What is CBN (Cannabinol)? Here Are the Basics

Although THC and CBD have received most of the attention, cannabis contains many other beneficial cannabinoids. One such compound is cannabinol (CBN).

Unlike most of its cousins, CBN is made through the breakdown of another cannabinoid: THC. That’s why you’ll find more CBN in aged cannabis that’s been exposed to oxygen.

CBN is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid with many potential benefits. But there’s a good deal of misinformation floating around it.

CBN and Sleep: More Myth Than Science

In the past few years, CBN went from relative obscurity to becoming a popular sleep aid.

But this reputation is largely based on anecdotes rather than scientific evidence. It all started when some people noticed that aged cannabis made them more sleepy. Since old cannabis has more CBN, they assumed it was the compound responsible. 

But we don’t know that for certain. According to leading cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo, CBN doesn’t have any notable sedating effects. He believes that aged cannabis makes you sleepy because it contains more sedating terpenes.

Research has also failed to prove that CBN helps you sleep. One 1975 study found that CBN enhanced the sleep-inducing effects of THC, possibly through the entourage effect. But CBN by itself didn’t cause any drowsiness.

Meanwhile, a 2021 review paper criticized claims that CBN has sleep-promoting effects, concluding that “there is insufficient published evidence to support sleep-related claims.” 

The bottom line is that solid evidence is needed before we can confirm that CBN is the rockstar sleep aid some make it out to be.

Other CBN Benefits

Studies have also shown that CBN has other possible benefits, including neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, antibacterial, and appetite-stimulating effects.

But more research is needed before we understand its potential uses as well as CBD and THC.


CBN and CBD have a lot in common. They won’t get you high and boast a long list of potential benefits, many of which overlap. But there are some key differences. 

For one, whereas CBN can increase appetite, CBD seems to have the opposite effect. CBD is also much easier to source because it’s found in large amounts in hemp.

Meanwhile, CBN is a minor cannabinoid that’s typically found in small concentrations in cannabis (unless it’s been exposed to oxygen).

CBN: More Research is Needed

Interest in CBN, CBG, and other minor cannabinoids is growing. CBN is particularly popular as a sleep aid, although it may have other benefits.

But there isn’t much evidence that CBN promotes sleep. If you do want to give it a try, be sure to choose a full-spectrum product that contains CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. 

The only relevant study found that CBN enhanced THC’s sedation, suggesting that CBN may strengthen the sleep-promoting effects of other cannabinoids.

You won’t find many cannabis strains with significant amounts of CBN. Instead, CBN is usually combined with CBD and other hemp cannabinoids in tinctures, edibles, and other concentrated products.

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Let’s Talk About Cannabigerol (CBG)

What is Cannabigerol (CBG)?

CBD and THC are not the only active compounds in cannabis. There are also hundreds of beneficial minor cannabinoids, like cannabigerol (CBG). 

CBG is non-intoxicating so it can’t get people high. CBG is often called the “mother of all cannabinoids” because most other cannabinoids are derived from cannabigerolic acid (CBGa), the acidic precursor to CBG.

The majority of CBGa in cannabis converts into THCa and CBDa, with only a small amount turning into CBG. That’s why most cannabis strains typically contain less than 1% cannabigerol.

But it’s possible to get larger amounts by harvesting plants at a specific time and growing CBG-rich cultivars.

Anti-Anxiety & Antidepressant Effects

Most recently, a 2021 study found that CBG may be particularly helpful for anxiety and depression.

The researchers surveyed 121 people who used CBG-rich cannabis, finding that it was most commonly used to treat anxiety (51.2% of people), chronic pain (40.9%), depression (33.1%), and insomnia/disturbed sleep (30.7%).

Most reported that their symptoms were “very much” or “much improved”, with 80% saying that CBG-rich cannabis worked better than conventional medicine for depression, 78.3% for anxiety, 73.9% for chronic pain, and 73% for insomnia.

Some respondents also noted mild side effects similar to regular cannabis, including dry mouth, sleepiness, dry eyes, and increased appetite.

Dr. Ethan Russo, the lead researcher behind the study and a renowned cannabis expert, believes that CBG has a “strong anti-anxiety effect and for people who have had access to it, this is an almost universal describer of the effects.”

Panakeia Pure CBG Flower (10-16% CBG) by Growtown

Other CBG Benefits

Early studies suggest that CBG also has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, antibacterial, appetite-stimulating, neuroprotective, and anticancer properties.

One 2010 study also found that CBG is a potent activator of a2 adrenergic receptors, suggesting that it could have sedative and antihypertensive effects.

While these findings are promising, more high-quality human studies are needed before we can fully understand CBG’s benefits.


CBG is similar to CBD because they’re both non-intoxicating cannabinoids with potential benefits. They share some properties, like anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and pain-relieving effects.

Having said that, CBD is more popular than CBG because it’s easier to source and has seen far more research. But minor cannabinoids like CBG are starting to get more attention.

CBG: A Promising Cannabinoid

Researchers are just beginning to examine the potential benefits and uses of CBG. The early evidence suggests that CBG holds promise for relieving anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, and other common issues.

CBG is naturally present in small quantities in most cannabis strains. That means cannabis enthusiasts may already benefit from its unique properties and synergistic interactions with THC and CBD.

On top of that, the cannabis industry is starting to release CBG-rich products. One such product listed in our Producer Connect platform is the CBG flower from Fleurish’s newest brand, Growtown, a licensed cannabis producer based in Kemptville, Ontario.

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