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A Unique Cannabinoid Standoff: CBD vs. CBN

Updated 08/16/2020

In this article, we analyze a unique standoff featuring CBD vs. CBN. We’re hearing more about CBD as this industry continues to evolve and expand. And, as we know, CBD is a cannabinoid that belongs to the cannabis plant, and commercial CBD products come from hemp, a member of the cannabis genus that’s low in CBD compared to marijuana.  Many of us have already experienced CBD for ourselves through products like tinctures, vape oils, edibles and even topicals. 

But we also know that the hemp plant is rich in a wide spectrum of compounds, and that CBD is just one of them.  So, what about those other compounds?  Most of us have heard of the terpenes that are native to cannabis, but besides those, we also have many cannabinoids beyond CBD.  Are any of them worth exploring?

Well, as it turns out, there are people out there that are beginning to look into CBN, another cannabinoid that exists in hemp.  Read on to find out how this compound is very unique while still sharing many similarities with CBD. 

Question on everyone’s mind: which one is better between CBD and CBN?

The Unique Chemical Composition of Hemp

The hemp plant, as we already stated, is rich in a wide variety of unique compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.  Also rich in nutrients like vitamins and essential fatty acids.  But, it’s the cannabinoids in hemp that make this plant so popular as of late.  CBD is the leading cannabinoid in hemp, of which there are many.  Because CBD is the leading cannabinoid in hemp, it’s the most popular. 

We would like to point out that when we talk about CBD products, we’re not always talking about just CBD.  Many products that claim to be “CBD” actually contain all of these compounds within their formulas.  See, there are three different kinds of hemp extracts: full spectrum, broad spectrum and CBD isolate. 

  • Full Spectrum CBD: Naturally contains every single plant compound found in hemp, including CBD and THC, although the THC level is too low to get a person high.
  • Broad Spectrum CBD: Contains every compound except for THC.
  • CBD Isolate: Is just pure CBD with no other traces of compounds present.

Therefore, if you’ve been using a broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD product all this time, you’ve already experienced many cannabinoids besides CBD itself.

CBD vs. CBN: Two Unique Cannabinoids

So, what makes cannabinoids like CBD and CBN so exciting?  It’s the fact that cannabinoids work with the endocannabinoid system in the body.  This interesting system controls balance through the process of regulating all of the bodily systems.


CBD is the leading compound in the hemp plant.  In other words, there is more CBD per plant than any of the other compounds, including other cannabinoids as well as terpenes.  This is one big reason why it’s so popular.  It’s easier to extract because it’s so naturally abundant in the plant material.

Often Used In: Vape oils, oral tinctures, capsules, edibles, topicals, adhesive patches, skincare products and beverages.

Price: CBD is relatively expensive, and this is because of the fact that a lot of plant material must be extracted to produce a single milliliter of concentrate.  Exact prices vary tremendously depending on the quality of the CBD, the other ingredients used in the formula, the strength, the size and so on. 

Accessibility: CBD products are highly accessible due to the enormous popularity of this industry.  Therefore, it’s very easy to find CBD products on the market today.

Popularity: CBD is very, very popular.  Besides the fact that it’s used by many people, it’s frequently tested in unique environments and discussed within different industries.


Cannabinol (CBN) is another cannabinoid produced within the hemp plant, and it’s frequently present in abundance, although not as much as CBD.  CBN is slowly becoming popular as additional companies have found ways to isolate it and turn it into a concentrated extract. 

Often Used In: Isolate extracts, topicals, tinctures, vape oils.

Price: CBN tends to be much more expensive than CBD.  This is because CBN is not as abundant in the hemp plant material as CBD.  Therefore, more plant material must be cultivated and run through the extraction process to produce CBN compared to CBD.

Accessibility: CBN is harder to find due to the fact that it’s only recently becoming popular.  However, you can find it in certain stores and online.

Popularity: CBN is slowly becoming increasingly popular, although it’s not nearly as popular as CBD as of yet.

A Unique Cannabinoid Standoff: CBD vs. CBN

Now to the title fight, CBD vs. CBN. These cannabinoids cannot really be compared in objective terms, because they are different compounds, and work with the body in different ways.  It’s a matter of experimenting with each one and choosing what suits your needs best.

How to Choose

The great thing about hemp is that you’re free to experiment- try out different formulations, different administration methods, unique strains and different cannabinoid-specific products.  One way to decide which one you’d like to try is by seeking out CBD isolate plus CBN isolate and testing each to compare how you like it.  You can also go with a CBN-heavy strain of hemp that contains high levels of both CBD and CBN.

CBD is Far from the Only Interesting Compound that Exists within Cannabis

CBN is yet another compound that is gaining popularity as hemp becomes a booming business.  If you’re wondering which one is better, we can’t answer that.  But the good news is you can use CBN-specific products.  While they tend to be far more expensive than their CBD-rich counterparts, they do exist, nonetheless.

Now, if you want to test this cannabinoid out on yourself, try CBN Vape (Here).


Pure CBD Now


Joshua Willard (Freelance CBD Content Writer/Editor)

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