Sleep is one of the human necessities that binds us all together. Unfortunately, many of us also bond over lack of it. Insomnia keeps millions of us from getting a good night's rest, bogging down our productivity and messing with our mental health. About 35 percent of adults in the United States suffer from sub-optimal sleep lengths under seven hours, largely because of insomnia. Many individuals happily share anecdotes of cannabis helping to allay insomnia, but there's some controversy on how cannabis affects sleep as a whole plant. We do know, however, that CBN for sleep is a viable option for those experiencing lack of proper sleep.
What is CBN?
Cannabinol (CBN) is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids that make up marijuana. Whereas most people are familiar with the psychoactive THC, and CBN is a product of THC's degradation process. CBN levels tend to be higher in cannabis that's been stored improperly and exposed to heat and air. For your typical recreational purposes, this mistreated weed is pretty gross. For this reason, CBN has been often been relegated to the graveyard of unwanted cannabinoids.
However, CBN oil has shown true promise in multiple therapeutic avenues. Here are a few of the properties we know of so far.
- Analgesic: Like its predecessor THC and relative CBD, CBN is able to relieve pain.
- Antibacterial: CBN can slow the growth of bacteria, like the dangerous MRSA.
- Anticonvulsant: We know cannabis has powerful effects against neurodegenerative diseases, and CBN, in particular, shows these effects.
- Anti-Proliferative: CBN is a critical component in marijuana's ability to fight cancer, as it slows down the reproduction of cancer cells while leaving regular cells alone.
And most importantly for our purposes, CBN is a powerful sleep aid. According to Steep Hill Labs, CBN is actually the most sedative of the cannabinoids. Luckily, a little bit of this compound goes a long way – as most cannabis never reaches CBN concentrations over one percent. Steep Hill estimates a dose of 2.5mg to 5mg of CBN provides about the same sedation as a 5mg to 10mg dose of the medication diazepam (also commonly known as Valium).
Where to Get CBN
If you're sold on CBN for sleep, you're probably wondering how to get it. Because it's present in such low quantities in cannabis, you'll want to check out CBN oil if you want the benefits without the mind-altering qualities.
For now, CBN oil is quite difficult to come by. Due to its extremely low concentration in the cannabis plant, extraction of CBN remains cost prohibitive for many companies. One of the best and most reputable sources of CBN products is Mary's Medicinals, which has grown their line of CBN products over time. One of their more popular offerings is the 1:1 CBN: CBD blend, which comes as a distillate with an available vape kit.
Naturally Increasing CBN
If you're unable to get your hands on CBN oil for sleep, you can still maximize the amount of CBN you get from cannabis flower with specific storage methods. It may pain you at first, but the secret to increasing CBN concentrations in your weed is to store it badly. Normally the goal of cannabis storage is to maintain the THC, but to get CBN we need that THC to break down. This means ignoring everything you know about storing cannabis properly. Here are the main factors to consider.
- Time: Over time, even airtight cannabis stored correctly will begin to degrade into CBN. The longer cannabis sits around, the more THC it loses and the more CBN it develops.
- Heat & Light: One of the crucial rules of thumb for preserving THC is to store your marijuana in a cool and dark place. This is because heat is a key factor in the breakdown of THC. Exposing cannabis to sunlight and heat over a long period of time helps speed up the degradation process.
- Oxygen: The main culprit in transforming THC to CBN is oxidation. That oxidative process obviously moves faster when there's oxygen to be had.
Storing cannabis in a jar with the lid screwed on loosely can do the trick, but you have to watch out for moisture as mold can still creep in if you're not careful. You should also consider how much THC you want in your final product. Starting with a low THC strain means you'll get less CBN overall, and have less THC leftover. If you're not into the psychoactive aspect of cannabis, this may be ideal for you. If you want the benefits of CBN for sleep but also like what THC has to offer, you should start with a more potent strain.
Part of a Powerful Toolkit
Using CBN for sleep isn't going to solve all your insomnia issues immediately. There is a host of potential contributing factors to poor sleep, including sleep apnea, poor diet, and in some cases genetic predisposition. Along with finding the root cause of your sleep issues, CBN can certainly help lower the frequency of sleepless nights.