Read more about cannabinol, known as CBN, discover why this cannabinoid has earned the nickname ‘the sleep cannabinoid,’ and learn how to make CBN oil at home following a simple oil infusion process.
- Just 2 simple ingredients needed: THC flower & oil.
- Perfect if you want a homemade alternative to sleep medications.
- No special equipment required! You just need a basic crockpot and some mason jars. (Check out this guide if you want to use an Instant Pot, instead.)
- Versatile and can be made with your favorite strain of cannabis flowers.
- Dietary Features: vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
The cannabis plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids, which give the plant its powerful properties.
While you usually hear about CBD and THC, the minor cannabinoid called cannabinol, or CBN, has been getting a lot of attention due in my Well With Cannabis Community to its unique sleep effects.
But what is CBN, why is it nicknamed the sleep cannabinoid, and is it right for you?
In this guide, we will review CBN's potential benefits, and I will show you how to make your own CBN oil at home.
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- THC Flowers - To make a CBN oil at home, you must start with a cannabis flower that has THC already present. Aged cannabis is a great option, too. You can purchase this from your local dispensary.
- Lecithin, optional: Lecithin is a natural emulsifier that will help keep opposing ingredients bound together, like water and oil. If you're new to working with lecithin, you can learn more about adding lecithin to edibles here. If needed, you can purchase liquid lecithin or powdered lecithin. This ingredient is optional.
- Carrier Oil Of Choice- There are many oil options to choose from. Unsure what to pick? Check out my guide to understanding different types of cannabis oils here.
Note: a complete list of ingredients with amounts and printable instructions is located in the recipe card below.
The Step-by-Step Process
- Step 1 - The goal is to create a water bath that stays at approximately 180-190° F for the cooking process. The printable instructions in the recipe card below are for using a crockpot to create the water bath.
- Step 2 - While the water bath is heating in the crockpot, measure and decarb the THC flower in the oven at 240° F for 180 minutes. See more information on how to decarb for CBN below.
- Step 3 - Evenly divide the decarbed cannabis flower and MCT oil between the mason jars you plan on using. If you plan on using sunflower lecithin, add it to the mason jars now.
- Step 4 - Carefully place the jars into the water bath. Then, place the lid on the crockpot and leave it alone to infuse for 4 hours. After 4 hours, remove the jars from the hot water and allow them to cool.
- Step 5 - Whether it be a paper filter and funnel, cheesecloth, French press, or a simple coffee filter, you will want to set up a straining station to separate the plant matter from the oil.
- Step 6 - Once cool enough to handle, strain the prepared oil with your method of choice. You can save the leftover cannabis pulp for use in future recipes.
- Step 7 - Return the prepared CBD oil to whatever jar you would like to store it in; I use a small blue tincture dropper bottle.
- Step 8 - Store the prepared CBD oil in a cool, dry place. It will last longer if stored in the refrigerator and even longer if stored in the freezer.
Note: complete step-by-step printable instructions are located in the recipe card below.
Learn More About CBN (Cannabinol)
In most strains of cannabis, THC and CBD are the two most prominent active cannabinoids.
CBN, among other cannabinoids, is considered a minor cannabinoid because it is only found naturally in trace amounts.
Fortunately, CBN can be achieved through two different processes.
In the first process, CBN is formed through the degradation of THC.
The process of THC degrading to CBN involves exposure to UV light, heat and/or through the process of oxidation, or prolonged exposure to air.
This means if you have old cannabis or expose the THC to oxygen and/or heat, you will have plant material that has developed a higher concentration of CBN.
CBN attaches to cannabinoid receptors in our body through the endocannabinoid system, producing sedative effects when consumed.
CBN, the metabolite of THC, is considered to be mildly-intoxicating in nature.
CBN is best known anecdotally among my Well With Cannabis Community as a solution to manage conditions like insomnia or anxiety due to its calming, relaxing nature.
How To Decarb To Get CBN
According to a decarboxylation study of acidic cannabinoids published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, "Δ9-THC itself readily oxidizes to cannabinol (CBN) with oxygen and light during the decarboxylation process".
The study goes on to note that the "formation of an oxidation product, CBN, was observed at 160°C and 180°C" (2).
For my Fahrenheit friends, that is 320°F to 356°F.
At these high temperatures, I've seen THC being converted into CBN in 90 minutes.
Of course, many people prefer to decarboxylate at lower temperatures in order to preserve the valuable terpenes present in the plant.
Because decarboxylation operates on a time-to-temperature scale, we can decarb for CBN at a lower temperature for a longer period of time to achieve CBN formation.
If you want to stick with the traditional 240°F used for decarboxylation, it is recommended to decarb for 180 minutes (as opposed to 40 minutes for THCA to THC conversion, or 90 minutes CBDA to CBD conversion).
You can also try to decarboxylate for CBN using the Instant Pot.
*Please note: I do not yet have lab tests to confirm these times and temperatures for CBN formation.
These recommendations are based on anecdotal reports of what is currently working for consumers inside my Well With Cannabis Community.
Follow this process at your own discretion, and consider starting with a small batch according to the chart shared below.
Why is CBN Called The 'Sleep Cannabinoid'?
CBN is commonly referred to as ‘the sleep cannabinoid’ or ‘the sleepy cannabinoid’.
Consumers who have aged cannabis that has been sitting around for a while (years) report that they find that it produces more sedative effects than fresh cannabis.
As THC further breaks down into CBN, this effect becomes even more pronounced.
Through Dr. Russo's research, it has been found that "CBN can be sedative, anticonvulsant in animal and human studies, and has demonstrated significant properties related to anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and anti-MRSA activity" (3).
With millions of Americans dealing with mild to severe insomnia, CBN has been getting a lot of attention from health practitioners and consumers alike.
While more research is needed before anyone can make definite claims, many consumers hope that CBN may one day replace addictive and potentially dangerous prescription sleep medications.
What Are The Effects and Side Effects of CBN?
Before you start making or using CBN, it's important to understand both the positive effects and the potential negative side effects.
First, it's important to note that pure, isolated, CBN won't make you sleepy.
This theory believes that a full spectrum of cannabinoids produces a more powerful effect than isolated cannabinoids on their own.
CBN is often combined with a complimentary cannabinoid, like CBD, to produce ideal effects.
CBD and CBN can work synergistically to relax and produce calming feelings.
On the other hand, some users report that they experience grogginess and dry mouth as a result of consuming CBN.
It's also not uncommon for your body to get used to CBN, which can only be avoided by giving your body tolerance breaks, switching products, or increasing your dosage.
Make or Buy CBN Oil
The best part is that CBN, unlike some other cannabis products, is not directly considered a controlled substance.
This means more and more CBN products are appearing on the market, like sublingual tinctures, capsules, or even tea bags.
However, many CBN products may fall into a legal gray area depending on where you live, so it's important to be careful and check your local regulations.
While you can purchase CBN products from my shop, you can also make your own CBN oil at home from cannabis flower by breaking down the THC into CBN.
Aging the cannabis with exposure to air will produce more oxidation, and the more oxidation there is, the more of the THC will degrade in CBN.
Unfortunately, most people don't have aged cannabis available, or the patience to wait.
The next best option to get the desired results is to take your THC dominant cannabis flower and expose it to heat for a long period of time through the decarboxylation process.
How to Determine The Dosing
Want to get a more accurate guesstimate of the potency of your cannabis infusions and extractions? Try our popular edibles calculator!
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions I receive in my Well With Cannabis Community about making CBN oil at home.
You can choose whatever carrier oil you desire to make your infused oil, it does not need to be MCT oil. You can experiment with the following cooking oils: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower seed oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil
In theory, using lecithin will make valuable cannabinoids like CBD, THC, or CBN more bioavailable or ready for use by the body. You will definitely still have a great infused CBN oil if you don’t use lecithin, it’s not a make-or-break ingredient for this recipe. If you use lecithin, I recommend working with a liquid lecithin option rather than a powdered or granulated version, as it will mix in easier.
Store your prepared CBD oil in a cool, dry place. It will last longer if stored in the refrigerator and even longer if stored in the freezer.
Yes, you can! I first recommend making a small test batch to see if homemade CBN oil is the right option for you. This recipe calls for ⅛ ounce of THC dominant flower and 2 ounces of MCT oil, which will yield a small batch. If you want to make a larger batch first to see if CBN oil infusions are right for you, use this ratio guide below.
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How to Make CBN Oil (Cannabinol)
- Fill your crockpot with enough warm to hot water to cover the top of the mason jars you plan on using by an inch to create a water bath.
- Place the digital thermometer into the water. Start the crockpot heat on high. When a temperature of 185° F is reached, turn the crockpot to low.
- While the water bath is heating in the crockpot, measure and decarb the cannabis flower in the oven at 240° F for 180 minutes. Click here for a full cannabis decarboxylation tutorial, if needed.
- Evenly divide the MCT oil between the mason jars you plan on using. You can either use pint-sized or half-pint-sized jars, it’s you’re preference, just be sure they fit in your crockpot. No matter the size, be sure to leave a ½ inch headspace from the top.
- If you plan on using sunflower lecithin, add it to the mason jars now.
- Evenly divide the decarbed flower between the MCT oil-filled jars. Stir well. Wipe the rim of the jars with a clean paper towel and place the lid on. Tighten the metal ring to finger-tip tightness, it does not have to be tightened all the way. Do not tighten too tightly.
- Once the water bath reaches a temperature of 185° F, carefully place the jars into the water bath.
- Place the lid on the crockpot and leave it alone to infuse for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, carefully remove the lid, followed by the jars from the hot water. Set them aside to cool.
- Save the leftover cannabis pulp for use in future recipes. Then return the prepared cannabis oil to whatever jar you would like to store it in. We use a small amber tincture jar.
- Store the prepared CBN oil in a cool, dry place. It will last longer if stored in the refrigerator and even longer if stored in the freezer.
- Temperature Control: The water bath does not need to stat perfectly at 185° F the entire time. Any temperature between 170°-190°F is OK.
- Safety First: I recommend you sanitize your jars by keeping them submerged in the 185° F crockpot for 10 at least minutes. This step is not necessary, but good practice for safety and hygiene.
- Floating Jars: Sometimes the mason jar will float when placed in the water bath. This is no need for concern, simply put something heat and water safe over the top of the jar to weigh it down, a clean rock works well.
- Alternative Carrier Oil Options Include:
- Olive oil, Avocado oil, Hemp seed oil, Grapeseed oil, Coconut oil