What is CBN and how can it affect your sleep?

Cannabis has many different cannabinoids and terpenes that produce a variety of effects when interacting with our endocannabinoid system. Today we are going to look at CBN (cannabinol) - nicknamed the “sleep cannabinoid” - and offer some helpful tips if you want to use cannabis to affect your sleep.

How it works – CBN is THC degrading

CBN is a cannabinoid created as a by-product of THC degradation when THC is exposed to ultraviolet light and oxygen. In general, the more aged the dried flower becomes, the more THC to CBN conversion occurs.  It is also possible to have low amounts of CBN in fresh flower that was sun-grown outdoors. 

Back in the 19th century – prior to THC and CBD being part of the zeitgeist re the known characteristics of cannabis – CBN was actually the first cannabinoid to be isolated!  Since that time we have discovered its potential to affect an individual as an appetite stimulant, anti-convulsant, and/or a sleep-inducing sedative.

Entourage Effect – CBN is more effective when taken with THC

While the fact that CBN always exists alongside other cannabinoids and terpenes in flower makes it difficult to pinpoint the known effects of standalone CBN, this is in fact good news for anyone looking to CBN for its sedative effects.  A 1976 study revealed that CBN isolate does not produce a noticeable sedative effect on its own - but when combined with THC the effect is more pronounced than either cannabinoid produces separately.


Terpenes – what role do they play with CBN?

CBN is, on average, a quarter as psychoactive as THC.  This is why, in general, people find aged cannabis to be less potent and more sedative, and it is worth mentioning that the way terpenes degrade over time is also thought to contribute to these effects.  Dr. Ethan Russo’s research found that the older cannabis that is high in CBN is also high in sedating terpenes (ie. Myrcene, Linalool) (terpenes being the other active chemicals in the plant) as the less sedating terpenes tend to degrade first.

With this in mind, we must also remember that everyone’s endocannabinoid system interacts with cannabinoids/terpenes differently, and while plants (and botanical medicine in general) seldom produce standardized effects, it’s important to recognize not every person will experience the same effects from the same strains. 

Things to consider if you’re wanting to use cannabis to promote better sleep are the strain cannabinoid and terpeneprofile, the dose (CBN has been found to be more sedative at lower doses than higher doses - yet another reason to start low and go slow), method of consumption (inhalation, ingesting, sublingual, etc), and timing (how soon before bedtime).

Skip the Wait – do not wait for your old weed to turn into CBN!

 While any flower can be exposed to UV light and oxygen to speed up the conversion of THC to CBN, it is now possible to get higher doses of CBN in oil form.  Solei has released Renew CBN oil that boasts a 1:1 CBN:THC ratio. Come check it out at your local Jimmys Cannabis Shop today!

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