What Is CBN? What to Know About the Latest Cannabis-Based Sleep Aid

Not to be confused with CBD, CBN gummies have been taking off lately. But what are they?

August 26, 2021
Photo by Anna Efetova/Getty Images

For the last couple of years, CBD has taken over the beauty, food and drink, and wellness industries in the form of every type of product ranging from bath salts to fruit gummies to seltzer water to chocolate to oil drops. However, there’s a new cannabis-derived chemical that is soon to become just as popular as CBD, thanks to its ability to aid in a good night’s sleep. Meet CBN. It’s a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant that offers relaxing, sleepy properties, which means your sleep might be more restful after consuming CBN gummies or oil drops.

What Is CBN?

Cannabinol, aka CBN, is derived from hemp plants. “CBN and CBD are both cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but they have different chemical structures,” explains Dr. Elizabeth Ardillo, Director of Medical Education at Green Thumb Industries. When THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the main active ingredient in cannabis, is heated and exposed to Co2 (oxygen), it converts to what is known as CBN. So what makes it the latest and greatest cannabis-derived product? “CBN products are popular right now because they help promote a better night’s sleep. They have a relaxing effect,” she adds.

But What About CBD?

They’re just one letter off, so what’s the difference between CBD and CBN? CBD, which is a Cannabidiol, is present in cannabis and hemp plants. On the other hand, CBN is created by exposing THC to light. Biology aside, CBN has mild psychoactive effects unlike CBD products; you may feel a high from taking a CBN product, but it won’t be nearly as intense as the high you’d feel from consuming THC.

The Benefits of Taking CBN

Similar to CBD, the benefits of consuming CBN include improved sleep quality, pain relief, and anti-inflammation. However, CBN is far more powerful when it comes to sleep. “CBD is not as useful as CBN when we’re talking about those relaxing properties,” explains Dr. Ardillo. After taking a CBN supplement, the average consumer can expect to feel the effects within 30 to 180 minutes. “We don’t want anyone to take a dose and after 15 minutes, take another dose because they’re not feeling any effects. Understanding how these products work is very important to ensuring your health and safety,” she says. If you are not feeling the effects of CBN, wait at least one hour before taking another dose.

CBN Products

Currently, CBN products are treated more like marijuana than CBD, meaning that you can only purchase CBN in states where recreational marijuana is legal, or where a licensed medical professional can provide you with a prescription. Unlike CBD, which is widely available at big retailers like Sephora, Urban Outfitters, CVS, and Amazon, CBN is only available through regulated, adult-use dispensaries.

Dr. Ardillo warns that you may feel a psychoactive high if you consume a CBN product, like Incredibles Snoozzzeberry Gummies if it also contains a low-dose of THC. “If you’ve never consumed cannabis before or it’s been a while, you are more likely to feel a sense of euphoria,” she says. If you’re brand new to the world of cannabis products, Dr. Ardillo recommends new consumers start with no more than 2.5 milligrams of THC per dose of CBN. Once you become comfortable with the product and build a tolerance, you may want to increase the amount of THC in order to continue to feel the stress of the day wash away with, say, a blueberry gummy.

Have you tried CBN yet? Let us know your experience in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • AG123456
  • Jcsemperfi
  • patrick80
  • Agentutah
  • Raging
Former Food52 Staff Editor


AG123456 July 31, 2023
We use both CBD & CBN oil at night. We love RE:Botanicals which is USDA certified organic & the only CBD oil that we have found that tests for Round-Up in their hemp/ product so it has NO Round-Up. We also use Head & Heal CBN Oil- 10mg per serving. The combo is great and there r no added sugars or question of potency like so many gummies or other products. We can control the amount taken. Both companies test their products & list the 3rd party results.
Jcsemperfi November 13, 2022
I am going through the changes and Have a lot of stress in my life. I have a serious issue with getting and staying asleep. The well informed man at my local cod shop turned me on to CBN and last night was the first decent nights sleep I’ve had in 6 months at least.
patrick80 August 12, 2022
Natural remedies are also there for good sleep. Intake of almond milk or chamomile tea or ashwagandha promotes good sleep.More detail in https://atmantannaturals.com/blogs/
Agentutah August 4, 2022
CBN is definitely the leading edge latest organic sleep product which works for me. Replaced Ambien with it. Don't need melatonin. I have used the Slumber CBN tincture product as well.
Raging July 28, 2022
Found Snoozzze Berrys 20mg CBN 100mg THC and gave them a shot. Wow, what a difference a good night's sleep makes. Started out with full gummy but found cutting them in half was a better fit. I have not found that I get high from them as I take at bedtime chewing them a bit and letting them sit under my tongue for a few min. I am also due for two hip replacements and have a fair amount of arthritis in my hand both of which feel much better along with the sleep. Five stars!
RockStar420 April 12, 2022
You CANNOT buy CBD oil on Amazon. CBD is specifically prohibited for sale there. If you search for CBD, you will get scam results of con artists selling overpriced hemp oil with misleading terms to confuse people. Please edit this article so people do not go searching for CBD on Amazon, giving money to these awful sellers.
insomniac4 April 11, 2022
I recently started taking a 15mg CBN gummy from Slumber CBN.. When I tell you nothing else has ever helped me sleep... CBN has literally changed my life.
ThinkThriveWellness August 4, 2022
Agree! My wife and I love their CBN sleep gummies been taking them for 6 months - best sleep supplement I have taken.

watasja August 30, 2021
Just wanted to mention that outside of Cali most CBN is actually hemp derived or synthesized from CBD, has no detectable THC, and can be purchased or shipped across state and international lines :)
HempLover December 23, 2021
Yes you can now buy CBN online from most hemp companies, I love the nutraceutical feel of this CBN product https://vivimu.com/products/relax-softgels-cbn

Has changed my sleep habits indefinitely!!