Cannabis leaf next to molecular structure of CBN molecule with chalkboard in background

What is CBN and Can it Help With Sleep?

by Katherine Golden, RN – Founder and CEO of Leaf411

As sleep research advances, so does the understanding of how various cannabinoids like CBD and THC may support improved rest. Below, we’re sharing a quick primer on sleep. Then we will take a look at CBN, a cannabinoid that’s being widely talked about as beneficial for sleep.

Understanding sleep cycles is important

Sleep should be simple, right? Lay down, close your eyes and naturally drift into restful, rejuvenating sleep. 

Unfortunately, sleep is a battle for many of us. From tossing and turning to experiencing physical discomfort as we settle down for the night. Even once asleep, some people struggle to stay asleep long enough to get the benefits of a good night’s rest.

A basic understanding of major sleep cycles can help when it comes to choosing the best hemp or cannabis products for your needs. 

  • Non-REM sleep: This takes up the first three phases of sleep. Non-REM sleep occurs when you drift into a light sleep then move into deeper rest. 
  • REM sleep: This follows non-REM sleep. Most dreaming occurs at this stage of sleep. However, REM sleep’s importance goes well beyond good dreams. REM sleep is also connected to overall brain health and is believed to boost the immune system.

For treatment, clinicians often start by identifying where a patient is encountering difficulty. Is there difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep for the desired length of time? That information can provide valuable clues into the hemp or cannabis product -formulation that may work best. It can also help identify the specific cannabinoids to focus on.

Woman with dark hair lying on her side, sleeping in the clouds with white pillows and a white blanket in a blue sky

So what exactly is CBN?

Cannabinol (CBN) is created from THC that has been exposed to UV light and oxygen. This exposure leads to a chemical breakdown that transforms the THC into CBN. As cannabis flower ages, its THC will slowly and naturally convert to CBN. Cannabis extractors have also created processes for speeding up the conversion of THC into CBN oil.

Recently, consumers have reported CBN is a useful nighttime remedy. This has fuelled its use in more and more products. Now, cannabis and hemp manufacturers are creating new products that feature CBN because of CBN’s potential natural sedative effects. 

But does CBN actually work for sleep?

At Leaf411, we believe the anecdotal research supports many manufacturers’ claims about CBN.

For example, one of our members, Myriam’s Hope Hemp, shared anecdotal data with us based on their customer feedback. Their customers found higher doses of CBN (between 15-40mg) to be helpful for falling and staying asleep. This is just one of many reports Leaf411 has found around CBN’s value.

Composite image of scientists with a microscope, tweezers and blue liquid being poured into a beaker

Tips for finding the right CBN, CBD, or other cannabis product for falling asleep and staying asleep

Falling asleep is one challenge. Staying asleep is another.

Difficulty falling asleep?

Consider using a fast-acting product. You’ll want to use the product about 30 minutes before you want to fall asleep. Examples of fast-acting products from our members include Wana Optimals Fast Asleep Gummies with THC, CBD, CBN, CBG and melatonin. Also, Impact Naturals Rest capsules with CBD, CBN and melatonin.

Difficulty staying asleep?

Consider taking a longer-acting product that is not labeled as fast-acting. Elixinol’s Sleep Good Night capsules containing CBD and melatonin are a great example. These hemp capsules are longer lasting with a slower onset. While these products take longer for effects to kick in, those effects also last longer through the night.

Find the combination that works for you

You may find it helpful to layer CBD or CBN with different natural over-the-counter sleep products. In fact, many products like those listed above already stack several different beneficial compounds. 

Always ask your doctor about prescriptions

If you’re already taking prescription medications that make you drowsy as a side effect, talk to your doctor. We strongly recommend you check in with your prescribing clinician before adding CBD or THC products to the mix, to avoid any unwanted effects. This also includes sleep medications like Lunesta (eszopiclone), Sonata (zaleplon), or Ambien (zolpidem).

CBN is only one of several cannabinoids that may help with sleep. Both CBD and THC as well as plant terpenes can also play an important role in your sleep routine. Check out our past blog on THC, CBD and sleep to learn more, as well as our blog on finding the best cannabis product to support sleep goals.

Brown converse shoes on colorful mosaic tile floor

Finding sleep-focused hemp and cannabis products you can trust

Our Leaf411 business members have all been through our vetting process, which includes ensuring their products are fully tested and reliable. We’ve included a list of our members below. Most of them offer products geared toward a good night’s rest, including some who offer products which contain CBN.

Keep in mind that effects may vary due to individual differences in people’s endocannabinoid systems. If you don’t get the result you’re seeking, please reach out to our Leaf411 nurses. Our nurses are knowledgeable about how different cannabinoids may impact sleep onset and duration. You can schedule a guidance call at this link.

Cannabis tincture dropper being filled by a patient with cannabis oil for consumption

Leaf411 can help with your questions about using hemp and cannabis

Our Leaf nurses can guide you to new approaches for improving restfulness and achieving your sleep goals. Whether you’re brand new to hemp or cannabis or an experienced user, we are here to help

Get started by scheduling a low-cost guidance call with one of our Leaf411 nurses at this link. We understand cost may be a barrier for some. That’s why we’ve collaborated with our business supporting members to offer a special code to offset the cost. Just click on any of our Vetted Members’ logos to go to their website and call their customer service number. Then, their agents will provide a special Leaf411 code for you.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline, chat and scheduled nurse guidance call services provide education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.

Hand with pill

Considering Trying CBG? Here’s What You Need to Know

Learn what CBG is, how to use it, and what makes CBG different from CBD and other cannabinoids


Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP
Written by Denise Rustning

Many of our Leaf411 business members offer hemp and cannabis products that go far beyond THC and CBD, including rare cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, CBDa, THCv and more. In fact, cannabis and hemp plants contain over 100 different cannabinoids, many with unique benefits and effects.

But it can be hard to know what to look for if you’re just getting into plant-based medicine. For this blog, we talked to KOR Medical, one of our supporting business members, to get their perspective on CBG, as well as fast-acting technology that can give these cannabinoids an extra punch. The company offers the KOR Relief Transdermal Cream, a hemp-based product that features CBG and CBD, and does not contain any THC. They also offer a range of use-driven hemp CBD products designed for Calm, Health and Sleep, combining the power of CBD with other beneficial compounds.

KOR Medical logo

One thing we love about KOR Medical is that their leadership team is made up of medical professionals with extensive backgrounds in pharmaceuticals and biotech, including work on cutting-edge diagnostic technologies. The KOR Medical team understands the importance of science, precision and quantifiable results when it comes to product development and manufacturing.

KOR Medical’s work is inspired in part by their mission to provide alternatives to opioid medications.  

“Our mission statement and vision is to help confront the nation’s opioid crisis by offering naturally derived options to patients and consumers who are seeking an alternative,” said Morgan Nichols, Director of Corporate Affairs, KOR Medical.

What is CBG?

CBG, or cannabigerol, is sometimes called the mother of all cannabinoids. Why is that? In short, CBG is a precursor to many other cannabinoids found in cannabis or hemp. CBG is converted to other cannabinoids like THCa and CBDa as the plant matures, or through special processes during extraction and product manufacturing.

CBG molecule structure on top of cannabis plant flower and leaves

Will CBG get you high? How does CBG make you feel?

CBG is non-psychoactive, meaning it will not get you high like THC does. As the KOR Medical website explains: “CBG works by binding to CB1 receptors, strengthening the function of anandamide, an endocannabinoid. Anandamide plays a role in enhancing pleasure and motivation, alleviating pain, regulating our appetite and sleep, and more.”

Many people report that CBG makes them feel energized, calm and mentally focused when they use it. It’s a good cannabinoid to add to your daytime routine, and works well when taken together with CBD.

Young athletic woman with hair in ponytail working out on the beach with a water bottle in her hand
Coach using stopwatch on track to time runners going around the track
Group of older adults working out in the street with colored dumbbells in their hands

What is CBG used for?

Based on available research, CBG holds strong potential for a number of wellness goals. CBG has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and analgesic properties, as well as calming and uplifting effects for adults of all ages.  CBG is being used in many different kinds of topical products such as oils, creams, gels, and skin products due to its strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. Some people use CBG to reduce inflammation or muscle and joint pain.  It also has been shown to be a potential benefit for a range of skin conditions and irritations.

This minor cannabinoid has caught the attention of athletes for its potential to help with recovery and boost overall wellness, which are laudable goals whether you’re a serious athlete or just looking for ways to boost your daily workout regimen.

“Part of our work at KOR Medical has been looking at how different cannabinoids work together in beneficial ways,” said David Hayek, Product Development for KOR Medical. “CBD has calming and anti-inflammatory properties which can be helpful for addressing sore joints and muscles following workouts. But when developing KOR Relief we took it a step further, looking at other available cannabinoids that might work well in conjunction with CBD to really address the issue. We found that CBG has a lot of research on its performance recovery effects as well as its antibacterial properties which are a good fit for people working out in gym environments.”

How fast does CBG take effect after ingesting a dose?

Your CBG route of administration (edible that you eat; sublingual that is absorbed under your tongue; transdermal topical applied to skin) as well as product manufacturing will impact how quickly CBG effects take effect. Generally, for a conventionally manufactured CBG product like a tincture or gummy, the effects will start in about 45 minutes to an hour, and will last for up to 6-8 hours. 

Some manufacturers, including KOR Medical, have developed proprietary manufacturing practices to shorten onset time and improve bioavailability–meaning you are able to absorb more of the cannabinoids in the product, and that absorption happens more quickly.

Oil and water mixing in a vial to show mixing of cannabinoids

Fast-acting hemp CBD, CBG and other cannabinoids: Turbocharging hemp’s benefits

Many leading hemp product makers, including KOR Medical, are researching ways to deliver cannabinoids more quickly and effectively. Nanoemulsion technology is one approach being used to break down large oil-based cannabinoid molecules and encapsulate them inside water molecules, effectively making the cannabinoids water-soluble. This allows for faster onset and absorption via skin or mouth, instead of having to wait for the cannabinoids to work their way through the digestive system.

“The benefit of nanoemulsion is that it increases absorption, making for a more effective product,” said Hayek. “We have our own in-house nanoemulsion equipment that reflects the best in the industry, and we regularly test our products to ensure the nanotization process is meeting our high standards.”

Does your product really contain CBG? Check that COA!

Remember to always check the company’s lab results (also called Certificates of Analysis or COAs) when purchasing hemp products. A third-party COA will help confirm that the hemp edible, tincture, topical or other product contains the promised amount of CBD and any other minor cannabinoids like CBG. Many manufacturers like KOR Medical go above and beyond, also testing for molds, heavy metals or pesticides, and sharing those results as well, assuring consumers that the product is free from contaminants.

Handful of pills and supplements sitting in a clear glass bowl with plants laying around it

Using CBG with other natural supplements

As we mentioned earlier, CBG pairs well with other cannabinoids like CBD. KOR Relief Transdermal Cream contains 50mg CBG together with 150mg CBD and menthol to create fast-acting cooling relief that may speed up post-workout recovery.

When considering whether to buy a particular hemp product, you’ll want to closely check the ingredient label to make sure you know all the ingredients you are taking. 

Take for example the KOR Medical’s KOR Sleep Strips which contain both CBD and CBN (another minor cannabinoid we recently discussed at Leaf411). KOR Sleep Strips also contain L-theanine, melatonin and tryptophan–three additional ingredients known to support restfulness. Layering these ingredients can be very effective, but it may mean that you need to adjust your other supplement use. For instance, if you’re already taking melatonin at night, you’ll want to cut back on your normal dose when using KOR Sleep Strips, since they also contain melatonin.

Many of our Leaf411 business members go above and beyond when it comes to product quality and consistency.  KOR Medical tests both the cannabinoids going into their products as well as the other ingredients as well.

Older wellness-focused white man sitting at laptop in his kitchen, staring out window as he thinks about his CBD questions for Leaf411.

Setting up a CBD and CBG routine that works for you

Hemp and cannabis are often discussed as personalized plant medicine or as a personalized routine because everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different. Your endocannabinoid system contains CB1 and CB2 receptors that interact with cannabinoids, leading to beneficial effects that support your goals for using hemp or cannabis. (Check out our Cannabis 101: The Endocannabinoid System to learn more about how this process works)

Brands like KOR Medical are crafting unique hemp CBD products with minor cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds designed to optimize consumers’ experiences around specific goals, whether that’s faster physical recovery, improved restfulness or immunity support. 

However, to get the best experience, you also have to take into account how your own endocannabinoid system reacts to specific cannabinoids or products. That’s why you’ll often find that a hemp CBD product that works well for your friend may not be as effective for you, or that you need to take a lower or higher dose for optimal effects.

Inspirational quote saying your daily routine matters on a piece of paper next to a cup of coffee and writing pen

Let Leaf411 help design your optimal hemp regimen

Finding the best hemp product for your unique needs and endocannabinoid system can involve trial and error–which means time and money.

Fortunately, our cannabis-trained Leaf nurses can help! Our Leaf nurses are fully-licensed RNs with real world nursing experience, who can provide guidance on building a hemp regimen around your goals, needs and concerns. For example, our Leaf nurses will ask questions about your other medications to help identify any potential interactions. 

Visit our Services page to learn more about our scheduled nurse guidance calls then head to our home page and click on “Let’s Talk” to schedule your call.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.

Young male on the phone working with a pen and paper from a wooden desk with clean white background