CBN vs CBD: What is the Main Cannabinoid Difference? Skip to content
✍️ Updated | 📆 | 🕑 9 min

CBN VS CBD: Which Should I Choose?

👍 Share:

By now you've likely heard of cannabidiol (CBD) and its many potential benefits in the health and wellness space. It's become so popular, there's a good chance you can find a product at your local grocery store.

CBN or cannabinol is another cannabis plant compound that's starting to gain more recognition as more research emerges about its unique health benefits towards sleep and relaxation.

If you were to look for CBN products just a few years ago, you would have had a hard time sourcing it as it's not present in cannabis plants in significant quantities like CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). But with advancements in cannabinoid extraction methods, you can find more and more CBN products appearing on the market.

In this article, we'll discuss the differences between the two cannabinoids and help you decide which cannabis compounds fit best into your wellness regimen.

Key Takeaways: 

  1. CBN and CBD are two of over a hundred cannabis plant compounds called cannabinoids that interact with the endocannabinoid system to exert their potential benefits.
  2. CBN exists in mature hemp plants in very low quantities (less than 1%), and it's a metabolite of THC. It naturally occurs as the THC molecule degrades due to UV exposure and oxidation.
  3. CBN is slowly growing in popularity and it's often marketed to support, sleep, feelings of nervousness, and pain.
  4. More research is needed on the effects of CBN on the human body, but it does show promise in preclinical trials for improving overall sleep quality when combined with other cannabinoids.
  5. There's not enough substantial evidence to show that CBN isolate can support sleep or discomfort better than CBD or THC.

CBN Vs CBD — Which Should I Choose?

Infographic with CBN and CBD products

As more popularity surrounds the hemp plant in the health and wellness spaces, interesting studies are emerging to show us that CBN is a cannabinoid we should pay attention to. Most studies up until now focus on THC and CBD, but different cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, and CBN are slowly making their debut into the spotlight.

Let's compare CBD to CBN to particular use cases based on the research available. We want to reiterate that we still have a long way to go in understanding CBN as research is still in the early stages.

To Support Myofascial Pain And Discomfort

Both CBD and CBN have been shown in studies to support comfort from chronic pain.

A study published in 2019 found that a combination of CBD and CBN induced longer lasting reduction of pain sensation in murine subjects than either compound alone [1]. This shows us that full spectrum cannabis products are much more effective than isolate compound for supporting discomfort.

When shopping for a CBD or CBN product read the third-party lab report for the list of other cannabinoids that can contribute to the entourage effect for more profound benefits. Most notably, CBD Gummies for pain management are gaining popularity as an effective and easy-to-use solution for those seeking relief.

To Support A Healthy Appetite

CBN is shown to act as an appetite stimulant.

Eating disorders, hormonal changes, prescription drugs side effects, and illnesses can significantly reduce one's food intake, leading to dangerous nutrition deficiencies.

CBN and THC bind to CB receptors that may influence one's desire to munch out, while CBD seems to have the opposite effect as appetite suppression. In a rat study, CBN increased the subjects' feeding duration and frequency without dangerous side effects [2].

To Support A Good Night's Sleep

Both CBD and CBN have been shown in studies to support sleep quality.

If you've been searching for CBN products online, you've likely seen them marketed as the new sleep aid. The truth is that CBN only supports sleep when combined with other cannabinoids, which means CBN isolate products won't do much for slowing down nervous thoughts, but it may help with muscle relaxation.

There are many different reasons why people struggle with sleep—stress, pain, and jet lag seem to be the top culprits. If you're struggling to fall asleep because of anxious thoughts, CBD may be a better fit as it has actions at GABA receptor sites to help slow down the stress-response [3].

That being said, CBN has been shown to be an effective muscle relaxant in pre-clinal trials on its own and in combination with CBD, which may help those who have physical restlessness fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night [1].

CBN Vs. CBD: What's The Difference?


As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so does the research into its many compounds. CBD and CBN are two of the most talked-about cannabinoids when it comes to sleep and relaxation, but what’s the difference between them? And what benefits do they offer?

Here’s a closer look at CBD and CBN:

  1. CBD is a major cannabinoid while CBN is a minor cannabinoid. It's found in less than concentrations 1% in mature hemp flowers.
  2. The primary receptor target of CBN is the CB1 receptor. CBD doesn't have an affinity to these receptors but it has interactions with both CB1 and CB2 receptors and may help increase the levels of the body's naturally produced endocannabinoids.
  3. Because CBN activates the CB1 receptor, it can have mildly psychoactive effects in some people when taking very large doses—though it's not used to achieve a high. CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn't produce intoxicating effects in high doses.
  4. Researchers found that the primary benefit of CBN is its potential as a muscle-relaxant to support improved sleep quality and pain relief while CBD acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory—more research is needed to understand the full effects of CBN.
  5. CBN products tend to be more expensive because the process to produce CBN products is more complicated and expensive as it doesn't naturally exist in very large quantities in the cannabis plant, unlike CBD.

How Do You Use CBN and CBD Products?

How Do You Use CBN and CBD Products?Compared to CBD products, CBN products aren't as easy to come by. Since there hasn't been as much attention on CBN's benefits until much more recently, there aren't many manufacturers producing it.

But the cannabis industry is quickly evolving as new research emerges about the potential benefits of other cannabinoids. We've encountered much more CBN-specific products in the last year from full spectrum CBN gummies and CBN  capsules for sleep.

The best way to use CBN or CBD products for sleep or other ailements is in a concentrated extract infused in a carrier oil as they come in a variety of strengths, are easy to use, and allow you to customize your doses more accurately than smoking it or eating cannabis-infused treats.

1. How To Use Hemp Flower

CBD hemp flowers are much more available on the market than CBN hemp flower strains, but you can find aged hemp flower that contains higher than average CBN.

The most common application of hemp flower is to smoke it as a joint, vaporizer, or brew it as a tea.

Smoking hemp flowers will give you the fastest-acting effects, but they're much harder to dose for accuracy, and smoking isn't ideal for everyone.

To keep your flowers fresh, store them in an amber-colored air-tight container in a cool and dry place to prevent the cannabinoids and terpenes from degrading.

2. How To Use CBN and CBD Oil (Tincture)

Hemp extract oils will come in a wide range of strengths as indicated by the number of milligrams. The application of CBD and CBN oil will depend on what you plan on using them for.

Many people use CBN oil the same way as CBD. The dose of CBD and CBN is very similar, so you can follow the same dosage recommendations depending on your weight and wellness goals. For those wanting to take advantage of the potential sedative properties, they'll take higher doses (25–60MG) of CBD oil or full spectrum CBN oil an hour or two before their ideal bedtime.

CBD seems to have a wider range of health benefits and is also appropriate for daytime use to support energy levels and concentration.

3. How To Use CBN and CBD Gummies

Hemp extract infused gummies are a great way to add more convenience to your supplementation. CBN Gummies will contain a pre-set amount of the cannabinoid, they're easier to take on the go and taste great.

The body's endocannabinoid system does take time to adjust to supplemented cannabinoids, so if you're someone who struggles with taking your CBD or CBN oil consistently, gummies may be a better option for you.

Why Is CBN More Difficult To Produce Than CBD?

CBN is shown to act as an appetite stimulant.

THC, CBN, and CBD (and other cannabinoids) are found in trichome resin glands speckled on cannabis flowers. CBN is most abundant in older plants as THC degrades, but even still, it's found in very low concentrations.

To get higher levels of CBN, you can breed cannabis plants with the desired traits, and then use specialized extraction methods to preserve the heat and light-sensitive compounds.

Is CBN Legal?

CBN is legal. The only cannabinoid that remains a restricted compound is THC due to its potential for abuse and intoxication.

Some states have legalized THC and marijuana for medical programs and recreational use, but if you're looking to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC, make sure your cannabinoid products are derived from hemp crops with less than 0.3% THC.

The Takeaway: CBN and CBD Comparison

The cannabis industry is expanding to novel cannabinoids as more research emerges about the potential uses of these compounds. While it may still be difficult to source quality CBN products as they're a lot more labor intensive to produce, they're worth trying if you're looking to try something new to support muscle discomfort and a good night's sleep.

We recommend looking for CBN extracts in full spectrum or THC-free broad spectrum as most of the research shows that CBN is best when combined with other naturally occurring cannabinoids than on its own.

Always make sure you're shopping for best CBD oil for sleep and high-quality CBN products with third-party lab tests to back up their contents.

All Neurogan CBN products are made from mature hemp plants grown on the West Coast and extracted using the gold-star of extraction methods, CO2 extractions to preserve a diverse range of cannabinoids and terpenes for a more potent and well-rounded CBN product.

To learn more about CBN, THC, CBG, and CBD and their potential uses in wellness, you can find more blog posts on our website or sign up for Insider Scoop for industry news and exclusive offers on products sent directly to your inbox.


What is stronger CBN or CBD?

CBN is stronger than CBD in terms of its sedative effects and potential impact on sleep regulation. In larger doses, it can produce mild psychoactive reactions, unlike CBD, which is entirely non-psychoactive.

Is CBN or CBD better for sleep?

CBN has stronger sedative properties, making it potentially more effective in promoting sleep and assisting with sleep-related issues. While both compounds are derived from the cannabis plant and interact with the endocannabinoid system, CBN is more preferred CBD for sleep.

CBD vs. CBN vs. CBG for sleep: Which is more effective?

CBN is more effective than CBD and CBG for promoting sleep due to its stronger sedative properties. CBD is known for its potential in relieving pain and anxiety, while CBG shows promise in anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.

Does CBN really help with sleep?

CBN has shown promising results in animal studies for prolonging sleep and may benefit individuals with interrupted sleep patterns. CBN may weakly stimulate the endocannabinoid system and its sedative effects suggest it could potentially serve as a natural sleep aid.

What is the difference between CBN vs. THC?

CBN is a breakdown product of THC and retains some of its sedative properties but is about 25% as effective as THC. CBN is mainly known for its potential as a natural sleep aid, while THC has more pronounced psychoactive and therapeutic effects.

Does CBD work better than CBN for pain?

CBD is known for pain relief and reducing inflammation without causing psychoactive effects. Studies indicate CBN can help relieve muscle and joint pain conditions like fibromyalgia, and when combined with CBD, they may exhibit enhanced pain relief due to a potential synergistic effect.


  1. Wong, H., & Cairns, B. E. (2019). Cannabidiol, cannabinol and their combinations act as peripheral analgesics in a rat model of myofascial pain. Archives of oral biology, 104, 33-39.
  2. Farrimond, J. A., Whalley, B. J., & Williams, C. M. (2012). Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns. Psychopharmacology, 223(1), 117-129.
  3. Bakas, T., Van Nieuwenhuijzen, P. S., Devenish, S. O., McGregor, I. S., Arnold, J. C., & Chebib, M. (2017). The direct actions of cannabidiol and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol at GABAA receptors. Pharmacological research, 119, 358-370.
view Katrina Lubiano author page
Katrina Lubiano

BA in English Katrina has always had a passion for health sciences and literature. She works as a content writer, editor, and strategist in the health and wellness space, primarily focusing on cannabis education. She’s written well over 400,000 words on the subject—including demystifying laws a...

Table of Contents

    Similar Posts

    Know Your Cannabinoids: CBD, CBN, CBG, Delta-8 THC
    CBN Effects & Side Effects
    The 8 Best CBD Gummies for Sleep in 2024

    Select options