What is Cannabinol: A Beginners Guide to CBN


While CBD and THC in general draw the most attention when it comes to cannabinoids, there are actually over a hundred others that have been identified in cannabis. One of the most exciting of these fascinating connections is Cannabinol or CBN.

What is cannabinol?

As tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ages, its molecular structure is changed through oxidation and its new form is classified as Cannabinol (CBN).

Since CBN is the by-product of aged THC, it is generally found in older cannabis plants, although CBN is also produced in the body when THC is passed on through the metabolic process.

Similar to THC, CBN can stimulate the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS); however, unlike THC, CBN is only mildly intoxicating and will generally not have a euphoric effect on the user.

For this reason, CBN is generally compared to CBD rather than THC and has become an exciting topic in cannabinoid research.

CBN vs CBD: Comparison, Similarities, and Differences

While CBN is derived from THC, its chemical composition is more similar to that of CBD. However, it inherently possesses some of the properties of THC and can be viewed as a kind of hybrid between CBD and THC.

Compared to the amount of CBD produced in cannabis, which is second only to THC, the amount of CBN produced in cannabis plants in general is much less. This is because it is only as the cannabis plant ages that higher amounts of CBN can be produced. CBD, on the other hand, is produced directly in the plant’s resin glands and can be produced in very different quantities.

One of the main differences between CBD and CBN is that, unlike CBD, CBN can bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS. This ability was inherited from its predecessor THC and is the source of the intoxicating properties of the infamous cannabinoid; however, the intoxicating effects of CBN are much less intoxicating than those of THC.

Research into the potential benefits of cannabinol

While medical researchers are still studying cannabinol and figuring out how it can be used for people’s benefit, the results published so far are pretty exciting.

Read about the therapeutic properties of studies showing CBN may possess, and imagine the ways CBN can be used to help thousands of people around the world!

Anti-neurodegenerative properties

In a recent study, researchers found that cannabinoids that activate CB2 receptors like CBN can help reduce neurodegeneration caused by Parkinson’s disease and related conditions. The compounds effectively reduce oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in the brain, protecting it from the damage caused by these diseases.

Appetizing properties

If a chronic illness reduces appetite to unsafe levels, CBN can potentially reverse the effects, induce hunger, and allow the individual to nourish their bodies. Research has reportedly found that CBN can trigger hunger hormones, making it much easier to eat enough to improve quality of life and speed recovery.

Antibacterial properties

Bacteria resistant to traditional antibiotics like MRSA are notoriously difficult to treat, but researchers have come up with a possible solution – CBN. When exposed to the otherwise robust strains of bacteria, CBN proved to be quite powerful and possibly offered a new way to fight these stubborn pathogens.

Anti-inflammatory properties

CBN is not only supposed to reduce inflammation in the brain; it can also help fight the body’s inflammatory response. Because it helps reduce the inflammatory response across the body, it can potentially treat symptoms caused by rheumatoid arthritis and similar conditions.

Glaucoma Management Properties

Because they act on the nerve pathways in the brain, CBN has shown the potential to lower intraocular pressure, which was shown in a research study conducted in 2004. Lowering intraocular pressure can help reduce your risk of developing glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Researchers are busy researching the benefits of cannabinoids further, so stay tuned for more reported benefits for the months and years to come.

Important information about cannabinol

While CBN has become a popular topic among medical researchers and cannabinoid aficionados, it is still a very new topic for the typical CBD user. If you’re new to CBN, here are some quick answers to some of the questions you might ask yourself:

Will CBN Get You High?

As a by-product of THC, CBN has the ability to bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, meaning it can have intoxicating or mind-altering effects on the user. However, as THC ages and changes due to the oxidative process and becomes CBN, its intoxicating properties are greatly reduced.

Although CBN has intoxicating and psychoactive properties, they are very mild and can hardly be compared with “high”.

Is CBN Legal in the US?

In the United States, cannabinoid laws are very underdeveloped, and only a handful of states have reasonably clear cannabis laws in place, and most are specific to CBD, THC, or cannabis in general. Few, if any, states have legislated specifically for cannabinol. Because of this, cannabinol is regulated by the state or federal laws that regulate cannabis.

If cannabis has been legalized for recreational or medicinal use, cannabinol is subject to the same laws at the state level, unless specifically stated otherwise.

In all other situations (unless the state has legislated specifically for cannabinol), when cannabis has not yet been legalized, cannabinol is indirectly regulated by:

  • state law – when cannabis laws are thorough enough to suffice; OR
  • Federal law classifying all cannabis compounds, with the exception of CBD, as List I illegal substances

Does CBN Make Me Drowsy or Drowsy?

A 1995 study in mice found that CBN was not calming or making the user sleepy. The researchers did; However, confirm that the use of CBN helped the mice rest much more by helping the mice sleep longer than before.

In a non-scientific sense, this study shows that CBN does not make the user drowsy; However, CBN can help promote rest and help with certain sleep disorders.

Where can I buy CBN-based products?

Cannabinol is still considered uncharted territory. Because of this, there aren’t many, if any, CBN-specific products out there. However, there are many broad spectrum and full spectrum CBD products that can contain varying amounts of CBN in their unique cannabinoid blend.

To determine the presence or level of CBN in a CBD product, check the product’s Certificate of Analysis (COA) or laboratory analysis report.

When looking for a product with CBN, please note that CBD isolate products do not contain CBN, as a CBD isolate by definition only contains CBD.