CBD vs. CBN: Health Benefits, Effects, and Legality


People are slowly picking up on the benefits of cannabinol (CBN), one of the first to be discovered cannabinoids in the hemp plant, and with a good reason: this compound is known as the most powerful sedative in cannabis that helps people with insomnia.

Aside from that, CBN helps with bone regeneration and shows pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.

Cannabinoids are components naturally found in hemp and out of 113 cannabinoids, THC and CBD are the most popular and most studies ones.

What is CBN? How is it different from CBD? Does CBN makes you high?

Let’s take a look.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound in the hemp plant. This compound offers a lot of therapeutic properties and is known as the safe, non-addictive, non-intoxicating substance of hemp.


What Is CBN?

Cannabinol (CBN), on the other hand, is a breakthrough product of THC and is produced by exposing THC to either heat or oxygen.

Basically, CBN as a non-psychoactive compound is made from THC, which is responsible for the main high associated with marijuana.

This means that CBN is not naturally produced in great quantities in high CBD, low THC hemp plants like its cousin, CBD.

The Difference Between CBN and CBN

CBD and CBN are similar in various ways, including:

  • CBD and CBN are both cannabinoids
  • CBD and CBN influence the workings of the endocannabinoid system
  • CBD and CBN offer many medical benefits
  • Both are non-intoxicating
  • Both have very little to no side-effects

There are many differences between CBD and CBN starting from the way they interact with the endocannabinoid system to the different effects they have on a variety of conditions.

Hemp-derived CBD is legally sold as CBD-infused products with the main purpose of alleviating symptoms of many medical ailments.

CBD-infused products don’t have any intoxicating effects. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties which make it perfect for relieving chronic back pain and arthritis, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems, aside from being used as the main component of an FDA-approved drug for epilepsy.

On the other hand, CBN is known for its sedative effects which makes the component a great gentle sedative for treating insomnia.

Researchers have just begun to explore the benefits of CBN, so it is important to note that a full comparison regarding medicinal use and benefits between these two cannabinoids cannot be made yet.

One of the biggest differences between CBD and CBN is that CBN is mildly psychoactive if taken in large doses, but not as much as THC.

So if used in lower doses, you won’t notice any effects.

Another benefit of CBN is that it can help in treating fractures as it helps stimulate bone tissue regeneration.

CBN also shows analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.

Health Benefits of CBD and CBN


  • Analgesic
  • Anti-Anxiety
  • Anti-Depressant
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Antipsychotic
  • Neuroprotective
  • Helps Insomnia


  • Helps Insomnia
  • Increases Appetite
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Alleviates Pain
  • May Help With Seizures
  • Antibacterial Properties
  • Helps With Burns
  • Helps Bone Growth

Which is Better, CBD or CBN?

Although it is still early to compare these two compounds, especially since researchers have just begun to discover potential benefits of CBN, for now, CBD takes the lead.

Cannabinol (CBN) may be a better sedative remedy and help with sleep and anxiety, but CBD offers these properties and much more which have been helpful for various ailments.

So, the healing properties offered by CBD are incomparable, as it is a compound that doesn’t produce any mind-altering effects.

Aside from these benefits, due to legality issues and CBN still being an unexplored territory, it would be better for a first-time consumer to start with CBD and later expand to other cannabinoids.

Chemical Structure

Cannabidiol (CBD) has the same molecular formula, C21H30O2 . as THC. CBD contains 21 atoms of carbon, thirty of hydrogen, and two of oxygen.

As an inactive component of Cannabis sativa and a metabolite of THC, cannabinol offers potential anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive activities.

The molecular formula of CBN is C21H26O2 with the difference of 26 atoms of hydrogen compared to 30 atoms of hydrogen in CBD.

Cannabinol has a molecular weight of 310.437 g/mol, while CBD of 314.464 g/mol. .

Mechanisms of Action: CBN

CBN and THC share a very similar chemical composition.

CBN is believed to bind to the CB2 receptor and inhibit the production of cytokines—substances secreted by cells of the immune system.

CBN shows a low affinity towards the CB1 receptor and has a weak effect on the central nervous system.

CBN is also an agonist to the TRPV2 receptor which is a protein naturally produced in the body that regulates various biological systems.

By activating the TRPV2 receptor, CBN is potentially effective for treating pain, inflammation, helps regulate bone health and lowering blood pressure, treating skin conditions and more.

CBD vs. CBN: Legality Issues

With the legalization of hemp, CBD derived from hemp became a legal substance in the United States. Is CBN legal?

When it comes to the legal status of CBN, the situation is a bit confusing and contradictory.

Although CBN is not listed as a Schedule I substance on the list of scheduled controlled substances in the USA, the fact that it is a product of THC degradation, it is possible to assume that the compound is illegal.

This is making sales and possession of CBN to be potentially prosecuted under the Federal Analogue Act.

Psychoactive Properties of CBD and CBN

CBD will not get you high because it doesn’t show any intoxicating properties.

If taken together with THC, CBD acts against THC so that THC doesn’t get you that high.

CBN, on the other hand, it is mildly psychoactive, but only if consumed in large doses.

Otherwise, it is safe to be consumed for alleviating a variety of symptoms without producing a high.

Side Effects of Each

CBD is known to have few mild to none negative side-effects. CBD can cause:

  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness

Similarly to CBD, CBN also doesn’t show significant side-effects, aside from being considered as a sedative.

It is recommended to not take CBD together with other medication because the compound can interfere with your liver’s ability to process medicine.

The same goes for CBN, which means that both compounds should not be taken together with antibiotics or blood pressure meds.

FAQ on CBD vs. CBN

CBN is not on the list of scheduled controlled substances in the US.

But, since this component could legally be considered the breakthrough product of THC, which is a Schedule I substance, sales or possession of CBN products couple potentially be prosecuted under the Federal Analogue Act.

It is still early to compare CBD to CBN because researchers are still working on discovering the potential benefits of the latter.

But, from what we know so far CBD offer stronger, evidence-based anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antidepressant effects and is non-psychoactive.

Cannabinol (CBN) is formed when THC is exposed to heat or oxygen.

CBN shows non-psychoactive to mildly intoxicating properties if taken in large doses, but not nearly to the levels of THC.

CBN can be safely consumed in smaller doses without causing a high.

If you are looking for a strain that will help you fall asleep without making you high, the Sour Space Candy Hemp Flower by Mr. HempFlower is the ideal solution for your sleeping problems.

The strong terpene profile, such as myrcene, a-pinene, and limonene will make you relaxed and relieve the stress that might be holding you back from having a good night’s sleep.

CBN shows analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-convulsive, anti-inflammatory, stress-relieving, and sedative effects.

There are several differences between CBD and CBN, including: CBD and CBN are produced within the cannabis plant differently

So far, scientists have discovered that CBD shows potential in treating more conditions than CBN CBD and CBN have different chemical structure CBD is non-intoxicating even in large doses, while CBN can be mildly intoxicating in larger doses In general, CBD offers more benefits than CBN

CBN is a great sedative, which means it may be a potential remedy for sleeping problems.

Studies show potential benefits of CBN for pain-relief, insomnia, may promote growth of bone cells, helps with burns, seizures and is a great appetite stimulant.

No, THC turns into CBN, while the biosynthesis of CBD and THC in the hemp plant follow a similar pathway.

Cannabinol (CBN) is the bioproduct of THC as THC can over time, or if exposed to heat convert to CBN.

The boiling point of CBD is in the range of 160-180°C.

CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antipsychotic, and antiemetic agent, which is why it is considered as a potential remedy for inflammation, epilepsy, pain, anxiety, vomiting and nausea, and mental health conditions.

CBN has a variety of medical properties, with a potential to generate bone tissue, act as a potent sedative for insomnia and shows anti-inflammatory properties for pain relief.

Yes, CBN is one of the most effective cannabinoids out of all 113 discovered so far. It acts as a great sleep aid or sedative.

CBN also shows powerful anxiolytic effect that relaxes the mind and the body, similarly to diazepam, a prescription drug for anxiety disorders.

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