Sleep problems affect nearly 50-70 million people across North America each year. Sleep is an integral part of our mental and physical health and is a time when our cells can regenerate and clear the debris and toxins that have accumulated in our brains during our waking hours. Sleep deprivation can add to our risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart problems, diabetes, and even stroke. Sleep helps reduce these risks. If you’re one of the many who have trouble finding peace when you’re trying to sleep, then this article may be helpful to you. But before we answer the question ‘what is CBN?’, let’s touch on its more popular cousin.
CBD, or cannabidiol, also known to the world as the newest, hottest part of cannabis, is a non-psychoactive compound found in both cannabis and hemp plants. CBD has been heralded globally for both it’s anti-inflammatory and chronic pain-relieving properties and inflammation and is part and parcel to any cannabis product on the shelves today. From topicals to tinctures and even to food, CBD seemingly does it all. Yet, it is only one of the many hundreds of different compounds that occur naturally inside of the cannabis plant and interact in fun and interesting ways with our body’s endocannabinoid systems.
How Cannabinoids Work
Cannabinoids are chemicals that naturally occur in every cannabis plant. When you partake in weed consumption and your body metabolizes it, cannabinoids enter into your body through your bloodstream and interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system or the ECS. When they meet, the interactions trigger many various reactions and can impact your appetite, mood, sleep, and pain perception. Truly, there are myriad of therapeutic outcomes for those who choose to bring cannabinoids into their day-to-day.
While THC and CBD are the two most popular compounds there are many others that aren’t getting the same buzz that can equally alleviate symptoms, including CBN. Even though it’s not as famous, CBN was the first cannabinoid to be found by scientists. All three cannabinoids (CBN, CBD, and THC) have been the subject of interest by scientists for several decades, especially for their chemical compositions and effects on humans.
Today, we’re here to dish about the little known cannabinoid, CBN and how it stacks up against CBD and THC – and how you can unlock the boundless potential of it to help your sleep and much more.
CBN: Everything You Need To Know
CBN, or Cannabinol, is the result of the oxidization and decomposition of THC derived from the hemp plant. CBN development occurs naturally as a cannabis plant ages, but also can be derived by heating THC and exposing it to oxygen (CO2). Comparatively to THC, CBN has a very mild psychoactive effect, more than CBD but still not as powerful as THC. Meaning that it sits right in the middle of the spectrum in terms of how high it actually gets you.
Whether taken individually or combined, they both can potentially help alleviate any sleep issues or insomnia. They are also purported to provide an overall sense of calm and tranquility providing ease and relaxation. Some people report feeling a sedating effect when they consume CBN, while CBD gives a safeguard against feeling sluggish or groggy in the morning by providing a feeling of alertness. To get the most out of CBN, in the most effective way, one must couple it with CBD to balance out the sedating effects that naturally come with CBN.
Beyond a sedating power, CBN can also tend to stimulate appetites in users. This is in contrast to CBD, which is easily one of the best appetite suppressants out there. To get the best effects out of CBN, the Steep Hill cannabis testing laboratory stated, “The consumption of 2.5mg to 5mg of CBN has the same level of sedation as a mild pharmaceutical sedative, with a relaxed body sensation similar to 5mg to 10mg of diazepam.”
Whether you plan to take that sublingually via a tincture or in an edible or through a topical, is up to you.
Does It Really Help My Sleep?
There is a number of products out on the market that claim many things, including CBN being a sleep aid, but not all those who use it feel the effects. The majority of consumers do feel a sedating power, but the link between CBN and sleep improvement lacks true scientific backing.
Only one trusted, well-cited and peer-reviewed study has established that this effect does in fact exist, but the study has myriad issues, from questionable methods to the idea that CBN is only effective when combined with THC. While this can be attributed to the entourage effect that occurs between cannabinoids, which is when they work synergistically and bring in terpenes and flavonoids, the components of cannabis can create a stronger, more powerful effect.
Don’t despair, if you’re suffering from insomnia or are looking for a way to help you sleep and relieve pain, cannabis is still a tested and true method to help with that. By combining THC with other sedating components of cannabis, such as the terpenes (including Beta-Caryophyllene, linalool, and myrcene), you can achieve a sedative-like effect. If you are still having trouble sleeping, maybe consider treating the underlying problem, i.e. if you find your mind running a mile a minute, it could be anxiety keeping you up, in which case, you would be best suited to try out CBD as an anxiety reliever.
When it comes to CBN, as more research comes out, we will truly understand the effects and abilities but there is no hard evidence that it can help sedate you.