According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three Americans doesn’t get enough sleep. Meanwhile, here in the US we’ve seen an explosion of interest in cannabinoids, the 100 or so unique chemical compounds that give cannabis and hemp their medicinal benefits. Those two trends are driving new interest in CBN oil.
You probably already know what CBD and THC are, but CBN may be new to you. CBN is one of the minor cannabinoids that is found in smaller amounts in cannabis. Typically, it is found in aged cannabis because CBN is actually a byproduct of THC, produced after THC is exposed to heat or light and oxygen over time.
After THC degrades into CBN, it loses its ability to intoxicate you, but it still has some benefits. Popular legend says that aged cannabis and CBN can make you sleepy, and while that’s true, research doesn’t support the idea that it’s the CBN alone doing that. Either way, in a desperately sleep-deprived country, you can bet we’re going to be eager to give CBN oil a try.
In this post, we’ll cover the best CBN oils, how CBN works, describe how it compares to CBD oil, and explain how to use CBN oil. This is a burgeoning area, but, for now, here are our recommendations.
The Best CBN Oil Products
- Best Nighttime CBN Formula – CBD American Shaman CBNight Water Soluble CBN Oil
- Best Full Spectrum CBN Formula – Thought Cloud High CBNFull Spectrum Pain and Sleep Formula
CBD American Shaman CBNight Water Soluble CBN Oil
Another top name in wellness and hemp is CBD American Shaman, for good reason. Their wide range now includes the hemp derived CBD and CBN oil that we’re discussing here, but all of their products go through the same state-of-the-art extraction processes to guarantee potency and purity. CBD American Shaman places a great deal of emphasis on improving bioavailability during their post-processing practices, which is part of what makes this CBN oil stand out.
Using nanotechnology and modern techniques, CBD American Shaman claims to achieve about 9 times more bioavailability with their hemp oil than other products on the market. More bioavailability means your body absorbs the active hemp compounds and cannabinoids—including CBN—more readily, giving you more for your money.
CBD American Shaman only derives its products from USA-cultivated, sustainably grown hemp plants, and their team follows the standards for product quality and safety set by the US Hemp Authority. The company also tries to give back to the community by offering a financial assistance program to disabled and low-income households as well as veterans.
CBNight is a CBN oil product by CBD American Shaman, and we love it. You get a huge amount of CBN per 30mL bottle: 125.4mg. They use an undisclosed, proprietary blend of flavonoids, cannabinoids, and terpenes, all of which support healthy sleep cycles, enhance relaxation and are naturally found in the hemp plant.
CBD American Shaman CBNight Water Soluble CBN Oil features:
- American-grown hemp, 3rd party tested
- Made in the USA
- US Hemp Authority certified standards
- Improved bioavailability thanks to nanotechnology
- less than 3 percent THC—no high
- Veterans program, discounts for disabled and low-income families
- Full-spectrum, naturally-occurring hemp terpenes
- Easy to use serving instructions
- Pure MCT coconut oil carrier
- Cost: About $3.33-$3.99 per 1mL serving, depending on the bottle size
- Free US shipping to all 50 states with $99 purchase, $6 UPS sure post to most states otherwise; flat rate international shipping to most countries
Thought Cloud High CBN Full Spectrum Pain and Sleep Formula
Thought Cloud is highly focused on product quality. They derive their CBD and CBN products from hemp that is organically grown on vegan, sustainable Colorado farms. They also control quality in-house with their own extraction and processing, and they lab-test all products immediately after extraction.
But it doesn’t end there. Thought Cloud is also committed to third party lab testing at various points of the manufacturing process. You can see all results online if you scan the QR code on the website. Furthermore, Thought Cloud has excellent, quick customer service and stands behind its products.
The Thought Cloud High CBN tincture is a truly unique offering for anyone searching for that specific CBN cannabinoid profile. The tincture is pure MCT coconut oil with cannabis extract and an even split of CBN (cannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). The three variations on offer include: 15mL, 30mL, and 60mL sizes, each with about 36.67mg of the formula per mL.
The pure extract offers the major benefits you’d associate with both CBD and CBN. Users love CBN for relaxation and sometimes for treating restlessness or insomnia. The CBD aspect of the tincture offers anti-inflammatory, pain relieving benefits, and the entourage effect from the product as a whole provides general evening relief and relaxation.
Thought Cloud High CBN Full Spectrum Pain and Sleep Formula features:
- Colorado hemp, 3rd party tested
- Made in the USA
- 100% organic and natural, non-GMO
- No pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, no herbicides used
- 0 percent THC—no high
- Sales, coupons
- Industry-standard, supercritical CO2 extraction
- Safe, gluten-free, natural flavoring
- Easy to use serving instructions
- Pure MCT coconut oil carrier
- Cost: About $3.89-$4.53 per 1mL serving, depending on the bottle size
- Free US shipping to all 50 states; flat rate international shipping to most countries except Canada
What is CBN Oil?
Often found in trace amounts in aged cannabis, cannabinol (CBN) is a less common cannabinoid than, for example, CBD. CBN forms as a metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main psychoactive compound responsible for the famous cannabis “high” side effect.
Cannabis has over 100 different cannabinoids as well as numerous terpenes and other compounds that contribute to its effects. THC and CBD are the best-understood of the cannabinoids thus far, but CBN was actually the first cannabinoid scientists identified, and all three have been studied for decades.
Typically, since growers and users have sought to maximize levels of THC, and more recently CBD, this has meant less attention to cannabinoids such as CBN. However, CBN occurs naturally over time as the cannabis plant ages because exposure to oxygen or heat causes the conversion from THC to CBN.
There are cannabinoid receptors throughout the human body that bind with THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids; these receptors make up the endocannabinoid system and are involved in immune function, pain perception, memory, and sleep. Cannabinoids bind with these and other receptors to move them into action and help the body achieve homeostasis.
There are many cannabinoid receptors in the human body, but the two best understood are endocannabinoid receptor 1, which impacts the central nervous system (CB1), and endocannabinoid receptor 2, which targets the immune system (CB2). CBN activates both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but it has a higher affinity to CB2 receptors.
The UN conducted a major study of CBN in 1999 that helped elucidate how CBN forms as THC degradation takes place. The research found that cannabis becomes more CBN-heavy over time as it degrades and that there is a relationship between age and storage conditions of a cannabis sample and how much CBN is present.
In fact, since CBN is a product of degradation, and we generally prioritize THC, there usually isn’t much CBN in cannabis. While THC and CBD might account for upwards of 30 percent of a cannabis plant, CBN is usually less than 0.5 to 1 percent.
CBN vs CBD Oil?
The main difference between CBD and CBN is chemical. Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) is the base of all cannabinoids, and when it combines with other components or gets exposed to heat, it forms new acidic precursors to other cannabis components:
CBDA later becomes CBD, the component in CBD products. CBCA becomes CBC. And THCA becomes THC, which eventually degrades into CBN. So both CBD and CBN begin as CBGA and diverge from there. Another major difference between CBN and CBD is that CBN may have slightly psychoactive effects in very large doses since it is derived from THC.
Other minor differences come in their benefits—which work better together thanks to the entourage effect. Read on in the next section to learn more about how to use CBN oil and its benefits.
Both CBD and CBN offer relaxation. However, while CBN currently has the reputation of being an effective sedative on the level of Diazepam, there’s actually very little quality research to back that claim up. According to Dr. Ethan Russo’s research, CBN is not a proven sedative, but it probably does contribute to an entourage effect that could be sedating in some cases.
Legally speaking, CBD and CBN are on the same footing. Hemp and all extracts, derivatives, and cannabinoids with 0.3 percent or less THC became legal under Section 297A of the 2018 Farm Bill. Therefore, because CBN does not contain THC and is a cannabinoid found in hemp, it is a legal cannabinoid in the US.
On the other hand, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the statements from most of these companies because the law is still chaotic in this area. So, although CBN oil is certainly legal, it is not well-regulated.
How to Use CBN Oil
Most tinctures work best taken orally and held under the tongue before swallowing. However, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
In terms of CBN oil more generally, while more research is needed, scientists do think CBN plays an important part in “whole plant medicine.” This means that CBN works together with other terpenes, cannabinoids, and compounds to enhance the product’s overall effectiveness—something experts call the “entourage effect.”
And, although CBN-specific science is limited, here is what we do know so far:
- Research indicates CBN is an effective pain reliever or analgesic for fibromyalgia, TMJ, and other chronic muscle pain disorders—even more so together with CBD.
- Research from 2020 shows that CBN fights cancer cell growth and induces apoptosis and cancer cell death.
- Researchers found that CBN stimulates appetite in rats, increasing both the quantity and time of feeding.
- CBN is a potent antibacterial agent against a variety of resistant strains of bacteria including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
- CBN may treat allergic asthma and other inflammatory disorders, and it can reduce intraocular pressure to treat glaucoma.
- CBN along with THC and CBD has been understood as an anticonvulsant since the 1970s.
- CBN may also stimulate bone marrow cell growth, helping to create bone tissue and heal fractures.
CBN is sometimes called the sleepy cannabinoid or a sedative, but the research doesn’t support that. In fact, in the 1970s a small study found that CBN did not sedate participants. However, users of aged cannabis—which is more likely to contain more CBN—know that it may make you sleepier, suggesting a synergistic sedative effect between THC and CBN.
The evaporation of monoterpenoids and oxygenation of the remaining sesquiterpenoids may also have an effect. The sesquiterpenoids are the more sedating terpenes, so the overall effects of older cannabis are probably more sedating. However, this isn’t down to any one factor, including CBN.
Still, these CBN oils work—principally because they are whole plant formulations. If sleep is what you’re after, especially if stress is the issue, it’s not a bad idea to seek out CBN oils.
More research is needed on CBN’s full potential, but we already know that it offers many benefits. These exciting new CBN oils are high quality, and you can trust these companies even in a mostly unregulated market. Let us know which CBN oil you like best—things are changing fast!
Disclaimer: These have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. None of this information is a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Always consult a healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible side effects before using any product.