CBN vs. CBD: How Do They Compare?

CBN vs. CBD: How Do They Compare?

CBD is a beloved wellness cannabinoid used by people from all walks of life to support holistic well-being. Many people added CBD into their daily routine, and shortly thereafter, new cannabinoids started popping up. Now CBN has worked its way into the arsenal of wellness cannabinoids, and a lot of natural wellness enthusiasts were quick to adopt it.

Feeling a little out of the loop? Here’s what you should know about CBN vs. CBD and when to use each cannabinoid in your routine.

What Is a Cannabinoid?

Cannabinoids are plant compounds that occur most abundantly in the cannabis family of plants, including hemp. They also occur in vegetables and seeds, like broccoli and peppercorns. Animals and humans produce their own unique cannabinoids that differ from the cannabinoids found in plants.

Cannabis plants (including hemp plants) use cannabinoids to grow and thrive. Each cannabinoid plays a different role in the growth and reproductive cycles of the cannabinoid plant.

The hemp plant makes all of its cannabinoids on demand by converting a cannabinoid called cannabigerol (CBG) into everything else it needs. The end result is over 100 identified different cannabinoids that each has the potential to produce unique effects.

That’s a lot of cannabinoids. In fact, it’s too many for researchers to decipher at this point. They’re still at work discovering the potential benefits and uses for most of those cannabinoids. We know the most about major cannabinoids (like CBD and THC) and minor cannabinoids that occur in significant amounts (like CBG, CBC, and CBN).

How Do Cannabinoids Work?

Cannabinoids work by stimulating the body’s endocannabinoid system. You’re full of cannabinoid receptors, as well as receptors the body uses for other purposes that are also open to cannabinoid influence. Basically, almost every part of your body can be influenced by cannabinoids. Your general mood, the level of physical and emotional tension you experience, and even your sleep-wake cycle can be modulated with cannabinoids.

Your endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in many of your body’s most important processes. You make your own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, to stimulate the system. Your endocannabinoid system can also use many of the cannabinoids that naturally occur in hemp for similar purposes.

You’ve probably heard people say that CBD products have a massive list of potential benefits. It seems like they can do everything short of folding your laundry and unloading the dishwasher for you. Some claims are pretty outlandish, but people aren’t far off base when they say that CBD supports them in numerous ways. Its list of potential benefits is so long because its ability to influence your body is so significant.

What Is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in hemp plants. CBD can stimulate your entire endocannabinoid system. People use CBD to aid in workout recovery, support overall emotional wellness, and support better sleep. Researchers are constantly finding new potential uses and health benefits of CBD and other cannabis products.

Is CBD Psychoactive?

CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid. It doesn’t bind to the receptors in your body. It prefers to stimulate them. It stops in to say hello very briefly and gives your endocannabinoid system a reminder to get to work. The benefits produced by CBD aren’t a result of the CBD itself changing your body. They’re the result of your body kicking into gear and doing the things it was designed to do.

What Is CBN?

CBN, or cannabinol, isn’t a unique cannabinoid. It’s a cannabinoid that occurs when tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) degrades over time. Exposure to light and heat will break down THC, changing its structure and properties. The amount of CBN in hemp directly correlates with the amount of time THC is left to degrade. THC breaks down, and the end result is its less potent cousin, CBN.

CBN has been studied for its ability to promote better sleep. People in the cannabinoid wellness community incorporate CBN into their bedtime routines when they need a little help winding down at night.

How Do You Use CBD?

CBD comes in many forms. CBD oil is the most popular form of CBD because it starts working faster than CBD edibles like gummies. Most people who regularly use CBD will use it once a day. Some people take it in the morning with the rest of their wellness supplements, and others prefer to use it at night when it’s time to relax. Aside from gummies, CBD is also available in tinctures and topicals like lotions or creams.

People who prefer to enjoy the holistic support of CBD all day long will take a morning dose and a night dose. The effects of CBD wear off within eight to 12 hours when the body has fully processed and removed it. Using it twice daily can keep the benefits steady and consistent from sunup to sundown.

How Do You Use CBN?

Like CBD, CBN comes in oil form and gummy form, and it’s rarely on its own. It’s usually a featured ingredient in full-spectrum or broad-spectrum hemp extract products.

The effects of CBN are better suited for nighttime use. People report that CBN makes them feel sleepy — read: CBN is built for bedtime.

Use CBN about 10-20 minutes before you’re ready to hit the hay (add another 10 to make it 20-30 if it’s a gummy). If you take it at the beginning of your bedtime routine, you should experience the benefits of CBN by the time you’re lying down.

Can You Use CBD and CBN Together?

You can and should use CBN and CBD together. Most CBN formulations also contain CBD and vice versa. The biggest difference is how much of each cannabinoid the products will contain. CBD products are likely to have tiny trace amounts of naturally occurring CBN.

CBN products will contain a lot of CBN but also a significant amount of CBD. That’s because CBD is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in hemp. The plant is full of it, so the plant’s extract will also be full of it.

Using these cannabinoids together may be more beneficial than using them alone. The entourage effect is a theory of how cannabinoids work in unison to produce benefits. The hemp plant creates its own natural balance of cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients. They act as a team to keep the plant healthy and support it throughout its life cycle. Cannabis compounds were literally made for each other.

Whole hemp extract, also called full spectrum CBD, keeps the gang together. It isn’t modified to separate, remove, or isolate any of the compounds in the extract. When you keep hemp extract whole, you’re maintaining its natural balance. Why mess up a perfectly good thing?

Do You Have To Use Them Both Together?

You don’t have to use CBD and CBN together if you don’t want to. Isolate products are cannabinoid products that contain only one cannabinoid that’s been separated from the extract. Broad-spectrum cannabinoid products are products that have had the THC removed. You can find both CBD isolate and CBN isolate if you prefer to use one cannabinoid at a time.

Keep in mind that you’ll be sacrificing the potential enhancement of benefits you’ll get from the entourage effect. Most studies also showed that CBN was more effective when used in conjunction with CBD. There’s not a lot of data that suggests that CBN helps support overall sleep when used by itself.

CBN and CBD together are the literal dream team. Separate them at the risk of your own disappointment.

Can You Use CBN and CBD for Sleep Along With Sleep Aids?

Cannabinoids can interact with the way the body absorbs and utilizes certain drugs. You shouldn’t use cannabinoid products if you also intend to use an over-the-counter sleep aid medication or a prescription sedative, and should consult your doctor before use.

You can use CBN and CBD in conjunction with other herbal preparations, like chamomile tea or valerian root, but it’s best to use each preparation separately first. This will allow you to better understand how they affect your sleep and if it’s necessary to combine them.

How Often Can You Use CBD and CBN?

Both CBD and CBN work best with consistent use. You might experience subtle benefits if you only use them when you feel like you need them, but you’re throttling their potential if you aren’t using them regularly.

It can take up to 30 days for cannabinoids to have a meaningful impact on your endocannabinoid system. If you used CBD or CBN once and felt like it didn’t work, you may not be wrong. Use your cannabinoid product every day until you run out. See how you feel when you’ve finished the whole bottle or jar.

You’ll also want to keep in mind that the benefits of non-psychoactive cannabinoids aren’t always obvious. CBD doesn’t change the way your body works. You won’t have a moment where you feel like it “kicked in” because its effects are subtle and gradual. You may feel slightly more relaxed if you use some CBD and chill out for a little while. It won’t glue you to the couch like traditional cannabis. It’s designed to support your body in its natural efforts to help you chill out.

The Wrap-Up on CBN vs. CBD

CBN and CBD are cannabinoids with many potential benefits. They work best when used together, especially for sleep support. If you sleep like a champion, you may not need to use CBN in your regular routine. If you know you’re not getting the recommended minimum of 7 hours per night, it may be worth giving CBN a try.

If you’re just looking for general daily wellness support, CBD is a great fit. You don’t need to use a CBD product with concentrated amounts of CBN if you’re only looking to ease a little bit of tension throughout the day.


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CBN and D 9 -THC concentration ratio as an indicator of the age of stored marijuana samples | United Nations

2018 Farm Bill Provides A Path Forward for Industrial Hemp | Market Intel | American Farm Bureau Federation

FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD) | FDA

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