Types of Cannabinoids

Does CBN Play a Role in Pain Management?

Like other cannabinoids before it, Cannabinol (CBN) has been linked to a wide variety of potentially beneficial properties.

But whether those claims are genuine or not is still to be determined conclusively.

A lot more research has to be done before pretty much anything regarding cannabis can be conclusively stated.

However, certain things can be said. One of them is that CBN has been linked to anti-inflammatory effects, increased appetite, better sleep, and pain relief. 

While the research is undeniably scarce, we do have enough evidence to suggest certain things about CBN, and we’re here to share them with you.


What is CBN?

What Does CBN Do? [CBN & Pain]

CBD vs. CBN [Differences Between CBD & CBN]


What is CBN?

The cannabis plant contains hundreds of components. Cannabinoids are considered the main building blocks of cannabis and are produced naturally within the plant. They also provide the effects that characterize the plant.

Most cannabinoids are considered non-psychoactive or mildly psychoactive, including Cannabinol (CBN) and other popular options like Cannabidiol (CBD) and Cannabigerol (CBG).

CBN is derived from the naturally occurring form of THC, THC-A. When cannabis ages and THC-A oxidizes, it becomes CBN. This is why CBN is found in more significant quantities in aging plants that seem to be past their prime.

CBN can be created spontaneously, but it is rare to find in nature. By carefully exposing cannabis plants to external influences like heat and light, manufacturers can promote the breakdown and oxidation of THC into CBN. Still, even then, processes are not fully developed yet.

CBN was the first phytocannabinoid (naturally occurring cannabinoid) to be successfully isolated in its pure form. Because of its relationship with THC, researchers initially thought that CBN was responsible for the intoxicating effects THC has on the body. Still, they soon found out they were looking at aged cannabis with a high CBN content.

According to reports, older cannabis extracts left unrefrigerated and exposed to light could contain higher CBN levels, performing a kind of steeping process naturally.

If you wish to know even more about CBN and its potential therapeutic effects, click here.

What Does CBN Do? [CBN & Pain]

Some experts consider CBN to be mildly psychoactive. The theory makes sense because CBN originates from the breakdown of THC particles.

However, the effects caused by CBN are nowhere near the blatantly overwhelming psychoactive effects of THC. Many experts also consider CBN to be non-psychoactive.

The truth is that there is just too much information missing on cannabinoids for us to be 100% sure of a claim like this one. Based on anecdotal evidence and personal experiences, CBN does not have a psychoactive effect.

According to a 2008 study on the therapeutic potential of cannabis in medicine, “CBN carbon double-bonds render it 90% less psychoactive than THC, while the extra hydroxyl group of CBD removes psychoactivity altogether”. 

What Does CBN Do?

The same study claims that there is strong evidence of the benefit of cannabinoids for central neuropathic pain in MS. It also claims that they play a fundamental physiological role in nociceptive pain.

There is very little research examining the actual benefits of CBN on the human body. Over the past 3-4 years, there have been incredible advances in CBD's knowledge. This is due to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill.

CBN products have been commonly marketed as sleep aids and as a source of pain relief. But as explained above, a lot more research needs to be available before these claims are considered conclusive.

Nevertheless, studies like this 2019 rat study found CBN and CBD reduce muscle pain (myofascial pain). Researchers conclude that "results suggest that peripheral application of these non-psychoactive cannabinoids may provide analgesic relief for chronic muscle pain disorders such as temporomandibular disorders and fibromyalgia without central side effects."

CBD vs. CBN [Differences Between CBD & CBN]

CBD and CBN are different components found in the cannabis plant and primarily extracted from hemp for industrial application.

Companies can directly adjust the amount of CBD through a series of growing and extraction methods. An application that cannot be managed for CBN.

CBN is created by natural processes that the plant goes through and subsequently breaks down THC naturally. This makes it much harder to determine what strategies make CBN accurately, and even more importantly, what methods make for high-quality CBN.

 CBD vs. CBN

CBD is a much more popular cannabinoid and considered federally legal in the U.S. Its popularity also makes it a much more attractive target for companies looking to make money in the cannabis industry. Naturally, there is a lot more research on CBD than there is on CBN.

Hence, a lot more knowledge and products are in the market. Including one CBD-based, FDA-approved prescription medication called Epidiolex, which treats two rare types of epilepsy

All other products containing CBD are only considered supplements and products with CBG and CBN cannot be sold as a prescription or over-the-counter medication [2].


Cannabinol (CBN) is a naturally occurring component found in the cannabis plant. The natural breakdown makes CBN of THC, but the THC breakdown needed to create CBN can also be replicated through the exposure of the plant to temperature changes and aging. According to some sources, CBN is very rare and considered mildly psychoactive but is only close to 10% as psychoactive as THC. Likewise, CBN exhibits properties similar to CBD but can be used in different ways to the popular cannabinoid.

Hemmfy articles and blogs are meant to entertain and educate. However, we are not medical professionals and do not intend to give medical advice through them.

The knowledge around CBD and other cannabis-derived products is growing and constantly changing, as does their legal status. Hence, we recommend checking with your local authorities and a licensed physician prior to consumption.


[1] Tian, H. (2002). Combinatorial Selection of RNA Ligands for Complex Cellular Targets. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, 1(2), 99–103. https://doi.org/10.1074/mcp.t100002-mcp200

[2] Office of the Commissioner. (2021, January 22). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://bit.ly/3CRZFqG.

Simon Cartagena

Simon Cartagena is a full-time cannabis copywriter. This has led him to write for companies like Hemmfy.com where he acts as Senior Content Writer and other world-renowned cannabis publications. Simon has created Content Marketing strategies and articles that have helped company revenues increase by up to 1,000%. Simon’s goal is to help people understand cannabis in an industry where misinformation seems to be predominant.