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Can CBD and CBN help you get to sleep at night?

Written by: Dr. Diana Rangaves, Google Scholar, holds a Doctorate from the University of California, specializes in pharmacotherapy management, and founded ClinicalConsultantServices.com and DianaRangaves.com

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The therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant are becoming common knowledge. As an increasing number of people are now waking up to its use as a sleep-inducing drug—no pun intended—we explore the answer to the commonly asked question: can CBD and CBN help you sleep? Early studies of medicinal cannabis focused largely on the effects of THC, the most prominent compound in the plant.

More recently, studies have shifted to cannabis’ second-most prominent compound, cannabidiol (CBD). CBD has become popular in the science community because unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive, intoxicating side effects. This gives it greater potential as a medicine.

Now, as scientists have realized the cannabis plant has more than 100 active compounds, called cannabinoids, they have started to put the time into researching some of the others. As it turns out, the cannabinoid cannabinol (CBN) also appears to have therapeutic properties, including one that coincides with CBD: they both might have the power to help you sleep.

With millions of people around the world reporting to have trouble sleeping, finding natural and effective ways to treat their sleep issues is imperative. Perhaps CBD and CBN are the answer.

What are CBD and CBN?

The hype around the THC in cannabis has mostly overshadowed its other cannabinoids, but CBN was actually the first cannabinoid ever identified by researchers.

THC has been the most widely studied of any cannabinoid, but scientists have been less extensively looking into CBD and CBN for decades as well. Actually, CBN is directly related to THC in that it forms when THC degrades.

This evolution happens as cannabis is exposed to air, the chemical reaction leading to the production of CBN. Generally, the older cannabis flowers are, the more CBN they will contain. Additionally, the process of turning THC into CBN is sped up by UV light exposure. 

All cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in modulating many of our physiological functions, such as pain perception, mood, appetite, and other cognitive functions. Depending on how a cannabinoid interacts with the ECS and other parts of the body, its effects will differ.

THC has many effects, some therapeutic and some psychoactive. CBD is not psychoactive, and neither is CBN, despite the fact that CBN was originally THC. However, preliminary research shows that CBD and CBN have numerous medicinal effects.

What is CBN oil? Much like CBD oil, it is the cannabinoid isolated from the plant so that it can be used for its individual effects. CBD oil is now easy to find in health stores and dispensaries. The use of CBN oil for sleep and for treatment of other ailments is also not unheard of; it is less common, but as more information about it is discovered, that will probably change.

Can CBD And CBN Help You Sleep?

What does the research say?

What are the effects of CBN and CBD? CBD and CBN have several overlapping effects, such as providing pain relief, decreasing inflammation, and improving sleep. Research into the therapeutic benefits of CBD is still early, which is even truer for CBN. Still, the more scientists learn about these cannabinoids, the more promising they appear for how they can help people sleep.

Research from Sleep Medicine Reviews published in 2020 reported that CBD showed great potential for treating many different kinds of sleep issues, including insomnia, sleep apnea, rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, narcolepsy, and trouble sleeping caused by PTSD.

CBN has also shown signs of its potential use as a sedative. When it is used in combination with THC, CBN’s effects seem to be most potent. Research in mice has shown that CBN can help specifically to lengthen sleep.

CBD has been shown to be relaxing in high doses, but energizing in low doses—but what is considered high and low varies from person to person. This is one reason why there is no standard dosages for CBD or CBN; it is generally recommended that you start with a low dose and begin to move your way up. If you’re coming to CBD and CBN looking for a sleep aid, be patient, as it’s going to take you a while to dial in exactly where your dosage needs to be.

But the problems of dosing are a known issue with CBD and CBN, and shouldn’t dissuade anyone from taking them, provided they do so responsibly. CBD and CBN are still new to the scientific world and are in need of further study, and for now every person seems to react in a slightly different way. This, however, is not a knock against these cannabinoids, because they have been proven to be effective in numerous ways, over and over. It is, instead a caution to begin a CBD and CBN regimen in a careful way, watching the way that your body responds to the stimulus of the compounds, and varying your doses based on those effects. It is very possible that the remedy you’re looking for is right in front of you; it may just take you a while to dial it in.

Additional studies are warranted and needed to provide better evidence regarding the use of both CBD and CBN for sleep inducement. In the meantime, the known side effects of CBN and CBD are not serious or common means that people have already widely begun using it as a natural sleep remedy. Because of how sleep disturbances negatively affects quality of life, the data and anecdotal evidence available currently on CBD and CBN is enough for many to trust it.

CBD and CBN vs. Melatonin

Many people turn to natural sleep remedies when they have trouble sleeping. This is largely because the pharmaceutical treatments available for sleep issues have limited efficacy, either being not that effective, having dangerous adverse effects, or both.

Melatonin is a common natural sleep remedy. The body naturally produces melatonin, which is involved in the sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, taking additional melatonin supplements has at times helped people in treating sleep disorders like insomnia. However, it is not effective for everyone, and its potency seems to diminish with repeated use. As such, the search for better sleep remedies has continued.

Comparatively speaking, can CBD and CBN help you sleep, similar to or more effectively than melatonin? The verdict is still out on that. It might be a great way to help people get to sleep and stay asleep. Only more research will be able to confirm the effective use of CBN for insomnia relief. The studies on CBD’s impact on sleep are closer, though still a ways away from definitive data.

What is certain is that cannabis as a whole plant can act as a strong sedative. The sedating effects of cannabis seem to come mostly from the THC, though it is possible that CBN could be contributing and making THC’s effects more powerful.

For those that have a strong aversion to the intoxicating effects of THC, taking isolated CBN or CBD oil for sleep might be a better route.

Conclusion

The research is still an evolving process for CBD, CBN and other cannabinoids. CBN as a sleep aid is still in relative infancy, but there is definitely evidence to suggest that it will show true results as more research is conducted. There is a lot to be excited about with CBD and CBN as sleep aids, in fact they could revolutionize the sleeping process for many people who suffer from insomnia. 

This shouldn’t turn people off to the idea of CBD and CBN as sleep aids. But keep in mind, medicines and prescriptions, and vitamins and supplements, have to go through rigorous testing and FDA approval before they can be declared to relieve specific conditions. Most dietary supplements and CBD products are not evaluated by the FDA.

With any luck, in a not-too-distant future we’ll be able to give specific dosage recommendations for both CBD and CBN that take into account height, weight, and metabolism, and have a chart that shows exactly how much a person needs for inflammation, for pain relief, for skin disorders, and for sleep aids. Science will get to the bottom of it, and we’re seeing research into these compounds moving at a much faster pace than it has in the past, especially as CBD specifically has become such a prominent and embraced natural remedy. 

In the end, we know that CBD and CBN both have the potential for helping people sleep—that’s been shown in studies of people and animals. The question is how much of each need to be used. And, fortunately, we know that CBD and CBN have very few side effects, and the use of them as sleep aid, while not an exact science, can still be pursued even now. 

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Hopefully we’ve covered all aspects of the question “can CBD and CBN help you sleep?” 

If you’re wondering where you can get CBN oil for sleep, you’ve found the answer: right here. Consider our recently launched product Naternal Rest CBD + CBN – a full spectrum oil carefully formulated with CBD, CBN, and other hemp compounds shown to enhance the overall effects of CBD, providing a wider range of benefits than CBD alone – which eases your mind and helps you find your balance.

Naternal Rest CBD + CBN