Medical Research

How Does CBN Help With Sleep?

Written by Robert Hammell

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have a relatively short life before it starts oxidizing to cannabinol (CBN). A study by the United Nations found that cannabis stored at room temperature for four years could see THC concentration degrading by as much as 41.4% into CBN.[1] This cannabinoid has approximately 10% of the THC psychoactivity, but it affects the body differently.[2] Because of this, CBN holds promise as a therapeutic compound, including as a sleep aid. [3] But how effectively can this THC derivative deliver a good night’s rest?


How CBN Works In The Body

The endocannabinoid system has two kind of cannabinoid receptors, called CB1 and CB2 receptors.[4] THC binds primarily to CB1 receptors, which are mainly found in the brain and it is capable to induce a psychtropic effect. CB2 receptors are found throughout the body, and they can modulate inflammations while regulating the immune response. [5] CBN reacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors, with preference for the second ones, mainly present in the peripheral nervous system, thus inducing less psychoactive response.


How The Entourage Effect Contributes to Sleep

Researches suggest that CBN may work as a sleep aid. One study found that CBN helped participants feeling 22% more restful and to sleep an average of 20 minutes longer per night.[3] That being said, correlation does not necessarily prove causation. Studies with CBN in combination with other cannabis constituents demonstrated a powerful effect on combating anxiety and other mood disorders because of the synergistic action of cannabinoids together with other compounds such as terpenes.[6] Having mood stability and being physically comfort can make it easier to fall asleep, that’s the reason why full spectrum extracts including CBN were more effective than this cannabinoid alone in ameliorating the sleep quality.
More research is required to confirm CBN effectivity against sleeping disorders and exhaustively define its mode of action.



[1] Ross, S. A. et al. CBN and D9-THC concentration ratio as an indicator of the age of stored marijuana samples. United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. (1999) [Times cited = 64]


[2] Huestis, M. A. et al. Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism of the Plant Cannabinoids, Δ 9-Tetrahydrocannibinol, Cannabidiol and Cannabinol. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, (2005); 168, 657–690. [Journal impact factor =  2.97] [Times cited = 292]


[3] Gannon, W. E. et al. Novel Formulation of THC and CBN in a Repeat-Action Tablet Improves Objective and Subjective Measurements of Sleep. American Journal of Endocannabinoid Medicine, (2021); 3(1).


[4] Lu, H. C. et al. An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System. Biological Psychiatry, (2016) 79(7), 516–525. [Journal impact factor =  13.382] [Times cited = 768]


[5] Nagarkatti, P. et al. Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future Medicinal Chemistry, (2009); 1(7), 1333–1349. [Journal impact factor =  3.808] [Times cited = 500]


[6] Ferber, S. G. The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders. Current Neuropharmacology, (2020);18(2), 87–96.×17666190903103923
[Journal Impact factor = 6.47 ] [Times cited = 71]



About the author

Robert Hammell