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CBD vs. CBN: What’s the Difference?
CBD Education

CBD vs. CBN: What’s the Difference?

In recent years, the world has witnessed a surge in interest surrounding the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. As more people seek alternative wellness solutions, two cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN), have emerged as frontrunners in the race to harness the health benefits of cannabis.

While both CBD and CBN are garnering attention for their distinct properties, it is crucial to understand the differences between these cannabinoids to make informed decisions about their use.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the unique characteristics of CBD and CBN, answering frequently asked questions and shedding light on the world of cannabinoids.

What Is the Origin of CBD and CBN in the Cannabis Plant?

To appreciate the differences between CBD and CBN, we must first explore their origins within the cannabis plant. CBD is primarily derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, particularly hemp plants, which contain high concentrations of this non-psychoactive cannabinoid.

On the other hand, CBN is formed due to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) degradation and is present in smaller amounts compared to CBD.

What Exactly Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are a diverse group of naturally occurring compounds in the Cannabis sativa plant. They interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, playing a crucial role in modulating various physiological processes. Among the numerous cannabinoids identified thus far, the most well-known are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN).

THC is the primary psychoactive component in cannabis responsible for the "high" sensation, while CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that has garnered significant attention for its potential health benefits. In addition, CBN, a lesser-known cannabinoid, is gradually gaining recognition for its unique properties.

What Is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system that plays a pivotal role in maintaining the body's overall balance and well-being. The ECS consists of three primary components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. The two primary receptors in the ECS, CB1, and CB2 receptors, are found throughout the body and are responsible for interacting with cannabinoids.

CB1 receptors are predominantly located in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system. When cannabinoids like CBD and CBN bind to these receptors, they trigger reactions that influence various physiological processes such as sleep, appetite, discomfort, and mood regulation.

Are There Other Cannabinoids Beyond CBD and CBN?

While CBD and CBN have gained prominence, it is essential to acknowledge the existence of other cannabinoids that hold potential therapeutic value.

Some of these lesser-known cannabinoids include:

  • Cannabigerol (CBG): Often referred to as the "mother of all cannabinoids," CBG is a non-psychoactive compound with potential sleep-promoting, calm-inducing properties.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC): Another non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBC, may exhibit potential benefits for discomfort relief and as a general wellness cannabinoid.
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC-V): THC-V is a psychoactive cannabinoid found in trace amounts in some cannabis strains. It has potential appetite-suppressant properties and mood benefits.

These different cannabinoids, along with CBD and CBN, work in concert to produce what is known as the "entourage effect," whereby their combined action is greater than the sum of their individual effects. This synergy is a crucial aspect of the therapeutic potential of cannabis-derived products.

What Is CBD?

Over the past few years, CBD has gained immense popularity for its potential health benefits and lack of intoxicating effects, making it an appealing option for those seeking alternative wellness solutions. Available in various forms, such as CBD oil, this cannabinoid has become a staple in the wellness and supplement industry.

What Are the Benefits and Potential Uses of CBD?

The potential benefits of CBD have been the subject of numerous studies, with research exploring its efficacy in various health conditions.

Some of the most well-known benefits and potential uses of CBD include the following:

  • Discomfort relief: CBD may help alleviate discomfort by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system.
  • Wellness support: CBD is often incorporated into daily wellness routines due to its wide range of supportive properties.

Unlike its psychoactive counterpart, THC, CBD does not produce intoxicating effects. This means that users can enjoy CBD's health benefits without experiencing the "high" associated with cannabis. In addition, the non-psychoactive nature of CBD makes it a popular choice for those seeking alternative solutions for daily wellness support.

What Types of CBD Products and Administration Methods are Available?

The market is brimming with a wide array of CBD products, catering to the diverse preferences of consumers.

Some popular CBD product types and administration methods include:

  • Gummies: Chewable, flavored edibles that provide a discreet and convenient way to consume CBD.
  • Tinctures: Liquid extracts that can be taken sublingually or added to food and beverages.
  • Topicals: Creams, balms, and lotions that can be applied directly to the skin for localized relief.

CBD is also available in different types of extracts. Full-spectrum CBD products contain all the naturally occurring compounds in the cannabis plant, including trace amounts of THC, which may enhance the overall therapeutic effects through the "entourage effect."

Broad-spectrum CBD contains all of the naturally occurring compounds in the cannabis plant except for THC — it has had all traces of THC removed. Broad-spectrum CBD can offer the benefits of the entourage effect without the psychoactive component.

CBD isolate contains only CBD, meaning there is no THC, but there are also none of the other beneficial compounds.

As the understanding and interest in CBD continue to grow, the demand for diverse and innovative CBD products is expected to rise, offering consumers many options to suit their needs and preferences.

What Is CBN?

As mentioned, CBN is another phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, albeit in smaller concentrations than CBD. Often formed as a byproduct of THC degradation, CBN has garnered interest for its unique properties and potential applications. As a result, the market has started to notice this lesser-known cannabinoid, leading to the development of a range of CBN products.

What Are the Benefits and Potential Uses of CBN?

While research on CBN is still in its early stages, some studies have begun exploring its potential benefits and uses.

CBN has been associated with promoting feelings of relaxation and drowsiness, making it a possible natural sleep option for those struggling with sleep disturbances. Like any other cannabinoid, these potential uses are based on preliminary research, and further studies are needed to substantiate these claims.

How Do the Effects of CBN Differ From Other Cannabinoids?

CBN's effects are distinct from CBD and other cannabinoids due to its potential sedative properties. Some research has also suggested that CBN might have a synergistic effect with melatonin, a hormone known to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. This unique combination of properties makes CBN an intriguing option for those seeking alternative solutions for sleep and relaxation.

What Types of CBN Products and Administration Methods are Available?

As interest in CBN grows, so does the variety of products featuring this cannabinoid. Some popular CBN products and administration methods include:

  • Topicals: Creams and balms infused with CBN that can be applied to the skin for localized effects.
  • Tinctures: Liquid extracts of CBN that can be taken sublingually or added to food and beverages.
  • Gummies: Edible candies containing CBN offer a quick and discreet way to consume this cannabinoid.

The potential uses and pharmacology of CBN continue to be explored, and as more research emerges, we can expect to see an increasing array of CBN products entering the market.

What Are the Legal and Regulatory Considerations Surrounding CBD and CBN?

The legal and regulatory considerations surrounding CBD and CBN may seem complex, but they've been significantly impacted by the 2018 Farm Bill — a game-changing piece of legislation altering the legal landscape for hemp-derived products.

This law removed hemp plants with less than 0.3% THC from the Controlled Substances Act, making cultivating and using them legal in the United States. This change has made CBD and CBN products, including full-spectrum and broad-spectrum varieties, more accessible and appealing to consumers.

However, it's important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still has regulatory authority over these products, particularly when making health claims and ensuring product safety. Therefore, manufacturers and retailers of CBD and CBN products must navigate a complex regulatory landscape to avoid running afoul of FDA guidelines and making unfounded medical claims about their products' efficacy.

As the legal and regulatory environment around CBD and CBN evolves, staying informed is more important than ever. Whether you're a business owner or a consumer, understanding the latest developments and regulatory requirements can help you make informed decisions about these promising cannabinoids.

What Should You Know About the Production, Marketing, and Consumption of CBD and CBN Products?

As the popularity and demand for CBD and CBN products grow, it becomes increasingly important to consider the ethical implications of their production, marketing, and consumption. Several key factors must be considered to ensure this burgeoning industry's responsible and sustainable development.


The cultivation of hemp plants can significantly impact the environment. Producers must prioritize sustainable farming practices, such as minimizing water consumption, using organic fertilizers, and practicing crop rotation. These practices not only help protect the environment but also contribute to the production of high-quality, contaminant-free CBD and CBN products.

Fair Trade

Fair trade practices in the CBD and CBN industry ensure that farmers and workers receive fair wages and have safe working conditions. Consumers can support ethical business practices by purchasing products from companies that adhere to fair trade standards and maintain transparent supply chains.

Social Responsibility

Companies involved in producing and selling CBD and CBN products should be mindful of their social responsibility. This includes providing accurate and reliable information about their products, avoiding misleading marketing claims, and ensuring that their products are accessible to those who need them most.

Animal Testing

Some consumers may be concerned about the use of animal testing in the development of CBD and CBN products. Ethical companies should strive to minimize or eliminate animal testing in favor of alternative testing methods that are both safe and reliable.

By addressing these ethical questions, businesses and consumers can contribute to a more responsible and sustainable CBD and CBN industry. As demand for these products grows, it is essential to prioritize ethical considerations alongside product quality and efficacy.


The world of cannabinoids is rapidly evolving, with CBD and CBN leading the way in the race to harness the health benefits of the cannabis plant. As more research is conducted, we are gaining a better understanding of the potential therapeutic uses of these compounds.

Muscle MX, a company at the forefront of cannabis science, is dedicated to creating products that utilize the most effective cannabinoids moving forward. We're committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and innovation, and our products reflect this dedication to quality and effectiveness.

Whether you seek discomfort relief, sleep aid, or overall wellness support, Muscle MX's CBD products offer a promising alternative to traditional treatments. As the industry continues to grow, Muscle MX's commitment to innovation and efficacy will undoubtedly drive the development of even more promising cannabinoid-based products.


An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system | NCBI

The Pharmacological Case for Cannabigerol | Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Cannabichromene and Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid Identified as Lactate Dehydrogenase-A Inhibitors by in Silico and in Vitro Screening | ACS Publications

Tetrahydrocannabivarin | C19H26O2 | PubChem

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