What is CBN and What Does it Do?

4 minute read

In more ways than one, CBN is something of a “sleeper” cannabinoid. It’s far less popular than THC or CBD, and at the moment, it’s certainly less en vogue than terpenes. Often referred to as “the bedtime cannabinoid”, Cannabinol (CBN) is the piece of the cannabis puzzle responsible for making users feel like they are ready for bed. 

If you are struggling to get a good night’s rest with CBD alone, you may want to give CBN a try. 

How is CBN Made?

CBN is most prevalent in older cannabis. This is because over time, light and heat will cause CBD and THC to oxidize and break down. As this happens, CBN is formed. This process, in part, contributed to the sedative effects of “hippie weed”, which was often older and poorly stored.

What can CBN help with?

Like many cannabinoids, there are only a few studies that have been performed with CBN. While small in number, they are big on potential results. The following is a list of potential benefits associated with CBN.


CBN remains primarily valued as a potent sleep aid. According to an analysis from Steep Hill Labs, 5 mg of CBN is as effective as 10-mg of diazepam, a prominent pharmaceutical sedative. As an anti-insomnia medicine, CBN is not only potent, but also easy to obtain.

Pain Relief

In addition to its effectiveness as a sleep aid, CBN has recently been identified as a potential painkiller. As previously mentioned, CBN interacts with our ECS differently than CBD and THC. It is considered a weak CB1 partial agonist, which means it binds directly to the receptor but induces much lower effects compared to a full agonist. In fact, CBN has been shown to only produce approximately 10% of the activity of THC. Rather than alleviate pain by way of CB1 or CB2 receptors, CBN releases peptides from sensory nerves, activating an alternative nerve mechanism to achieve the same ends.


CBN is one of several cannabinoids with the potential to fight bacteria. When tested on multiple antibiotic-resistant bacteria, CBN was highly effective, and may prove a viable option for reducing methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA) bacteria in the future.


Cannabinoids can also be effective anti-inflammatories. CBN, though not as widely used for anti-inflammatory purposes as CBD or THC, may have similar abilities to treat a variety of inflammatory ailments. A 2009 study on cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, identified CBN as a possible treatment for inflammatory disorders such as allergic asthma. Research has also revealed that CBN can treat glaucoma by reducing inflammation that causes intraocular pressure.  


Studies dating back to the 1970s identify CBN as an effective treatment against convulsive illnesses. Similar to CBD and THC, CBN has the potential to reduce seizures and epileptic symptoms. Patients should be warned, however, that CBN’s anti-convulsive properties may be more effective in conjunction with CBD and THC than as an isolated compound.     

Bone Cell Growth Stimulant

CBN ticks all the usual boxes of a medicinal cannabinoid — pain relief, anti-inflammation, appetite stimulation, etc. But it may also stimulate bone marrow cell growth. By gathering and modulating stem cells, CBN may be an effective cannabinoid in creating bone tissue and healing bone fractures.  

Appetite Stimulant

In addition to the potential medical uses already covered, CBN may be an effective appetite stimulant. A 2012 study found that rats administered with CBN showed a sizable increase in both quantity and duration of feeding. These findings present the possibility of using CBN as a non-intoxicating alternative to THC appetite stimulants.

CBD + CBN Hemp Softgel Capsules

What makes our PM Formula Unique?

After a lot of exploration, our PM Formula was purposefully created as a full spectrum pure hemp extract without any other common sleep aid ingredients, as we feel hemp extraction is what we do best.

Many other CBD sleep aids on the market use various combinations of melatonin, valerian root, 5-HTP, GABA and the like. As with our own products, we place emphasis on the individual – that each individual has a unique set of circumstances and biology, and that one size does not fit all. 

Are you melatonin deficient? Do you need more vitamin D to produce melatonin, less alcohol, or will a supplement help? These are questions best left for you to decide, not Extract Labs. 

With this approach we leave it in your hands to decide what to take and in what combination. 

Determining the Active Ingredient in Sleep Supplements

Another factor to consider with those CBD + sleep aid products, is the difficulty in determining which ingredient is primarily helping to induce sleep. If it’s valerian root, perhaps all the other stuff is not needed. By keeping those things out of our formula, you can decide what combination is optimal for promoting a restful night’s sleep. 

Food For Thought on Sleep

If you are reading this far, and statistically speaking, it’s safe to assume you or a loved one suffers from sleep deprivation. So do the authors of this blog post. As one who continues to look for ways to improve sleep, I have come to appreciate the complexities surrounding this behavior.

Natural Sleep versus Sedation

There’s a difference. Lots of medication and supplements induce sedation which is not the same thing as what I’m calling natural sleep. The latter involves various stages with different brain wave lengths, dreaming and not dreaming, and gradual wakefulness cycles. Sedation, in contrast, is more like being knocked unconscious. For an insomniac, that may sound dreamy, but in fact, it’s often lacking in sufficient dream stages (REM) to result in a truly beneficial night’s sleep.

Part of the reason the cannabis plant appears to help with all sorts of conditions is due to the nature of its interactions with our ECS which in turn affects things like neurotransmission. Neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and the like contribute directly and indirectly to our moods, appetite, circadian rhythm and so many other basic functions.

I highlight this to make the point that there could be several things affecting one’s sleep ranging from pain, depression and anxiety to lack of sufficient serotonin transmission which stimulates melatonin production. So whatever particular ailment may be affecting your sleep, there is hope that a hemp extract can help return your basic functions to a more balanced place. Taking a sleep aid that operates in that way could very likely promote natural sleep behavior, and not simply knock you out cold for the night.

CBN Softgel Capsules

Extract Labs PM Formula Softgel Capsules are an easy and convenient way to consume CBN. Each bottle will contain a month’s worth of capsules, with each capsule containing 30mg of CBD and 10mg of CBN. Simply take one softgel about an hour before bed time!

Each bottle is batch tested for purity and potency, backed by our 60-day Money Back Guarantee!


Free Domestic Shipping

Get free shipping when you spend $60 or more.

American Made

Our products are made exclusively from American grown hemp.

100% Secure Checkout

Our SSL certificate keeps your information safe at checkout.

* 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.