Many people are familiar with the prominent effects that THC and CBD have on the mind and body, but few know of CBN -” the bedtime cannabinoid” that could be more sedative than valium.

If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, keep reading to find out how CBN works and why more and more people are turning to it as a natural treatment for insomnia.

What is CBN?

Cannabinol, or “CBN,” is one of at least 113 cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are the natural chemical compounds that communicate with the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies. The most common cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabinol (CBN), and Cannabigerol (CBG).

Each cannabinoid works with the endocannabinoid system in different ways to create therapeutic or psychoactive effects. For example, THC is a psychoactive compound that provides the signature high associated with marijuana consumption, while CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid mainly known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects.  

CBN is a mildly psychotropic cannabinoid that has less than ten times the potency levels of THC. Unlike other cannabinoids, CBN does not occur naturally within the early life cycle of the plant and is the product of THCA being exposed to heat, oxygen, and light over long periods. CBN is essentially THCA that has lost potency.

What are the benefits of CBN?

CBN is known to have many mental as well as physical benefits and is utilized in a variety of ways. Here are some possible effects and benefits of CBN use:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • The ability to fight antibiotic resistance
  • Natural sedative
  • Relieves pain
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Neuroprotective properties
  • Anti-anxiety properties 

Although there are quite a few notable benefits of CBN, this cannabinoid is mainly employed as a sleep aid for insomnia. For more on the possible benefits, here is some more detailed information. 

Does CBN make you tired?

This question has been asked time and time again, and unfortunately, there is little to no scientific research available to provide a definitive answer. However, through consumer experience and decades of experimentation completed by cannabis enthusiasts, evidence suggests that CBN is, in fact, a natural sleep aid. The question that has yet to be answered is whether the consumption of CBN alone can provide sedative effects or if THC needs to be present as well. 

A widely accepted theory is that as THCA ages to CBN, sesquiterpenoids terpene levels increase and create an “Entourage effect,” resulting in mild sedation. The entourage effect is the phenomenon that happens when some marijuana compounds interact with each other to create an effect that would be impossible to achieve on their own. For more on that, here is a more in-depth exploration of CBN- the sleepy cannabinoid. 

Until further scientific research is completed on cannabinol, there will be many questions surrounding the cannabinoid. However, we do know how CBN interacts with the endocannabinoid system and the theory behind why CBN is thought to make consumers tired.  

The Endocannabinoid system

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a neuromodulatory network that plays an essential role in our learning, memory, behavior, digestion, immune system, homeostasis regulation, mood, and more. 

Think of the ECS as a traffic stop for neurotransmitters. When neurotransmitters interact with the ECS, they are regulated and dispersed to the correct cannabinoid receptors depending on which system needs more or less activity. Each cannabinoid operates differently and therefore binds to its respective receptor. The main cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2, and although uncommon, few other receptors may be involved. 

 CB1 receptors are primarily responsible for regulating the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, GABA, and more.

CB2 receptors are primarily responsible for regulating the immune system, the gastrointestinal system, and the peripheral nervous system,

CBN is one of the rare cannabinoids referred to as a full agonist. A full agonist can comfortably bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, and this may be the reason why cannabinol could potentially help with getting a good night’s rest. CB1 regulates the GABA neurotransmitter, which is responsible for dissolving anxiety and promoting sleep, and CB2 regulates the nervous system, which promotes sleep and relaxation. 

Theoretically, CBN’s ability to synergistically bind to both of the cannabinoid receptors responsible for sleep function could create a sedative effect. 

In conclusion, there are many factors to consider when determining whether or not cannabinol is a helpful sleep aid, and without more scientific research, the answer remains unknown. However, CBN is legal in all 50 states, so there is no harm in giving it a try for yourself.

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