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Is CBN an Effective Sleep Aid?

THC and CBD are the two cannabis ingredients that get lions’ share of attention. But plenty of other components make up this fantastic plant’s complex structure.

One of which is CBN, also known as cannabinol. While THC and CBD levels are much higher than CBN, it is the first cannabinoid extracted from cannabis. Well over a century ago, in the late 1800s, early cannabis pioneers were able to isolate and collect CBN from aged cannabis flower.

Considering that CBN is actually a byproduct of aged cannabis, this discovery mainly was happenstance. Cannabis cultivation in the distant past was not the industry it is now. And most cannabis flower was found growing wild and gathered with little concern for its “freshness.”

CBN is also notable as a non-intoxicating cannabinoid. Meaning it doesn’t get you high. However, it is the subject of a growing body of medical research.

Current CBN research is scant, much like cannabis research in general. But regardless, CBN studies point to several potential medical applications, including…

  • Anti-bacterial agent
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Neuroprotectant against ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases
  • Glaucoma treatment

All of this said, CBN is most known as a sleep aid. Many have touted CBN as a potent sedative effective for combating insomnia.

According to research findings, however, this perspective may be off base. Why? We wondered the same thing here,, and took a closer look…

Why Does CBN Have Reputation as a Strong Sedative?

It stems largely from a causal connection. When people smoke older cannabis, they tend to get sleepy. And since older cannabis contains CBN, that’s what makes them sleepy, right?

Yet, in (albeit limited) studies, CBN alone does not seem to be particularly sedative.

So, Why Does Smoking Older Cannabis Make You Sleepy?

Researchers suggest two reasons…

First, THC has alone has sedative effects. And when combined with CBN, THC’s effects could be intensified.

Secondly, older cannabis has a higher terpenes concentration (another chemical ingredient in cannabis flower). Terpenes are also sedative. And it could be the terpenes, rather than the CBN, are inducing sleep.

Thus, if you’re shopping for CBN as a sleep aid, products that combine THC and CBN are your best bet.

One Note On Potential Side Effects

Just as many believe CBN intensifies THC’s sedative properties, it can also increase its psychoactive effects. So, if you want a sedative that does not “get high,” look for products that are low in THC.

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