CBD has become widely known as an alternative to cannabis, but if you've never heard of CBG or CBN, you aren't alone. Learn more inside with FLUENT. CBD is a popular cannabinoid, but CBN is quickly catching up. Find out how the two compare concerning the legality, side effects, benefits, and a lot more in this article.
CBD vs CBG vs CBN: Simply Explained
If you’ve never heard of CBG or CBN (or you know next to nothing about them), you aren’t alone – and that’s where we come in.
Within the last few years, an entirely new world of cannabinoids – and all of their potential benefits – has opened up to cannabis consumers. Until recently, cannabidiol (CBD) was the only non-intoxicating cannabinoid considered widely available. But now, new arrivals are coming on the scene, and they’re worth knowing.
Cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN) are two of the latest cannabinoids that have everyone talking. These cannabinoids join CBD as an option for consumers who aren’t interested in THC’s psychoactive effects. But, if you’ve never heard of CBG or CBN (or you know next to nothing about them), you aren’t alone – and that’s where we come in.
Cannabis: The plant of many possibilities
It isn’t that surprising that we are still constantly learning more about what the cannabis plant offers. As the therapeutic benefits of CBD become more evident, cannabis and hemp cultivators have acted quickly to breed strains that are high in similar cannabinoids: including CBG and CBN.
What is CBD?
There’s no doubt that cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, has gone mainstream over the last few years. It’s one of the most prevalent cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, second only to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Additionally, CBD is easily the most abundant cannabinoid available in the hemp plant, making it easy and affordable to extract and produce. Since industrial hemp (categorized by THC levels of 0.3% or less) is legal in most states, adults can purchase many CBD products without fear of legal roadblocks.
CBD is available in various forms, including oils/tinctures, topicals, capsules, edibles, and even pet products. Since it doesn’t produce a “high” (unlike THC), it’s become a favorite for people interested in improving their health and wellness.
For now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD, which makes it essential you only purchase CBD products from a reputable retailer. However, the FDA recently approved the first-ever CBD pharmaceutical, Epidiolex, intended for patients suffering from specific rare forms of epilepsy.
Potential benefits of CBD
Many people consider one of the most significant benefits of CBD to be its non-intoxicating effects. Whereas traditional cannabis is associated with a “high” due to the presence of THC, CBD is different. THC and CBD each interact with the body’s endocannabinoid systems (ECS) in different ways, which is why their effects are so distinct. Research also shows CBD may inhibit the psychoactive effects of THC. This counter-reaction makes it extremely useful for people who may experience undesirable side effects caused by overconsumption.
In addition, CBD is used in a broad range of applications, supporting individuals with various conditions, needs, and health goals. Consumers (and a growing number of research studies) report positive experiences when using CBD for many different ailments and symptoms, including:
- Chronic pain
- Aches and pains, including sports injuries
- Inflammation (including inflammatory conditions like arthritis)
- Anxiety and panic disorders
- Skin conditions
- Nausea and vomiting
What is CBG?
Cannabigerol (CBG) is quickly catching up to CBD when it comes to popularity. It’s derived from CBGa, which is considered the “stem cell” or “mother” of cannabinoids due to its ability to convert to CBD, THC, or CBC. When CBGa converts to CBG, it’s stable, meaning it won’t change into any other cannabinoid.
However, cultivators are presently working on breeding strains that are already naturally high in CBG, skipping over converting CBGa. Although breeding is still in its early stages, this could soon make CBG even more accessible than it already is.
CBG is non-intoxicating, and many people describe its effects as feeling very similar to those of CBD.
Potential benefits of CBG
Research suggests CBG may also help support the functionality of anandamide–a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, pain, appetite, motivation, and pleasure.
Other possible CBG benefits include:
CBG vs. CBD
Even though CBD and CBG are similar in their effects (and even structurally), there are some key differences. Because CBG interacts with neuroreceptors uniquely, it’s being considered for various applications of its own.
Cannabis researchers are still learning more about the distinctions between CBD and CBG. But for now, they appear to be different enough that it may be best to combine them for an optimal experience. Also, the entourage effect theory suggests that using multiple cannabinoids in tandem can help enhance their effects overall.
What is CBN?
CBN, or cannabinol, is the product of the degradation of THC, which happens naturally as a plant matures or has increased exposure to heat/oxygen. Generally, cannabis contains only trace amounts of CBN, mostly in young or freshly-dried cannabis.
Potential benefits of CBN
CBN has a distinct profile of potential advantages, including:
- Possible antibacterial benefits
- Possible neuroprotective benefits
- Appetite stimulation
CBN vs. CBD
Chemically, CBN is closer to THC than it is to CBD. But interestingly, CBN seems to induce effects in the “middle ground” between THC and CBD. So, for example, it may stimulate the appetite (like THC), but it is much less psychoactive (unlike THC).
When comparing CBD and CBN for sleep, people generally report better results with CBN. Research has also found the potential CBN has for being used for antibacterial applications.
Learn How to Incorporate Cannabinoids into Your MMJ Treatment at FLUENT Dispensaries
There’s a lot to learn about cannabinoids, whether you’re a seasoned MMJ patient or just discovering the world of medical cannabis. At FLUENT dispensaries in Florida, you can browse an outstanding selection of products with a wide variety of cannabinoid options. Plus, our team is always available to help you make an informed choice that suits your goals.
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Which cannabinoid is right for me?
- Suppose you have a specific goal in mind. In that case, you might want to prioritize the cannabinoid that’s most likely to help you achieve results. However, that doesn’t mean you should forget about the other cannabinoids – you wouldn’t want to miss out on their potential benefits or the possibility of synergistic effects!
Is CBD or CBG better?
Even though some people compare CBD and CBG to each other, there’s still a lot to learn about what they can offer. But, ultimately, it’s likely that each one can play an essential role in the pursuit of wellness.
Is CBN stronger than CBD?
- Some consumers describe CBN as “feeling stronger” than CBD, attributed to how CBN activates the CB1 receptor. Even though CBN isn’t considered psychoactive like THC, it may create mild effects different from CBD. However, that doesn’t mean it’s “stronger;” CBN and CBD just work via different neurochemical pathways.
Will CBN & CBG get you “high”?
- The “high” psychoactive effects of THC are what most people associate with cannabis use. However, CBN and CBG are different from THC because they won’t cause the same intense, intoxicating effects. Everyone experiences cannabinoids slightly differently, but you generally expect that you won’t feel “high” after consuming CBN or CBG.
Is CBN the same as CBD?
- No. CBN and CBD are both cannabinoids, but they are unique chemical compounds. The cannabis plant produces CBD abundantly, whereas CBN is rarer and only created when THC degrades.
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Differences between CBD vs. CBN: What are the Benefits and Potential Side Effects
CBN is touted as the new cannabinoid with a promising therapeutic potential.
Pre-clinical results published by InMed show that CBN is more effective than both CBD and THC to relieve extreme pressure in the eye, otherwise known as glaucoma.
As a result, manufacturers are starting to produce new CBN-infused eyedrops for the treatment of glaucoma.
All this sudden talk about CBN might make you think it’s new, but it’s not. CBN has been around for a long time — often positioned as a component for sleep formulas.
Here, we’ll compare the similarities and differences between CBN and CBD — exploring differences in the dose, applications, and side effects of each cannabinoid.
Differences Between CBD & CBN
CBN stands for cannabinol and is considered a minor cannabinoid because it’s found only in trace amounts in cannabis plants. As a byproduct of oxidation, it’s located in old cannabis that’s been exposed to oxygen. In other words, CBN is found when THC ages and degrades over time.
CBD, also known as cannabidiol , is present in large amounts in cannabis plants and second only to THC — the prominent cannabinoid responsible for producing psychoactive effects.
Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating and may also negate THC’s side effects, including anxiety and paranoia.
Both CBD and CBN exhibit similar molecular structures but their effects are different. Most manufacturers use decarboxylation (inducing heat to dry cannabis) or expose THC-rich strains to extreme UV light to force oxidation. It’s a process that mimics dry cannabis aging naturally.
The three cannabinoids — CBD, THC, and CBN — interact with the endocannabinoid system differently.
The ECS, or endocannabinoid system, consists of two receptors such as CB1 and CB2, that modulate several functions for our well-being. CB1 receptors are found primarily in the nervous system, brain, and surrounding areas. CB2 receptors are located in the tissues and cells related to the immune system.
Endocannabinoids produced by the body, as well as cannabinoids, bind to these receptors. For example, THC directly binds to CB1 receptors. Similarly, CBN binds to CB2 receptors.
CBD interacts with these receptors indirectly by activating enzymes responsible for stimulating the receptors.
Is CBN Stronger Than CBD?
CBN can be psychoactive if ingested in large doses . It’s slightly more psychoactive than CBD but very weak compared to THC, meaning it does not produce the same effects as THC.
It isn’t easy to source CBN, which is why it’s not available in abundance. But, overall, CBD is stronger than CBN if you consider its medicinal effects.
The British Journal of Pharmacology released a study in 2011 outlining the effects of CBN as a relaxant with the potential to relieve pain. It could also act as a neuroprotectant and appetite stimulant, according to some studies.
CBD vs. CBN: Legality
At the moment, CBN is legal since it complies with the 2018 Farm Bill . This bill made hemp legal on a federal level. So as long as it’s extracted from hemp, there should be no problem using it.
CBD and other products extracted from hemp containing less than 0.3% THC are considered federally legal.
Cannabis extracts that are not derived from hemp are still considered illegal federally. Legalizing marijuana on a federal level would clear the confusion surrounding marijuana-derived CBN products.
Usually, federal law is different from state laws when it comes to cannabis. States are free to interpret the laws in their own manner. Companies can sell CBN products because it’s not considered a Schedule I drug as long as the delta 9 THC content is below 0.3%.
CBD vs. CBN: Psychoactivity
Some studies suggest CBN doesn’t is non-intoxicating. The consensus is that CBN is about 10% as strong as THC .
Doses of 20–50 mg CBN are unlikely to produce any psychoactive effects. However, exceeding this amount may produce psychoactive effects similar to THC.
CBD is entirely non-psychoactive — which means no matter how much you take, you’re not going to feel high.
CBD vs. CBN Medical Benefits
Compared to CBD, CBN doesn’t have a lot of medical research to support its claims. This isn’t because CBN doesn’t have health benefits; it’s just that it’s not nearly as popular in academic circles as CBD has been in recent years. We expect to see a lot more research on this cannabinoid soon.
Recently, the journal of Psychopharmacology published a study where CBN was administered to rats. The rats displayed an increase in appetite. When they were given CBD, though, they revealed a decrease in appetite, suggesting that you could use both CBN and CBD to regulate appetite, depending on your preference.
CBN can help reduce sleep issues, especially insomnia. Scientists have suggested that it has the potential to be used as a sedative.
On the other hand, CBD can regulate our immune system. Like CBD, CBN can be used to relieve pain caused by issues such as arthritis.
Although CBN and CBD both have a lot to offer, they may work a lot better if combined rather than on their own.
The entourage effect supports this concept, suggesting that cannabinoids work in synergy to amplify their therapeutic potential. Most experts recommend using full-spectrum extracts to get the benefits of CBN and CBD together.
Why Is CBN So Expensive?
CBN is a lot more expensive than CBD.
The cannabis plant has many cannabinoids, out of which THC is the most abundant. The second cannabinoid present in large amounts is CBD. Both these cannabinoids can be extracted easily in high concentrations.
However, although CBN is a byproduct of THC, it’s not as abundant as THC or CBD, for that matter. It needs special extraction methods that become expensive for the manufacturers.
As a result, if you go for CBN isolates, it’s even more expensive and can be at least 4-10 times higher than CBD in some markets . The price is high mostly because of excess demand and very little supply.
As more manufacturers begin selling CBN, the prices will drop. Additionally, the price will vary from one manufacturer to another, so it’s best to check out a few sites and your local dispensaries to get a bigger picture.
Using CBD & CBN Together
Based on the entourage effect, a combination of CBN and CBD work better than isolates.
CBN may work as a sedative. Since CBD is also known to regulate sleep cycles, both cannabinoids could help with insomnia and other sleep-related issues.
Both cannabinoids uplift your mood and promote a sense of calm and balance naturally.
CBD vs. CBN Side Effects
CBD has no severe side effects even if you consume it frequently because it’s non-intoxicating. But, if you consume huge doses, you could experience dryness in your mouth and feel tired, along with a few bouts of diarrhea.
Similarly, CBN is non-psychoactive and has no side effects if you stick to your physician’s recommendation. However, if you take too much, you could experience fatigue and feel a bit more drowsy than usual.
The bottom line is that there’s no risk of using cannabinoids as long as you adhere to specific dosages. Talk to your doctor if you’re already taking other medications because you don’t want anything to interfere with your routine.
Summary: CBD vs. CBN
Both CBD and CBN have a lot to offer to improve our quality of life naturally. Their molecular structures are similar, but their effects are different. They also interact with the endocannabinoid system differently.
Although CBN is extracted from THC, it does not produce the same effects since it binds to the receptors weakly. It is slightly psychoactive but nowhere in the league of THC.
Many studies have been conducted on CBD, but the same can’t be said about CBN, which is why you should speak to your physician to address specific ailments.
As both cannabinoids have promising potential, it’s best to combine and use them frequently. Many companies now sell edibles, oils, and tinctures containing CBD and CBN, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find them.
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Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.