The Difference Between CBN, THC & CBD | Ultimate Guide for Better Sleep

With the legalization of hemp and cannabis in many states, it can be hard to keep track of the differences between all the compounds. Learn our guide about CBN, THC, and CBD and how they can improve your sleep. 

flat lay of hemp leaves, a grey sleep mask and a tea cup of tea

Does THC impact sleep differently than CBD? What about CBN?

It’s no secret that each cannabinoid has loyal fans - THC being a well-established favorite - but more and more people are saying that different combinations and ratios of cannabinoids - like THC, CBD and CBN - improve their sleep quality better than just one or the other. 

So, what the heck do you choose to try when you’re haggard from poor sleep and browsing the ‘net at 3am? We’re here to help you find an answer - and, hopefully, some solid Z’s.

Can CBN help with sleep?

Wait, CBN? Isn’t it all about CBD? Well, no. Not anymore - we have an increasing understanding of cannabis, including the exploration of lesser-known cannabinoids. One of them, cannabinol (CBN), is a rapidly rising star among consumers, especially when it comes to getting better sleep. 

Since CBN comes from aged tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - with the THC breaking down chemically over time to turn into CBN - it’s no surprise that people report similar effects to when they take THC, improved sleep included. You could say that, when it comes to the cannabinoids, CBN and sleep get along the best. “Now, hold up” you say, “I just want to sleep, not get high. Will this be a problem?”

No worries! CBN itself, despite coming from THC, is more of a sedative. Like CBD, CBN is non-intoxicating. Relaxation with a gentle drift into a sleep cycle is a far more common experience than a classic stoned or high feeling. As an added bonus, CBN is said to help with inflammation so people experience positive sleep effects both on the mind and the body. 

Despite being lesser known - for now - CBN has the reputation of being the most sedative. In other words, it’s the knock-you-out heavyweight of the cannabinoids, and it’s well worth a try.

outline of a cbd molecule next to a cbn molecule for comparison

How does CBD affect sleep quality?

It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a small farmers market or a large retailer, cannabidiol (CBD) products are found everywhere.  In the USA, CBD - unlike THC - is legal so long as it contains no more than 0.3% of THC. Besides being more accessible, its popularity indicates that people get something positive out of consumption. Is getting better sleep among those positive effects?

Some say yes. But it’s less of a yawn-inducing feeling itself and more commonly related to relief from anxiety, pain and other problems that disturb a good night’s rest. Unlike CBN, CBD is not a byproduct of THC. While it is non-intoxicating, which is a benefit for many, the effects may not be as strong as desired.

Given the choice between CBD and CBN, folks seeking relief from poor sleep are increasingly selecting products with CBN in the ingredients, like our Nite Bites. So, while some medical studies show CBD as a possible solution to sleep issues, CBN is still our fave.

What is the impact of THC on sleep?

Last to mention, but far from the least, is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). If you don’t yet know, there are three popular forms of THC. People are most familiar with THC 9, or Delta 9. But newer compounds, THC 8 and THC 10, or Delta 8 and Delta 10 as they’re called, have been gaining popularity. In this case, we’re referring to the tried-and-true THC 9. THC is the reason for the “high” associated with cannabis but it has other effects, too!  

Despite the barriers to doing more medical research, there is scientific evidence showing a positive impact of THC on a variety of ailments - including poor sleep. Regardless, cannabis is widely used as a sleep aid, and likely has been for a very long time. 

And, just like CBN and CBD, THC is said to help with anxiety, inflammation, and conditions like PTSD; all of which may get in the way of a solid night of snoozing.

ad for nite bite sleep chocolates infused with adaptogens

The entourage effect and how it helps sleep

So, which of the three do you choose? Ultimately, that depends on you, your needs, and how your body reacts to different products. Generally, though, it’s said that the most effective products contain a combination - called a ratio - of more than one cannabinoid. 

You might have heard of something called the entourage effect. When we have that kind of ratio of two cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, they complement each other as they interact in our bodies with something called the endocannabinoid system. It’s said that sleep-improving effects come from how cannabinoids work together to interact with receptors in your brain.

You can easily find products combining THC and CBD to address concerns like inflammation. But how does the entourage effect influence someone’s choice for a sleep aid? Out of all the options, folks are increasingly looking for something containing  both THC and CBN. 

What kind of cannabis products help sleep?

This one is both super easy and super difficult to answer. Again - it depends on you. Ultimately, any form of cannabis consumption could work. While some may choose the traditional routes of smoking or ingesting a tincture, edibles are a top choice for the rest. 

Slower to release and longer to last, edibles are easy to include in a routine. Imagine this: it’s the end of a long day with the promise of another long day ahead. You struggle with sleeping and want something that lulls you into a gentle sleep, not something that knocks you out on the couch. When you’ve found the right edible dosage for yourself, it’s quick and simple to eat an edible as you wind down for the night. 

As always, please talk to a doctor, especially if you’re already trying out other sleep aids. While the chances of interactions or negative side effects may be low, they’re still possible.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published