Which is Better For Sleep: CBD Or CBN?

Which is Better For Sleep, CBD Or CBN?

CBN and CBD are both cannabinoids that occur naturally in cannabis plants. However, the two cannabinoids are produced very differently and have unique chemical makeups. These differences between CBN and CBD account for how the two cannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoid system to deliver distinct effects.

CBD has been widely studied, and it's hailed for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits. Comparably, scientific studies into CBN are lacking, and its research is still very early in its infancy.

However, while CBD has been garnering all the buzz for years now, CBN is quickly catching up to this popularity, with its users naming it 'the most sedating cannabinoid.'

Understanding the effects delivered by CBD and CBN will help you make more precise cannabis consumption decisions to ensure you get the experience that you seek.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that occurs in abundant amounts in cannabis plants. Unlike its popular cousin THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not get you high, and it will not cause any mind-altering effects.

CBDs' medicinal and therapeutic benefits have been touted for ages, and recent clinical trials have backed these claims.

Consequently, the cannabinoid is increasingly becoming popular in the health and wellness market, with patients using it as a complementary or alternative treatment for numerous health conditions.

What Is CBN?

Cannabinol, often referred to as CBN, is another cannabinoid that occurs naturally in cannabis plants. However, although similar to CBD, it occurs differently.

CBN is the product of oxidizing and decomposing THC. Meaning that when heated or exposed to oxygen, THC chemically converts to CBN.

Growers cannot possibly produce a strain with high CBN levels. That's because the amount of CBN found in cannabis flower depends on different factors like the amount of THC produced, the age of the buds, and its exposure to light, oxygen, and heat.

People looking to consume flower with high levels of CBN are better off allowing their THC to oxidize.

CBD, CBN, And The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

When consumed, both CBN and CBD deliver their effects by influencing the ECS. However, the interaction between the two cannabinoids and the ECS is significantly different, which accounts for the varying effects experienced by their users.

Though CBN was the first cannabinoid to be isolated in its purest form from the cannabis plants back in 1896, little is known about it.

Experts believe that CBN on its own does not deliver the intoxicating effects of THC. THC delivers its euphoric high by binding directly with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our ECS.

Similarly, CBN binds with the CB1 receptors, but with only about a tenth the strength of THC. This is why CBN does not cause the high associated with marijuana. Ideally, CBN is mildly psychoactive, slightly higher than CBD but much less than THC.

On the flip side, CBD does not interact with the receptors in the ECS the same way THC and CBN do. Instead of binding directly with the receptors, CBD activates them and enhances the natural levels of our body's endocannabinoids to provide more potent health and wellness benefits.

CBN VS. CBD Effects

CBN is perhaps the least studied cannabinoid so far. But the limited information available suggests that the cannabinoid may provide a reasonable amount of health and wellness benefits for its users.

A 2011 study concluded that a combination of THC and CBN delivered highly sedative benefits and a more intense 'couch-locked effect. Researchers also concluded that even when consumed on its own, CBN provides anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant effects.

Additionally, a study on rats found that CBN can increase appetite and deliver pain-relieving benefits when taken together with CBD. CBN is anecdotally relaxing, sedating, analgesic, and has shown potential to help with sleep disorders by promoting more restful sleep.

In a recent analysis, researchers found that administering 2.5-5mg of CBN delivered nearly the same effects as a 5-10 mg dose of the pharmaceutical sedative diazepam. Please note that this review was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, and more studies are required.

Comparably, CBD has been widely researched. In fact, it is one of the most studied cannabinoids today. Its effects are relatively well-known compared to CBN. Both anecdotal reports and scientific studies have backed CBDs potency in helping with a boatload of health and wellness benefits, including chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, and even insomnia.

Because of its successful clinical studies, most users and medical marijuana patients turn to CBD to experience its anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anxiety-alleviating, analgesic and sleep enhancement benefits.

So, CBN vs. CBD- Which Is Better For Sleep?

The choice between CBN and CBD for sleep boils down to personal preference and the effects you are looking for. Note that research suggests that the two cannabinoids are both effective sleep aids. However, it appears that CBN may be a more potent sleep aid than CBD.

In addition, the combination of CBN and THC is said to deliver a gently sedative effect that draws users into a good night's sleep. In comparison, CBD is believed to mellow out the adverse effects of THC like paranoia and anxiety so that users enjoy a pleasant and more manageable high.


Can I Mix CBD And CBN?

Simple answer? Yes! You can safely combine CBN and CBD.

According to experts, mixing CBN and CBD helps them deliver more pronounced and potent effects than consuming either cannabinoid separately. This can be explained by the entourage effect, where two or more cannabinoids work in synergy to provide better effects.

For instance, a recent study found that when the two cannabinoids are taken together, they effectively alleviate pain.

Why Is CBN More Expensive Than CBD?

CBD is found in abundance in both hemp and marijuana plants. Because of this abundance, the extraction of CBD is relatively cheap and straightforward. Hence, the CBD products available on the market today are relatively affordable.

On the other hand, CBN occurs in small amounts in cannabis plants and is considered a minor cannabinoid. For this reason, it is a bit difficult for companies to isolate CBN at a large scale and avail it for consumption.

Additionally, CBN does not occur naturally as it results from the oxidation of THC. This process takes time, and depending on the quality of the CBN product; it may cost up to ten times the price of CBD per mg.

The Bottom Line


The choice between CBD and CBN for sleep is determined by personal preference and the effects you are looking for. Research shows that the two compounds can be effective sleep aids. However, CBN appears to deliver more potent help with sleep than CBD.

Note that the two cannabinoids also deliver other distinct medicinal benefits and cannot be used in place of each other. However, users can combine CBD and CBN to experience the benefits of both worlds.

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