CBN vs. CBD: What's The Difference?

Cannabidiol -- a.k.a. CBD -- has been getting quite a bit of hype lately. As it dominates headlines and has even found its way onto menus in bars and coffee shops across the country, some might say that this cannabis-plant-derived, non-intoxicating compound has become the darling child of the legal hemp movement. 

With all the focus on CBD, however, it’s easy to forget that there are over 80 other naturally occurring chemical compounds found in cannabis, of which CBD and its intoxicating psychoactive cousin are the only two. And among these beloved cannabinoids, many have their own powerful holistic benefits that are on par with CBD.

So, with that in mind -- which cannabinoid is next in line for its time in the limelight?

Our pick? Cannabinol, otherwise known as CBN. In this post, we’ll discover everything there is to know about this mysterious compound, including how it differs from CBD.

How is CBN Different From CBD? 

Just in case you’re new to cannabinoids, CBD is one of the primary compounds found in the cannabis plant -- which includes both marijuana (THC-rich) and hemp (CBD-rich). CBD can make up anywhere from 1% to 40% of the plant’s extract, and in most strains, it’s the runner-up to THC as the most dominant cannabinoid. 

While tetrahydrocannabinol (a.k.a. THC) is best known for its intoxicating psychoactive properties, CBD won’t get you high. Instead, its skyrocketing popularity is based entirely on its wide range of holistic wellness benefits.

CBN is a little different from CBD. Its content in cannabis tends to be pretty low -- typically around one percent or even less -- but this is subject to change over time as the plant is exposed to heat or oxygen. 

Specifically, as cannabis ages, its THC content breaks down into CBN. To add to that, while CBD has zero intoxicating properties like its popular relative THC, the same can’t be said for CBN. That said, its intoxicating psychoactive properties are extremely mild, so you would likely need to take an incredibly massive dose of CBN to feel any sort of high.  

Although it may be new to you, CBN was one of the very first cannabinoids ever identified, believe it or not, and was successfully isolated for the first time almost 100 years ago. In fact, before the discovery of its cousin THC, CBN was considered to be the cause behind the altered mental state or euphoric feeling associated with marijuana, believe it or not!

What Does Research Tell Us About CBN? 

Perhaps the most striking report about the effects of CBN comes from Steep Hill -- the global leader in cannabis testing and analytics. Its researchers claim that CBN is the most sedative of all cannabinoids that make up the cannabis plant.* They claim that the consumption of 2.5 to 5mg of this powerful compound has a significantly impactful benefit for sleep.* Additionally, the study also asserts the CBN and CBD work together to provide an even better synergy -- known as the entourage effect.  

As of today, there aren’t too many scientific studies around the efficacy of CBN, but early evidence is promising. While research is still in its infancy and much more evidence is needed to support claims, the future looks bright for this remarkable cannabinoid. 

Wait, What Exactly is the Entourage Effect? 

Scientists believe that cannabinoids and other compounds found in cannabis interact with one another to provide a much better benefit than on their own. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect. 

This ground-breaking theory suggests that cannabinoids can augment or modify the characteristics of one another for the better when presented together. For instance, researchers think that the combination of THC and CBN could cause feelings of sleepiness, while the presence of high levels of CBD might mitigate the intoxicating effects of THC.* 

Here at Healist, we’ve chosen to use the highest quality, organic broad-spectrum hemp extract. As its name suggests, broad-spectrum extract not only contains high levels of CBD but can include other cannabinoids like -- you guessed it -- the CBN found in our Sleep Drops

But our formulas don’t just stop at CBD -- across each one of our CBD-infused products, we’ve paired CBD with clinically backed active natural ingredients like ashwagandha and L-theanine, as well as beneficial wellness compounds like terpenes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that work in synergy with each other to power your body as nature intended.*

Oh, and the best part? Unlike full-spectrum hemp extract -- which contains around 0.3 percent THC -- our broad-spectrum hemp extracts are non-psychoactive with undetectable levels of THC. What’s not to love?

What Are Some of the Top Benefits of Using CBD and CBN? 

Aside from sleep benefits, both CBD and CBN have powerful tension soothing properties.* Again, these incredible benefits appear to be even more effective when both cannabinoids are taken together. Among other benefits, CBD is found in Epidiolex, the first and only FDA-approved prescription cannabidiol, which is used to treat seizures. CBN shows promise in early studies as a possible appetite stimulant as well.*    

How Can I Take CBN? 

If you are looking to get the most out of CBN and CBD, you’ll want to pick up some high-quality broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD oil, as these popular products contain both compounds. Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oils are pretty similar, with one notable difference: THC.

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds that were extracted from the cannabis plant, including THC, CBD, CBN, and a variety of other body-nourishing compounds that tend to vary depending on the strain. 

On the flip side, broad-spectrum CBD oil -- like ours here at Healist -- goes through additional processing to remove THC while keeping all other beneficial plant compounds fully intact. Of the two, broad-spectrum CBD oil is a popular choice because many people want to avoid THC at all costs. What’s more, is that there are still some states out there that don’t allow CBD with any traces of THC -- so broad-spectrum CBD oil tends to be a popular choice compared to its THC-containing counterpart, full-spectrum CBD. 

Bottom Line

Both CBN and CBD can support a holistic approach to wellness. While the two beloved cannabinoids have some similarities, they are different compounds with their own individual effects. 

Thinking about giving CBD and CBN a try? Check out our Sleep Drops for a fast-acting mix of CBD, essential oils, and a custom sleep terpene blend that helps support your body’s healthy sleep cycle without next-day grogginess.* We choose to use CO2 extraction to provide the richest profile of cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and fatty acids working in sync with your body-- just as nature intended. 

What’s CO2 extraction, you ask? It’s a complex process that separates the oil at room temperature, which means very minimal processing to preserve the plant’s natural components. Cheaper extraction methods use solvents like ethanol and require additional distillation to separate the solvent from the oil, meaning more processing and heating of the plant. 

Feeling stressed? Restore mind and body balance with our powerful Well-Being Drops -- designed to improve focus to help you feel clear-headed throughout the day.* All you have to do is use the dropper to place a few drops of the oil under your tongue, wait 30 seconds to let it absorb into your glands, and then swallow. Finding calm has never been easier!

Perhaps you need some help drifting off to dreamland -- we can help with that, too.* Fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed with no groggy feeling with our tasty Sleep Chews.* Depending on your weight, we recommended taking 1 to 3 chews and waiting for 30 minutes to see how you feel before talking more. 

Our ethos is simple: always 100% clean and natural ingredients, always 100% benefit-focused products. Whether you’re looking for rapid relief from discomfort or emotional wellness support -- we have your back.* 

 

Sources:

https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Cannabidiol

https://www.steephill.com/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22543671/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1617062/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0014483584900137

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/

https://www.jneurosci.org/content/22/11/4720.full

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18681481/

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22543671/

https://www.greenmarketreport.com/are-there-any-states-that-restrict-cbd-products/#:~:text=States%20that%20don%27t%20allow%20any%20type%20of%20marijuana%2Dbased%20CBD&text=Here%20is%20the%20list%20of,Dakota%2C%20Tennessee%2C%20and%20Texas.