National Sleep Awareness Week is March 13-19, 2020, but let’s be real–we all could benefit from better sleep quality year-round. Learn how cannabinoids like CBN, CBD and THC may help.

 

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

As sleep research advances, so does the understanding of how various cannabinoids, including CBN, CBD and THC may support improved rest. Below, we’re sharing a quick primer on sleep before taking 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. And 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 takes up the first three phases of sleep, from when you drift into a light sleep then move into deeper rest. 
  • REM sleep follows non-REM sleep. Most dreaming occurs at this stage of sleep. But REM sleep’s importance goes well beyond good dreams. REM sleep is connected to overall brain health and is believed to boost the immune system. Interestingly, older individuals spend less time in REM sleep.

From the treatment side of things, clinicians often start by identifying where a patient is encountering difficulty–either in falling asleep or staying asleep for the desired length of time. That information can provide valuable clues into the hemp or cannabis product format that may work best, as well as 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

CBN and the frontiers of sleep research

Cannabinol (CBN) is created from THC, with that THC is exposed to UV light and oxygen, leading to decomposition 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.

Now that we’ve discussed how CBN is made, let’s turn to the question of CBN and sleep. Many manufacturers are creating new products that feature CBN, and consumers are eager to try new options that may help support restfulness. 

The CBN cannabinoid molecular structure illustration next to a hemp leaf.

But does CBN live up to the hype?

At Leaf411, we believe the anecdotal research supports many manufacturers’ claims about CBN. (Anecdotal evidence is a factual claim relying only on personal observation, collected in a casual or non-systematic manner.) 

For example, one of our members, Myriam’s Hope Hemp, shared anecdotal data with us (based on their customer feedback, not a formal study)  that their customers found higher doses of CBN (between 15-40mg) to be helpful for falling and staying asleep.

As research continues, we look forward to learning more about CBN’s potential for other ailments as well as sleep.

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 a fast-acting product like a nano-enhanced tincture or gummy. 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, Impact Naturals Rest capsules with CBD, CBN and melatonin, KOR Medical’s KOR Sleep sublingual spray with CBD, CBN, GABA, 5-HTP, melatonin and valerian root extract, and KOR Sleep sublingual strips with CBD, CBN, tryptophan, L-theanine and melatonin.
  • Difficulty staying asleep? Consider taking a longer-acting product like a conventional hemp tincture or gummy that is not labeled as fast-acting. Elixinol’s Sleep Good Night capsules containing CBD and melatonin are a great example of a hemp product that is longer lasting with a slower onset. While these products take longer for effects to kick in, those effects also last longer, keeping you  asleep for 5-6 hours. Take right at bedtime to help keep oneself asleep.
  • 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, including CBN, CBD and other natural sleep-promoting ingredients. Be sure to go low and start slow, using a smaller dose than you normally would until you have a good sense of the effects. 
  • If you’re already taking prescription medications that make you drowsy as a side effect, or sleep medications like Lunesta (eszopiclone), Sonata (zaleplon), or Ambien (zolpidem), we strongly recommend you check in with your prescribing clinician before adding CBD or THC products to the mix, to avoid any unwanted effects.

Other cannabinoids that may help with sleep

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 as well. If you don’t get the result you’re seeking, please reach out to our Leaf nurses who are knowledgeable about how different cannabinoids may impact sleep onset and duration. You can schedule a low-cost guidance call at this link

Leaf411 hemp business members (available nationally)

Starred brands offer products containing measurable amounts of CBN. 

Remember, though, that hemp CBD by itself can be beneficial for sleep, and full-spectrum hemp products may contain trace amounts of CBN along with other beneficial cannabinoids. All of these brands have products that may help!

Aspen Green

Caasi

Calm Better Days*

Elixinol

Hemplily

Impact Naturals*

KOR Medical*

Mary’s Nutritionals

Myriam’s Hemp*

Ology

RESTART CBD*

Trupura CBD

Wana Wellness

 

Leaf411 cannabis manufacturer business members (available in select states that have legalized cannabis)

1906 (AZ, CO, IL, MA, OK)

Altus (CO, NV)

Escape Artists (CO) 

incredibles (CO, IL, MD, MA, NV, OH) 

Ripple (CO)

Mary’s Medicinals (CA, CO, FL, IL, MD, MI, OK, VT)

Quiq (CO)

Wana (AZ, CA, CO, FL, IL, MD, MA, MI, MO, NV, OH, OK, OR, and Canada)

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

Looking beyond cannabis for help with sleep

At Leaf411, we’re fond of saying that “cannabis and hemp are only part of your toolbox for wellness and health.”

You also have to look at the bigger picture to identify causes of poor sleep, along with areas that you can modify to promote a good night’s rest. These include:

  • Health issues such as sleep apnea
  • Medication side effects
  • Caffeine and alcohol use
  • Electronic device use at night
  • Shift work or overnight shifts
  • Lack of bedtime routines that signal to the body that it’s time to wind down
Professional woman using both laptop and smartphone at night, which may contribute to poor sleep.

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 cannabis/hemp user who wants to shake up your routine. 

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

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.

Man sitting by window, smiling while talking to a Leaf411 nurse on the phone about CBN and sleep.