CBD And CBN: How Are They Different?

CBD And CBN: How Are They Different?

One of more than 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, CBN offers some very interesting effects. But science still has a lot to learn about this molecule. It shares certain similarities with CBD, but offers its own unique effects.

You may have seen a CBN product on the cannabis market. Although it has been known for a long time, companies have only just begun to adopt it and develop products with this interesting molecule.

The science of cannabis has come a long way. Researchers have broadened their horizons over the last century and discovered numerous phytochemicals that make marijuana unique and effective. So far, more than 100 cannabinoids have been identified, although our knowledge of these chemicals remains rather sketchy.

All cannabis fans have heard of THC, which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana. Most are also familiar with CBD, a calming, non-psychoactive cannabinoid from this plant. But what do we know about CBN? This fascinating chemical comes from THC, but like CBD, it doesn’t create a high. Thanks to this last characteristic, companies in the cannabis sector are focusing their efforts on developing CBN as another cannabinoid ready to dominate the market. It appears to be the perfect candidate for influencing the endocannabinoid system through tinctures, capsules, and edibles; just like CBD.

In this article we look at the differences between CBN and CBD, find out where they both come from, and compare their effects.


CBD, or cannabidiol, has become the star of the cannabis world in recent years. It is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that many people consume throughout the day for its lucid and relaxing effect.

Until recently, most strains of marijuana offered a relatively low level of CBD. But advances in science revealed the versatile potential of this cannabinoid. After a series of groundbreaking findings and remarkable anecdotes, cannabis breeders began developing strains with a higher CBD content.

Today there are strains with huge levels of cannabidiol and very little THC. These varieties do not produce psychoactive effects, but offer mental clarity and calm. Some strains contain equal parts CBD and THC, offering the best of both worlds.

CBD has gone from being a relatively well-known molecule to being a widely used cannabinoid. Thanks to the absence of psychoactive effects, CBD is present in a wide variety of everyday products such as:

  • Dyes
  • Oils
  • Capsules
  • cosmetics
  • Groceries
  • Drinks

Right now, CBD dominates the functional food market and leads the content of cannabinoid edibles. This molecule has helped unleash the potential of marijuana as the basis for a wide range of products designed to influence the endocannabinoid system.


CBN, or cannabinol, was the first cannabinoid from the cannabis plant to be isolated. With a slightly psychoactive effect, this substance does not produce intoxication or high, but provides a delicate calming effect. Although CBN has been known to researchers for a long time, this molecule has just burst onto the current cannabis scene.

CBN will most likely follow in the footsteps of CBD and be included in products that benefit the endocannabinoid system without producing a high in the process. Like CBD, CBN offers a lucid, non-psychoactive high, ideal for any time of the day.

As CBN makes its way into the cannabis industry, more products appear on the market. These include:

  • Oils
  • Crystals
  • Dyes
  • Topical creams


CBN differs from most cannabinoids in that it does not undergo an enzymatic reaction. CBN is created as a consequence of the breakdown of the main psychoactive compound in cannabis: THC. When THC comes in contact with oxygen, light, or heat, it gradually breaks down to CBN.

It is quite possible that most marijuana smokers have inadvertently inhaled CBN. When the buds are not stored correctly or are kept for too long, the THC content begins to transform into CBN. The fact that science discovered CBN before THC could be due to poor transport and quality controls, leading to degradation.

The extraction with CO₂ also allows to obtain the CBN of the flowers through certain temperature and pressure settings.


Research on the effects of CBN is in its early stages, despite being the first cannabinoid to be isolated. The paucity of clinical trials means that most of the functions of this interesting cannabinoid remain unknown. However, we know that CBN:

  • Does not produce psychotropic / intoxicating effects
  • It is an agonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system

CBN can also help relax muscles and fight tension. The calming properties of this molecule indicate that it could work together with CBD to enhance recovery after a session in the gym. Cannabinol may also help reduce skin redness through mechanisms unrelated to the endocannabinoid system.

CBN also appears to promote mental relaxation. In its isolated form, it could be a better option than CBD to unwind. Benefit your endocannabinoid system with this molecule to be able to meditate more deeply and give a relaxing touch to your puffs.


Although they have many things in common, CBD and CBN differ in several ways. Let’s see their similarities and differences:

Features shared by CBD and CBN:

  • They promote a good night’s rest
  • Calm and relax the body
  • Bind to cannabinoid receptors
  • Relieve mental tension
  • They are not psychotropic

Unique features of CBD:

  • CBDA is formed in live plants through enzymatic reactions, and is decarboxylated into CBD with light and heat
  • More studied and better understood
  • Increases the level of endocannabinoids in the body
  • Promotes mental acuity

Exclusive CBN Features:

  • It is formed in the flowers harvested as a result of the degradation of THC
  • More relaxing than lucid
  • Much less researched


CBD and CBN could work together to mutually enhance their effects. The entourage effect explains how the different phytochemicals in cannabis (cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids) create a synergistic relationship to produce a more effective result.

We know that cannabinoids like CBD and THC work together with terpenes like myrcene, limonene and pinene to produce a more pronounced effect. No specific studies have been carried out looking at how CBD and CBN work together, but since they have similar effects, it is highly likely that their beneficial effects can complement each other.

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