What Is CBN and What Is It Used For?
Bold, capitalized text reads, "Introducing: Cannabinol: The Science of Cannabinoids". To the right is the chemical structure of CBN, followed by a picture of green leaves.

Many people are already very familiar with CBD and THC. However, they may not know that there are many other cannabinoids with their own distinct benefits.

Cannabinol (CBN), one of the minor cannabinoids present in the hemp plant, is a relatively new frontier in the hemp industry. CBN is non-intoxicating and produces amazing synergistic effects when mixed with other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.

Where is CBN Found?

CBN is found in low amounts in freshly farmed hemp. 

CBN is created through the oxidation of THC. Oxidation is a chemical reaction in which the addition of oxygen results in a loss of electrons, breaking down the structure into different chemicals. This means that hemp that has been exposed to higher amounts of oxygen will have a higher concentration of CBN. As such, CBN is found in the highest concentrations in hemp plants that have been aged. 

In order to accommodate the growing demand, many companies use processes that extract and isolate the low amounts of CBN found in freshly farmed hemp in order to create all sorts of CBN dominant products. At the end of this article you can find a list of our favorite CBN products and brands.

Potential Benefits of CBN

Scientific research studying the effects of CBN on the human body is still ongoing and relatively new. However, the following are just some of the studies currently going on and the potential benefits that they are finding.

Antimicrobial Properties 1

A 2020 study highlighted the antimicrobial properties of CBN, along with the other major cannabinoids: CBGA, 9-THC, CBD, CBG, and CBC. 

These cannabinoids have shown promising lab-results in the treatment of common Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs). These include the following HAIs that are often antibiotic-resistant: Staphylococcus aureus 25923, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), E. coli, and K. pneumoniae

With more research, we may eventually see CBN being used in the treatment of certain antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

ALS & Degenerative Diseases 2

A 2007 study showed that rodents treated with cannabinoids after the initial onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) had slower symptom progression and survived longer than their untreated counterparts.

While the study was not specific to CBN, it found that the receptor binding and function of Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2) was significantly upregulated in the spinal cords of the rodents with ALS. As such, the injection of CB2 agonists (chemicals that initiate physiological responses after binding to a receptor) possibly led to slower motor neuron degeneration and preserved motor function. 

It just so happens that CBN is a partial CB2 agonist. This could be the beginning to a new chapter of medicine for fighting against ALS and other degenerative diseases.

Appetite Stimulant 3

In another rodent study, published in 2012, CBN was shown to increase the amount of food the subjects ate. This suggests that CBN could have potential use as an appetite stimulant. This is particularly interesting for consumers looking for an alternative to THC. 

There are many reasons why someone would want to stimulate their appetite. For example, those undergoing chemotherapy may experience severe nausea and pain, making it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. 

While THC is an extremely effective appetite stimulant, many patients dislike its psychoactive effects, limiting its medicinal use. On the other hand, CBN is an effective, non-intoxicating appetite stimulant. This makes it a viable alternative to THC for those who are looking to increase their appetite without any sort of psychoactive effects or “head high”.

Anti-inflammatory 4

Researchers hypothesized that the introduction of CB2 agonists led to slower motor neuron degeneration and preserved motor function in ALS because they decreased the inflammation occurring in the Central Nervous System (CNS). Furthering this hypothesis, a study published in 2009 showed that the introduction of exogenous cannabinoids – such as CBN – decreased the inflammation associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), colitis, liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), allergic asthma, and Type 1 Diabetes.

While more research needs to be done, this could be of interest to those looking for bodily relief without needing to consume anything intoxicating. 

Is CBN a Sedative?

One common misconception about CBN is that it is heavily sedating. 

CBN by itself is not terribly sedating by itself and, in its pure form, will not help you sleep. However, when CBN is mixed with THC, the interaction of the two compounds amplifies the effects of each individual compound. The amplification of the CBN creates a strong feeling of sedation and drowsiness. 

It’s important to keep in mind that this interaction also boosts the effects of the THC, thereby amplifying the psychoactive effects of the compound. For those looking to amplify their THC high, using a small amount of CBN in your normal regiment can go a long way in getting more from your THC.

For those looking to unlock the sedating and drowsy feelings of CBN, using a small amount of THC with your CBN products can amplify the effects of the CBN without the THC being strongly intoxicating.

Want to try CBN?

Take a look at these CBN products! We believe that all of these are a great starting point for anyone who wants to delve deeper into what CBN has to offer!

Vape Cartridge

Bay State Hemp Company has created the ultimate evening cartridge. Using a multi-layered approach, Trifecta Relax works quickly and efficiently to lower stress levels and provide full body relaxation.

The Trifecta Relax vape cartridge contains 35% CBD, 25% CBG, 8.5% D8-THC, 6.5% CBC, and 6.5% CBN. The remainder of the cartridge contains naturally derived full spectrum hemp distillates and terpenes. 


3Chi leads the market in isolating individual cannabinoids and creating blends for their products. We highly recommend their “Comfortably Numb” Tincture, which is designed to deliver maximum relaxation effects.

This tincture is a Δ8-THC:CBN blend; perfect for anyone looking to add CBN into their existing hemp/cannabis regiment with as few variables as possible. 


NTRL recently released this full spectrum CBN salve and we couldn’t have been more excited to get our first batch delivered! 

High in CBN, this salve is the ultimate option for consumers looking for a topical that will promote skin health and limit inflammation.

1 Karas JA, Wong LJM, Paulin OKA, Mazeh AC, Hussein MH, Li J, Velkov T. The Antimicrobial Activity of Cannabinoids. Antibiotics. 2020; 9(7):406. https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics9070406

2 Shoemaker, J.L., Seely, K.A., Reed, R.L., Crow, J.P. and Prather, P.L. (2007), The CB2 cannabinoid agonist AM-1241 prolongs survival in a transgenic mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis when initiated at symptom onset. Journal of Neurochemistry, 101: 87-98. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.04346.x

3 Farrimond, J.A., Whalley, B.J. & Williams, C.M. Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns. Psychopharmacology 223, 117–129 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-012-2697-x

4 Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S. A., Hegde, V. L., & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future medicinal chemistry, 1(7), 1333–1349. https://doi.org/10.4155/fmc.09.93

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