What is CBN (Cannabinol)?

(This article was published in the October 2021 Acupuncture Today newsletter).

What is CBN and Its Health Benefits?

When it comes to cannabis most people focus on the effects and benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While these two cannabinoids have the largest presence in cannabis, there are several other cannabinoids present. One of the more notable of the 100 plus cannabinoids present in cannabis is cannabinol (CBN).

What is Cannabinol?

CBN is a cannabinoid that is produced through the oxidization process of tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THC-A). This means that when THC is heated and exposed to oxygen the result is CBN. Since CBN is a product of THC, it does have a mild psychoactive effect, but much less than THC.

Health Benefits of CBN

While research on the health benefits of CBN is still in its early stages, the results and potential implications are extremely encouraging. Let’s take a look at some of the noted health benefits of CBN.


One study from 2008 found that CBN was especially effective at treating strains of MRSA bacterial infections. Some of these strains are resistant to traditional antibiotics. This could mean that CBN may be the future of and the only option for treating certain strains of MRSA.

Protectant Against ALS

CBN may be one of the keys to fighting Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease. In fact, one study found that delivering CBD subcutaneously significantly delayed the onset of the disease. While further research is required this may be promising preliminary data on demonstrating how CBD can fight ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Sleep Promotion

When combined with THC, CBN has been found and reported to improve sleep. It’s actually be found to be more effective as a sedative than THC alone. However, CBN alone by itself has not been found to aid sleep. While only one known study has been done on the subject, further research is needed to determine CBN's effects on sleep.

Appetite Stimulant

A study from 2012 showed that CBN is effective as an appetite stimulant. While some people use THC to achieve the same effect, CBN offers a great alternative that will keep the user from feeling high.


Much like CBD, studies have shown the CBN is effective as an anti-inflammatory. It has been shown to be particularly effective at treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

CBN as a Cancer-Fighting Agent

A massive study done in 2020 on the impacts of multiple cannabinoids effects on cancer found that CBN can be used to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. It was found to be particularly effective in preventing the growth of breast cancer cells.


CBN might be a great alternative for those looking for a way to prevent seizures. Like CBD and THC, CBN has been found to have anticonvulsant properties.

Pain Relief

A 2019 Study found that CBN could potentially help people manage pain. It may be particularly effective in helping in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia.

How to Take CBN

CBN is most widely available as an oil that is typically combined with another cannabinoid like CBD. This is an effective way to take CBN that will give you the health benefits listed above.

When choosing a CBN product you should look for a product that has been third-party tested. The FDA does not regulate CBN products. Therefore, third-party testing is a great way to verify the safety and cannabinoid make-up of the product that you are ingesting. The certificate of analysis or lab report is typically available upon request.

While much more research is required to determine all the benefits of CBN, the results that have been found this far are extremely promising. If you are experiencing issues that can be resolved with any of the health benefits listed in this article, CBN may just be your solution.


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