What Is CBN And What Does It Do?

Cannabinol (CBN)

A recent study by Steep Hill Labs found that CBN is just as effective of a sedative as Valium, even at lower doses. Diazepam, or Valium, is often the first pharmaceutical intervention offered to anxiety sufferers. New information coming out about CBN shows that the cannabinoid might give patients an alternative treatment option.

CBN: The Next Big Cannabinoid

The health benefits of cannabis are becoming more well known as researchers delve into the science of the plant. While the intoxicating effects have dominated the conversation for decades, current canna-friendly laws have led to a renaissance for the plant, which includes more research into cannabis’ medical uses.

One of the more exciting discoveries this research has produced is the ever-expanding cannabinoid spectrum, which includes more than 110 identified cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds produced by cannabis flowers which can contain wellness and euphoric properties. The most well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN). While much has been said about THC and CBD, there are plenty of reasons to consider CBN as being just as beneficial.

CBN Transdermal Patch

CBN: Therapeutic Benefits

CBN has no, or miniscule psychoactive properties, which makes it appealing to consumers who don’t want to experience cannabis’ euphoric effects. Among its many wellness benefits, CBN is a known appetite stimulant and an anticonvulsant, which could prove very valuable for addiction withdrawal. CBN also has anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, the old trope of ‘I use cannabis for my glaucoma’ stems from actual science, which shows that the cannabinoid reduces eye pressure among glaucoma patients by lowering ocular tension.  

While those benefits alone make CBN as valuable of a healing cannabinoid as THC and CBD, there is one specific application that could make CBN the next target cannabinoid. Steep Hill Labs, one of the largest cannabis testing facilities in the country, recently revealed that CBN was just as effective of a sedative as diazepam. The importance of this news is punctuated by the fact that 5mg of CBN induced the same feeling of body relaxation as 10mg of diazepam. That means patients can take half the dose of CBN as they would of diazepam and experience the same relief. Additionally, Steep Hill claims that because CBN synergizes with CBD and D9THC, a combination of the cannabinoids has the potential to induce 5-6 hours of restful sleep in insomnia sufferers.

CBN: A Misunderstood Cannabinoid

CBN has a misleading reputation in the cannabis community because most of the CBN found in cannabis flowers come from degraded THC. More CBN usually equals less THC. Research is showing this occurs most frequently in improperly stored cannabis, where the THC converts more rapidly due to poor storage conditions. Although there are methods to increase CBN during cultivation and cure, which involve purposefully degrading THC, cultivators are hesitant to exchange even one milligram of valuable THC for CBN.

With THC and CBD dominating the market right now, CBN isn’t a target cannabinoid, so it’s rare to regularly find fresh flowers with high levels of CBN. Until more of CBN’s applications are discovered and inspire consumer demand, it will not be as valuable as THC and CBD, and not a targeted cannabinoid that’s readily available in high concentration in flowers. So don’t be on the lookout for CBN-dominant strains just yet, although they are certainly coming as more research is performed on the cannabinoid.

Consumers looking for stronger levels of CBN than most flowers provide should consult their Budtenders, who can direct them to high-CBN products, which are most often tinctures, creams, and vapeable extracts.


With new research being performed at a record rate, we will soon know much more about the cannabinoid spectrum and their individual and synergistic properties, including more specific uses for CBN. The news that CBN is as effective of a sedative as diazepam could help make the cannabinoid as medically valuable as CBD and THC and cultivators might begin phenohunting for CBN-dominant strains.


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