The HERB Blog


CBD vs CBN: What’s the Difference, and Which is Best for You?


The cannabis plant contains over 70 unique cannabinoids that contribute to its unique properties. These compounds interact differently with the endocannabinoid system and offer different experiences to the user. The most commonly known cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but are you familiar with cannabinol (CBN) yet? Let’s explore the similarities and differences between CBD and CBN.

What is Cannabidiol?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been the center of a wide range of scientific studies done on both cannabis and hemp. CBD is one of the non-psychoactive cannabinoids and has gained popularity for its ability to treat a number of ailments. CBD has been reported to be non habit-forming and an effective treatment of anxiety, seizures, pain, acne, and potentially even cancer.

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system which consists of CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptors have been shown to mainly regulate the central nervous system, while the CB2 receptors are more present in the immune system and central nervous system. The CB1 and CB2 receptors have been studied to influence to various degrees illnesses that include: pain, inflammation, neurodegeneration, epilepsy, obesity, addiction, fibrotic disorders, cancer, and renal fibrosis. 

What is Cannabinol?

Cannabinol (CBN) is considered to be a very mildly psychoactive cannabinoid, which puts it closer to CBD than THC. One of the differences between CBD and CBN is that CBN is a derivative cannabinoid, formed when THC is exposed to light and air, while CBD exists on its own in the plant.

Despite not being studied as deeply as CBD, researchers have found that CBN might have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, there is still much we don’t know yet in regards to the effectiveness of CBN. Even the research we do have can be contradictory. Some popular research on CBN noted it might be an effective sleep aid, while another study suggests that CBN alone does not provide more drowsiness. Instead, it’s the combination of CBN and other cannabinoids that creates this sleepy entourage effect.

CBD Production vs CBN Production

Since CBD is present in both cannabis and hemp, it can be extracted from either. CBD is extracted from the plant in the form of an oil which can be done in one of two ways: using CO2 or ethanol.

The CO2 extraction method turns the gas into a liquid which can then remove cannabinoids like CBD from the cannabis. The liquid CO2 is then reverted to gas which leaves the extracted cannabinoid. Using ethanol for extraction is generally less expensive than using CO2 and less time consuming. The ethanol is used to extract the cannabinoids and then carefully heated or cooled to release them.

When comparing the extraction methods for CBD versus CBN the processes are relatively similar. CBN is more often extracted using ethanol, but the science behind extraction is evolving quickly.

CBD Products vs CBN Products 

Choosing between CBD products versus CBN products depends on what your individual needs are. The market is more saturated with CBD products, so there’s more selection when looking for them, but CBN is quickly growing in popularity. Right now it’s more common to find CBN in edibles or tinctures, than in any other form. 

One of the big differences between CBD and CBN products is what they’re targeted towards. If you’re looking to increase your relaxation and sleep you might want to go with CBN versus CBD. Look for CBN products with little to no THC if you don’t want that euphoric feeling like this CBN-infused tea–perfect for a nightcap. If you like that feeling, try something THC-dominant like these best-selling blueberry gummies.

Or if you have a wider range of needs such as anxiety, pain, and nausea products with CBD will likely be more effective. With CBD you’re not as limited in how you wish to consume it so you can choose between pre-rolls or gummies depending on your preference.

Camino Midnight Blueberry Gummies

The Future of CBD and CBN

The markets for health-related cannabis products have been growing and evolving in the past years following the legalization of medical cannabis in California 1996. 

Research comparing CBD versus CBN is still young and will only continue as the legalization of medicinal cannabis continues throughout the United States and abroad. The CBD market is projected to grow exponentially over the next decade. Further similarities and differences between CBD and CBN will become more clear with additional research.

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