CBN Vs CBD | What Is The Difference Between CBN And CBD?


Hundreds of cannabis compounds have been discovered, and only a few have received the spotlight they deserve.

Researchers have compared several cannabinoids and found some potential therapeutic benefits of multiple compounds, including CBN. Comparing the differences of CBN vs CBD is an interesting conversation that warrants more research. These two cannabinoids are popular, but offer different possible therapeutic benefits.

When comparing CBN vs CBD, both cannabinoids might look similar from a molecular standpoint, but these are two very different compounds. When looking at CBN and CBD, both have some similar potential therapeutic properties. We’re going to take some time to go over them, and see how they may be able to give you the relief you need.

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Both CBN and CBD may offer therapeutic properties in the health and wellness industry for several issues.

Here, we will discuss what exactly CBN is, how CBN and CBD are different, and how they work.

Let’s get started!

What is CBN?

Cannabinol, or CBN, is a compound of cannabis (marijuana and hemp are both cannabis) famous for its non-intoxicating properties and a remarkable similarity with CBD. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is also a cannabinoid. CBN is a byproduct of degrading tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This simply means when THC ages and decays into an old compound, it turns into CBN. 

CBN vs CBD

Another term for this is called ‘oxidation.’

CBN vs CBD: Oxidation

Let’s explore oxidation a little bit. Several different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant can oxidize into different compounds, depending on their makeup. Oxidation can happen in a few different ways. We’ll discuss the two most popular forms which are:

  • Light exposure
  • Time

Manufacturers can expose THC rich plants to extreme UV lighting in order to force the oxidation process. Over time, the excess exposure to UV lighting slowly turns the THC into CBN. The end result is a CBN rich product. Check out this picture of a UV light being used to exposure impurities in minerals. You’ll notice it uses a blue-ish spectrum of light, similar to a black light.

CBN UV light

Time is also a key factor in oxidation of THC to CBN. Over time, THC will degrade and turn into CBN. That means CBN may exist in large amounts the older the plant is. Since we can’t (unfortunately) alter time, people will typically use the UV light method to force the oxidation process.

Currently, levels of CBN in cannabis depend on environmental factors instead of genetic factors of the particular strains. For this reason, there are currently no super-high CBN strains on the marketplace yet. This is one area of CBD vs CBN that is interesting, since there are several high CBD strains that exist.

Potential Benefits of CBN

CBN, back in 1896, was the first cannabinoid that was isolated in its purist form. People actually thought that CBN was responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis.

We now know that different forms of THC are, in fact, responsible for these effects. Originally CBN was the culprit! Interesting, isn’t it? This is one of the reasons that CBN is still heavily regulated in some areas. It wasn’t until later that the researchers showed CBN doesn’t produce intoxicating effects on its’ own.

In the topic of CBN vs CBD, the effects of CBN have not been thoroughly studied in human subjects – yet. Keep this in mind when you see products with CBN that make loads of medical claims. Sure, they could be true, but there aren’t enough scientific trials to substantiate the claims. That said, let’s talk more about the potential benefits of CBN.

Relieving Effects

Cannabinol has shown an ability to induce relaxing effects on the human brain and body. A study published in 2011 in the British Journal of Pharmacology made a claim that the combination of THC and CBN could produce a “tranquilizing” effects in humans. These two compounds are responsible for a large portion of the sedative effects people feel after using cannabis or marijuana products.

Aged cannabis products, or those with more exposure to heat and sunlight, showed better results in relaxing the human body. This is primarily because of the amount of THC that has converted to CBN, like we spoke about earlier.

The older cannabis products contain higher CBN content which makes them more useful for relieving purposes – or so it seems. Research with CBN is still being conducted, and refined, almost on a daily basis.

Anti-inflammatory and Anti-convulsant Properties

Researchers found out that a particular combination of CBN vs CBD can be a decent pain reliever. Scientists need to manufacture a CBN isolate to conduct proper research, as a specific breed of a  heavily CBN enriched cannabis plant does not yet exist. This practice is one of the main hurdles for initiating further CBN-based investigations. In only two years, though, we have seen massive breakthroughs in developing CBD-rich strains.

Maybe people will be able to find a way to cultivate a CBN-rich strain in the near future. Another idea is making a strain that is susceptible to converting THC to CBN more easily. With all that’s been done in the last five years in regards to CBD research, I am confident someone will figure out a way past this hurdle soon.

CBN May Work as a Sleep Aid

The research in this particular area is lacking, but current results have shown CBN’s potential impacts on treating sleep disorders. The researchers have claimed CBN, based on limited research, is an effective sleep improving cannabinoid.

A natural CBD sleep aid called ‘sleep’ by New Phase Blends actually utilizes CBN, in addition to other cannabinoids like CBD and CBG. This revolutionary hemp-based sleep aid is taking over the US by storm. While we cannot legally tell you that CBN is the culprit, we can tell you that when people use this sleep aid, they go to sleep. It comes in both gummy and CBD drop form, and the bottles last roughly a month – depending on how often you use it.

CBN for CBD for sleep

The research is weak, but it is moving in the right direction. CBN is a great cannabinoid that has the potential to help people get a better night’s sleep.

Appetite Stimulant

Researchers discovered (through an animal study) that CBN stimulated the appetite in rats. You can read the study yourself by clicking the link, but there isn’t much data to back the claim. In the future, I can only hope that more research is conducted in this area.

Remember earlier when we spoke about how people believed CBN was responsible for the psychoactive effects? We know that THC can be an appetite stimulant, so hopefully we aren’t mixing this one up as well.

CBN vs CBD | What is the Difference?

Both of these cannabinoids share multiple similarities, but are completely different cannabinoids. Research has shown that both have the potential for numerous health benefits. Here is a quick recap on everything we went over:

  • CBN is the result of THC that has degraded. It can degrade over time, or by light exposure.
  • CBN and CBD both are very similar on a molecular level.
  • Both CBN and CBD seem to offer similar benefits.
  • CBN is non-psychoactive, just like CBD.

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We are hoping that more medical claims will be further substantiated with a legitimate, comprehensive study. Since CBD became legal, the number of studies on cannabinoids have sky rocketed, and it’s only a matter of time before we will know more.

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