Cannabis sativa l. (hemp) is a treasure chest of natural chemical compounds. Officially, botanists have designated 66 of the 480 different compounds as “cannabinoids.” Everyone knows about the psycho-active mind-blowing ∆9-THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) cannabinoid found in high potency in marijuana.

CBD (cannabidiol) reportedly produces scientifically confirmed and anecdotal medical benefits without the THC high. CBD makes up 40 percent of the plant’s resin extract and has captured a huge segment of the health supplement and over-the-counter medical care therapies.

Other and lesser-known cannabinoids include:

  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Cannabichromene (CBC)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabinodiol (CBDL)
  • Cannabicyclol (CBL)
  • Cannabielsoin (CBE) and
  • Cannabitriol (CBT)

Scientists explore each of these with varying degrees of interest for their potential in pharmaceutical use. Given that hemp has been used for food, fiber, and seeds for thousands of years, there is evidence and interest in getting to the center of its apparent all-purpose “magic.”

CBN has not received so much attention; however, researchers are interested in its potential for diet and sleep control. There is no “feud” between CBN and CBD. They are different elements, and this should help prevent your confusion.

What we know about CBN

Sarah Brittany Somerset put it simply in Forbes, “CBN — an abbreviation of Cannabinol — comes from the oxidation and decomposition of THC from a hemp plant, meaning that when THC is heated and exposed to Co2 (oxygen), it converts to CBN. The compound has a mild psychoactive response, slightly more so than CBD but much less than THC.”


CBN (Cannabinol) C21H26O2
Image from PubChem

We should caution you that “The research into the therapeutic benefits of CBN is VERY preliminary” (Psychology Today). A 2012 research study in Psychopharmacology on male rats found CBN induced a significant increase in appetitive behaviors. Other studies have focused on the effects of CBN in liver metabolism in laboratory rats, mice, and guinea pigs. And, that’s a problem in trying to appreciate its value to humans.


Because CBN is THC-free and hemp- derived, it is available through Hemp markets online and in brick and mortar dispensaries and sells heavily for alleged sleep benefits. You could infer that, absent THC stimulation, it “can do no harm.” Research continues into its possible benefits for insomnia, epilepsy, and other neuropathic conditions, but experiments with lab animals are years removed from confirming benefits for human subjects.

What we know about CBD

We know much more about CBD. Because of its connection with THC and its high-volume presence in cannabis, it has commanded a lot of attention over the years. In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded, “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.” It goes on to say, “Controlled, human studies regarding the potential physical dependence effects (e.g. withdrawal and tolerance) of cannabidiol have not been reported.”

Nonetheless, Peter Grinspoon, MD at Harvard Health Publishing warns, “Some CBD manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for wild, indefensible claims, such that CBD is a cure-all for cancer, which it is not.” But it is worth considering what it is and how it works.

The chemical formula for CBD is very close to that for THC. But they behave differently. THC is known to bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and body. At its best, it stabilizes the neural system to correct or mollify the transmission of pain messages, to rectify hormonal deployment, and more. On the negative side, it can agitate those same systems creating near-schizophrenic paranoia.

cbn vs cbg 2

Image from PubChem

CBD does not bind to those receptors. Instead, it appears to block adverse signals arising from a slew of health conditions. It’s what they call “an allosteric modulator.” As a modulator, it can maximize the efficacy of natural systems or other positive agonists. It changes the shape of receptors to improve their interaction with neurotransmitters.

Beyond this explanation, the CBD mechanism of action requires a degree in neurochemistry. Still, research as confirmed CBD has a direct effect on spasticity. Pharmaceutical developers have used it to create the FDA-approved Epidiolex® for treating Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Sativex® combines CBD with THC in a mucosal spray for treating spasticity attached to Multiple Sclerosis.

Moreover, research and development at worldwide pharmaceutical manufacturers have increased investment in research into CBD’s potential for treating scores of other medical problems. Meagan Parrish of Pharma Manufacturing writes, “According to, there are now about 100 studies underway examining the impact of cannabinoids, the class of cannabis compounds that includes CBD, on a wide range of ailments — from heart disease to central nervous system conditions.”

What’s the difference?

We really don’t know where the differences between CBN and CBD will take us. However, we know that effective research on CBD is running well ahead. The results are enough to suggest that hemp-derived CBD is safe and beneficial.

Creating Better Days offers third-party lab-tested 100% THC-free sublingual CBD oil. It is a pharmacist-formulated delivery system of Nano-Amplified CBD, Hemp Seed, and MCT oil using natural growing practices to deliver a blend of active ingredients affecting a healthy endocannabinoid system. Safe, gentle, and effective, the gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan oil features naturally occurring antioxidants.

Convenient, legal, and discrete for usage by those interested in the CBD oil potential, those who have benefitted from the therapy in the past, and those who want the ease of administration. Research into CBN may catch up, but it should not be confused with CBD now. If research can confirm its purported health benefits, that presents no conflict between the values to the public. That “competition” is good for everyone.