What is CBN - cannabinol under the magnifying glass?

The composition of phytocannabinoids in hemp is arch-rich. Cannabinol - CBN is another compound that has been found in hemp oils for some time now, after the well-known CBD and CBG. There is a growing interest in oils with CBN because of its unique and different uses from cannabidiol and cannabigerol. What is CBN? Is its reputation as a super remedy for tranquillity and good sleep justified? You will find the answer to this and many other questions in this article.

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CBN - what is it?

Cannabinol is the older brother of tetrahydrocannabinol. In the classification, it belongs to the subclass of late cannabinoids / oxidised / oxidised cannabinoids.

Chemical formula: C21H26O2

chemical formula of cannabinol CBD

It is perhaps the only phytocannabinoid that forms in two ways:

  1. When exposed to the solar ultraviolet, the acidic forms of THC, or THCA, form the cannabinoid acid CBNA, which is then decarboxylated and oxidised to the CBN specific form;
    • To illustrate: CBGA -> THCA -> CBNA -> CBN
  1. The pre-formed Delta-9 THC degrades under heat to Delta-8 THC, which in turn oxidises to CBN
    • Pictorially: CBGA -> THCA -> Delta-9 THC -> Delta-8 THC -> CBN

Cannabinol has not yet been classified as a substance of medical use. Due to its affinity with tetrahydrocannabinol, it is considered a compound with trace toxicity. Sources indicate, however, that it does not have an intoxicating effect and does not cause, for example, the increase in heart rate or changes in blood pressure and body temperature typical of THC.

Arguably, overall, the potential advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and the cannabinoid - like its prototypes - in the right doses carries more benefit than potential harm.

The average cannabinol content of cannabis does not exceed 1%. There are ways to increase this concentration. The process of intensifying the level of CBN in flowers is similar in nature to the ageing process of wine. The older the cannabis flower (within reason, of course), the more of the phytochemical in question it will contain.

As a point of interest, it is worth knowing that this cannabinol is only found in hemp. You will not find it in other plants.

Properties of CBN

We know from laboratory and animal studies to date that cannabinol exhibits a number of similar properties to CBD. Certainly, further studies on this cannabinoid are needed, but potential properties include:

  • Antimicrobial - in this regard was tested on antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria, and a test-tube study showed its significant efficacy making CBN a potential candidate for a new generation of cannabinoid antibiotics;
  • Neuroprotection - in animal model studies, cannabinol significantly inhibited the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SLA), sounds good, but human studies are needed to unequivocally confirm efficacy in humans;
  • Stimulation of appetite - Here, too, we have animal studies in which CBN has been shown to increase cravings and improve appetite. Since it does not exhibit intoxicating toxicity like THC it makes an interesting candidate as an alternative for some people;
  • Anti-inflammatory - another animal study showed strong anti-inflammatory effects in animals with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Minimisation of intraocular pressure - there is a study that has shown that a cannabinoid reduces intraocular pressure (similar to THC), which is an important risk factor in the development of glaucoma. The research is ongoing, and at this point no higher efficacy than already available drugs has been demonstrated in patients with the condition. This does not change the fact that a diet enriched with cannabinoids may prove effective in preventing the development of the disease and its symptoms

Service Alchemyweb it also adds to the properties listed above:

  • Antiemetic
  • Analgesic
  • Modulating bone growth
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Skin regeneration

Intoxicating properties also need to be clarified. While cannabinol alone is not intoxicating, when combined with THC it can already enhance its euphoric effects. Once again, it appears that the synergistic action of the cannabinoids matters, and the amount of THC in a product is key to its intoxicating properties.

Sleeping properties of CBN

All right, but what about the calming properties of cannabinol? After all, so much is said and written about them in terms of their excellent effect in people with insomnia.

There are reportedly two studies available. Both contradict each other, and why 'reportedly' you will read on.

The first dates back to 1970. It was performed on a small group of people and, unfortunately, none of the participants in the group given CBN alone reported increased feelings of sleepiness.

What do you mean, after all, it is so presented.

Well reportedly there is a study by a private analytical laboratory, Steep Hill Global, which found that 5 mg of cannabinol had similar effects to prescription Diazepam at 10 milligrams.

The problem is that I have not been able to find this study anywhere. It's not on the company's website, and the article about CBN on their blog doesn't confirm these revelations at all. I will still try to look it up especially for you, but at the moment it looks like something is wrong here.

Anecdotal evidence from users of late-harvested cannabis with a high CBN content suggested that the flowers made them drowsy. It was somewhat automatically assumed that this was due to this cannabinoid.

Meanwhile, in the study mentioned in the introduction, the sleepiness effect was indicated by those who received a combination of THC and CBN. The sleeping effect is therefore most likely due to the synergistic action of these two cannabinoids. It is very possible that an additional factor enhancing the calming effect is the specific composition of sesquiterpenes in such 'old' cannabis flowers. The voices of some specialists suggest that this profile terpenes plays a key role here.

I propose this view: cannabinol in legal hemp products has relaxation value and it is as a relaxant that it should be treated.

CBN in hemp oils and products

In addition to a wide range of dried hemp products on the market with varying, rather trace cannabinol content, there has also been a CBN oils.

It is worth knowing that the increased cannabinol content of such oils is the result of the addition of an isolate of this cannabinoid.

There is nothing wrong with this, as long as we are dealing with a full spectrum oil or at least a broad spectrum oil without THC with the addition of an isolate. If, after reading this article, you think such an oil is worth checking out, for example in connection with glaucoma or in your search for relaxing supplements that help you calm down in a healthy way, go ahead.

Ordinary hemp oil with cannabinol isolate is just as much a waste of time and money as hemp oil with CBD isolate.

CBN-drug interactions

Normally, cannabinol (CBN) is applied orally or topically to the skin.

Applied topically, it can have an analgesic effect without risk of interactionwhich should not be excluded in oral use when it is metabolised together with all other substances or medicines you use.

As with cannabidiol, it is always advisable to consult a doctor or at least a natural medicine specialist who has actual knowledge of possible contraindications and interaction risks before using cannabinole-rich products. This is particularly important if you are already using pharmacological medicines and the product you plan to buy is used orally.


Here briefly and in points:

  1. Cannabionol (CBN) acts slightly differently to cannabidiol. It is a more potent agonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. This may mean that its presence in an oil, for example, is important for the overall quality of the preparation's effect.
  2. There are no known side effects of this cannabinoid. This, of course, does not mean that with 100% there are certainly none. It's just that more research is needed to be sure.
  3. It is available in a narrower range of products than CBD. This is likely to change with time, increased availability and popularisation of use.
  4. In very high doses (not specified in the literature), it can induce a slight intoxicated feeling, and its toxicity is estimated at 25% of that known for its THC properties.
  5. The amount of research available is severely limited, although it should gradually increase over time.

That is all in this article. I think there is something new, something explained and something pointed out. There is something for everyone to benefit their purchasing decisions for hemp products.


  • https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/cbd-cbn-what-is-difference
  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarabrittanysomerset/
  • https://www.projectcbd.org/cannabis-terms/cannabinol
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18681481
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16183560
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22543671
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202504/
  • https://www.fasebj.org/doi/full/10.1096/fj.201600646r
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1221432/
  • https://pharmocann.co.il/
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/cannabinol
  • https://www.alchimiaweb.com/blogen/cannabinol-cbn/
  • https://www.steephill.com/blogs/34
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