According to the National Sleep Foundation, as many as 30 percent of all American adults struggle with insomnia. Approximately 35 percent of them report sleeping for less than seven hours every night on average.
Lack of sleep can have serious impacts on productivity and is linked to many chronic health problems. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, depression, and heart disease.
Melatonin has long been a popular over-the-counter treatment for insomnia and other sleep problems. But it has its limitations and is completely ineffective for some people. That is why alternatives, like CBN for sleep, are growing in popularity.
If you are unfamiliar with CBN, keep reading. This article goes over the basics of CBN vs. melatonin and includes information on how CBN works and why it is so effective at treating insomnia. It will help you determine if CBN is a good option for addressing your sleep problems.
Sleep Disorders Basics
“Sleep disorders,” also known as “sleep-wake disorders,” is a broad category that refers to a galaxy of different conditions. The most basic categories under this umbrella are narcolepsy and disorders that either make it difficult to fall or stay asleep (or both). These last two include everything from restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea to various types of insomnia.
Symptoms of these conditions can be episodic, recurrent, or president. They can pop up during stressful life events or exist every night. Each case of sleep disorder is unique to the individual experiencing it and should be treated as such.
Regardless of how severe or mild your sleep disorder, the first thing you should do is speak to your doctor about it. This will allow them to assess the condition and circumstances surrounding it, and to make a formal diagnosis. Learning as much as you can about your condition and its causes can go a long way toward effectively treating it.
What Is CBN?
There are many active chemicals in the cannabis plant. Historically, the most well-known ones contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the substance in marijuana and other derivatives, like delta 8 and 10, that produces a “high.”
More recently CBD, or cannabidiol, has risen to prominence. This is mainly due to its ability to deliver varied therapeutic effects without causing the high.
CBN, or cannabinol, has similar benefits, but also ones that are distinct from CBD. This is due in part to its unique makeup and production methods.
Unlike CBD, CBN comes directly from THC. It is what remains when THC's psychoactive components oxidize. Some combination of heat, air, and/or light causes it to degrade, leaving behind CBN.
Recent trials have shown promising impacts of CBN in treating various ailments. These include glaucoma and myriad conditions that cause chronic inflammation. Topical CBN has proven effective at treating skin disorders, including epidermolysis bullosa.
CBN also is effective at treating muscle pain, anxiety, and insomnia. It can aid in relaxation and recovery from strenuous exercise, among other benefits.
Like CBD, you can find CBN in various forms. These include oils and tinctures as well as edibles. It also comes in capsule form, which is a more discrete, transportable option––and is easy to take.
What Is Melatonin?
Most people have heard of melatonin as a sleep aid, but you may not know anything more about it. It is a hormone made by the human body’s pineal gland (in the brain) when it is trying to induce sleep. In short, it informs the rest of the body that it is time for sleep.
Things like lying down in a dark space can prompt the body to create melatonin. Sleep disorders are sometimes caused or exacerbated by the body’s inability to produce this hormone. This can make a melatonin supplement an effective treatment for such conditions.
However, melatonin is not the only trigger of sleep. There are many physiological operations that contribute to healthy sleep, and each of them can be disrupted.
Why Melatonin Supplements Do Not Always Work
Melatonin was the go-to over-the-counter treatment for insomnia for years. It has been, until recently, the only option for people who do not want to take strong prescription medications that often have serious side effects, like blackouts.
There are several reasons melatonin supplements may not help people to fall or stay asleep. In general, it is useful for treating a very specific aspect of sleep––the lack of melatonin in the body––and nothing more. Taking a supplement will do little to affect conditions that do not stem from, or go beyond, this deficiency.
For instance, if your insomnia is related to anxiety or depression, the presence or lack of melatonin may be all but insignificant in the ability to fall or stay asleep. Taking melatonin supplements does not address these issues in any way, so sleep problems stemming from them will persist.
In fact, most people’s bodies make enough melatonin to trigger sleep. Lack of production is a very rare occurrence.
Finally, like many drugs, melatonin supplements can lose their effectiveness over time. The impacts on the body can dissipate, warranting increased doses (which also may or may not work).
This is why melatonin is often a good option for occasional sleep challenges, like jetlag or changes in schedule, but not for long-term treatment. Chronic insomnia and other serious sleep difficulties demand alternative treatments and solutions.
Taking CBN for Sleep
Like all cannabinoids, CBN binds with a specific human receptor (CB1) expressed in the central nervous system. While CBN comes from THC, it does not bind to the CB1 as tightly.
This means that, much like CBD, it does not produce a “high” like THC. But it has all the other benefits rendered by THC.
One is that, like THC, CBN is more potent when it comes to inducing drowsiness and sleepiness. It has a greater ability to prompt relaxation, which can help with insomnia.
Unlike many over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids, CBN has no adverse side effects. In fact, the only “side-effects” it has, like drowsiness, are the ones that actually combat insomnia.
Another big distinction from other sleep medications is that CBN does not interfere with the body’s natural mechanisms. It does not “knock you out,” or cause you to be so sedated that you cannot wake up (or make it so that someone cannot wake you up).
There is also no “hangover” effect or grogginess that is so common with most other sedatives. In short, it helps your body get healthy, natural sleep, without having a debilitating medicating effect.
Another significant advantage of CBN for sleep is that, unlike standard medications, it is not habit-forming. While people can become addicted to almost anything, CBN’s extremely mild chemical and physiological effects make it very unlikely that addiction occurs.
A final major advantage of CBN is that its effectiveness does not dissipate over time. Unlike melatonin and so many other medications, it will remain effective even with regular, long-term use.
While some tolerance can build up over time, it is slow and can even be “reset” with a short period of abstinence. This also means there is no reason to expect you will have to dramatically increase doses, once you find the right one for your sleep needs.
Combine CBN With Other Treatments
Another advantage of CBN is that it is completely safe to mix with other options for sleep aids, including melatonin. (Although, if melatonin is not effective for you, there may be no good reason to continue taking it).
Many people have seen fantastic health impacts from CBD but feel that it is lacking as a sleep aid. They wonder if is safe to add CBN while continuing to take CBD. It is––you might take CBD for anxiety or depression during the day, while using CBN at night to produce a more sedating effect.
It is important to emphasize that CBD and CBN are both cannabinoids. As with any medication, you should always start with smaller doses to see how the combination impacts you. This will ensure that you reach the proper CBN dosage without going over.
Find the Best CBN for Sleep
Now that you understand the many benefits of CBN for sleep, you can decide if it’s the best option for you. Be sure to find quality CBN from a reputable retailer. It will give you peace of mind that it is safe and effective.
At MONTKUSH, we work hard to ensure our customers are getting quality CBD at affordable prices. We control every step of the CBD-product process: planting the seeds, growing the plants, and extracting the purest rosin. Please take a look at our extensive online inventory of CBD and CBN products, and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.