CBN is a plant-derived compound, like cannabidiol (CBD) and over 100 other cannabinoids found in a full-spectrum hemp oil such as the oils wellgora offers. However, it's unique in the way it gets formed. CBN is formed after the Cannabis sativa (cannabis) plant is harvested as a degradation product of THC. When THC is exposed to excessive amounts of heat and light (aka oxidation), it turns into a unique metabolite: CBN. Unlike THC, however, CBN does not have psychoactive effects and therefore cannot make you feel “high”.
What are the similarities and differences between CBN and CBD?
As mentioned above, CBD and CBN are both cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and it's important to note that both are non-intoxicating substances, meaning they will not make you feel ‘high' or alter your mind. They have also been shown to have some similar actions (via interactions with key cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system) and benefits in preliminary research both seem to help support a sense of relaxation and a balanced inflammatory response.
While CBD and CBN may have some similar effects, they are still very different phytochemical compounds. CBD is usually the second most common cannabinoid in a cannabis plant. Manufacturers can breed cannabis plants to have a higher amount of CBD, but they can't directly adjust the amount of CBN in a plant since it's created from the breakdown of THC—exposing THC to heat can speed up the breakdown of THC into CBN.
CBD has also been studied more extensively in clinical settings than CBN, partially because it's more readily available. Clinical research shows that CBD can be helpful for easing stress and anxiousness, improving resilience, and supporting a positive mood.*
How does CBN affect the body?
Cannabinoids interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), a major regulatory system. This system is composed of the endocannabinoids that the body produces naturally and a family of receptors called cannabinoid receptors.
Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2) are the most studied receptors in this system. The way different cannabinoids bind with these receptors has a big impact on their effect; for example, when CBD interacts with the CB1 receptor, it seems to lead to feelings of relaxation.
While studies are still very preliminary, some studies show that CBN does interact with the primary CB1 cannabinoid receptor but gently so however it binds slightly better to the CB2 receptor. There are likely other interactions within the endocannabinoid system—although those haven't been demonstrated well yet through clinical studies.
What are the benefits of CBN?
There are a few purported benefits of CBN, although it's again important to highlight that experiments in humans are limited and have shown rather inconsistent effects.
1. It might promote sleep.
The main impact of CBN seems to be on sleep. One randomized controlled trial published in 2021 revealed that products containing CBN had a beneficial impact on sleep quality. It's important to note that THC is the most well-known cannabinoid for sleep, and since CBN is a byproduct of the oxidation of THC, it is therefore no surprise that CBN is also demonstrating an ability to improve sleep quantity and sleep quality—even at low doses.
2. It has antioxidant properties.
Beyond sleep, there is also some preliminary research showing CBN might work as an antioxidant—a molecule that neutralizes free radicals in the body. While it's too early to say anything definitive about CBN's benefits, it has shown to be very well tolerated without any or major side effects and as research continues, we'll be able to better understand CBN and its specific health benefits.
Which should I use to help with stress?
If you're feeling stressed, you may be wondering if CBN is a worthy candidate to help. “When comparing CBD and CBN as a single molecule, the data is overwhelmingly in favor of CBD being a more potent and effective agent—this is true for a variety of issues including stress and relaxation. Adding CBN could possibly help with stress through its limited effects on the CB1 receptor.
Full-spectrum products contain the entire array of all the plant compounds found in a cannabis plant. They are all thought to work together synergistically, combining to enhance the product's overall benefits—including relaxation and stress relief.
If you're curious about using a full-spectrum product for stress relief, check in with your health care provider first to make sure it's the right fit for you and explore our store.