CBN vs Melatonin: Is One Better?

cbn gummies for sleep

When it comes to everyday wellness products, countless people seek extra assistance with sleep. The newly emerging cannabis and hemp-derived cannabinoid industries similarly have many new and long-time consumers seeking out solutions to help combat insomnia and get more restful sleep.

Specifically, minor cannabinoids like CBN may be the key to unlocking better sleep.

Some may wonder if it’s worth it, given that there are already other over-the-counter options on the market, like melatonin, which are often less expensive and more accessible for many consumers.

Both CBN and melatonin have their pros and cons. If you’re stuck between the two, we’ve got all the answers you need right here!

Key Takeaways

  • CBN is often marketed as a sleep aid, and while anecdotal evidence strongly supports the assertion, research is still playing catch up.
  • Melatonin has been on the market for longer, has more research surrounding its effects, and is a natural hormone produced in the body that regulates the sleep cycle.
  • Melatonin has more known side effects, albeit rare, than CBN.
  • Consumers can find CBN in a variety of products to best fit their individual needs.

What is CBN?

CBN, or cannabinol, is a minor cannabinoid (a cannabis compound, like CBD and THC) found in hemp and cannabis plants. It’s the result of THC breaking down over time, which naturally converts to CBN. CBN is considered to be minimally psychoactive, which may be why it may be connected to sleep.

Because CBN comes from THC, it’s more time consuming to extract and is generally available in smaller quantities, therefore it tends to be harder to come by and more expensive that other cannabinoid products.

What Are the Effects and Benefits of CBN?

CBN is often marketed as a sleep aid, with mild psychotropic effects that can stimulate drowsiness and sedation. It’s often said that CBN is about ¼ as strong as THC, so it will not lead to the same “high” THC offers.

Anecdotal evidence and surveys have shown that consumers have experienced better sleep because of their CBN use, and research on animals has shown some promise in supporting these claims, but studies on humans are still limited.

Many studies looking at CBN’s benefits suggest it produces the most substantial effects when combined with other cannabinoids to produce the entourage effect.

Many consumers find that CBN also promotes relaxing and stress-relieving effects. Some research on rats has also found that CBN on its own, and combined with CBD, offered anticonvulsant and pain relieving effects, which could promote muscle relaxing qualities.

One study also found that CBN increased food consumption and duration of feeding time in rodents without dangerous side effects, suggesting it may be valuable as an appetite stimulant. Some research also suggests the cannabinoid has antibacterial properties.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a common over-the-counter solution for sleep issues and produced as a natural hormone in the body, produced by the pineal gland. It’s meant to help regulate our circadian rhythms, or our natural body clocks, to promote regular sleep patterns.

People who have irregular sleep patterns often turn to melatonin supplements for help, taking them a few hours before bed and effectively fooling their body into feeling drowsy and ready to rest.

What are the Effects and Benefits of Melatonin?

Melatonin doesn’t necessarily make you sleepy but rather puts your body in a state of quiet wakefulness, which helps you to more easily fall asleep. Normally, melatonin levels in the body naturally begin to rise about two hours before bed. A number of studies have confirmed that melatonin is indeed an effective aid for sleep issues.

Additionally, melatonin could help to reduce symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, since it works to reset the circadian rhythm. Supplementing with melatonin may also boost human growth hormone, which is linked to better bone strength and muscle mass.

Melatonin may also be good for eye health, as research has shown it holds therapeutic benefits for age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Side Effects 

Possible Melatonin Side Effects

The National Health Service has noted that quality melatonin does not cause side effects in most people. Among those who experience side effects, these are the most common.

  • Stomach ache
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Itchy skin
  • Irritability
  • Night sweats
  • Strange dreams

Bear in mind that these side effects generally resolve on their own. Serious side effects for melatonin occur in less than 1 in 1,000 people.

Possible CBN Side Effects



There are no known side effects of CBN, but that’s not to say they don’t exist. As mentioned, research is still catching up, and it’s possible we simply don’t know enough to definitively pinpoint the cannabinoid’s side effects.

How to Take CBN

Mirroring the broader cannabis industry and its many products, there are a variety of ways for consumers to reap the potential benefits of CBN. Many products are also enriched with CBD and other cannabinoids, allowing for the synergistic effects to elevate CBN to its fullest potential.

Edibles

Likely the most popular method to take CBN, you’ll easily find a plethora of edible products — like gummies, cookies, brownies, chocolates, or even beverages — infused with the cannabinoid. You can also make your own CBN edibles with oils and tinctures.

Inhalables

CBN is also available in vape cartridges, pens, and nasal sprays. The CBN hits your system through your lungs, and this method is more fast-acting than edibles, which can take up to a few hours to fully hit the system.

Topicals

For folks looking to take advantage of the potential antibiotic and anti-inflammatory effects CBN has to offer, CBN-infused creams and lotions are likely the best bet.

CBN vs. Melatonin Potency

Like all cannabis compounds, it’s best to start slow with CBN and work your way up. CBN doses for sleep generally range between 3-6 mg for most consumers. It’s recommended to avoid exceeding 10 mg of CBN in a single day. Though, the ideal dose may vary based on the person.

Similar to CBN, melatonin doesn’t have a standard optimal dose. Experts typically recommend 1-3 mg about two hours before bed, but oral doses can range up to 10 mg or more.

Final Thoughts

Many consumers are already using CBN for sleep even though it’s a fairly new cannabinoid in the broader sense. Melatonin has also been on the market far longer, with more research to back up its effects.

Ultimately, one of the best parts about the booming hemp-based cannabinoid market, and the wellness market as a whole, is that consumers can decide for themselves what works best. Whether you go with melatonin or CBN, rest assured that there are plenty of great options at your disposal.

References

Appendino, G., Gibbons, S., Giana, A., Pagani, A., Grassi, G., Stavri, M., Smith, E., & Rahman, M. M. (2008). Antibacterial Cannabinoids fromCannabis sativa: A Structure−Activity Study. Journal of Natural Products, 71(8), 1427–1430. https://doi.org/10.1021/np8002673

Corroon, J. (2021). Cannabinol and Sleep: Separating Fact from Fiction. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2021.0006

Farrimond, J. A., Whalley, B. J., & Williams, C. M. (2012). Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns. Psychopharmacology, 223(1), 117–129. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-012-2697-x

Forsling, M. L., Wheeler, M. J., & Williams, A. J. (1999). The effect of melatonin administration on pituitary hormone secretion in man. Clinical Endocrinology, 51(5), 637–642. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2265.1999.00820.x

Kurdi, M., & Muthukalai, S. (2016). The efficacy of oral melatonin in improving sleep in cancer patients with insomnia: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 22(3), 295. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-1075.185039

Lewy, A. J., Lefler, B. J., Emens, J. S., & Bauer, V. K. (2006). The circadian basis of winter depression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(19), 7414–7419. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0602425103

Lundmark, P. O., Pandi-Perumal, S. R., Srinivasan, V., & Cardinali, D. P. (2006). Role of melatonin in the eye and ocular dysfunctions. Visual Neuroscience, 23(6), 853–862. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0952523806230189

Rudman, D., Feller, A. G., Nagraj, H. S., Gergans, G. A., Lalitha, P. Y., Goldberg, A. F., Schlenker, R. A., Cohn, L., Rudman, I. W., & Mattson, D. E. (1990). Effects of human growth hormone in men over 60 years old. The New England Journal of Medicine, 323(1), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM199007053230101

Wong, H., & Cairns, B. E. (2019). Cannabidiol, cannabinol and their combinations act as peripheral analgesics in a rat model of myofascial pain. Archives of Oral Biology, 104, 33–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.archoralbio.2019.05.028

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