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What is Cannabinol & How to Make CBN Oil

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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.

How to Make CBN Oil

What Is Cannabinol (CBN)?

The cannabis plants contain more than 100 cannabinoids, which give the plant its powerful properties.

While you often hear a lot about the major cannabinoids CBD and THC, a minor cannabinoid called cannabinol, or CBN, has been getting a lot of attention due to its unique effects.

But what is CBN, what is it good for, 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.

Join nearly twenty thousand awesome members inside my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community if you have any questions about cooking with cannabis or want to share your creations!

How to Make CBN Oil

How Do You Get CBN from Cannabis?

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.

In the second process, THCA converts to cannabinolic acid (CBNA), and the CBN molecule is then produced by decarboxylating CBNA into CBN (2). 

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.

According to an article published in the Advances in Pharmacology co-authored by Dr. Ethan Russo, CBN maintains about ¼ the potency relative to THC (3).

CBN is best known anecdotally among my Well With Cannabis Facebook Community as a solution to manage conditions like insomnia or anxiety due to its calming, relaxing nature. 

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.

Like most cannabinoids, it works best when combined with other cannabinoids and terpenes, as a part of ‘The Entourage Effect‘ theory proposed in the British Journal of Pharmacology (4).

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. 

CBN Cannabinol Emily Kyle9

How to Make CBN Oil At Home

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 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).

*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 Facebook Community.

Follow this process at your own discretion, and consider starting with a small batch according to the chart shared below.

CBN Sleep Oil

How to Infuse Oil To Make CBN Oil

If you’d like to give CBN a try, you can use decarbed flower to make the recipe below for CBN oil.

This process follows my standard process for making various infused oils, including cannabis coconut oil, infused MCT oil, infused CBD oil, and more.

You can choose whatever carrier oil you desire to make your infused oil, it does not need to be MCT oil.

Below are the following cooking oils you can experiment with to substitute the MCT oil:

Do I Need To Add Lecithin?

Traditionally, lecithin is used as a binder to keep opposing ingredients together in recipes like olive oil & vinegar dressings.

Many at-home cannabis chefs swear by adding lecithin to their infusions to make them stronger or the cannabinoids more easily absorbed by the body.

In theory, using lecithin will make valuable cannabinoids like CBD, THC, or CBN more bioavailable or ready for use by the body, ultimately making the edible stronger. 

Alternatively, other chefs only use lecithin as a binder when combining oil with other ingredients to make recipes like homemade gummies.

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.

Can I Make A Larger Batch?

Yes, you can!

I first recommend making a small test batch before to see if homemade CBN oil is the right option for you.

This recipe calls for 1/8 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:

Cannabis Flower to Oil Ratio Guide

Use An Infusion Machine For Your Edibles

If the process of decarboxylating and infusing your cannabis edibles seems like too much work, a cannabis infusion machine is a perfect solution for you!

Cannabis-infusion machines are countertop devices that do all the work for you by decarboxylating and infusing your butters, oils, and more.

The most popular machines on the market today include LEVO Infusion Machines and Ardent Cannabis Infusion Machines.

Use a LEVO Machine

The LEVO II machine can be used to decarboxylate, infuse, and make perfect small batches of butter or oil at home.

Want a discount on a LEVO machine? Be sure to use the discount code EMILY10 at checkout for 10% off your purchase!

Use an Ardent Cannabis Machine

The Ardent Cannabis FX Machine can be used to decarboxylate, infuse, and make perfect larger batches of butter or oil and more at home.

Want a discount on an Ardent Cannabis Machine? Be sure to use the coupon code EMILY30 at checkout for $30 off your order!

Elevate Your Cannabis Education

The Cannabis Compass Online Course will show you how to dose, use, and apply cannabis safely and effectively so that you can begin to manage your most unwanted symptoms the natural way, from the comfort of your own home.

CBN Sleep Oil

How to Make CBN Oil (Cannabinol)

Learn how to make CBN oil for yourself at home following a simple oil infusion process and discover why this cannabinoid has earned the nickname ‘the sleep cannabinoid’.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 7 hrs
Course Cannabis Recipes
Cuisine Cannabis Recipe
Servings 8 ounces
Calories 120 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Lay a clean tea towel down on the bottom of the crockpot. This will create a buffer between yourmason jars and the crockpot, potentially preventing any jar moving or cracking during cooking.
  • 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 1/2 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.
  • Once cool enough to handle, you will want to strain the MCT oil through a paper filter and funnelcheesecloth, or French press to separate the plant matter from the oil.
  • 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.

Notes

*We 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.
*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.
*If you are storing the oil in the fridge or freezer, never use the microwave to thaw it, as the heat will destroy important cannabinoids.
**Note: I do not yet have lab tests to confirm these times and temperatures for CBN development. These recommendations are based on anecdotal reports of what is currently working for my Cannabis Community. Follow this process at your own discretion.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 120kcalFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1g

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