A Guide to CBN: Benefits, Extraction, Storage, Price, Consumption and More

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In this post:

  • CBN reported health benefits
  • CBN vs CBD
  • Can CBN get you high?
  • CBN products
  • Is CBN legal?
  • CBN cost per kilo
  • CBN potency & testing

While CBD and THC are the most popular compounds in the industry, CBN is one of the most well known minor cannabinoids known for its ability to promote maximum wellness. CBN was actually the first cannabinoid ever extracted and has been the subject of decades of research.

Studies have shown that it is a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective agent, to name just a few. CBN also supports sleep enhancement, which can improve the lives of millions who suffer from sleep related disorders. CBN’s health benefits along with its extensive history of research and growing popularity, are major reasons why you may want to sell potent CBN products.

What are the Reported Benefits of CBN?

CBN first appeared in scientific literature in the 1940s and was the first isolated cannabinoid to be studied. Since that time, researchers have uncovered a multitude of findings surrounding its therapeutic effects:


CBN is also the subject of research related to its antibacterial properties. In a 2008 study by the Journal of Natural Products, CBN was shown to exhibit potent activity against a variety of dangerous bacterial strains such as MRSA. While more research is needed, this shows that CBN may be useful as a supplement or in treating widespread bacterial infections.


Research indicates that CBN may be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, which can help stave off a variety of age and stress-related illnesses. In one animal study, CBN was shown to help treat the symptoms of collagen induced arthritis. Another scientific review indicated that CBN’s anti-inflammatory powers may be able to treat allergy related diseases.

Sleep Aid

Sleep deprivation and insomnia affects millions of Americans and is one of the biggest number one reported  reasons for medical cannabis use. Not But not all strains are as effective for this widespread condition.

While THC is known for sedative properties, research shows that it is much more effective when combined with CBN (Cannabinol). Other studies indicate that isolated CBN may be a powerful sedative and that it may even extend the hours of shut eye.


Pain is quite possibly the number one overall reason why patients turn to cannabis. Research shows that CBN exhibits analgesic (or pain relieving) properties in the body by influencing neurons that are responsible for pain signaling and perception.

Brain Health

CBN has also been shown to be an effective neuroprotective agent with a promise to help delay the onset of neurological diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s. Recently the Journal of Molecular Biology conducted an Alzheimer's study that determined when CBN is paired with THC it synergizes to help reduce oxidative damage, protect from loss of energy, and target inflammation in the brain. While we wait for more studies to confirm the correlation, the research to date is extremely powerful.

Appetite Stimulation

Appetite stimulation is another major reason why patients use cannabis--especially those undergoing chemotherapy. In a study published by the Psychopharmacology Journal, CBN was shown to speed up the desire to eat and increase overall food intake. Studies like this show that CBN could provide an alternative to THC as the cannabinoid of choice for appetite stimulation--especially due to the fact that CBN is (mostly) non-psychoactive.  

How Does CBN Work?


CBN is very similar to CBD in terms of chemical structure and therapeutic profile but it does have important distinctions in how it occurs as well as its potential for mild psychoactive effects.

How Does CBN Occur?

Unlike CBD, which occurs as a by-product of CBDA, CBN occurs when THC breaks down. This process happens naturally over time as a result of air, heat or light exposure.

While newly cured hemp and cannabis strains won’t contain a high concentration of CBN, the potency will inevitably increase over time. Therefore CBN is usually the most potent in older, more mature hemp or cannabis strains.

Can CBN Get You High?

While CBD has zero psychoactive properties and actually mitigates some of THCs intoxicating effects, CBN is a slightly different story. Current research indicates that CBN exhibits insignificant psychoactive effects when isolated. However, when combined with THC, CBN may increase the effects related to altered perceptions, emotions, cognition, and sociability-- according to a study in the Journal of Pharmacology. It’s important to understand this distinction when determining what type of product or strain will best serve your market.  

How Does CBN Work in the Body?

Like THC, CBD and other cannabinoids, CBN exerts therapeutic effects through interaction with chemical receptors in nearly every system of the body. The two primary chemical receptors are called CB1 and CB2, which make up what is known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system is involved in regulating a wide range of our body’s functions required for optimal health.

CB1 receptors are found throughout the body but are concentrated in the brain and nervous system, while CB2 receptors are more prevalent in the immune system. CBN interacts with these receptors to help regulate a variety of functions including pain, appetite, hormones, inflammation, and blood pressure. This process is what defines CBN’s ability to promote healing.

CBN Products

What Type of CBN Products are Available?

CBN may be found in trace amounts in full spectrum hemp CBD products including oils, waxes and edibles. CBN extracts, isolates and distillates also exist but are currently much more expensive, so fewer products exist. One example is Mary’s Medicinals vape with an equal CBD:CBN ratio.  Another example of a 1:1 CBN:THC Tincture is Rise’s Feel Dreamy.

Are There High CBN Strains?

Yes. CBN is known for its indica-like effects in terms of its soothing, sedative and anti-inflammatory properties, but there are CBN sativa dominant strains as well. While hemp and cannabis naturally produce CBN in much lower quantities (below 1%) than other cannabinoids, its potency will increase over time as the plant is exposed to oxygen or heat.

Through this oxidation process, THC breaks down to become CBN, which can yield higher CBN strains. For this reason, high CBN strains are generally derived from mature cannabis plants, but hemp strains can be genetically bred for CBN content as well. Ultimately, any variety that produces THCA will contain a higher amount of CBN if it’s been properly cured.

Some common CBN strains include Animal Cookies, Ace of Spades, Afgoo, Maui Dream, Monster Cookies, and Phantom OG. Wholesale CBN hemp flower is also available from companies such as Global Cannabinoids.

What are CBN Crystals?

CBN crystals are natural crystalline products that are extracted from hemp or cannabis plants using CO2. They’re nearly 100% pure and free of THC and odors.

CBN crystals look like powdered sugar and can be melted under the tongue, sprinkled in smokeable flower or mixed with oils. You can also use this pure powder as a dietary supplement by mixing it in smoothies or juices.

Can You Smoke, Vape and Ingest CBN?

Yes. Like CBD and THC, CBN can also be smoked in flower form, vaped in an oil or wax, or ingested sublingually using a tincture.

How Do I Extract CBN?

Like other cannabinoids, CBN is extracted through a supercritical extraction process that uses CO2 or solvents like ethanol to separate the compounds from the plant. The solution is then evaporated with heat under a vacuum to remove all the solvents and leave a high purity CBN concentrate behind. Once extracted, CBN products should be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight to preserve potency.

The CBN Market

Is CBN Legal?

Although CBN is a byproduct of THC, it’s not a scheduled controlled substance in the United States. CBN is federally legal as long as it’s extracted from hemp. At a state level, CBN is also permitted in all cannabis strains where medical and/or adult use is legal.

What Does CBN Cost Per Kilo?

Currently CBN is an expensive cannabinoid due to the fact that it still much more rare to find and difficult to extract. CBN isolates (similar to CBG prices) are transacting at around 4 to 10 times the CBD isolate market according to PanXchange.  While the price may vary from supplier to supplier, the average cost appears to be about $30,000 to $50,000 per kilo. However, as CBN becomes more widely available in the market, the price will inevitably drop.--

CBN Potency & Testing

How is CBN Potency Measured?

CBN is measured through potency tests in the same way that CBD, THC and other cannabinoids are detected. For edibles and extracts, ACS Laboratory uses Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) machinery to measure with precision. HPLC is the preferred instrument for these products due to its ability to test samples at room temperature without requiring heat, which changes the results.

Why Should I Test for CBN?

CBN is the third most widely known cannabinoid and your customers are becoming educated about its effects. CBN is a major topic of discussion and is the subject of numerous studies related to its ability to stave off bacteria, inflammation, neurodegenerative disease, pain and notably its potential to promote deeper, longer sleep. Studies show that more than a third of Americans experience sleep deprivation or poor sleep resulting in high stress, brain fog and illness over time.

Nearly a quarter of Americans each year report periods of acute insomnia that can last for days or weeks. They are desperately turning to cannabis for natural relief but many do not want the psychoactive effects that come with THC. That means CBN has the potential to offer an effective alternative, capturing even more customers. Aside from sleep deprivation, customers want a compound that they know will be effective at addressing their major wellness concerns.

As more research is published surrounding CBN, educated customers want to know about the concentration level of this vital cannabinoid.

At ACS Laboratory, we test hemp and cannabis products for CBN as part of our 11 Analyte Potency Test. Because of its public recognition as a potential remedy to ease pain, inflammation, anxiety and sleeplessness, CBN is one of the most valuable cannabinoids today.

We’re confident that accurate CBN potency tests are vital for brands like yours to successfully market your products. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a potency test. We deliver precise results within 3-5 days.

ACS Cannabinoids Guide

This complete cannabinoid guide covers major and minor cannabinoids, how they work in the body, and highlights the top compounds brands and operators must test for today.
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