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Your Ultimate Guide to CBN vs CBD

What are the Effects, Differences, and Benefits of: Cannabinoids, Terpenes and the endocannabinoid system?

What is CBN and CBD, and why should I care about it? This guide will walk you through in detail why it is the cannabinoid you should know all about. 

CBN is a cannabinoid that has only recently become part of the bigger cannabinoid conversation. As research into CBN’s potential therapeutic uses increases, the excitement around its purported benefits grow.

What is a Cannabinoid?

Cannabinoids are a structurally diverse class of chemicals found in cannabis and hemp. At current count, there appears to be over 120+ unique cannabinoid compounds that can be isolated and each molecule can have different physiological effects on people. One of the most well know Cannabinoids is THC (Delta 9-THC or Delta 8-THC) which produces the psychoactive effects which are widely associated with cannabis. However, CBD (cannabidiol), another widely discussed and studied Cannabinoid that is abundant in hemp, does not elicit a psychotropic effect. Today we will be focused on discussing CBD and an exciting but less know cannabinoid, CBN.



What is CBD? 

CBD is the major cannabinoid found in hemp. The molecule has proven to be an effective treatment for seizures and is the main component in Epidiolex, a drug approved for the treatment of two rare forms of epilepsy.  In addition to its anit-seizure properties, early research has indicated CBD may have anti-inflammatory properties. CBD is being widely talked about it and in April of last year, 6.4 million “CBD” Google searches took place in just one month! This April one of the top search results was “best cbd oil” indicating that the consumers interest in CBD remains high.  which produces the psychoactive effects which are widely associated with cannabis. However, CBD (cannabidiol), another widely discussed and studied Cannabinoid that is abundant in hemp, does not elicit a psychotropic effect. Today we will be focused on discussing CBD and an exciting but less know cannabinoid, CBN.



What is CBN?

CBN, or Cannabinol, is a non-psychoactive minor cannabinoid produced at low levels in both cannabis and hemp plants. CBN is formed from the degradation of THC as plants age. Similar to other cannabinoids, CBN binds to the endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 which are found throughout our bodies, and has also been shown to bind the TRPV2 receptor present on immune cells. Interestingly, CBN has a higher binding affinity for the CB2 receptor relative to the CB1 receptor which may partly explain the building anecdotal evidence suggesting that CBN offers many positive attributes of cannabinoid use without the psychoactive high.being widely talked about it and in April of last year, 6.4 million “CBD” Google searches took place in just one month! This April one of the top search results was “best cbd oil” indicating that the consumers interest in CBD remains high.  which produces the psychoactive effects which are widely associated with cannabis. However, CBD (cannabidiol), another widely discussed and studied Cannabinoid that is abundant in hemp, does not elicit a psychotropic effect. Today we will be focused on discussing CBD and an exciting but less know cannabinoid, CBN.

Early-stage research has shown that cannabinol may provide general relaxation, pain reduction, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and neuroprotectant properties. In addition, many believe CBN is beneficial for sleep, although recent studies have questioned this belief. While additional studies are required to solidify any health claims, CBN does appear to have the potential to provide a number of health benefits associated with other cannabinoids, including THC, without the unwanted psychoactive effect. 




CBN and other cannabinoid ingredients stand to disrupt the health & wellness sectors.

The 2018 US Farm Bill legalized hemp at the federal level, opening the door to a new era of cannabinoid commoditization. This change came as word was spreading of the myriad of health and wellness benefits of hemp derived cannabinoids, like Cannabidiol (“CBD”). The acceptance of cannabinoids, as effective plant-based ingredients in common sympton relief applications, has been on the rise putting the emerging cannabinoid products market head-to-head with some of the world’s most dominant over-the-counter pharmaceutical and wellness brands. Not suprisingly, sales since the passage of the Farm Bill have shown incredible growth and CBD sales are expected to skyrocket from $2B annually to $22B by 2022 in the United States alone. Interestingly, CBD could be just the start. With over 120+ known cannabinoid compounds, we are just now beginning to skim the surface of what is considered to be a deep, untapped reservoir of opportunity. Just as CBD has experienced meteoric growth, we believe a newly available cannabinoid, CBN, is shaping up to be on the same trajectory.

CBN can be included as a value-add ingredient for a variety of consumer goods.

23% of sampled audience tried or would be interested in trying Hemp Oil
52% of the sampled audience believe hemp derived supplements have health benefits
64% of those people believe it can help with Stress & Anxiety
65% of those people believe it can help with Mood Improvement

The opportunity to add CBN as an ingredient into your consumer products has never been better.

Food, Beverage, Cosmetic and Nutraceutical companies are continuously finding new ways to infuse active cannabinoid ingredients into their product offerings. Cannabinoids are likely to have a big impact on the functional food and beverage industries and nutraceutical and supplement companies have already started incorporating cannabinoids into their formulas. FloraWorks can be your trusted supplier and partner of high purity CBN cannabinoid ingredients for your product needs.

Some say it is all about the terps! What gives cannabis its unique smell?

In addition to cannabinoids, other abundant chemicals exist within cannabis and hemp. Terpenes might be the most recognizable but least talked about component to the plant. Everyone knows the distinguished, unique smell and flavor associated with the cannabis plant, but very few people realize that is the result of the terpenes. Terpenes are organic compounds found in a variety of plants, not only in Cannabis and Hemp. The strong smell produced by Terpenes might actually help keep the plants safe from predators during the cultivation cycle among other beneficial properties. Terpenes might also be responsible for a variety of the different effects each cannabis strain is known to produce.

The terpene profile of a plant is influenced by a number of factors including: climate, soil, nutrients, humidity, air pressure and C02 levels, the age of the plant and more. Every cultivar has a unique terpene profile and composition. This profile is what gives some strains more of a citrus smell while others exhibit more of a pine note. Many consumers make product selection based on preference to a specific terpene profile and use smell as a large determining factor.

Understanding the endocannabinoid system

In the 90’s scientists began to study the endocannabinoids, cannabinoid like molecules found naturally in our bodies. This system is partially responsible for keeping the body in homeostasis. Early research suggested that endocannabinoid receptors were only found in the brain, however scientists later found receptors throughout the body in nerves, skin, immune cells, fat, bone, heart, blood vessels, the GI tract and more. Endocannabinoids play vital roles in immune and reproductive function and are possibly one of the most versatile molecules known by scientists.

What are the Potential Benefits of CBN? What people are saying

Often known for promising sedating properties which may aid sleep. Early-stage research has shown that cannabinol may also provide general relaxation, pain reduction, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and neuroprotectant properties. While additional studies are required to solidify any health claims, CBN does appear to have the potential to provide a number of health benefits associated with other cannabinoids, including THC, without the unwanted psychoactive effect. Certainly, CBN offers a significant “first mover” advantage by creating new experiences for consumers and big opportunities for businesses.

CBN is catching the interest of the media, medical professionals and consumer brands alike.

Could a little-known cannabinoid (CBN) upend the natural sleep-aid market?

Cannabis manufacturers are betting on this obscure molecule to potentially disrupt the $700 million global melatonin market… As states continue to modify their cannabis legislation, a relatively unknown cannabinoid called Cannabinol, or CBN, has caught the entrepreneurs eye as a potential sleep aid and alternative to oral tablets like melatonin—which in itself is still the subject of ongoing research… Read full story

CBN Is Another Cannabis Compound With Beneficial Properties

CBN and CBD, either individually or combined, potentially help alleviate insomnia by causing an overall sense of mind and body tranquility and relaxation. According to Mary magazine’s blog, while CBN purportedly has a sedating effect on most users, CBD purportedly tends to cause a feeling of alertness rather than sluggishness, the morning after bedtime consumption. CBN and CBD are acutely different when it comes to their effect on most consumers’ appetites. While CBD can act as a mild appetite suppressant, CBN tends to stimulate one’s appetite… Read full story

∆9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabinol Activate Capsaicin-Sensitive Sensory Nerves via a CB1 and CB2 Cannabinoid Receptor-Independent Mechanism

Cannabinol, another naturally occurring cannabinoid, also causes vasorelaxation (pEC50 = 6.2 ± 0.1; Emax = 96 ± 2%; n = 7), which is abolished in the presence of 8-37 CGRP or in arteries pretreated with capsaicin (Fig.11C). In mesenteric arteries, measurement of CGRP-like immunoreactivity provides direct evidence that THC and cannabinol release CGRP from capsaicin-sensitive sensory nerves…. Read the full story

Does CBD work?

There is moderate evidence that suggests CBD can improve sleep disorders, fibromyalgia pain, muscle spasticity related to multiple sclerosis, and anxiety. “The most benefit I have seen as a physician is in treating sleep disorders, anxiety, and pain,” says Dr. Levy. “Many people report a definite response when it comes to anxiety.” Read full story ( Harvard Health report )

Cannabinoids and the Brain

“The cannabis plant has been used for recreational and medicinal purposes for more than 4,000 years, but the scientific investigation into its effects has only recently yielded useful results. …Cannabidiol (CBD), shows promise for the treatment of pain, anxiety, and epilepsy.” Read full story ( MIT Press )

Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol

Anxiety and depression are pathologies that affect human beings in many aspects of life, including social life, productivity and health. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a constituent non-psychotomimetic of Cannabis sativa with great psychiatric potential, including uses as an antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like compound. Read full story ( NCBI )

What is full spectrum?

Full-spectrum CBD includes the “full spectrum” of cannabinoids found in the hemp plant including all of additional active compounds like terpenes. These products are different from CBD isolate where only the single CBD cannabinoid has been isolated from the rest of the compounds.

Some people prefer to use full spectrum products to obtain an “entourage effect” which is believed to result from having multiple cannabinoids and terpenes working together. The “entourage effect” is currently a widely debated topic, with the believers arguing that the full spectrum of cannabinoids and other molecules present in the plant work together in harmony to produce a desired therapeutic effect. In true full-spectrum applications THC is also likely present even if it is a fraction of a percent, .03% or less in hemp flower.

What is isolate?

Isolate is a pure, isolated cannabinoid, commonly CBD or also CBN powder that can be used in a wide range of applications. Pure isolate is created using a process to purify the desired cannabinoid away from any other active compounds from the hemp plant. Once pure, the cannabinoid can turned into a solid which when done at a high quality will produce a bright white powder.

Having an isolated cannabinoid like CBN or CBD provides the ability to test effects on well-being without any additives or other cannabinoids interfering with the interpretation of the results. Furthermore, desired formulations can be created using precisely measured doses of CBN and CBD isolate to target specific physiological outcomes. Additionally, CBN and CBD isolates are THC free, which is a major advantage those who want or need to avoid exposure to THC.

Harvard health publishing says:

“Start with a low dose,” Dr. Grinspoon suggests. How much CBD you use depends on the delivery system (whether it’s an edible, tincture, or pill, for example) and your individual needs. And of course, as with any new drug, try it first in a safe environment, when you know you’ll be home and you’ll have someone there to make sure you’re okay. Write down side effects and report them to your doctor if they’re concerning. Read More

Does starting material matter? Is all flower equal?

Hemp comes in many forms as a starting material and depending on the desired outcome, one form might be better than another. In most cases the starting materials are either whole flower, trim or biomass.

Whole flower is a starting material that is in most cases trimmed and cured. This flower has been dried for a period of time and additionally cured. The plant’s trichomes are most densely located on the flowering buds.

Trim is a starting material made from the trimmed fan leaves of the whole flower. These fan leaves can still be trichome rich.

The term Biomass has been tossed about over the last few years and has come to mean different things. Biomass typically is seen as whole plant material including stalks, fan leaves and buds.

Beyond the formats that starting material can come in, another major factor for consideration is how that material was grown. Most hemp is grown outdoors however it can be also grown indoor or in a light deprivation greenhouse.

Outdoor or sun grown hemp is one of the most widely available formats. Outdoor hemp allows cultivators to grow at large scale with a bigger volume of finished material. Outdoor hemp prices typically are lower than flower grown indoors or in a light deprivation greenhouse due to overhead electricity costs. Hemp grown in soil is known to produce potentially a more flavorful starting material. This could be a result of complex nutrient profiles that can be found in soil. Similar to growing grapes for wine, specific soil conditions can influence the overall profile of the plants you are cultivating.

True indoor flower is typically grown in highly controlled indoor rooms. Many times these rooms have the ability to control lighting conditions, humidity, temperature, pressure and even C02 levels. This level of control allows growers to potentially fine tune environments for desired results in finished flower. There is a higher cost associated with cultivating in an indoor environment that will often reflect in the final cost of starting materials.

Light deprivation greenhouse cultivation allows for scale and control while saving on costs. This starting material is often grown in soil in larger greenhouse rooms. This gives the cultivator the ability to grow year round providing protection to the crop from the elements. These greenhouses are often supplied with supplemental light to help control consistency and flower cycles.

One of the most important aspects of starting material selection is the test results and strain selection. Not all strains contain the same cannabinoid makeup, each strain has a different matrix of compounds that make it unique. Some strains have higher THC or CBD content than others. Some of the most well known strains high in CBD are Charlotte’s Web, AC/DC, Harlequin, Ringo’s Gift, and Herle-Tsu.

What exactly is CBN, will it make you high?

This rare cannabinoid often only found in trace amounts of degraded cannabis has been shown to have unique physiological effects that have already started getting traction in a variety of consumer products. Unlike THC, which has been shown in studies to bind both the CB1 and CB2 receptors with equal affinity, CBN has a higher binding affinity for CB2 versus CB1 and it’s binding to CB1 appears to be about 10x weaker than THC’s. CB1 is present in the brain and is thought to be responsible for the high caused by THC. CB2 is present in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells throughout the body and is thought to be involved in mediating some of the relaxation, pain relieving, and anti-inflammatory effects seen with various cannabinoids. The differential binding of CBN to the CB2 receptor could explain why mounting evidence is starting to suggest that CBN, taken at dose levels expected to be used for wellness products, offers many of the benefits of THC without the “high”.

Will CBN Make you Fail a Drug Test?

Many individuals have concerns about using CBD or CBN due to the fear that it will make them fail a court or work-mandated drug test. Remember, hemp derived products can contain up to 0.3% THC and still be legally sold. As a result, unless the product states specifically that it is guaranteed to be completely THC-free and has been independently lab tested, consumers concerned about drug testing should be careful. FloraWorks CBN is a THC free ingredient and can be used in products that wish to provide this guarantee.

How are companies and consumers using CBN?

We exist to empower the innovators and it is true! Every day we help make products and build brands based on our cannabinoid rich formulations. To date, CBD has been one of the fastest growing product segments with a wide range of products coming to market. From products based on full spectrum CBD to those containing CBD isolate, the dosing options, flavors and formats are endless.

CBN has recently gained attention and can also be suspended in the same formats as CBD. Some finished products result in a more accurate ability to dose each serving, for example gel caps or tinctures might allow flexibility if it is part of a daily dose structure.
Also, a number of companies are blending other beneficial herbal remedies into things like makeup or salves and adding CBD into the formulation. CBN isolate can easily be added as a value-add ingredient to these products as well.

While we have seen a small number of companies launch products containing CBN at very low dosages, the opportunity remains wide open. Wholesale CBN isolate has never been available at scale in a way that FloraWorks is offering it. Talk to us about including CBN in your product line .

Liquid infused with CBN
• Beverages ( wide range )
• Dietary Supplements
• Pharmaceutical and OTC Formulations

Solids Fortified with CBN
• Tablets & Capsules
• Powders
• Bars, Snacks, Treats

Other products infused with CBN
• Creams & Gels
• Lotions, Emulsions & Suspensions
• Spray
• Inhalation / Vapor Products

The best CBD brands always understand their consumer and listen to feedback. Many consumers are seeking the ability to voice product feedback and reviews into new products or flavor options. When white label CBD brands have the ability to flex with consumer needs they often unlock hero products and new formulations they would have never started with. 

FloraWorks is the cannabinoid enterprise of the future; an innovative, highly-specialized research and development company that designs, manufactures, and distributes bioceutical-grade hemp compounds for use in a wide variety of enterprise and consumer supplements. In other words, we are that team that empowers your ideas to grow! Talk to us about our CBN.

High Value & Rare Cannabinoid Isolation

We are technical leaders in the science of cannabinoid isolation. Using proprietary refinement methods, we are able to target highly effective cannabinoid compounds, isolating them for purity and dosage accuracy. We provide these ingredients in a variety of bespoke formats tailored to our partner’s needs.

• Cannabinoid Isolation 

• Specialized Formulation 

• Product Development

• Technical Services

Do you have a product idea that you need to bring to life? We have an R&D lab ready to activate your vision, our team specializes in bringing formulations to life that are backed by science and years of expertise.

If you have an idea you need to see into reality, or want a sounding board to validate your formulation concept fill out the form below:



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