What is CBN?

What is CBN?

Table of Contents

What is CBN?
How does CBN work?
Potential Benefits of CBN
Sleep Secured

Just when you thought you had all of your hemp and cannabis acronyms down, I have another one to throw into the mix: CBN. Formally known as cannabinol, CBN is another up-and-coming cannabinoid you’re going to want to know all about - and then get your hands on, of course. 

But why? Oh, I’ll tell you: CBN is being studied and praised for its potential as a sleep aid and according to canna-experts, may be the most potent sedative of any known cannabinoids (there are more than 100+) to-date. But that’s not all, friends! Like many of its counterpart compounds, it’s also being studied for its potential anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, neuroprotectant properties and much, much more.

Here at SOAR we’re on a mission to bring you high-performing hemp products. Over the past few months our President, Colin, and our Leadership Team have been hard at work trying and testing out new products to enhance your health and wellness routine. Sleep Secured, our Lemon Essence Tincture, is one of our new products we are proud to share with you. We’ve combined the perfect blend of CBN, CBD and melatonin to help you get the R&R you deserve.


What is CBN?

CBN, like its more well-known counterpart and hometown hero CBD, is a non-intoxicating compound derived from the hemp and cannabis plant. THC will break down over time due to exposure to oxygen, UV light or heat. Simply put, CBN is naturally formed when THC ages and for this reason, CBN is often found in abundance in ‘older’ plant matter.

chemical transformation into cbn

Similar to cannabigerol (CBG), CBN is one of the first cannabinoids to be discovered back in the 1930s. CBN was actually discovered before THC, and was initially thought to be responsible for the euphoria or high that often comes with THC. Spoiler alert: they later disproved that theory, uncovering that THC was, in fact, the culprit.

Let’s get specific and nerdy (I say that endearingly and with lots ‘o love) here for a moment: how exactly do you get CBN? There are two ways:

THCA (the precursor acid to THC) can transform into CBNA (the precursor acid to CBN) under the right environmental conditions, or if old plant material is exposed to oxygen, the THC in the cannabis flower converts into CBN. 

The most common way to get CBN? Through the degradation of THC through oxidation. (Yay science!)


How does CBN work?

CBN and other cannabinoids work with a network of receptors in your body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), similar to the nervous and lymphatic systems. The ECS spans through your entire body, and regulates a wide array of bodily functions including: mood, metabolism, immune response, appetite regulation, sleep patterns and more. Researchers largely believe the primary function of the ECS is to support homeostasis (balance) in the body.

While our bodies produce molecules called endocannabinoids, hemp produces phytocannabinoids (this includes CBN); phytocannabinoids simply imitate endocannabinoids to work naturally with our ECS.

CBN shares a number of therapeutic effects with CBD, like improving sleep, relieving pain and soothing inflammation. While more chemically similar to THC (remember: THC breaks down over time to create CBN), CBN does not cause a high - that’s all THC, baby.

Similar to THC, researchers believe CBN interacts with CB2 receptors. It may also bind with CB1 receptors, but more studies on that are underway. Research also suggests that CBN initiates a physiological response when it interacts with the TRPV2 receptors. These receptors are located throughout the brain, spine and gut and regulate several biological systems in the body.

It is not fully understood how exactly CBN interacts with the endocannabinoid system to promote sleep, but we do know the ECS has a strong influence over many parts of both the body and brain that are required for restful sleep.

Potential Benefits of CBN

Sleep aid 

While data from human trials is limited at this point in time, there is an abundance of anecdotal testimonials on improved length and quality of sleep using CBN. A study from 1995 conducted on rodents found that CBN use increased the animals’ deep sleep, especially when combined with auxiliary cannabinoids like CBD. [1]


According to Leafly, “Studies on CBN have found that it may be a potent antibacterial agent. [2] In lab settings, CBN was tested on strains of MRSA bacteria that are resistant to traditional antibiotics. Researchers found it to be a potent antibacterial agent against these resistant strains. Perhaps in the future, we will see CBN being used to fight off bacterial infections that our usual antibiotics can’t heal.”


CBN may also be a powerful neuroprotectant. In a study conducted on rodents, researchers used CBN as a treatment for ALS and found that it was able to delay the onset of the condition. [3] While human studies need to be done, this suggests that CBN may provide a powerful tool in the fight against ALS and other neurodegenerative conditions.


Similar to other cannabinoids like CBD, CBN is being studied and used for its use as a potent anti-inflammatory. A study conducted on rodents in 2016 found that CBN reduced the inflammation associated with arthritis on its test subjects. [4]

Furthermore, researchers are looking at a number of other potential benefits of CBN. Including:

potential benefits of cbn

Sleep Secured

sleep secured tincture

Let’s backtrack: At the beginning of this article, I gave you the elevator speech on our brand spankin’ new Sleep Secured, one of our new products that just hit the market.

Personally, this CBN:CBD tincture is a favorite of mine. I’ve never been diagnosed with insomnia, but I often have trouble falling and/or staying asleep--and oh boy, do I love my sleep. I’ve been using Sleep Secured as a part of my bedtime routine for a few weeks now, and I’ve been getting some of the best sleep since before I became an adult. (Don’t confuse being an adult with feeling like one or being good at it, now.)

Side bar and fun fact: A little bit (of CBN) goes a long way. According to Steep Hill Labs, one of the world’s leading cannabis science and technology companies, just 5mg of CBN may be as effective as 10mg of the mild pharmaceutical sedative, diazepam.

Having worked in the cannabis industry for the past four years, and prior to that living in Colorado, I’ve tried a lot of different cannabis and hemp products. Our Lemon Essence Tincture is hands down one of my favorite products. It’s hard to beat great sleep, but the best part? I don’t feel groggy the next morning, like I often feel with products with higher levels of THC or other sleep aids.


CBN, short for cannabinol, is another cannabinoid exclusive to cannabis and hemp. CBN is essentially created when THC breaks down over time. (Our Cultivation and Laboratory teams probably just cringed reading my super science-y explanation of that.) Although THC is a precursor to THC and they have similar chemical structures, CBN is non-intoxicating and will not get you high.

While there’s still a lot to discover about CBN, what we do know is promising - and exciting. Especially those who need a little extra help catching those Zs - myself included. CBN is perhaps most well-known at this point for its potential as a sleep aid and sedative - more so than any other known cannabinoids (there are more than 100+) to-date. It also appears that less is more, and that small amounts of CBN may be more potent than larger amounts of more conventional sleep aids. It’s also being studied for its potential anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and neuroprotectant properties, to name only a few.

Sold on CBN and want to see what it’s all about? I don’t blame you. It’s a game changer - at least for me it has been. Over the past few months, the SOAR team has been researching and testing formulations to make the perfect CBN product and make this incredible cannabinoid accessible. We’re excited to share Sleep Secured, our Lemon Essence Tincture with you. CBN, CBD and melatonin team up to promote rest and relaxation...ahhh. 



SOAR Director of Content Marketing





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