What is Cannabinol (CBN)
Cannabinol is a cannabinoid found in small amounts in cannabis and hemp plants. It’s also a metabolite of THC, meaning it’s what’s left over after the body processes THC.
Companies have been able to produce CBN in an economical way following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, and products like CBN oil and CBN isolate are available for consumers to purchase for personal use.
I purchased and used CBN and I’ll describe my experience below.
CBN is described as “mildly psychoactive” on some websites such as Wikipedia, although during my personal experience with it at several different dose levels, I did not experience any psychoactive effects.
Cannabinol (CBN) Uses
There isn’t much research on cannabinol, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to use it to see if it improves their health. CBN is not FDA approved to treat any medical condition.
Cannabinol (CBN) For Sleep
Using CBN for insomnia is one of the more prevalent uses. As someone who uses caffeine and is exposed to blue light from electronics throughout the day, I was also curious if cannabinol could help me get to sleep faster, and sleep better.
There isn’t any research on CBN and sleep in humans, but I was able to find a book that mentions how CBN decreases time spent in REM in lab animals.
I’ve also seen one study referenced claiming it proves CBN is a strong sedative. But this study is actually dealing with halogenated CBN derivatives, or in plain English, the CBN molecule was modified, and this is not the pure CBN molecule being sold in CBN products.
With that said I’ll provide my own anecdote and the anecdotes of others below.
Most users who post anecdotal stories about CBN on Reddit also used CBN with other cannabinoids:
For this reason I’m a bit skeptical about CBN’s effectiveness by itself. Further research is definitely needed.
Personal Experience Using CBN For Sleep
My personal experience using CBN and a 1:1 CBN CBD mixture as a sleep aid might have been slightly effective, but ultimately it wasn’t impressive.
I used the CBN during the middle of the day when my energy levels were higher so I wouldn’t be prone to regular end of day drowsiness to potentially interfere with my experience of whether it induces drowsiness or not.
Everyone reacts to different dosages when it comes to cannabinoids. So the best way to use cannabinoids is to start very low and work your way up as needed.
The bottles of CBN oil I bought contained 8 milligrams per milliliter in each bottle. I used it over several days at several dose levels.
I didn’t notice any drowsiness or sleep aid effect at 1ml, 2ml, or 3ml doses (Up to 24mg CBN total), although the amount of time it took to fall asleep at higher doses might be considered “normal” for someone who usually takes a longer time to fall asleep.
To be sure of my experiment, I also avoided using the natural sleep aid melatonin on the days I used CBN.
The results of my experience with CBN oil was that it didn’t cause any drowsiness, but it possibly allowed me to fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time. The quality of sleep can be described as good, but not too different from a normal night of sleep.
Since reporting my experience on my YouTube channel, somebody mentioned the active dose of CBN could be as high as the active dose for CBD. Meaning you may need to take 30mg to 60mg to get any effect.
The reason I’m not impressed with CBN as a sleep aid because it’s expensive, and melatonin is a proven, inexpensive alternative.
CBN Alone Or Full Spectrum CBN?
With that said, the CBN oil I used that was mixed or “full spectrum” with other cannabinoids like CBC, CBD, CBG and CBDv seemed to have slightly more of a relaxing or calming effect, but hardly anything noteworthy.
For that reason I’d probably choose a full spectrum blend if I ever did choose to purchase a CBN product again.
People also report positive experiences using CBN with Delta-8 THC.
Because CBN is supposed to be a relaxing cannabinoid, I wouldn’t recommend using it in combination with CBG, which is a more of a stimulating cannabinoid.
Does CBN Enhance Other Cannabinoids?
Many people who use cannabinoids are mixing them with other cannabinoids at varying ratios to find the mixture that works best for their preference or needs.
It does seem that other cannabinoids may enhance CBN, based on my experience using the full spectrum oil blend compared to the straight CBN blend, and based on reports from people on Reddit who reported CBN benefits in conjunction with other cannabinoid use.
But will adding CBN to your cannabinoid mixture help? At least one study found that CBN did not enhance or alter the effects of THC. At best any effects were found to be small and did not account for the greater potency of THC.
CBN For Anxiety
There are only anecdotal reports of people using CBN (cannabinol) for anxiety. Considering the price of CBN I would personally prefer to try a different and less expensive cannabinoid like CBD, which people also use to self-treat anxiety. There are also human studies (here and here) showing CBD is effective for anxiety, unlike CBN.
With that said, one of the most popular threads about CBN on Reddit has multiple people claiming they use CBN to effectively treat anxiety. There are 28 mentions of “anxiety” in a post about CBN containing 64 total replies. That’s compared to 4 total positive mentions of “sleep.”
One person even claimed they were able to stop using anti-anxiety medication Lorazepam due to CBN (always consult a doctor before attempting something like this).
CBN For Pain Relief
CBN had significantly less positive mentions for pain in comparison to anxiety or sleep in the Reddit thread mentioned above. There were three positive mentions overall, but not nearly as many as for anxiety, and slightly less than the positive sleep mentions.
There’s just not enough research on using cannabinol for pain, so I would stick to trying CBD which is still not heavily researched but has significantly more positive anecdotal reports about being useful for pain management.
Another cannabinoid that affects certain pain receptors in the body is CBC (cannabichromene) and people have mentioned it positively when mixed with CBN. If you’re dealing with pain it may be worth exploring.
Will CBN (Cannabinol) Fail A Drug Test?
Because CBN is a metabolite (leftover after the body processes THC), and many drug tests check for THC metabolites, there’s good reason to believe you will fail a drug test if you use CBN in isolated or full spectrum form.
There are many different drug tests available, but the two studies below show that cannabinol is detectable in at least some urine and hair drug tests.
CBN was found to cross-react with urine drug tests for THC in this study. CBN is also detectable in hair analysis according to this study.