While CBN binds with the same CB2 and CB1 receptors as CBD and THC, respectively, the responses it produces are different from either of these compounds.

Unlike THC, CBN does not produce a noticeable psychoactive response in small quantities. This makes it a potentially appealing option for those seeking the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the potential for impairment. Unlike CBD, which is non-psychoactive, CBN can produce psychoactive effects when taken in large quantities. For that reason, many people describe CBN as a much milder cousin of THC.

CBN is not as well-known or as well-researched as either CBD or THC. As a result, its use for treating certain conditions is still under scrutiny, and there are not nearly as many high-CBN products as CBD and THC-forward products. Still, CBN shows promise as a sleep-inducing agent and may work to alleviate some common issues.

CBN Uses—How Can CBN Help You?

If you’re an avid cannabis user, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that CBN has a host of ways the cannabinoid may promote well-being.  Though research is still underway, the research community has identified these potential benefits CBN may demonstrate when it is incorporated into your regular routine.

1. CBN Is an Antioxidant

Cannabinol has been shown to have potent antioxidant properties. These properties make it especially useful for long-term preventative care against diseases like Alzheimer's or cancer, where oxidative damage to cells plays a significant role in their degradation over time. CBN's antioxidant properties help to protect cells against oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of these and other diseases.

2. CBN May Prevent Nausea and Excess Weight Loss

For people experiencing eating disorders, gastrointestinal issues, and especially cancer, nausea, vomiting, and a general lack of appetite can cause excessive weight loss and malnutrition. Like THC, CBN appears to reduce nausea, stimulate appetite, or both. Substituting CBN for THC may give individuals who don't wish to experience the euphoric effects of THC the chance to maintain a healthy appetite and re-establish a healthy weight.

3. CBN Appears to Improve Symptoms of Glaucoma

Excessive intraocular pressure is a known risk factor for glaucoma, as the increased pressure can damage retinal cells. While THC has long been identified as a potential treatment for glaucoma, CBN actually prolonged the survival rate of these at-risk cells. Research is currently underway regarding the efficacy of combined CBN and THC treatment protocols.

4. CBN Demonstrates Antibacterial Qualities

As pathogenic bacteria become more resistant to traditional antibiotic medications, new strategies are needed to fight bacterial diseases. CBN appears to act as an antibacterial agent. This means it could show promise for disease prevention and treatment, though research is needed.

5. CBN Protects Neural Cells

Human evidence is obviously the gold standard for establishing the potential capabilities of a therapeutic regimen - easier said than done, unfortunately, due to the plant’s status as a schedule 1 drug. Animal testing, though, has demonstrated CBN’s ability to delay the onset of neurological conditions. This is promising for neurological disorders with no current cure, such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

6. CBN Can Reduce Inflammation

While inflammation is necessary to fight infection and begin the healing process, prolonged inflammation can actually slow wound healing. Arthritis, cardiovascular disease, asthma, GI disorders, ankylosing spondylitis, and even type 2 diabetes are caused or exacerbated by inflammation in the body. CBN has demonstrated the potential to prevent and manage prolonged inflammation, which may help prevent the above diseases and reduce wound healing time.

7. CBN May Help Reduce Pain

Clinical studies are still forthcoming for humans, but animal research shows that CBN demonstrates the potential to reduce muscle sensitivity. This means a CBN regimen may show promise for people experiencing conditions like fibromyalgia, which cause chronic muscle pain. Many report improvement in their pain levels after consuming CBN.

8. CBN Can Help You Sleep

While the above therapeutic qualities are important in their own right, they also demonstrate how CBN can, by eliminating stressful or painful symptoms, help to improve sleep. Apart from these conditions, CBN also appears to improve sleep in other ways, including ease, duration, and quality of sleep.

How Does CBN Improve Sleep?

CBN for Sleep

Cannabinol has been shown to have sedative effects - so much so that it’s often referred to as “the sleep molecule.”

Cannabis and CBN help to relax the body and mind, enabling the user to achieve better sleep in multiple different ways. Researchers believe that CBN may be effective as a sleep aid, as it can shorten the amount of time it takes for people to fall asleep and increase the total duration of sleep. These effects are thought to be due to the way that CBN interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating sleep and other essential functions.

CBN may be able to interact with the endocannabinoid system to help regulate your body's natural sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. This can make it easier to establish consistent bedtimes and wake times, which can improve energy and alertness during the day. By helping to establish better sleep habits, CBN may be able to positively impact your circadian rhythm and overall sleep quality. However, more research is needed to fully understand these effects and how CBN may be able to support sleep and circadian rhythms.

CBN’s interaction with cannabinoid receptors appears to have other significant impacts on sleep, which include many of the therapeutic benefits of the molecule. CBN could help improve your sleep in the following ways:

Decreased Restlessness

Researchers have discovered that taking CBN before bedtime may be associated with reduced restlessness during sleep and increased slow-wave sleep. Slow-wave sleep, also known as deep sleep, is a stage of sleep that is important for physical and mental restoration. During this stage, the brain and body are able to rest and recover from the day's activities. Taking CBN before bedtime was associated with less tossing and turning and more slow-wave sleep, suggesting that it may be a useful tool for improving sleep quality.

Reduced Levels of Cortisol

CBN may potentially reduce levels of cortisol, which is a bodily hormone linked to stress and tension. By lowering cortisol levels, CBN may be able to help alleviate feelings of anxiety or stress before bedtime. In addition to CBN’s mild sedative effects, this relaxation may help users fall asleep more quickly and easily. When CBN is taken with CBD, this effect may be enhanced.

Decreased Wakefulness Due to Pain

Cannabinol may also be effective at improving sleep in people suffering from insomnia caused by chronic pain. As mentioned, CBN may reduce muscle pain intensity and discomfort experienced, thereby decreasing periods of wakefulness throughout the night. This makes it a potentially useful option for those struggling with insomnia related to chronic pain.

CBN and Dopamine Regulation

Relaxation Due to Increased Dopamine Regulation

There is evidence that taking small doses of cannabinol (CBN) close to bedtime may be effective at calming racing thoughts and promoting relaxation and focus. This may be due, in part, to CBN's ability to regulate dopamine levels in the brain, which can help to reduce distractions caused by worries or anxieties about upcoming tasks or events. These effects may make CBN particularly useful for those struggling with racing thoughts or difficulty falling asleep due to anxiety or stress.

Decreased Anxiety and Depression Due to Serotonin Regulation

CBN has been linked to a variety of potential health benefits. One such benefit is its ability to potentially reduce anxiety, stress, and depression, which can contribute to better sleep quality. This may be due to CBN's interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain, which helps to regulate neurotransmitter activity in this region.

Improved Sleep Quality Due to Decreased Inflammation

CBN has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial for people who experience chronic pain or other inflammatory conditions that can affect sleep quality. By reducing inflammation, CBN may be able to provide relief and help improve sleep for people who have difficulty falling asleep or who experience restless nights. However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind these effects and how CBN may be able to support sleep and manage inflammation.

Improved Cell Regeneration During Sleep

There is some evidence to suggest that CBN has strong antioxidant properties, which means that it may help to protect cells from damage caused by harmful molecules. This could be particularly beneficial for people who have poor sleep habits and take longer than usual for their cells to regenerate at night. Evidence suggests that CBN may have protective effects against cell damage, which may reduce restlessness due to conditions caused by this damage.

Incorporating CBN Into Your Sleep Routine

If you're having trouble getting a good night's sleep, incorporating CBN into your sleep routine may be worth considering. It is thought to be useful for promoting sleep and may be especially effective when combined with other cannabinoids, such as CBD. For this reason, you may want to consider a CBN-forward product that also incorporates a strain with a sleep-forward ratio of THC to CBD.

There are several ways to incorporate CBN into your sleep routine. One option is to use a CBN-infused oral sleep aid, such as a tincture or capsule. These products are designed to be either ingested or taken under the tongue and can be taken before bed to help you relax and fall asleep more easily. You can also try consuming a CBN-forward edible using a CBN-infused vape or smoking a CBN-rich strain of cannabis to achieve full-body effects.

Another option is to use a CBN-infused topical product, such as a lotion or balm. These products can be applied directly to the skin, where relief is needed most. The effects of topicals are localized, so they may be especially helpful for targeting specific areas of the body that are causing discomfort and disrupting sleep.

If you're ingesting your cannabis, you'll want to do so at least an hour before bedtime since it will take 30 minutes to two hours for your body to digest the product and allow the CBN to pass into the bloodstream. Sublingual administration under the tongue allows the CBN to reach the bloodstream significantly faster, within a few minutes. If you're smoking or vaping your cannabis, you may experience effects within ten to fifteen minutes. Finally, topicals can begin providing relief in about fifteen minutes.

As you can see, there are many ways to integrate CBN for sleep into your wellness routine. It's worth noting that while CBN has been shown to have sedative effects, it is not a replacement for prescription sleep medications. If you are experiencing chronic sleep problems or have a sleep disorder, it's important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment. Incorporating CBN into your sleep routine can be a natural and effective way to improve your sleep quality and get the rest you need.

CBN Products

If you are looking to incorporate CBN into your bedtime routine, consider using one of the methods listed above. To correspond with those strategies, there are a variety of CBN products available nationwide.

Options include the following:

  • Capsules - These are an easy and convenient way to take CBN and are often formulated with other ingredients, such as turmeric, to enhance their sleep-promoting effects.
  • Tinctures - Liquid extracts can be taken orally or added to drinks or food and offer a fast-acting and customizable way to take CBN.
  • Topicals - These are creams, lotions, or ointments that can be applied directly to the skin. They may be particularly helpful for people who experience muscle or joint pain that disrupts sleep.
  • Edibles - Products like soft chews, gummies, and chocolates can deliver CBN in the form of a tasty treat.

Look for CBN in a variety of the above forms at your local Zen Leaf dispensary. Keep in mind that the available products can vary from state to state, so be sure to check out your local dispensary menu to search for a CBN product near you.

Here are a few to look out for:

Verano Pomegranate Punch 1:2 THC:CBN Gummies

Take your cannabis experience to the next level with Encore Edibles Gummies – specially crafted vegan gummies, that come in a variety of dosages. Enjoy a balance of 50mg CBN and 100mg THC per pack, each containing 10 pieces for a delicious treat every time.

Verano Pomegranate Punch CBN Gummies
Savvy CBN Vape Pen

Savvy Sleepover CBN Vape Cartridges

Savvy 1 cartridges bring you the ultimate cannabis experience, tailored to your desired state of mind. Whether you want to be happy and chatty or blissfully at ease, find your perfect blend with Savvy. When it's time for a Sleepover, turn to the Savvy Sleepover cartridge – it combines THC and CBN perfectly for maximum ZzZs in one convenient 1g package.

Avexia CBN Tincture

Enjoy the calming benefits of CBN and the pain-relieving effects of THC with Black Raspberry Road Liquid. This tincture features MCT oil to deliver 10mg CBN and 10mg THC per dropper full, and enhanced with sugar-free black raspberry essence for tasty, discreet, and easy dosing.

Avexia CBN Tincture
Pomegranate BITS 1:1 CBN:THC

Pomegranate BITS 1:1 CBN:THC

Enjoy improved function without the risk of overdoing it with BITS. Five flavorful options, each made with cannabinoids and adaptogens, provide a little extra something to help you make the most of your day. Pomegranate R&R fits the  bill for those anxious nights before big days. Low dose and high function… the best part? It's all delicious.

Encore Edibles 1:1 CBN:THC

Treat yourself to the classic combination of scrumptious milk chocolate with Encore Chocolate Squares. With 100mg CBN and 100mg THC per 10-pack, you can savor the ultimate sweet indulgence and satisfy your cravings.

Encore Edibles 1:1 CBN:THC

CBN FAQs

CBN is an up-and-coming cannabinoid of interest to researchers and cannabis enthusiasts alike, meaning many are far less familiar with CBN than other cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Here are some common questions involving CBN.

Find Your Zen With CBN

Find Your Zen With CBN

If you're struggling with sleep and looking for a natural solution, you may want to consider incorporating CBN into your nightly routine. This cannabinoid has been shown to have sedative effects that may help improve sleep.

For more information about the top CBN sleep aids, find a Zen Leaf near you. Then, stop in and check out our premium selection of CBN products designed to help you take control of your sleep health.


References:

  1. Antibacterial cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: a structure-activity study. (2008, August 6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18681481
  2. Cannabidiol, cannabinol and their combinations act as peripheral analgesics in a rat model of myofascial pain. (2019, May 28). PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31158702/
  3. Cannabinoids in health and disease - PMC. (n.d.). NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202504/

Digital Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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