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Have You Heard About CBN? Current Research Shows Many Potential Benefits

Written By Ellese Symons Jul 13th 2022
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Not all that long ago, CBD was a relatively unknown plant element. Few people had even heard of it. As the fledgling hemp industry expanded, stories about CBD’s health and wellness potential began attracting a lot of attention. Soon, adults of all ages were embracing this non-intoxicating cannabinoid.

Today, there’s another cannabinoid generating a considerable amount of attention, CBN. Although there’s little risk of CBN replacing CBD in the hearts of devoted enthusiasts any time soon, many CBD users seem genuinely impressed by CBN’s considerable potential. Once you know what CBN is and what the research shows about its many intriguing properties, it’s easy to see why our original CBDistillery® CBN + CBD oil tincture was so popular that we responded to the overwhelming demand with a second, extra-strength option.

Same Plant Source, Similar Benefits, Different Origins

Although there’s been far more research investigating the anxiolytic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective potential of CBD,1 CBN (cannabinol) was actually the first cannabinoid to be identified and isolated.2 Back then (1942), it was commonly believed that CBN was the cannabinoid responsible for the “recreational” effects associated with cannabis use. Although that hypothesis was eventually proven false once researchers discovered THC, it’s easy to understand why that conclusion was so widely accepted once you know the origins of the cannabinoid.

Unlike CBD and THC, CBN is not formed by the conversion of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), the first cannabinoid produced in the plant. Its origins are far different. Cannabinol (CBN) is essentially a byproduct, a cannabinoid resulting from the oxygenation and decomposition of THC. Since hemp plants produce only trace amounts of THC, cannabinoid-rich hemp extracts typically contain very little CBN.

Does CBN Work the Same Way As CBD?

CBD is the most abundant of more than 100 cannabinoids produced by industrial hemp plants. Although some are found in such small amounts that investigators haven’t quite figured out their specific contributions, researchers have determined that cannabinoids like CBN and CBD work by interacting with the receptors of the largest regulatory system in your body, your endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Although CBD products have the potential to support ECS function, current research also shows that each of the many lesser-known minor cannabinoids in hemp extract, including CBN, contribute to an “entourage effect.” The entourage effect is a phenomenon unique to cannabis that explains why product potency is enhanced by the combined impact of the additional cannabinoids and plant terpenes.3 Although all cannabinoids interact with ECS receptors, they often work through different molecular pathways.

For example, CBD has an indirect effect on ECS receptors; it does not bind. It also has the ability to influence more than 65 molecular targets. THC demonstrates some of the same effects on the body as CBD. However, THC also binds with a specific ECS receptor in the brain (CB1), an interaction that causes the type of intoxication marijuana is known for. While CBN has a natural affinity with those same receptors, the compositional alterations that occur as THC is converted to CBN dramatically reduces its ability to bind, so CBN can be calming but does not cause intoxication.

What Have Researchers Learned About the Benefits of CBN?

Since CBN has not been researched as extensively as CBD or THC, it will likely be a while before we know everything there is to know about this often-overlooked cannabinoid. However, preliminary investigations have revealed an intriguing number of potential health and wellness benefits. To fully appreciate all the cannabinoid has to offer, consider the numerous possibilities revealed in the following summaries.

Research Uncovers Considerable Sleep Potential

Preliminary investigations also reveal that CBN’s natural affinity with CB2 receptors produces a relaxing, gently sedating effect. Although there hasn’t been a lot of research on the subject, animal studies suggest that CBN’s interaction with CB2 receptors helps improve sleep and sleep duration. Similarly, in clinical studies, researchers compared CBN to the calming, relaxing effects of diazepam, a medication commonly prescribed for anxiety disorders, seizures, muscle spasms, and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.7,10

Why Are There So Few CBN Product Available?

There was a time that hemp-derived products containing more than trace amounts of CBN were nearly impossible to find because harvesting crops for their CBN content was rather counterproductive. Why? Because the plants produce at least 20 times more CBD. Milligram for milligram, harvesting crops for their CBN content just wasn’t all that productive or cost-effective.11

But that was then. Advances in technology have made it much easier to extract CBN in greater amounts than previously possible. Now that isolating individual cannabinoids during extraction and processing is far more efficient, innovative companies like ours can offer a selection of products formulated for a specific purpose.

Could You Benefit from CBDistillery® CBN + CBD Products?

According to data collected from nearly 2000 CBDistillery® survey respondents, most people report favorable results using our pure, potent CBD products to feel more relaxed, for pain, inflammation, and stiffness after physical activity, and better sleep. That got our attention.

Sleep is essential, yet nearly 40% of us have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping comfortably through the night because of everyday stress, changes in routine, shiftwork, and hormonal fluctuations. Although most of our survey respondents report that our hemp-derived CBD products help them sleep better (89%), we knew that adding pure CBN isolate to full-spectrum CBD oil would maximize the calming, relaxing, sleep-promoting potential of the tincture, so we did.

If you’re having trouble relaxing, unwinding, or getting the rest you deserve, visit CBDistillery® to learn more about the many potential benefits of CBD and our popular CBN + CBD Oil Sleep Tinctures. Like all CBDistillery® products, our CBN + CBD Oil Sleep Tinctures are third-party tested and won’t cause morning grogginess.

Additional Sources:

1. Physiology.org. A Ligresti et al. (2016 September 14) From Phytocannabinoids to Cannabinoid Receptors and Endocannabinoids: Pleiotropic Physiological and Pathological Roles Through Complex Pharmacology.

2. Marijuana Doctors. D Rosado. (2019 February 02) Cannabinol (CBN).

3. Cannabis Tech. S Ratliff. (2020 June 18) The Science Behind the Entourage Effect.

4. MIT Technology Review. N Schultz. (2018 September 12) A New MRSA Defense.

5. Mayo Clinic.org (2020) MRSA Infection.

6. Current Neuropharmacology. J Manzanares et al. (2006 July 04) Role of the Cannabinoid System in Pain Control and Therapeutic Implications for the Management of Acute and Chronic Pain Episodes.

7. Psychology Today. M Breus. (2019 August 08) Research Shows 9 Potential Health Benefits of CBN.

8. Journal of Neurochemistry. G Marsicano et al. (2002 January 21) Neuroprotective Properties of Cannabinoids Against Oxidative Stress: Role of the Cannabinoid Receptor CB1.

9. Endocannabinoids. J Fernandez-Ruiz et al. (2015 September 25) Endocannabinoids and Neurodegenerative Disorders: Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Chorea, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Others.

10. Mayo Clinic (2019) Diazepam (Oral Route).

11. Forbes. J Lassalle. (2019 September 11) Why CBG (Cannabigerol) is One of the Most Expensive Cannabinoids to Produce.