CBN vs. Melatonin in the Sleep Showdown

CBN vs. Melatonin in the Sleep Showdown

Have you ever tossed and turned in bed, checking the clock every half hour and wondering why sleep is eluding you? You’re not alone. In our quest for better sleep, we often turn to solutions like melatonin. But there’s a new player in the game: CBN (cannabinol).

What’s CBN Anyway?

CBN is a lesser-known compound from the cannabis plant. Unlike its famous cousin THC, it’s not about the high; it’s about the snooze. As cannabis ages, THC breaks down into CBN, which is why some believe older cannabis makes you sleepier.

Why Consider CBN?
  • Neuroprotective Properties: CBN might be a guard for your neurons, offering potential in slowing diseases like ALS​​.
  • Pain and Insomnia Relief: It’s like a Swiss Army knife for discomfort and sleep issues, with some studies hinting it might help with pain, inflammation, and appetite loss​​.
  • Glaucoma Treatment: An intriguing study on rabbits showed CBN (and THC) could lower the risk for glaucoma​​.

What is Melatonin

Melatonin – it’s not just a supplement you find on pharmacy shelves; it’s actually a hormone your body naturally produces. Think of it as your body’s own sleep regulator: as the sun sets and darkness falls, your brain ramps up melatonin production, signaling that it’s time to wind down. Conversely, when the sun comes up, melatonin levels drop, helping you wake up.

But here’s a fun fact: as we age, our bodies get a bit stingy with melatonin production. That’s where supplements come in handy. Available as oral tablets or capsules, these lab-made melatonin supplements are a go-to solution for those struggling with sleep issues – whether it’s the frustration of insomnia or the disorientation of jet lag.

So next time you’re tossing and turning, remember melatonin – your body’s natural nudge towards a good night’s sleep and a handy helper in supplement form.

Melatonin’s Role in Unique Sleep Conditions

Shift Work Disorder

Melatonin’s effectiveness for those with irregular work schedules is an area of ongoing exploration. While its benefits for improving daytime sleep among shift workers are not yet definitive, it holds promise as a tool to better manage sleep quality for those with non-traditional working hours.

Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder

This condition skews sleep schedules, pushing them later than the norm. Melatonin isn’t just about inducing sleep; it’s about timing. By helping individuals fall asleep sooner and shifting sleep onset earlier, it realigns their sleep-wake cycle closer to conventional timings. This is beneficial for both adults and children, but as with any pediatric use, consulting a healthcare professional is vital.

Circadian Rhythm Disorders

For those without sight, maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle can be challenging. Melatonin steps in as a crucial aid, helping both adults and children establish a more normalized circadian rhythm.


While melatonin’s impact on sleep quality and duration is still being unraveled, its ability to reduce the time taken to fall asleep is clear. This effect can be particularly meaningful for older adults, who may naturally produce less melatonin.

Easing Time Zone Transitions

For those crossing time zones, melatonin can be a game-changer. By enhancing alertness and reducing daytime drowsiness, it mitigates the disorienting effects of jet lag, making travel less taxing on the body’s internal clock.

Pediatric Sleep Disturbances

Preliminary studies indicate melatonin’s potential in alleviating sleep disturbances in children with various disabilities. However, establishing good bedtime habits remains the primary recommendation. As always, a pediatrician’s guidance is crucial before introducing melatonin to a child’s routine.

Primary UseSleep aid, pain reliefRegulating sleep cycle
Typical DosageVaried, often 5-25 mg0.5-3 mg
User ExperiencesMixed, often positiveGenerally positive
Research BaseEmerging, less robustExtensive, well-documented
Known Side EffectsMild, if anyMild, primarily drowsiness
Ideal forExperimenters, those seeking alternativesThose with jet lag, irregular sleep patterns

Head-to-Head: CBN vs. Melatonin

What The Researches Say

In the quest for better sleep, both CBN and melatonin have been scrutinized in scientific studies. Let’s look at what the research says:

  • Sleep Improvement Studies: In one study, a significant 71% of participants taking melatonin reported improved sleep. This statistic becomes even more interesting when melatonin is combined with CBN, suggesting a possible synergistic effect. CBN, when used alone, showed promising results, not too far behind melatonin in effectiveness. This highlights CBN as a potential standalone sleep aid, especially for those who might not respond well to melatonin.
  • CBN’s Upper Hand?: Another research study put CBN directly against melatonin. The findings indicated that CBN might have an advantage in reducing sleep disturbances. What’s captivating is that the effectiveness of CBN seemed dose-dependent, meaning its sleep-inducing effects could be adjusted based on the amount taken.

Comparing Side Effects

CBN Side Effects

  • Side Effects: Rare, mild, and usually just about making you sleepy or hungry​​​​. Basically, the side effects reported with CBN usage are generally mild. The most common ones include feelings of tiredness and changes in appetite. These effects are not necessarily undesirable, especially considering its use as a sleep aid.
  • Overall Safety: CBN seems safe but remember, we’re still in early days of understanding it fully​​. However, it’s worth noting that side effects are rare, making CBN a potentially safer option for those concerned about adverse reactions.

Melatonin Side Effects

In summary, both CBN and melatonin present themselves as viable options for improving sleep, each with its own set of benefits and considerations. CBN, as a newer option, offers a promising alternative, especially for those looking for a natural remedy or those who haven’t found success with melatonin. Melatonin, on the other hand, remains a reliable and well-researched choice for many looking to regulate their sleep patterns. As research continues to evolve, so too will our understanding of these sleep aids and their optimal use.

External Resources:

Chiang C.W., Barnett G., Brine D. Systemic absorption of DELTA9-tetrahydrocannabinol after ophthalmic administration to the rabbit. J. Pharm. Sci. 1983;72:136–138. doi: 10.1002/jps.2600720210. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]

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