CBN, CBD, CBG, THC… it can get a little confusing knowing the differences between all the different cannabinoids. Now that these extracts are flooding the market thanks to legalization in many areas, you might be wondering what the difference between CBD and CBN is.
Though they’re both cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant, there are some key differences between the two, in origin and effect. Our guide will cover it all.
What is CBN?
CBN is an acronym for cannabinol. It was the first cannabinoid scientists isolated and was first thought to be the cannabinoid that causes the high associated with the plant. We now know this to be THC.
This confusion stemmed from the fact that CBN is a product of THC. THC will turn into CBN when exposed to light and heat. This means one of the easiest ways to produce high CBN extracts is to oxidize THC and CBD.
The effects of CBN on people have not yet been researched in full. It works similarly to all cannabinoids in that it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), interacting with the cannabinoid receptors there. More specifically, it’s similar to THC in that it binds to the CB1 receptors — but only with around a tenth of the strength of THC.
What is CBD?
CBD is also an acronym, for cannabidiol. Excluding THC, it’s the most abundant cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant. The reason for its popularity comes down to its non-intoxicating effects and federal law.
The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized marijuana plants with a THC content of less than 0.3%, defining them as industrial hemp plants instead. This led to an explosion of CBD products across the country, due to its potential beneficial medical effects.
Again, CBD works the same as all cannabinoids — by interacting with the body’s own endocannabinoid system. CBD can interact with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors within the ECS. It causes no euphoric effects.
What’s the difference between CBD and CBN?
Well for starters, as we highlighted above, they’re different cannabinoids. That means they’re two fundamentally different cannabis compounds. This means they will interact with the endocannabinoid system and receptors differently, causing different effects.
CBN interacts with the CB1 receptors and binds to it, this is more similar to THC than other cannabinoids. CBD interacts with both receptors but does not attach or bind to the receptors.
The main difference between the two cannabinoids is how they’re made. CBD is plentiful within most strains of the cannabis plant. CBN, on the other hand, cannot be produced through genetics and is created through environmental factors.
Neither CBD nor CBN isolate can produce an intoxicating effect on their own. However, they both affect the euphoric effect when combined with THC. CBD is known to help with the negative side effects of THC such as paranoia, while CBN works as a gentle sedative and aids sleep.
The Entourage Effect
The reason these cannabinoids can behave differently when interacting with other cannabinoids is because of what’s known as the entourage effect.
Research came up with this theory way back in 1998, and it’s still being widely researched today. The theory says that when taken together, cannabinoids may alter the effects of one another. This is why CBD and CBN may behave differently when THC is also present.
Though research is still ongoing, it’s widely believed taking a full spectrum of cannabinoids may create the most beneficial effects. This said, even in isolation, CBD and CBN may have many benefits.
CBN vs CBD Benefits
Though there are differences between CBD and CBN in their production and interactions with the body’s ECS, they’re actually thought to be quite similar in potentially beneficial effects.
It’s worth noting that due to the widespread criminalization of cannabis until recently, research is still new. However, studies so far have shown promising results for both CBN and CBD.
A refined type of CBD, called Epidiolex, has been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for those who suffer from drug-resistant epilepsy. It works as an anticonvulsant. This is currently one of the only FDA approved cannabinoid extracts, others still need more research to confirm medicinal benefits.
Other studies so far have suggested CBD may have neuroprotective properties, which could make it beneficial to those suffering from degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Lewy Body Dementia. CBD is also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, which could help with relieving chronic pain conditions.
Other potential properties include immunosuppressive and antioxidant traits. This means CBD could be helpful for those undergoing cancer treatments.
On the other hand, studies on rats given CBN have shown it may increase appetite — similarly to THC. This same study showed evidence that CBN may also help as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and even an antibiotic. It’s promising research, but far more is needed before these claims can be confirmed.
As we start to see more CBD and CBN products come into the market, you might be wondering if there will be any more. The answer is a resounding yes. There are more than 150 cannabinoids found within cannabis plants, and they all interact with the body’s ECS differently.
Some other cannabinoids we may see on the market soon currently being researched are:
- tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Cannabidiol (CDBL)
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
If the entourage theory is to be believed, studies may find a whole host of benefits from various combinations of these different cannabinoids.
Now you know the difference between CBD and CBN, you can decide whether it may be beneficial to your health to try a cannabinoid extract. Shop from reputable stores for your chosen product as there is very little regulation of industrial hemp-extract products currently.
We have more answers to all your health queries, and others, on our blog, so be sure to check it out.