What is Cannabinol? CBN Oil Benefits and Uses

As the legalization of Marijuana spreads like wildfire from state-to-state, opinions on the medicinal properties of the plant grow more favorable. A large factor in this push has been the proven homeopathic and therapeutic properties of Cannabidiol (CBD)—one of the primary, non-psychotropic compounds found in the cannabis plant. And now, another one of the lesser-known compounds within the plant cannabinol (CBN) has begun to make its way into the limelight. 

But what is cannabinol exactly, and does it have medicinal benefits?

What is CBN Oil | Benefits and Uses

While CBN may be new to you, it’s not to researchers, seeing as it was amongst the very first cannabinoids ever discovered and isolated in 1899 by TB Wood. At the time, Wood believed it to be the main active compound of the plant that caused psychoactive effects we’ve now come to associate with marijuana, including: 

  • Changes in perception
  • Distorted sense of time and space
  • Increase breathing
  • Higher heart rate
  • Memory impairment 
  • Issues with concentration 
  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation – can mimic the purpose of a sedative to help reduce the effects of anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Reduced psychomotor coordination

It would take researchers several decades before they discovered tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and were disabused of this notion. That said, thanks to recent studies (which we’ll touch upon later) we now know that cannabinol is a cannabinoid yielded from the degradation of THC.   

Let’s break that down.

How CBN Forms

Simply put, there is very little CBN in any given plant. Most estimates range from .5% – 1%, whereas CBD accounts for up to 25% of any given cannabis plant, with higher concentrations in hemp and lower concentrations in marijuana. Hemp is found to have less than 0.3% THC, whereas marijuana has more than 0.3% THC. When a cannabis plant is exposed to oxygen or heat—particularly as it ages—its THC breaks down into CBN. According to Analytical Cannabis, this is why its medicinal properties have only recently come to light:

After all, most people believed CBN to be a waste by-product, unworthy of further examination. That all changed after a study by Steep Hill labs, which showed that CBN could be the most sedative of all cannabinoid substances. The discovery led to a renewed interest in the therapeutic effects of CBN and its role in regulating the endocannabinoid system. The process of creating it comes with time and the natural breakdown of raw cannabis acids. If left for several weeks, THCa-rich cannabis will begin to produce CBN naturally.

So, as marijuana grows stale, it loses its psychoactive potency in exchange for increased sedative properties, especially if the CBN can be extracted and isolated into a CBN oil. 


Due to its relatively recent rediscovery, there is not nearly as much research on CBN as there is for CBD and THC, so it becomes difficult to make conclusive substantiations as to its medicinal efficacy. However, initial studies are promising and its emergence ensures that more studies on its homeopathic properties will continue to be conducted in the near future. 

What we do know now is that it shares similar properties to cannabidiol and is most effective when they’re paired together. This is convenient since CBN can be found in many CBD products. 

Knowing this, alleged benefits of CBN include: 

  • Sleep InducingSteep Hill researches conducted a study that claimed that CBN, in concentrated doses, was more effective than Valium or any other cannabinoid at inducing sleep. As a result, many patients have begun to use CBN oil for sleep and reported that they fell asleep easier and then experienced a deeper slumber. 
  • Glaucoma – The same Steep Hill study found that it reduces intraocular pressure in the eye, and can be used to treat Glaucoma without the issue of sensing the psychoactive properties that you’d otherwise encounter with THC-laden remedies. 
  • Anti-Inflammatories – A 2010 study confirmed that: “Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory response and subsequently attenuate disease symptoms. This property of cannabinoids is mediated through multiple pathways such as induction of apoptosis in activated immune cells, suppression of cytokines and chemokines at inflammatory sites and upregulation of FoxP3+ regulatory T cells.”
  • Pain Relief – Several studies have pointed to the fact that CBN has potent, chronic pain-relieving properties. One particular 2002 study states: “The present study shows that THC and cannabinol cause release of sensory neuropeptides and vasorelaxation. Although they act on a molecular target distinct from VR1, these drugs have an effect on primary sensory nerves and receptors, similar to those of capsaicin and other vanilloid receptor agonists.” 

What CBD Oil Has CBN? 

CBD oils will typically come in one of two forms:

  • Full spectrum 
  • Broad spectrum 
full spectrum cbd vs broad spectrum cbd

Both contain CBN but have one main difference—THC. Research shows that full spectrum CBD has all of the cannabinoids and terpenes that are typically extracted from the cannabis plant. As Ministry of Hemp writes:

Full spectrum CBD oil is a popular choice due to what’s called the “entourage effect.” Essentially, the benefits of each cannabinoid are enhanced when taken together. This includes the compounds like THC, CBD, CBC, CBN and many others. 

That said, the tetrahydrocannabinol within full spectrum hemp is incredibly minor and the psychoactive effects are negligible. Federal law states that to be considered CBD oil it must come from the Hemp plant, which can’t legally contain more than .3% THC. On the other hand, broad spectrum CBD oil seeks to remove any trace of THC but maintains all the other cannabinoids. This is ideal for people—particularly those in the government or in sports—who want to experience the benefits of CBD oil but don’t want any trace of THC in their system. 

Plant People’s High-Performance CBD 

In recent years, Plant People set out on a mission to help connect and heal people through the power of homeopathic remedies. Our fast-acting, organically-grown, full spectrum hemp extracts contain everything you need to help balance a busy life. They contain CBD, CBN, CBG and more. In addition, the lab-tested products are:


Wood, T. Journal of the Chemical Society. Cannabinol pt. 1. (1899). https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/1899/ct/ct8997500020/unauth#!divAbstract

Medical News Today. What is Marijuana? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/246392.php#what-is-marijuana

Mouratidis, G. Analytical Cannabis. Beyond CBD: Exploring the Health Benefits of CBN in Cannabis. (2019). https://www.analyticalcannabis.com/articles/beyond-cbd-exploring-the-health-benefits-of-cbn-311488

Steep Hill. Cannabinol (CBN): A Sleeping Synergy. (2017). https://www.steephill.com/blogs/34/Cannabinol-(CBD):-A-Sleeping-Synergy

Nargarkatti, P. NCBI. Cannabinoids as Novel Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. (2009). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/

Zygmunt, P. Journal of Neuroscience. Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabinol Activate Capsaicin-Sensitive Sensory Nerves via a CB1 and CB2 Cannabinoid Receptor-Independent Mechanism. (2002). https://www.jneurosci.org/content/22/11/4720.full

Ministry of Hemp. CBD vs CBN: Differences, Benefits, And Uses For Two Potent Cannabinoids. (2019). https://ministryofhemp.com/blog/cbd-vs-cbn/

PBS. Is CBD Legal? (2019). https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/is-cbd-legal-heres-what-you-need-to-know-according-to-science

The post What is Cannabinol? CBN Oil Benefits and Uses appeared first on Plant People.

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3 thoughts on “What is Cannabinol? CBN Oil Benefits and Uses

Pamela Lober


You have brought up a very great details, thanks for the post.

January 19, 2020 at 4:55 pm



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January 23, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Omer Tetzlaff


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January 26, 2020 at 3:05 pm

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