CBN Flower: A Complete Guide to Cannabinol

Hemp and cannabis products have slowly integrated themselves into the wellness regimens of consumers nationwide. While the most popular cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, take up their share of the spotlight, some lesser-known cannabinoids deserve more attention and provide unique therapeutic benefits. 

CBN flower is one such aspect of hemp and marijuana, piquing the interest of researchers and consumers alike. In this article, we’ll explore the origins of CBN flower, how to use it, potential risks and benefits, and what to know when choosing CBN flower as a consumer.

outdoor organic hemp field

Key Takeaways

  • CBN is the degraded form of THC and works on similar receptors in the body.
  • Users suggest that CBN is profoundly relaxing and a valuable sleeping aid to fight insomnia.
  • CBN occurs in minimal concentrations in hemp, making it costly to produce and make CBN flower and products.

      What is CBN?

      Cannabinol, or CBN, is a chemical naturally occurring in the cannabis plant when THC metabolizes and breaks down via exposure to light or oxygen. It’s considered a major cannabinoid but exists in relatively small quantities in the cannabis plant. More CBN concentrations often appear in older cannabis plants, where much of the THC has broken down over time.

      How CBN Works

      The research is still relatively new regarding how CBN works in the body. Still, users report that it produces more sedative effects that enhance feelings of drowsiness, similar to THC and myrcene. This indicates that CBN might act on the CB1 receptors that take up THC and prolong THC’s impact and sedative effects. Other reports, however, claim that CBN does not affect them.

      The perceived sedative properties of CBN flower could make it worthwhile for those seeking to address insomnia issues or enhance restful sleep amid chronic pain or inflammation. In the cannabis plant, high levels of CBN usually correlate with formerly high levels of THC, so very potent delta-9 products can degrade into CBN-potent ones over time with improper storage. 

      What is CBN Flower?

      CBN flower is either hemp or marijuana flower intentionally bred or cured to produce high concentrations of CBN. While CBN doesn’t occur in high quantities naturally in the plant, aged cannabis flower will contain more levels of CBN thanks to the degraded THC. 

      However, remember that legal hemp can only contain 0.3% THC per dry weight. While CBN is legal, it may be challenging to find flower with high levels of CBN that meet the limits of the 2018 Farm Bill. Growers today, incentivized by interest in CBN, are exploring ways to intentionally breed high-CBN flower, though the market for this product type is relatively new.

      cbn gummies with peach slices


      How is CBN Flower Made?

      More CBN in hemp or marijuana flower indicates that a given bud is older due to increased exposure to sunlight, heat, and air. Fresher cannabis plants that grow in sunlight contain some CBN, but often not enough for it to be the primary cannabinoid present.

      Elements that contribute to CBN production in flower include:

      • THC concentration
      • Exposure to heat
      • Exposure to light
      • How long flower has been exposed to the elements

      If you’ve ever consumed old hemp or buds that were stored improperly, you’ve tried flower with a higher CBN concentration. Manufacturers also have tried spraying hemp flower with concentrated CBN to boost the overall amount present. Others will intentionally aid delta-9 THC flower to get it to degrade into CBN flower, though this is more common only in legal states.

      Benefits and Drawbacks of CBN Flower

      Potential Benefits

      With such low naturally occurring CBN percentages in cannabis flower, the primary way of discerning whether CBN produces benefits in users is by way of extracted products, such as CBN oil or CBN gummies. However, those who consume CBN suggest it’s highly sedative, helpful for achieving lasting and restful sleep, and relaxing amid stressful or anxious thoughts.

      Risks and Drawbacks

      CBN is not considered as psychoactive as THC, with some suggesting no effect. Despite this, CBN is a byproduct of THC, so high levels of CBN may indicate high levels of THC. THC can have the following drawbacks if over-consumed:

      • Dry mouth
      • Red eyes
      • Increased heart rate
      • Coordination problems
      • Memory loss
      • Anxiety
      • Slower reaction times
      • Nausea and vomiting 

      However, these adverse side effects won’t necessarily occur when using CBN flower.

      Is CBN Flower Legal?

      CBN flower is federally legal as long as it, or any other CBN product, comes from plants that meet the legal definition of hemp. This means the products must be hemp-derived or contain no more than 0.3% THC per dry weight. Any more, and the product becomes marijuana and is only legal in states with a valid recreational or medical program.

      How Much Does CBN Flower Cost?

      It’s much more expensive to produce CBN flower than delta-9 THC or CBD. The cannabinoid is less abundant in the plant, meaning manufacturers require significantly more starting material to make an equivalent amount. In legalized states, it's easier to source plants for CBN extraction, but it still will cost much more than other options. 

      Manufacturers often combine CBN with CBD or other substances like melatonin to produce specific sedative effects. We’ll likely see costs decrease as CBN flower becomes more a part of the mainstream cannabis market.

      The Bottom Line

      CBN flower is gaining popularity as more individuals seek less psychoactive cannabis-based remedies for improved sleep. While it’s hard to get high levels of CBN in marijuana or hemp, extracting and infusing it in products such as gummies or edibles is a great way to explore its potential benefits. As more research becomes available, we’ll likely learn more about the benefits and mechanisms of CBN flower.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Does CBN flower make me sleepy?

      Many anecdotal reports indicate that CBN flower and products enhance drowsiness and make users feel sleepy. However, few studies specifically examine CBN’s impact on sleep, and we need more research to confirm its properties. 

      Is CBN better than CBD?

      CBN and CBD produce different effects in the body and are more or less effective depending on your goals. CBN reportedly produces strong sedative effects, while CBD has the potential to relieve pain, soothe anxiety, and can promote feelings of calm.

      How fast does CBN kick in?

      The time CBN takes to kick in depends on the consumption method used. Smoking or vaping CBN flower will produce effects in 10-15 minutes, depending on the user. CBN oil starts working in 15-30 minutes when consumed orally. CBN gummies, finally, take the longest to work (from 60 minutes to two hours) but the effects can last for hours.

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