CBD vs. CBN | NuLeaf Naturals


cbd vs cbn

Did you know that the cannabis plant has over 100 natural compounds called cannabinoids? Of course, there’s the famous THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and its younger cousin, CBD (cannabidiol), whose popularity and use are skyrocketing due to its potential wellness benefits*.

Following closely is CBN, also known as cannabinol, another cannabinoid with a fan base that is slowly but steadily growing. Both CBD and CBN are fast growing in popularity due to their numerous potential wellness applications*.

In this blog post, we’ll look at these two different cannabinoids, their effects, legal statuses, and look at their potential benefits* so that you might make an informed decision as to which one to include in your life.

Production and Chemical Structure

Both CBD and CBN are produced naturally in cannabis plants. Similar to how THC is derived from THCA, CBD is derived from its precursor, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), when it goes through a process called decarboxylation.

The process involves removing a carboxyl group (COOH) from the molecule, which can be done with heat or UV light. Decarboxylation can occur when cannabis is smoked, cooked, heated, or exposed to sunlight, resulting in CBD.

On the other hand, CBN isn’t produced by the plant, but it is formed through the degradation and aging of THC. When cannabis is overly exposed to air, heat, or light, THC oxidizes and degrades into CBN.

The rate at which THC degrades to CBN depends on the conditions like temperature, time, and humidity. The chemical formula of CBD is C21H30O2, while that of CBN is C21H26O2.

Effects and Psychoactivity

CBD is generally not psychoactive, and most products contain THC levels of 0.03% or less, which is not enough to produce a high. Potential benefits of CBD include everyday stress and sleep support, as well as support for recovery after exercise and overall wellness*.

Because it comes from THC, CBN can have mild psychoactive effects and is most commonly used as a sedative.

While THC binds to receptors in our body’s endocannabinoid system​​​​, CBD and CBN both interact with the receptors and could potentially contribute to an enhanced effect.

This is known as the entourage effect, which theorizes that all cannabinoids synergistically work together and are more effective combined than separately.

Potential Wellness Benefits

CBD is commonly used to support sleep as the compound can promote a sense of relaxation and well-being, facilitating better sleep*. CBD is also thought to reduce cortisol levels, the stress hormone so that you might enjoy a deeper, more restorative sleep*.

However, studies on the effects of CBN are also investigating its potential sedative effects and ability to cause drowsiness*.

Legal Status and Availability

The 2018 Farm Bill states that all cannabis products that have less than 0.03% THC are federally legal. While certain states might have specific rules, CBD and CBN products are widely available nationwide.

They can be bought in health food or grocery stores, even in gas stations! Products can come in the form of oils, tinctures, gels, topicals, or supplements. While CBD products are more widely available, CBN can be a tad harder to find, although its popularity is slowly but steadily growing.

If you are shopping for cannabinoid products, be sure to only buy from reputable sources whose products have undergone third-party lab testing for potency and purity. Untested or inferior products can be mislabeled or contaminated and contain more than 0.03% THC concentrations, potentially causing you to fail a drug test.

Final Thoughts

While closely related, CBD and CBN are distinctive compounds, each with its own potential wellness benefits and effects*.

While CBD can be found in every store around the corner, CBN is a little harder to come by. If you’re looking for CBN products, check out our best-selling products like CBD: CBN Gummies, which combine the best of both worlds, and CBN Oil!

Before introducing cannabinoids to your wellness regimen, always check with your healthcare professional, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are on medication.


What’s the difference between CBN and CBD?

CBN (cannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are two types of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBN can be slightly psychoactive and may have stronger sedative effects. CBD is generally non-psychoactive and has numerous potential wellness applications like supporting sleep and overall wellness*.

Can CBD and CBN be used together?

Combining CBD and CBN may offer enhanced effects due to the entourage effect. This is when compounds work synergistically with each other to enhance the effect of each one.