Mission’s Guide to Understanding The Difference Between CBD and CBN

Despite being just one letter apart, CBD and CBN are unique cannabinoids, each with its own properties and potential health benefits. As CBD has taken center stage for its long list of potential benefits and uses, CBN is less well-known–but equally intriguing.

Recognizing the nuances between CBN and CBD is not only a fascinating peek into the complexities of the cannabis plant itself but becomes crucial when it comes to determining which cannabinoids and combos are best suited to you.

If you’re wondering about the differences between CBD and CBN, you’re in the right place. Read on to explore the differences and similarities, including:

  • How they interact with your body
  • The potential health benefits, effects, and uses of CBD vs CBN
  • The ways you can consume them
  • How CBD and CBN can work together

Ready? Let’s dive in!

CBD vs CBN: How Do They Interact with Your Body?

Both CBD (cannabidiol) and CBN (cannabinol) are two of over 100 different cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemical compounds, each with its own set of effects. Cannabinoids impact our minds and bodies via our endocannabinoid system (ECS).

When consumed, CBD and CBN interact with our ECS, an intricate cell-signaling system responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or balance, in the body. The ECS is an essential regulatory system present in all mammals and most organisms, including humans. Our ECS consists of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids produced by the body. Endocannabinoids, which our bodies produce naturally, interact with receptors like CB1 and CB2 to regulate a laundry list of functions, from mood and behavior to sleep and appetite and so on.

Phytocannabinoids like CBN and CBD, derived from plants like cannabis, can also influence these receptors when consumed, mimicking the effects of endocannabinoids. When these compounds bind to receptors, they trigger mental and physical responses, from pain relief to feelings of calm.

Although CBD and CBN interact with the same cannabinoid receptors in the body, the experiences they may produce differ in important ways.

What’s the Difference Between CBD and CBN?

So, what is the difference between CBD and CBN? First, let’s explore the roles each cannabinoid plays within cannabis and the human body, including the potential benefits and effects of each.

What Is CBD?

You’ve probably heard of CBD–it’s a major cannabinoid that has become very popular in recent years, both here in the US and around the globe.

CBD is non-intoxicating, meaning it doesn’t initiate a characteristic cannabis “high.” Instead, its therapeutic properties may provide a multitude of physical and mental health benefits that many people now opt to take advantage of.

CBD products like oils, edibles, or topicals are a popular choice in our dispensaries. And, even amongst its widespread popularity and a growing body of evidence supporting its many benefits, research on the benefits of CBD is ongoing. There is still much to discover when it comes to how CBD impacts our health and well-being.

What Is CBN?

Cannabinol, or CBN, is a minor cannabinoid produced when THC, the cannabinoid most know and love for cannabis’s signature high, degrades or breaks down. Over time, with exposure to light or at higher storage temperatures, THC transforms into CBN.

CBN is only minimally psychoactive – think of CBN like a milder version of THC. While several factors impact its potency, research suggests THC is roughly 4 to up to 10 times as strong as CBN. At high doses, CBN may produce mildly intoxicating effects.

There are many CBN products available on the market aimed at helping folks rest, relax, and get better sleep. Some research suggests CBN might even be beneficial in managing pain. But so far, the medical benefits of CBN are largely unknown and understudied.

The Potential Benefits, Effects, and Uses of CBD

CBD is often touted as some sort of miracle medicine. While this isn’t completely true, it isn’t completely false, either!

Research into CBD has uncovered a wide array of potential physical and mental health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, and neuroprotective properties. It’s important to note that CBD use is not without risk, but it is generally safe and well tolerated by most people.

While research is ongoing, here are a select few of the benefits and uses that existing scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests CBD can help with.

Refractory Seizures

Epidiolex is the only form of CBD that has gained FDA approval for the treatment of certain rare forms of epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome. CBD has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing seizure frequency and intensity, particularly in children, who are most commonly impacted by these types of disorders. In some cases, CBD may help stop seizures altogether.

Chronic Pain

CBD has been recognized for its potential to alleviate symptoms of chronic pain, providing relief for conditions like arthritis and neuropathic pain.


Lots of people turn to CBD for its anti-anxiety effects, feeling calm after use. Since CBD has the potential to chill you out, it’s a popular choice for managing stress, too. Researchers are looking at CBD’s potential for treating other mental health disorders like depression, PTSD, and Schizophrenia.


CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties, making it a promising research target for treating inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or inflammatory bowel diseases.

Neurological Disorders

Ongoing research suggests CBD may be helpful in supporting the treatment of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, thanks to its antioxidant properties.

Skin Conditions

For some, because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, topical applications of CBD may help with skin issues like eczema and psoriasis. Research is also looking at its potential in treating the inflammation associated with acne.

Nausea and Vomiting

CBD may help alleviate nausea, as suggested by some studies, but it’s not a primary treatment. THC is actually more likely to help with this. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC, preferably in combination, could have potentially life-changing effects for those dealing with nausea from chemotherapy.

The Potential Benefits, Effects, and Uses of CBN

Compared to CBD, CBN is less widely known and not as widely available. While research is very limited at this point, initial research is looking at CBN’s potential therapeutic benefits, including:

Relaxing and Sedative Properties

Anecdotal evidence suggests CBN may have calming and sedative effects that may help people get a better night’s rest, however, there is not enough research yet to say exactly how it may help with sleep.

Appetite Stimulation

CBN may have the potential to stimulate appetite, which may be useful for those struggling with stomach issues, nausea, disordered eating, chronic pain, depression, and more.

Neuroprotective Properties

CBN is thought to promote neuroprotection. According to a 2005 study, CBN may help delay symptom onset of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Pain Relief

According to a 2019 animal study, CBN may provide relief in muscle and joint pain in conditions caused by conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Exploring CBD and CBN Products

From CBD-rich flower to edibles, oils, vape pens, and more, there are plenty of CBD products to cater to a broad spectrum of tastes and preferences. You can find CBD in several forms, such as:

  • CBD-rich cannabis and hemp flower
  • Edibles and beverages
  • Oils and tinctures
  • Topicals and transdermals
  • Vape pens
  • Capsules and pills
  • Concentrates

While CBD is widely available, it’s important to evaluate the products you’re buying. Avoid purchasing CBD from your local gas station; due to a lack of quality control and regulatory oversight of hemp-derived CBD products, it’s much harder to ensure their quality and safety. Instead, opt for reputable retailers like licensed cannabis dispensaries, where you will find better quality products, a wider selection, and knowledgeable staff to help you.

As for CBN, though not as widely available as CBD, it can also be found in different forms, such as:

  • Oils and tinctures
  • Edibles
  • Capsules
  • Vape pens

Like CBD, you can find both hemp- and cannabis-derived products. Whether you buy hemp products that are federally legal and sold across the country or visit your local dispensary for cannabis products containing CBN, be sure to purchase only from brands or retailers that can provide you with the results of independent, third-party lab testing—called a Certificate of Analysis.

In regulated dispensaries, this kind of testing is mandatory. But for hemp, the market is largely unregulated. So be sure to buy from producers who go the extra mile to ensure their products are clean and safe. It’s also important to note that if you’re consuming CBN products, some research suggests they may cause you to fail a drug test designed to detect THC.

Can You Mix CBD and CBN?

Yes, it’s generally safe to mix CBD and CBN. Many people find that combining these cannabinoids can enhance the overall therapeutic effects, offering a more balanced experience. Some research suggests the combination of CBD and CBN might be particularly effective in treating pain.

However, it’s advisable to start with lower doses and monitor how your body responds, as individual reactions can vary. Since both CBD and CBN may make you feel more relaxed and even sleepy, when trying a product containing both, do so at night or when you don’t have to drive or otherwise be alert. And always consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or pre-existing conditions.

Explore Quality Cannabinoids With Mission

We hope you’ve enjoyed this detailed guide on the major differences between CBD and CBN, two cannabinoids that are uniquely able to support your well-being. Now that you’re familiar with the major differences between CBN and CBD, you have the power to tailor your cannabinoid experience.

If you’d like to sample the widely celebrated benefits of CBD for yourself, Mission’s got you covered. With dispensaries spanning across Illinois and Massachusetts, we offer a diverse range of high-CBD strains and products. Elevate your well-being—find a Mission location near you to start shopping today!