What Is Cannabinol?

What Is Cannabinol? by Thea Engst at CBD Origin

Ever since the farm bill of 2018, hemp products have been lining shelves from health food stores to smoke shops and everything in between. It seems like you can’t go anywhere these days without seeing cannabis and hemp products for sale. And while certain abbreviations like CBD and THC have become commonplace, more chemicals like CBG and CBN are also popping up now. 

The fact is that there are over a hundred different types of cannabinoids. As research continues to make strides in the medicinal potential of all of these chemicals, we are only going to see more and more available. So in the interest of staying informed and knowing the benefits, risks, and research, let’s take a moment to discuss CBN. 

I’m going to break down what CBN is, where it comes from, where to buy it, and why you should even care about CBN in the first place. 

The First Step is Your ABCs

What Is Cannabinol

I should say ‘the first step is your CBNs’ because we really need to start with the letters ‘CBN .’What does CBN stand for? 

CBN is an abbreviation for cannabinol [ka-nuh-buh-dai-uhl]. It is a cannabinoid produced by both hemp and cannabis plants. The difference between a hemp and cannabis plant is that hemp contains 0.3% or less THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the chemical responsible for making us ‘high’ or giving us the euphoric feeling we have all come to know as being ‘high .’It is a psychoactive drug, meaning it impacts your brain activity. And funny enough – it’s very closely related to CBN. But we’ll get to that later. 

CBN is unique from its more commonly known relative CBD (cannabidiol) and the hot new cannabinoid CBG (cannabigerol). CBN, CBD, CBG, and THC are related in that they are all cannabinoids. There are over a hundred cannabinoids that we know about. So you can expect to see more and more pop up as researchers learn more about the chemicals and their impacts on our bodies and minds. 

Why Do Cannabinoids Matter?

It seems like we are constantly being inundated with information on how cannabinoids can help or potentially help us become more healthy and happy. Still, no one takes the time to explain why our bodies respond to cannabinoids. Let’s just break down really quickly why we can even feel the impacts of cannabinoids. 

We are receptive to cannabinoids because we each have something called the endocannabinoid system in our bodies. Just like the nervous system or digestive system, the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, exists within us to help keep us healthy. The ECS is a series of receptors called the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which exist solely for receiving and binding to cannabinoids. CBN specifically binds to the CB1 receptor. 

In fact, each of us produces endocannabinoids which are released to the CB1 and CB2 receptors to help the body achieve and maintain homeostasis. ‘Endo’ is Latin for ‘within,’ meaning that something called an endocannabinoid is produced within the body. Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by plants, with ‘phyto’ translating to ‘plant’ in Latin. 

For this reason, we know that our bodies want and need cannabinoids. Ingesting, inhaling, or applying phytocannabinoids topically is a tool for us to help our bodies get a chemical that they need more of in order to be well-balanced. 

CBN Roots


Let’s get back to CBN specifically, though. 

CBN is not only related to THC; it actually is created from THC through a process done in a laboratory. CBN is not produced naturally in plants. Making CBN is done by heating THC and then exposing it to light and oxygen to break down the THC and create something new. The result is a new chemical that scientists have named cannabinol (CBN). 

As I said earlier, THC is a psychoactive drug, which means that it impacts the brain. Not all cannabinoids are psychoactive. CBD, for example, is a non-psychoactive drug. Which is why many people describe CBD as giving you a ‘body high’ rather than the ‘heady high’ you get from THC products. Because CBN comes from THC, which is psychoactive, CBN is therefore also a psychoactive drug. 

The appeal of CBN versus THC is that while CBN does affect brain activity, it does so without the mind-altering effects of products with high THC content. This fact is why researchers are manipulating THC in the first place to create CBN. There is medicinal potential in a drug that can calm the mind without adding mind-altering side effects. So the intention is to give users the health benefits of THC without the ‘high’ of THC. 

The Medicinal Potential of CBN

But what exactly are the health benefits of CBN?

While studies are still being conducted and the existence of CBN itself is still very new, the research is already being done as I’m writing this article. There are no FDA-approved CBN products right now. But I expect to see a lot of exciting studies coming out in the next few years about what CBN can do for us. Hopefully, with more conclusive results of these studies, FDA approval will follow.

I already discussed this because CBN is rooted in THC; it is a psychoactive drug that affects brain activity. Not let’s talk about how that can be beneficial. 

Thus far, CBN has been linked to reducing anxiety symptoms in test subjects. This is also a common impact of THC (though THC sometimes causes the opposite effect). CBN users have also reported feeling lethargic and having an easier time falling asleep when taking CBN. This is obviously great news for those of us suffering from insomnia. Lethargy is another common symptom of ingesting or inhaling THC products. However, the major and most important and intentional difference between the feelings given by THC and CBN is that CBN won’t alter your mental state as THC will. 

Medicinal Potential of CBN

Similar to CBD and THC, CBN users have shown promising results in reducing inflammation and pain in muscles and joints. This makes CBN a great companion to active people or people with pre-existing conditions that cause them pain and inflammation, even people with old injuries that are still causing them discomfort. Furthermore, researchers are seeing a lot of promise in pain and inflammation reduction, particularly when CBN is combined with CBD.

CBD is a real team player and works well with CBG in addition to CBN. When CBD is combined with CBN, users report falling asleep faster and sleep sounder than without. This ties back to helping insomniacs, but it also helps active people recover from workouts faster. When we sleep, our bodies repair and regenerate. Sounder, better sleep not only gives our bodies more time to repair and rest. But it will also make the next day that much more comfortable and rewarding for us physically. 

Getting better rest also helps us focus better throughout the day. It increases libido, maintains a healthy weight, and even helps the immune system stay strong. It’s really exciting to see how CBN can be an intricate part of helping people achieve better rest. Think of the possibilities! 

CBN Products to Buy

I always like to make it very clear that you should consult with your doctor before introducing any new drug into your system. CBN and other cannabinoids can interact with other medications you may be on. Furthermore, it’s essential to know how CBN may affect you if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. 

Since the market is saturated with CBN and cannabinoid products in general, let me offer some advice in choosing the right product for you. A huge help in choosing cannabis products is looking for a certificate of analysis or COA. This can be completed either by the laboratory producing the product or a third-party laboratory. A COA is intended to show that the product contains exactly what it claims to. A product that doesn’t have a COA never sits well with me, and I prefer COA’s to also be completed by a third-party lab to reduce the risk of a potential for bias.

CBD DistilleryCBD Distillery

CBN and CBD Sleep Tincture from the CBD Distillery is a great sleep-aid product made with both CBD and CBN. This is designed to help achieve sleep specifically and is made with CBD, as it has three times as much CBD content as CBN. 

I love that the certificate of analysis is easy to track down for this product. It’s also completed by a third-party laboratory, so I trust the results. 

Price-wise, this is expensive, but a lot of cannabinoid products are. For one fluid ounce, you pay $70 (at the time of this article, it is marked down to $60.) However, if you like the product and want to subscribe, each bottle is brought down to only $48, which is a significant drop. 

Pros and Cons of CBD Distillery’s CBN and CBD Sleep Tincture


  • A blend of CBD and CBN to help users achieve sleep faster and sleep sounder. 
  • You save money when you subscribe (up to $22 a bottle!)
  • An easy-to-find COA with tests performed by a third-party lab right on the website. 
  • Well-reviewed. 
  • Non-GMO, US Hemp Authority Certified, Natural Farming Practices Certified


  • This is expensive, especially if you don’t subscribe. Regular-priced bottles (which are one fluid ounce) are normally $70. 
  • This is more CBD than CBN, so if you’re looking for more anxiety-reducing oil that turns your brain off to get to sleep, this might not be the right choice for you. There is three times as much CBD as CBN in this product. 

Nuleaf Natural

Nuleaf Natural

Nuleaf Natural has a highly rated, solely CBN product that is really excellent. I’m going to talk about their Full Spectrum CBN Oil, but their products are historically of excellent quality. 

First of all, if something is ‘full spectrum,’ that means that it contains things like terpenes and essential oils from the hemp or cannabis plant in addition to the cannabinoids. This is a good thing! 

The Nuleaf CBN oil is not aimed at any ailment in particular. Still, if you’re looking for a CBN product to see if your sleep or anxiety improves, this is a great product to reach for. It has all sorts of certifications like Certified Organic Hemp and Green Extraction. It also has an easy-to-find COA performed by a third-party laboratory

This is a really expensive bottle to reach for, with pricing starting as low as $38, but that’s for only .17 fluid ounces. I like that there are three different bottle size options, but to get an entire fluid ounce, you need to spend $179. Yes, $179 for one fluid ounce of CBN oil from Nuleaf. 

Like CBD Distillery, though, you can subscribe and save. Getting a bottle every two weeks knocks the smallest bottle size option down to $34.65 and the next size up (half a fluid ounce) from $99 to $89.10. If you subscribe and one bottle of one fluid ounce every two weeks, you’ll pay $161.10, saving you $17.90 per bottle.

Pros and Cons of NuLeaf Full Spectrum CBN Oil


  • This company historically has an excellent track record of making high-quality hemp-derived products.
  • Full Spectrum certified, made with Organic Hemp certified, and Green Extraction certified.
  • Inspected by a third-party lab with an easy-to-find COA on the website. 
  • You can subscribe and save. 


  • Very expensive, ringing in at $38 for less than one fluid ounce (.17 fl oz), $99 for half of a fluid ounce, and a whopping $179 for one fluid ounce. 

Spruce Rest

Spruce Rest

Spruce has a new oil called Spruce Rest that is getting rave reviews. Like Nuleaf, Spruce has an excellent reputation for making high-quality and trustworthy products, so I feel very comfortable recommending this new oil of theirs. 

Like the CBD Distillery oil, the Spruce Rest is more CBD than CBN. It contains 1,200 milligrams of CBD versus only 150 milligrams of CBN. And while its aim is to help achieve sleep, users are rating it as highly effective in reducing anxiety. 

The Spruce Rest is 100% natural and organic; it is vegan and gluten-free, with no pesticides, added preservatives, or sweeteners. It is made in America and was third-party-inspected, though the COA is nowhere on the website. 

This oil is costly; if you want to buy just one bottle, it will run you $139. But, if you subscribe, you do, in fact, save. Not only do you save on shipping, but the bottle cost is reduced to $88.96. That’s a 36% savings, not too shabby!

Pros and Cons of the Spruce Rest Oil


  • This new product is getting great reviews not only as a sleep-aid but as an effective way to reduce anxiety. 
  • Natural, organic, vegan, gluten-free, and third-party tested. 
  • You save 36% per bottle and get free shipping if you subscribe. 


  • While the website says it’s third-party tested, the COA is not on the website.
  • Very expensive if you don’t subscribe.

FAQs About CBN

Question: Is CBN Very Similar to CBD?

Answer: No, it is more closely related to THC. By humans, CBN is created from THC by adding heat, oxygen, and light. 

Question: Does CBN get you High?

Answer: The intention of creating CBN is to give your body and mind the benefits of THC without that euphoric feeling of being ‘high’. Researchers are still working on this and studying the effects of CBN on people. A lot of research is showing that the mind-altering impacts of THC are far smaller when it is CBN.

Question: Where Can I buy CBN?

Answer: Do your research and find a product targeting what you want to target. Read reviews, ask for advice, and always look for a COA or certificate of analysis. Having a third-party test and approve products is a great way to ensure you’re using something that is exactly what it claims to be. 

Question: Is CBN FDA-approved?

Answer: No. The research is still being conducted, so the FDA has not approved any CBN products since this article was published. 

Final Thoughts on CBN

While the world of cannabinoids can get overwhelming, there is a lot of potential for introducing phytocannabinoids into our daily routines. I am personally very excited to learn more about all the medicinal values of cannabinoids, and I’m even more excited to report them back to you!

I would expect us all to see a lot more research being conducted on the impacts of CBN and its potential benefits for achieving and maintaining homeostasis. Until then, I hope this article helped shed some light on what CBN is and why you should be keeping an eye on it. 

Further readings:

What is CBDA?

Bespoke Extracts CBD & CBG Tincture Review

What is Cannabigerol?

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