Many people in the hemp community use cannabinol (CBN) as a natural sleep aid, often in lieu of melatonin, due to its sedative effects.
But can it do more than just help you sleep? Does CBN get you high?
In short, yes, many people find that CBN creates a high effect. CBN can be thought of as a weaker version of THC, and it’s roughly 25% as strong. Unlike THC, the CBN high is characterized by deep relaxation and drowsiness, rather than uplifting, energizing effects.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into how CBN makes you feel and discuss how it works in the body to produce these effects.
What is CBN?
Cannabinol (CBN) is one of the 100-plus naturally-occurring cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
CBN has been around for a while — it was discovered back in the 1940s. However, it’s only recently become popular as a sleep aid after people noticed that smoking aged cannabis flower, which contains a lot of CBN, makes you sleepy.
Does CBN Get You High?
Based on anecdotal evidence, yes, CBN will cause mild psychoactive effects.
However, there hasn’t been any scientific evidence to support this. The few studies on CBN that we have indicate that it can induce feelings of drowsiness and that it may enhance the psychoactive effects of THC, but none show that CBN creates psychoactive effects on its own.
Nonetheless, many people report feeling lifted after using CBN — both by itself and in combination with other cannabinoids. More research is likely needed before we’re sure how this works.
How CBN Works in the Body
CBN works via the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a neurotransmitter system in your body responsible for regulating most vital functions, including sleep, mood, inflammatory response, and body temperature.
Ultimately, the ECS works to keep your body in a state of homeostasis, or balance.
To promote deep relaxation, CBN interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your ECS to regulate the production and transmission of neurotransmitters that affect the way you feel.
In this way, CBN can make you feel drowsy, and it may also make you feel slightly high.
CBN vs. THC: How They Make You Feel
Many people report that CBN works like a weaker version of delta 9 THC — many of the same effects, but only about 25% as strong. CBN is roughly 50% as strong as delta 8 THC, a weaker form of THC.
Anecdotal and scientific evidence also suggests that CBN primarily makes you feel relaxed and drowsy. By contrast, THC can cause a variety of feelings, from euphoria to relaxation to happiness.
In this way, CBN creates a more one-dimensional experience that, while not as interesting for recreational use, is very effective for sleep support.
CBN vs. CBD: How They Make You Feel
CBD and CBN both have relaxing effects, however, unlike CBD, CBN can cause you to feel slightly high. CBD won’t cause psychoactive effects — in large doses, it just makes you tired.
A similarity between CBD and CBN is that both may be beneficial for anxiety, though CBD has been researched for this purpose and CBN has not.
Effects of CBN Flower
By itself, CBN creates a mild high effect for some people.
However, when paired with delta 9 THC, it amplifies THC’s effects, creating a powerful, deeply relaxing high.
This combination was discovered by people who smoked aged hemp flower. Aged hemp flower contains large amounts of CBN, because delta 9 THC actually converts to CBN as it degrades over time.
If you smoke an aged strain or a high-CBN strain, then, you’ll feel the standard THC high, but with additional feelings of relaxation and drowsiness.
Is CBN Legal?
On a national level, yes, CBN is legal – as long as it’s made from hemp-derived THC. The 2018 Farm Bill made all hemp-derived cannabinoids legal.
The difference between hemp and marijuana is THC percentage. Hemp is cannabis containing 0.3% THC or less by dry weight, while marijuana is cannabis containing over 0.3% THC by dry weight.
However, it may be illegal in some states. Many states haven’t specifically called out whether CBN is legal or not, as it hasn’t seen widespread use compared to THC.
Play it safe: if your state prohibits hemp-derived THC or CBD, it’s worth checking state law to see if you can buy CBN.
Will CBN Show Up on a Drug Test?
Although CBN is not an illicit substance and is not screened for on standard 12-panel drug tests, it may cause a false positive for THC.
This is because CBN is chemically very similar to THC, and, due to the way your body processes these two cannabinoids, they appear similar to drug testing technology.
Conclusion: CBN Won’t Get You High
While CBN’s primary effect is drowsiness, making it effective for sleep support, it can cause a very mild head high.
This makes it great for the evening, when you’re trying to relax and wind down before bed.
Does CBN Get You High? Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions we’re frequently asked about the effects of CBN.
Does CBN make you feel weird?
Yes, some people describe feeling weird after taking CBN. Some report a drowsy sort of high after taking CBN, while others report that it only makes them drowsy, without any of the traditional high effects.
What are the effects of CBN?
The main effect of CBN is drowsiness, although it can also create a mild high, similar to that of delta 9 THC but only 25% as strong. Many also report that CBN offers a feeling of deep bodily relaxation, in this way making it similar to delta 8.
How long does it take for CBN to kick in?
The onset time of CBN depends on how you consume it. In an inhalable form, you’ll feel the effects of CBN in just 10-15 minutes. CBN oil takes roughly 30 minutes to work, assuming you use it sublingually. CBN gummies will begin working in 45 minutes to 1 hour.
What is stronger, CBN or CBD?
CBN offers a head high, while CBD does not. In this sense, CBN is stronger than CBD. However, CBD has a wider range of mental and physical benefits than CBN does.