CBN vs CBD- what makes them tick


CBN and CBD are cannabinoids found in cannabis plants that share some similarities but there are also some significant differences between them and their effects on the body.

What is a cannabinoid?

Within the cannabis plant are little chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. CBD is a cannabinoid and so is THC, CBG and CBN, just to name a few. When it comes to cannabinoids, these are only the tip of the iceberg. Scientists estimate there are over 150 cannabinoids found in both Hemp and Marijuana. The reason we only hear of a select few is because some are more abundant than others, like CBD and CBN. Some of these compounds can have an intoxicating affect on the body, like that of THC while others may result more subtle changes. The one thing they all have in common is that they interact with and have an effect on our endocannabinoid system. This interaction is what affects our homeostasis.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most common cannabinoid found in cannabis. CBD is derived directly from hemp plants or it is manufactured in a laboratory. One of hundreds of compounds in marijuana, CBD does not cause intoxication in the way THC does.

What is CBN?

CBN is also cannabinoid found in cannabis however, it has a slightly different origin story than CBD. It forms as a result of the break down of THC due to heat, light and storage. Because of this oxidation, a few of things become true:

  • CBN is mildly psychoactive
  • The higher the THC, the lower the CBN
  • It is not possible to breed strains of cannabis that will naturally contain high levels of CBN.

What’s the difference between CBN vs CBD?

One big difference is how CBD and CBN interact with the body. CBN binds to receptors in the endocannabinoid system, the CB1 receptor to be exact. It is that bond that gives THC and, to a lesser extent, CBN is intoxicating effects. CBD, however does not appear to bind to the receptors directly which is why the senses remain unaltered and there are no feelings of euphoria.

What else makes them different?

Another thing that sets them apart from one another is their affect on appetite. Since CBN is the direct result of the oxidation of THC, their characteristics are also similar. In the same way that THC can cause the munchies, or an increase in appetite, not surprisingly, so can CBN. CBD, on the other hand, usually acts as a mild appetite suppressant.

How are they alike?

Since CBD and CBN are both cannabinoids, there do share some similarities,  including their anecdotal ability to alleviate symptoms of pain and inflammation. They do this by affecting pain signals received by the brain. Cannabinoids work best  in combination, synergistically in the entourage effect.  All this really means is that they work better in combination than in isolation; CBN and CBD included. Combining cannabinoids, like THC, CBG and CBC with CBD and CBN increases the desired effect by having the others around. This is why many people choose broad-spectrum and full-spectrum cannabis products over isolates.

Final Thoughts

So while both CBD and CBN may have potential uses in alternative therapy and may also have some similarities, they ARE different compounds with their own individual effects. We need more research to fully realize what they are capable of.



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