What is CBN in Cannabis, and how does it differ from CBD?

As a reader who has some background knowledge on hundreds of cannabis constituents’ cannabinoids, CBD or Cannabidiol might be an all too familiar term. But it is relatively rare to find people who are equally aware of another vital cannabis constituent compound: CBN or cannabinol. The parent category of cannabinoids is basically chemical compounds that interact and bind to special body receptors, which experts refer to as the endocannabinoid system. So, don’t worry if CBN is something totally new to you, as most people using cannabis for medical purposes are incredibly familiar with CBD instead. However, this article will get you up to the ground.

Not only to you but also to scientists and medical experts, CBN is something that they have stumbled upon only in the recent past. There are some studies on CBN, but they are significantly small in number. As per initial indications suggested by medical studies, CBN minimizes pain and provides a general sedating effect. Before we proceed further, let’s briefly examine the differences between CBD and CBN, as the two have some overlapping medical benefits.

Photo by Enecta Cannabis extracts, Courtesy of Unsplash

Use and Benefit of CBD

CBD is characterized by being non-psychoactive, or in other words, it does not lead to a high like THC. The typical use of CBD treats people suffering from conditions like anxiety and pain, amongst others. Unfortunately, the existing body of CBD studies is not exhaustive. But, the ones we do have on record suggest a high safety profile for the cannabis chemical constituent. You can find CBD in several forms, including:

  • Tinctures and oils
  • Gummies
  • Pills and capsules
  • Lotions and creams
  • And of course, vape

Some important medical uses of CBD are as follows:

  • Managing depression and anxiety
  • Controlling seizures and protecting the neural system
  • Parkinson’s disease (research still going on)
  • Alzheimer’s disease (research still going on)
  • Epilepsy (research still going on)
  • Multiple sclerosis (research still going on)
  • Quality sleep
  • Pain relief
  • Treating Cancer

Use and Benefit of CBN

Scientists derive the CBN chemical by breaking down the psychoactive THC cannabinoid. So unlike CBD, CBN is indeed psychoactive, albeit in a mild and negligible manner. That means, in all probability, CBN will not give you the high of THC.

The proportion between research studies of CBD and CBN is not proportionate. The truth is experts and scientists have paid little attention to CBN in their research. But that does not affect their positive effects. CBN has already gained a reputation as a sleeping aid. Admittedly, the lack of research on CBN is quite unfortunate. The chemical holds excellent promise as a healing substance if the preliminary studies are anything to go by. CBN is commonly used for its benefits in the following cases:

  • Sleep

Most people who have taken CBN work like magic to ensure a more comfortable, deeper sleep. But as far as research is concerned, only one study suggests that CBN might potentially be a good sedative. The research dates back to 1975 and studied only five male subjects. The study found that THC and CBN combined have enhanced sedative effects than the THC compound alone.

  • Relief from Pain

A 2019 study on rats demonstrated the effectiveness of both CBD and CBN in reducing the perception of myofascial pain in rodents. Interestingly enough, the study observed how a mixture of CBN and CBD was more effective in reducing pain than either of the drugs on its own. Thus, the researchers concluded that the study suggests that administering CBD and CBN can give you relief from pain resulting from fibromyalgia and temporomandibular disorders.

  • Potential Protective Effects on the Neural System

According to a relatively older study conducted on rats in 2005, CBN appears to delay the occurrence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). But it is not sure that the chemical has the same effect on human beings too.

  • Controlling Inflammation

As per yet another rat study, CBN apparently reduces inflammation resulting from arthritis. However, like its neuroprotective effects, the present body of research cannot be sure that the effects hold ground for human beings.

Essential Differences Between CBD and CBN?

Difference between CBN and CBD
Photo by Louis Reed, Courtesy of Unsplash

CBD helps people suffering from the following conditions:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sleep disorders
  • Relief from pain
  • Seizures
  • Anti-inflammation
  • Neuroprotection

While CBN helps only in:

  • Sleep
  • Pain relief
  • Inflammation
  • Neuroprotection

Other Important Differences

It might be expected for ordinary folks to confuse between the similarly sounding CBN and CBD. However, it is terribly essential to distinguish between the two molecules.

  • Differences in obtaining methods of CBD and CBN

CBD is the second-largest cannabis constituent compound. Therefore, CBD product manufacturers can create particular cannabis breeds which provide a more significant amount of CBD. On the other hand, CBN manufacturers cannot directly manipulate the amount of CBN in a cannabis plant as it is the product of the breaking down of THC. However, manufacturers are free to heat up the THC to increase the pace of THC dissolving into the form of CBN.

  • State of Research

While science has just started discovering CBD and CBN, CBD is still miles ahead of CBN for medical expert attention.

  • FDA Status

CBD enjoys FDA approval as a means of treatment of two rare types of epilepsy and TSC-resultant seizures.

  • Differences Between CBD and CBN in Terms of Side-Effects

Medical professionals and experts view CBD as a relatively safe treatment means. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have side effects, which include:

  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight fluctuations

Further, if you mix doses some medicinal drugs with CBD doses, it might damage the liver. These drugs include:

  • lomitapide
  • leflunomide
  • mipomersen
  • teriflunomide
  • pexidartinib
  • valproate

On the other hand, CBN has no known side effects, but it is only natural as we know little about the chemical.

To Conclude

While CBN is indeed a potential drug with extraordinary healing powers, you need Doctor’s advice before using it. Not only CBN but also CBD or other supplement forms are best taken on medical advice. It is so mainly because drugs often interact with each other, potentially making your condition even worse. The last thing to note is that these are supplemental therapies and not one’s that a doctor can take on their own.