If you’re reading this, you’re probably a consumer or potential consumer of CBD, and you’ve heard of or experienced the wonderful health benefits that CBD has been providing people for many years. Since the legalization of cannabis in some states and hemp in most, scientists have been able to isolate and research cannabinoids more in depth than ever before.
Our bodies contain an endocannabinoid system, which acts kind of like the nervous system. The endocannabinoid system has receptors that are activated by different cannabinoids (the compounds that give cannabis its medicinal qualities) when they are introduced into the system. Without getting too nerdy and technical, just think of taking CBD as switching a light switch on in your brain! It activates the neurotransmitters that perceive and respond to stress, that feel pain, and that fight inflammation; therefore you receive benefits when you take it!
There are CB1 and CB2 receptors that respond to different cannabinoids and signal a response to the rest of the body. The CB1 receptor deals with the brain and nervous system, while the CB2 receptor targets the immune and digestive systems. It’s truly incredible that properties found in a plant have such an effect on our bodies! We’ll be talking about these receptors again a little later on.
What is CBN?
Within the last fifty years, scientists have been able to isolate a multitude of cannabinoids and study their effects both alone and paired with other cannabinoids. Most cannabinoids work well when paired with another cannabinoid, and since the psychoactive properties of THC are undesirable/illegal for some of us, companies began looking into other cannabinoids to enhance the health benefits of CBD without the “high”.
Cannabinol (CBN) is a cannabinoid that structurally looks very similar to THC in its genetic make-up. Research has found that, “Higher levels of CBN in any cannabis product may provide a particularly effective option for battling insomnia and reducing anxiety” and that it is most effective when paired with either CBD or THC (The Apothecarium). The synergistic effect of CBD paired with CBN is profound for those of us who have a hard time falling asleep or feel overwhelmed on a daily basis.
How Does CBN Work?
CBN is found mainly in aged cannabis plants, or plants that have been cured for longer than the average plant would sit for. It’s basically a very dry, stale flower. It is formed when THC oxygenates and begins to structurally decompose and forms into CBN. It’s claimed to be one of the first cannabinoids discovered, and scientists originally thought it was the psychoactive molecule in cannabis (Swader).
Remember when we talked about receptors? Here they are again! CBN mainly binds with the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system, much like THC does. However, it does still interact with the CB2 receptor as well. This allows it to function with not only the brain and the nervous system, but the digestive and the immune system as well.
What are the Benefits of CBN?
Scientists have mainly found research that supports that CBN helps with sleep and with stress relief. This could be due to the way that CBN binds to the CB1 receptor and has an influence on the nervous system. It most likely targets different hemispheres of the brain and the neurotransmitters associated with it to bring relief to neurological anomalies.
There have also been studies conducted on CBN’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, appetite inducing, and convulsant control properties, but research still has a long way to go! If anybody hears of any researchers looking for participants… count me in!
Of course, everyone’s bodies react to things in different ways, but for the majority of us, there will be a great deal of relief when it comes to sleep disturbances and stress.* I know that for me, CBD already does wonders for my stress levels and helps me stay balanced throughout the day, but I could use a little extra “oomph” at night! I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up trying CBN-rich products for myself.
Despite CBN being one of the cannabinoids that was discovered first, there still aren’t a lot of products that are rich in CBN. That’s because the industry is just now catching on to how beneficial CBN can be to people, and are creating plant genotypes that can yield a higher amount of CBN, as well as curing their plants for longer in order for any THC to degrade into CBN. It’s a process! However, Lift Health has produced a couple of specially curated products that are designed to be an occasional sleep aid that I have been LOVING.
This tincture is made with a proprietary blend of CBN, CBD, melatonin, and vitamin B-6 for a synergistic way to doze to sleep. The ratio is 30mg CBD to 2mg CBN, which is great for targeting those different receptors for a holistic benefit. Lift suggests that along with taking this tincture 30 minutes before bed, you should also reduce the amount of light you’re exposed to via technologies and artificial bulbs. CBN and CBD are supposed to promote your natural circadian rhythm, and harsh lights can prolong you from feeling sleepy, or staying asleep.
It comes in two different flavors, but I personally like Calming Honey the best. The blend complements the earthy MCT oil nicely, and makes me feel tranquil before falling asleep. I begin yawning about fifteen minutes after I take it, and am asleep within thirty minutes! I don’t use it every night, but on the nights where I am more restless than normal, it really helps me drift off much faster. Plus, the next morning I find that I’m not as groggy, or feel as stressed out when I wake up. It’s definitely long lasting and helps with whatever I have to tackle the next day. I find it to be much more effective than just CBD isolate or melatonin alone.
If you aren’t too keen on waiting for drops to kick in, vaping CBN is a great way to get it into your system and get it working fast. Because it’s inhaled directly into the lungs and doesn’t have to absorb into the bloodstream through the vessels under your tongue, it has a much quicker onset than tincture does. However, the effects don’t last as long as taking a tincture would, so if you’re prone to waking up in the middle of the night, the oil might be better for you.
The action of onset is about ten minutes after inhaling, and the dose is going to be much more potent when inhaled, so take a few puffs and gauge how you’re feeling. It has a peppermint flavor, which is great when you’re feeling stressed out. Mint flavors “shock” the body’s senses and create a distraction for you to focus on rather than the thoughts that are running through your head.
CBN is going to rise in popularity, just as we’ve seen CBD rise over the last few years. We’ve become excited by it because although there are little products to dabble with on the market that contain CBN, the research is there, and supports that it is beneficial as a sleep-aid and a de-stressor. The industry and the community have grown in so many ways, and the addition of CBN research and products that will truly help consumers find a natural remedy that will enhance their day-to-day lives.
*Disclaimer: Please consult with your physician before taking CBD or CBN products to make sure it won’t interact with any medications you are currently taking. CBD and CBN are not FDA recommended and are not designed to diagnose, treat, or cure any illnesses/diseases. This post has been written based on studies that include reputable references and product reviews are based on the author’s personal opinion.