Everything You Wanted To Know About The Sleepiest Cannabinoid
If cannabinoids were like the 7 Dwarfs, CBD would be Doc, CBG would be Happy, THC would be Dopey, and CBN would be… you guessed it. Sleepy.
What is CBN?
CBN (cannabinol for nerds) was first discovered in 1940. According to ScienceDirect, it was actually the very first cannabinoid to be isolated and purified from cannabis. Since then, CBN has been the star of…not a whole lot. That might be because extracting it from the plant was, until recently, extremely complicated and time-consuming. Or maybe “big weed” was too focused on getting us all high on THC! Fortunately, our farmer friends figured out how to grow organic hemp plants rich with CBN. Meanwhile, our scientist buddies developed safer and more efficient ways to get that CBN into our bottles. Combine all that with the increased awareness around the importance of sleep along with a growing demand for healthier, more natural snooze aids and…well, let’s just say CBN is finally having its moment!
One way to think about CBN is as a weaker, chiller version of THC. Basically, when THC molecules in the flowers of the cannabis plant age, they break down and become the far-less -psychoactively-potent CBN. But don’t get it twisted. Just because CBN is closely related to THC, hemp-derived CBN won’t get you high like its youthful THC self. Consumed in the proper amounts and combined with CBD, it’s more likely to have you sinking softly into your pillows.
While there’s not yet a lot of hard research on CBN, some early studies help explain why and how CBN may be the sleep buddy we’ve all been looking for. For example, research suggests that cannabinoids like CBN reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and actually lengthens time spent in deep, slow wave sleep while shortening time spent in REM sleep. This is likely due to CBN triggering a specific CB1 receptor within our endocannabinoid system that controls our central nervous system functions like sleep, as well as pain, metabolism, movement and heart rate. The CBN and CB1 receptor relationship was confirmed again in one 2016 study, where researchers suggested that CBN, especially when combined with additional cannabinoids like CBD and THC, may aid in reducing and relieving symptoms of pain and inflammation which are famous for keeping us up at night.
CBN & CBD - What's The Difference?
We use CBD as the foundation of all of our tinctures because of its anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory and generally chilled-out properties. From there, we blend additional cannabinoids like CBG (for the Goodtime Formula) and CBN (for the Nighttime Formula) to support specific occasions. We lost track of how many different blends of these two magical cannabinoids we tested while trying to arrive at our Goldilocks zone. Not too sleepy. Not too…not sleepy. Our 8:1 ratio (meaning, 8 parts CBD to one part CBN for sleep) provides just the right amount of CBN to help usher you into a restful slumber without spinning out your dream state or leaving you groggy when you wake up.
Also read - Cannabinoid Comparison: CBD vs CBG
CBN & Sleep - Does CBN Work For Sleep?
Good sleep is hard to come by. According to Science Daily, 1-in-4 Americans develop insomnia each year. And for good reason. We’re dealing with once-in-a-generation events every other month. Even though insomnia and poor sleep are common enough, a night of tossing and turning just ain’t natural. Beyond waking up and feeling unproductive after a restless night’s sleep, the long-term effects of sleep deprivation can have severe adverse effects on the body. We’re talking memory loss, mood changes, weakened immune systems, high blood pressure and more. Yikes. We know that hemp products alone won’t drastically change your sleeping habits. But when integrated into a more mindful lifestyle (seriously, don’t bring your phone to bed), CBD and CBN have been proven to help promote natural slumber and ease the negative effects of sleep deprivation.
Pros & Cons of Sleeping Aids
There’s not enough time in the day to dig into why catching some ZZZ’s is so stressful, but we can break down some of the top sleep-aids (natural or otherwise) and walk through their pros and cons.
It’s no surprise that the sleep aids market is projected to be worth $114B by 2025. Woof. Or should we say Baa? And melatonin is by far one of the most popular and celebrated sleep-aids out there. It’s a hormone that is naturally produced in our big ol’ brains that produce and regulate circadian rhythms in response to darkness. But let’s get one thing clear. Melatonin doesn’t make you fall asleep (just ask Johns Hopkins). It mimics a naturally occuring hormone in the brain to put you into a state of quiet wakefulness that helps promote sleep. While leaning on melatonin supplements to aid your body’s natural production can result in better sleep in the short-term, it’s a more complicated hormone than people think and can actually result in adverse effects when used incorrectly. These side effects can be as simple as a groggy, hangover feeling the next morning or as severe as symptoms of anxiety, reduced alertness, hypotension or short-lasting feelings of depression. Yikes.
Doxylamine / Antihistamine
Common sleeping pills offer a fast way to fall asleep, but often cause more long term harm to people looking for help. Over-the-counter sleep aids often contain sedating antihistamines or chemicals like doxylamine and, while they do get you to fall asleep, they often induce somewhat debilitating drowsiness the next day. In addition to poor sleep quality, some prescription drugs have potentially addictive and toxic properties that could also make you feel drowsy (which may lead to reduced alertness, cognitive confusion or memory impairment). The main thing to remember is that sleeping pills, whether over-the-counter or prescribed, offer a fast and easy way to fall asleep, but will often be more harmful in the long run. Using hemp-based CBN for sleep is a longer commitment and does require more mindfulness and more holistic life shifts, but will have more positive effects year over year.
CBN For Sleep Side Effects
Sleep can be a fickle beast, and it's different for everyone. The truth is, CBN hasn't been the star of many scientific studies, so there aren't any documented side effects. But that doesn't mean they don't exist for you. If you're wondering "does CBN help you sleep," think of it like any other sleep aid. It's best to experiment and start low and slow so you can see how this sleepy cannabinoid works with your body.
How Much CBN Should I Take To Sleep?
For first-time users, we recommend dropping a droplet's worth of CBN oil for sleep under your tongue and hold for 15 seconds (or however long it takes you to hum the chorus of Baa Baa Black Sheep) about 30 minutes before lights out. Repeat when needed.
Is CBD or CBN Better For Sleep?
When it comes to sleep, CBD and CBN work better together. Our friends say that CBD calms their nerves so their mind can settle down, and prepares their body to fully receive the benefits of CBN sleep aid. Most importantly, CBD is known to help the best CBN for sleep. So even if you wake up at two in the morning (because of small bladders, baby cries, or a monstrous car alarm next door), your mind and body can be calm enough to slip back into a gentle slumber. Read more about CBD and CBN for sleep here.