CBN vs CBD: Differences, Benefits, & Research

Written by Rich Barnes

Last Updated: March 20, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Jim Giltner, MD

There are many products on the market that help address symptoms of stress, anxiety, inflammation, pain, or sleeplessness. After the Farm Bill of 2018, many products emerged which contained cannabidiol (CBD). As the CBD industry evolved, more compounds emerged in products such as cannabinol (CBN). In this post, we explore the differences of CBN vs CBD because each of them are unique in molecular structure despite how similarly they interact with the brain's receptors. Both compounds have a growing body of international research showing how they can serve therapeutic and medicinal benefits, and there is even overlap between CBN and CBD's benefits, specifically for helping lower anxiety and improve sleep. CBN and CBD are also derived from hemp, but the process of extracting these compounds into hemp gummies or other hemp products is unique. Both compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate a number of our the body's functions including sleep, mood, and appetite, so there are many similarities to explore in this guide to CBN vs CBD. Let's get into it!

CBN vs CBD: What’s the difference?

CBN and CBD are cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but they have different properties and are produced in the plant under different conditions. CBN and CBD share similar properties, so some of their effects on the body overlap. One example of this is that CBD and CBN have shown signs of supporting healthy sleep. CBD is widely considered to be a compound that offers a plethora of benefits for the mind and body while CBN offers a more targeted benefit with its naturally sedative properties helping people achieve a restful state.  CBN is typically found in aged cannabis because it’s a byproduct of THC degradation. When THC is exposed to oxygen and light over time, it converts to CBN. On the other hand, CBD is more naturally occurring in higher concentrations within the hemp plant.

In order to incorporate CBN and CBD into products for public consumption, there is an extraction process for doing so. The golden standard of extraction process uses a CO2 method to ensure maximum safety and efficacy. Here is a breakdown of how the extraction process works for CBN.  

The Process of Extracting Cannabinol

Once the cannabis has aged sufficiently, the CBN extraction process can begin. The most common methods for CBN extraction are:  

Solvent Extraction: Using solvents like ethanol or butane to strip the plant material of its cannabinoids. The solvent is then evaporated, leaving behind a concentrated cannabinoid extract; OR

CO2 Extraction: This method uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate and preserve CBN. It’s a clean method that doesn’t leave behind any residual solvents. This is the process Slumber uses for extraction of all CBN products to ensure maximum safety for consumers.
After extraction, the raw oil is processed to remove any unwanted plant material, fats, and waxes. This is typically done through a process called winterization, where the oil is mixed with ethanol and frozen to separate out the undesirables. It’s then filtered and the ethanol is removed through evaporation. To further refine the extract and increase its CBN concentration, it can be distilled. This process uses heat to vaporize cannabinoids, which are then collected in a concentrated form.  
The extraction process for CBD is similar to that of CBN, but there are some key differences:
Plant Material: CBD is primarily extracted from hemp plants that are specifically bred to be high in CBD and low in THC. There’s no need to age the plant material because CBD is naturally occurring in these plants.
Extraction: The same methods (solvent extraction and CO2 extraction) are used for CBD extraction. However, because CBD is more abundant in hemp than CBN, the yields are typically higher.
Purification and Distillation: These steps are similar to CBN extraction. The goal is to remove any unwanted compounds and further concentrate the CBD.
chemical structure of CBD cannabinoid

Cannabidiol (CBD) is found in hemp plants but it does not contain THC. One of hundreds of components in marijuana, CBD does not cause a “high” by itself. It is usually used as an extract mixed with base oils to create a range of CBD-based products including oils, drinks, and gummies.

chemical structure of CBN cannabinoid

Cannabinol (CBN) is found in hemp plants. While it is derived from THC, it is a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, which means it doesn’t produce a high as THC would. CBN is created over time, as the result of the oxygenation and decomposition of THC – a natural process that dilutes the effects of THC.

What is CBN? Explaining Cannabinol

CBN is primarily used as a sleep aid, helping people to experience a deeper, more restful sleep. In Slumber most recent sleep study, participants achieved an extra 72 minutes of sleep per night when ingesting a combination of CBN, CBD, and THC. The results also showed that people felt more rested, less anxious, and achieved higher quality sleep with the help of CBN. Because of the limitations of peer-reviewed research of CBN, leveraging real world data from consumers in a controlled study helps show the efficacy of CBN as a sleep aid.

Product image of Slumber CBN Gummies on a purple stand with a

What is CBD: Benefits and Uses

There have been many studies into the effects of CBD. CBD oil can be used to treat anxiety, physical discomfort and soreness, issues with restlessness, and it has been shown to be a viable sleep aid for some. CBD, because of its recent introduction into the mass market through the Farm Bill, has more research and scientific data supporting the compound. The FDA has gone so far as to approve the use of a certain high dosage of CBD for individuals experiencing seizures associated with epilepsy. The science-backed benefits of CBD include:

  • *Anti-Inflammatory
  • *Helps Manage Stress & Anxiety Symptoms
  • *Seizue Management
  • *Neuroprotective Potential

*Sleep Support

CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant, which includes both marijuana and hemp varieties. It has gained popularity for its potential therapeutic effects, including reducing stress, anxiety, promoting calmness, and relieving physical soreness. To understand how CBD transmits its benefits, we must understand how CBD interacts with the body to produce the effects.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system found throughout the body, including the brain, central nervous system, and peripheral organs. It plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including mood, pain perception, and immune function. The ECS consists of three main components: Cannabinoid Receptors, Endocannabinoids, and Enzymes. Let's describe each:

  1. Cannabinoid Receptors (CB1 and CB2): These receptors are found on the surface of cells throughout the body. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are more abundant in the immune system and peripheral tissues.
  3. Endocannabinoids: These are naturally occurring compounds produced by the body (anandamide and 2-AG) that bind to cannabinoid receptors to regulate various processes.
  5. Enzymes: Enzymes like fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) break down endocannabinoids once their signaling is complete.  


Now that we have a better understanding of the ECS and its main components, let's discuss how CBD interacts with these components to produce therapeutic benefits.

Modulation of CB1 and CB2 Receptors: CBD does not directly bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound in cannabis. Instead, it modulates these receptors indirectly. CBD can either enhance or inhibit the binding of endocannabinoids to these receptors, depending on the context. This modulation can influence neurotransmitter release and receptor signaling.

Interaction with Other Receptors: CBD interacts with several other receptors in the body, such as serotonin receptors (5-HT1A), TRPV1 receptors (involved in pain perception), and GABA receptors (which play a role in anxiety and stress regulation). These interactions contribute to CBD’s effects on mood, anxiety, and pain perception.

Inhibition of Enzymes: CBD inhibits enzymes like FAAH, which break down anandamide. By inhibiting these enzymes, CBD can increase the levels of anandamide in the body, leading to a potential mood-boosting effect.

  1. Effects on Stress and Anxiety:

Through its interaction with serotonin receptors (5-HT1A), CBD may enhance the activity of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation. CBD’s impact on the amygdala, a brain region involved in emotional processing, may reduce the perception of stress and anxiety. By influencing GABA receptors, CBD can potentially have an anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effect.

  1. Effects on Pain and Soreness:

CBD’s interaction with TRPV1 receptors may help modulate pain perception and inflammation. CBD may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can contribute to soreness and discomfort.

Types of Products

CBD and CBN can be consumed in various ways, and there is a wide range of product formats available on the market to suit different preferences and needs. Here are some common methods of consuming CBD and CBN:

  • Oral Products
  • Edibles
  • Gummies
  • Topicals
  • Smokeables
  • Flower

While these represent some of the basic products available on the market, let's dive more into the most common types of CBD and CBN products:

Oil or Tinctures: These are liquid extracts that can be taken sublingually (under the tongue) for fast absorption. They are available in various concentrations, making it easy to control the dosage.

Capsules: These are pre-measured and convenient for those who prefer a precise and tasteless option.

Sleep Gummies: These are chewable candies infused with CBD or CBN. They come in various flavors and are a tasty way to consume cannabinoids.

Infused Foods: You can find a wide range of edibles, including chocolates, snacks, and beverages, infused with CBD or CBN.

Topicals: These are applied directly to the skin and are often used for localized relief from pain or skin conditions.

Vapes: Vaporizing CBD or CBN oil using a vape pen or vaporizer allows for quick absorption through the lungs. However, this method may not be suitable for everyone and should be used with caution.

Flower: Dried hemp flower that can be smoked in a similar way to cannabis. It provides a more immediate effect but may contain trace amounts of THC.

Sublingual Strips: These are thin, dissolvable strips that are placed under the tongue for absorption. They offer a discreet and fast-acting option.

Transdermal Patches: These are adhesive patches infused with CBD or CBN that you apply to your skin. They release cannabinoids slowly over an extended period for long-lasting relief.

Suppositories: Rectal or vaginal suppositories containing CBD or CBN are available for those who may have difficulty with other forms of consumption. They can provide targeted relief.

Beverages: Some companies offer CBD or CBN-infused beverages like water, tea, or energy drinks.

When choosing a CBD or CBN product, it's essential to consider factors like your preferred method of consumption, dosage requirements, the concentration of cannabinoids, and the intended purpose (e.g., pain relief, relaxation, sleep aid). Additionally, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you're new to cannabinoids or have specific health concerns, to determine the most suitable product and dosage for your needs. Also, be sure to purchase products from reputable sources to ensure quality and safety.

CBN vs CBD: What are the Side Effects

CBN and CBD are considered to be well-tolerated by most people, and they have a lower risk of side effects compared to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is another cannabinoid found in cannabis causing a psychoactive effect. However, it's essential to be aware of potential risks and side effects when consuming CBD and CBN, especially if you are considering using them together. The best resource for you is your primary care physician who can guide you on your journey with CBD and CBN. Let's dive into some of the possible side effects of CBD and CBN

Potential Side Effects of CBD

Dry Mouth: CBD can sometimes cause dry mouth, also known as cottonmouth. This is a common side effect and can be managed by staying hydrated.

Low Blood Pressure: In some cases, CBD may cause a temporary drop in blood pressure, which can lead to feelings of lightheadedness or dizziness.

Changes in Appetite: While CBD doesn't typically cause significant changes in appetite, some individuals may experience increased or decreased appetite.

Digestive Issues: Some people may experience mild digestive issues such as diarrhea when taking high doses of CBD.

Interaction with Medications: CBD can interact with certain medications, particularly those that are metabolized by the liver. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional if you are taking medications and considering CBD.

Potential Side Effects of CBN

Sedation: CBN is known for its potential sedative effects. While this can be beneficial for sleep, it may lead to drowsiness if consumed during the day.

Low Blood Pressure: Like CBD, CBN may cause a temporary drop in blood pressure, resulting in dizziness for some individuals.


Combining CBD and CBN

Enhanced Sedation: Combining CBD and CBN may increase sedative effects, which can be beneficial for promoting sleep but may cause excessive drowsiness if taken during waking hours.

Interaction with Medications: If you are taking medications, the combination of CBD and CBN may interact with them in ways that are not fully understood, so consult with a healthcare professional.


It's crucial to start with low doses of both CBD and CBN and gradually increase them while monitoring your body's response. Additionally, consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications, to ensure that combining these cannabinoids is safe for your specific situation. Remember that individual responses to CBD and CBN can vary, and what works well for one person may not be the same for another. Always choose reputable products and follow recommended dosages to minimize potential risks and side effects.


Is CBD or CBN better for sleep?

The question of which is better for sleep, CBN vs CBD, is an interesting one because both are viable options for many people. Instead of choosing one product over another, you could instead look at the way both products can work together to maximize their benefits. Using both CBD and CBN together can help boost the effects of the cannabinoids, complementing each other to provide further benefits. Studies call this the ‘entourage effect,’ meaning plant compounds that work together can have a bigger impact than a single product by itself.

Slumber offers products that contain CBN and CBD because the founders believe in their efficacy. Slumber's CBD Gummies and CBN Tincture harness the benefits of each compound to help customers enjoy a better night’s sleep, while also targeting pain and inflammation. Using a combination product could be what’s needed to help you sleep through the night whilst experiencing other therapeutic benefits.

CBN Improves Sleep Quality in Sleep Study

Slumber CBN Gummies supplement container with clouds of vapor in the background on the left; a woman peacefully sleeping on her back on the right, suggesting the sleep-enhancing benefits of the product.

At Home Sleep Study by Slumber

If you’ve tried multiple sleep aids in the past, you’re probably wondering whether CBN is as effective as it seems, and whether Slumber really can help you get a better night’s sleep. Being able to improve sleep in over 80% of people is a bold claim, but we’ve conducted our research to back this up. We partnered with MoreBetter Ltd. (dba Releaf App) and conducted a sleep study that would test the effectiveness of Slumber to help customers feel more confident that the product can help improve sleep. The results provided some fascinating insights into the ways CBN can work to improve the sleep of every sleeper.

      1. Our participants

      2. We asked our participants to try our CBN Gummies for Sleep for 30 days, monitoring them for 7 days without and 14 days with the product. Our sample featured people aged 8 to 79, and was made up of 65% female, 34% male, and 1% unspecified participants. This broad range allowed us to test the effectiveness of CBN and Slumber amongst many different types of people.
      4. 55% of our participants had never taken CBN before, an important finding that helps show the impact of taking CBN on sleep versus not taking it.

      5. Key results

      6. Our study has produced some incredible results that help support the effectiveness of CBN, CBD, and THC for improved sleep. Some of our most significant findings include:
      8. 82% reported Slumber helped them stay asleep
      9. One of our most significant findings came from the high number of participants who reported that Slumber helped them stay asleep. For people who have trouble sleeping through the night or sleeping for a long period, this is a crucial finding. Disturbed sleep can be caused by many factors, and if you regularly struggle to stay asleep throughout the night, Slumber could be what you need to finally help you stay asleep.

        80% found it easier to fall back asleep
      10. A high proportion of our sleep study participants said they found it easier to fall back asleep while using Slumber. If you’re someone who regularly suffers from disturbed sleep, you’ll know the misery that can come with not being able to fall back asleep. It can leave you tired, frustrated and stops your body from getting the full rest it needs. Using CBN could be the answer to help you fall back asleep more easily if you do wake during the night.

        71% felt calmer taking the product
      11. In addition to the sleep benefits of Slumber, nearly three-quarters of our participants said they felt calmer taking the product. As our Full Spectrum Gummies contain CBD and THC in addition to CBN, this helps support the research that cannabinoids have a positive effect on those with anxiety.

        82% achieved more quality sleep
      12. Another key finding was that 82% of our participants achieved more quality sleep. Many people struggle to achieve quality sleep, which can sometimes feel as though you got no sleep at all. Quality sleep is important for the body and mind to recharge and repair themselves ready for a new day. If this is something you’re struggling with, Slumber could help you get the sleep you need by helping you achieve more quality sleep.

        70% found Slumber better than other sleep aids
      13. A high number of our participants found that Slumber performed better than any other sleep aids they’d tried before. As more than half of our participants had never tried CBN before, this is an important finding to help demonstrate its effectiveness. If you’ve tried multiple types of sleep aids in the past but have failed to get the results you want, then Slumber CBN could be the answer to help you get a better night’s sleep. Research into CBN is still in its early stages, which is why we conducted our own study to help us highlight the benefits. Our study shows that CBN can have a positive impact on sleep, helping those who have tried other types of sleep aids to enjoy a longer, better quality night’s sleep.

CBN Dosage for Sleep: FAQ's

How does CBN help sleep?

CBN has been shown to help aid sleep in several studies. As a cannabinoid, CBN works with the body’s endocannabinoid system which helps regulate sleep, amongst other functions like appetite and focus.

Using CBN regularly could have a positive impact on sleep. And as our study shows, many people who take Slumber CBN for sleep products have seen an improvement in their sleep.

What ingredients are in Slumber?

Slumber sells a range of products designed to help people sleep better. We have products that only contain CBN, like our Extra Strength CBN Gummies, while our 3:1 Full Spectrum CBD & CBN Tincture contains CBD, CBN, and other cannabinoids CBG, CBC, and less than 0.3% THC. This combination helps promote the ‘entourage effect’ where different cannabinoid compounds can work together to enhance their effectiveness.

We also stock a CBN Gummies, which helps address further sleep problems to help encourage a better night’s sleep. Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate your body clock to help you achieve better sleep. Many people who struggle to sleep at night may benefit from melatonin supplements to help enhance the body’s response to light and dark.

How is CBN different from CBD?

CBN and CBD may sound the same, but they are in fact different. CBN is a Cannabinol derived from THC, although minus its psychoactive properties. CBD, meanwhile, is a Cannabinoid that is found within hemp plants without the need to undergo a transformative process.

CBN has been found to help promote better sleep in addition to reducing pain and inflammation, while CBD could help reduce anxiety, treat pain for a number of conditions, and reduce seizures in conditions like epilepsy.

CBD is more widely researched than CBN, and at the moment, much more is known about the benefits of CBD. Research is increasing on the effects of both CBN and CBD to further explore their benefits for mental and physical health.

What are the other benefits of CBN and sleep?

Improved immunity*

A lack of sleep can impact your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and other viruses. It can also potentially lead to other health problems, putting you more at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other serious conditions. Better sleep gives your body the rest it needs to keep your immunity system in check.

More focus*

Anyone who’s had a poor night’s sleep will be familiar with the morning-after effects. From feeling tired and groggy to having a lack of focus, a night without proper sleep can take its toll. Better sleep can improve your focus to leave you feeling fresh and in control the next day.

Slumber works to boost sleep without the groggy feeling, so you can wake up the next day feeling refreshed.

Reduce your accident risk*

Poor sleep can leave you feeling tired and drowsy, which may mean your responses aren’t as sharp as they should be. This could lead to an accident, which could put yourself and others at risk. Better sleep sharpens the mind and supports cognitive functions, which are important to prevent your body from having an accident.

Better appearance*

Our complexion is one of the biggest giveaways of a poor night’s sleep. Who hasn’t heard a ‘you look tired’ after a late night or an evening of broken sleep?

Sleep helps boost the body’s production of collagen, a protein that helps make the skin plumper and fuller-looking, helping to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. More sleep will also boost your skin’s ability to retain moisture, helping to give your skin a soft, smooth and, glowing look.

Using a product like Slumber could help you improve your sleep quality, which could help your appearance too. They don’t call it ‘beauty sleep’ for nothing!

What are the benefits of CBD?

CBD is a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, allowing people to experience some of its benefits without the high that comes with THC. There have been many studies into the benefits of CBD and its impact on different health conditions, while many people who use CBD have also praised its benefits, some of which include:

Relief from anxiety and depression*

Some studies have shown that CBD can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Many CBD manufacturers highlight the benefits for those who have anxiety about flying, for example, as well as anxiety in many other situations. Research is ongoing into whether CBD oil could be a suitable alternative to many medications developed to treat anxiety.

Reduction of seizures*

One of the biggest benefits of CBD is its impact on seizures in conditions like epilepsy and Parkinson’s. There have been many studies into the effects of CBD on seizures, with many finding that CBD could relieve some symptoms of seizures. There are many researchers looking into its effectiveness in the hope of using it as a treatment for seizures in the future.

Improved sleep*

Like CBN, CBD is also known for helping people improve their quality of sleep. Studies have shown an improvement in sleep duration and quality, and our own sleep study saw participants take a product that contained both CBD and CBN to help further improve sleep.

Pain relief*

There have been several studies on the effects of CBD on chronic pain, with many finding that CBD can have some impact. This could be due to its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which can affect the body’s response to pain. Those who suffer from chronic pain are also claiming that CBD has had a significant impact on their symptoms.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Is CBN psychoactive?

CBN is derived from THC, which is the psychoactive element of hemp plants. However, CBN undergoes a long process to be extracted from THC, meaning it becomes much weaker and diluted by the time CBN is produced. The CBN used in Slumber products is a low dosage which isn’t classed as a psychoactive product.

How to use CBN

The good news is that there are different ways you can use CBN. There are gummies and soft gels you can take before you go to bed, or there are oils you can take via an oral dropper to help you control your dosage. Sleeper products should be taken before bed to help them do their work while you sleep.

What varieties of CBN do you stock?

Slumber has an excellent range of products designed to help you sleep easier and better at night. We sell Oils, Soft Gels, Gummies, and Topicals to help you find a product that suits your needs.

Our products are available as CBN-only products, or we have CBN combined with other compounds such as melatonin, CBD and THC to help you experience different benefits.

We also have CBN products for cats and dogs, helping your furry friend to relieve stress too.

Written and medically reviewed by:

Dr. Jim Giltner, MD

Ophthalmologist, 36 of years of medical practice