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The Difference Between CBN and CBC

, by Vivimu Blog, 6 min reading time

In the realm of cannabinoids, more and more “alternative cannabinoids” derived from CBD are coming to light. More specifically, cannabinoids such as CBN, CBC, CBG and more are being put more in the spotlight due to the fact they provide more targeted benefits, depending on which cannabinoid you consume.

For decades, the hemp market has been dominated by the traditional CBD and THC, but in the next coming years there will be a big paradigm shift that will make more and more room for these alternative cannabinoids to shine. And for good reason!

Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at, for example, the difference between CBN and CBC. Both derived from the hemp plant. Both contain remnants of CBD and many other cannabinoids. But how exactly does it work, and how are they different from each other?


In layman’s terms, CBN has entered the alternative cannabinoid market with the message it focuses on providing benefits to parts of the body that affect the quality of our sleep. Many current manufacturers have started to create CBN products such as CBN softgels, CBN gummies, tinctures, oils and more. In fact some stores even sell the pure CBN isolate that will allow you to make your own CBN products.

Chemically speaking, Cannabinol (CBN) is a cannabinoid that can be found in the cannabis sativa plant and can also be manufactured synthetically. CBN gets created when THC degrades due to exposure to high heat, air or intense light. It is often said that higher levels of CBN can be found in older/aged traditional cannabis plants.

While CBN is currently marketed more towards being a sleep aid, it provides a wide variety of other benefits similar to CBD such as pain relief, anxiety relief and more. Several studies have also been done where one study in 2005 found that CBN could help delay the start of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), which is a disease that affects certain cells in the spinal chord and brain. With that being said, as time moves on, and CBN evolves, we can only hope to see more of these studies come in that give us a clearer picture of the true benefits and effects of CBN.


As for CBC, over the past couple of months/years, CBC has come to be known as an effective pain killer. Just as its CBN counterpart, manufacturers are putting CBC in softgels, capsules, gummies and more. Just as CBN, some retailers are selling the putter CBC distillate so that consumers have the ability to make their own products, and more importantly regulate and customize the potency of their products.

Chemically speaking, CBC (cannabichromene) comes from the same area that both THC and CBD come from. They all are generated out of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). Both cannabis and hemp plants produce CBGa. CBGa is the considered to be the natural precursor to three very specific cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA). For CBC itself, it gets converted from CBGA into cannabichrome carboxylic acid (CBCA), which after that it ultimately changes to CBC after exposure to heat or ultraviolet light.

While not many research studies have been conducted on CBC yet, some research has linked CBC with the following medical benefits: Cancer benefits, neuroprotection, neuroregeneration, analgesic benefits and many more. Keep in mind that hemp products and cannabinoids don’t fall under FDA regulation and until more official FDA approved research is conducted, more information is needed to validate these claims.

Which One Is Better?

It’s not a matter of which one is better. It’s a matter of asking, which one do I need for which end purpose. Lots of consumers report on CBN being an effective sleep aid, while others are reporting CBC to be an effective painkiller.

It is important to note that these alternative cannabinoids have not been on the market for very long in comparison to their CBD counterpart, and therefore need to be taken lightly in their effects. Many studies are currently being done to further understand the effects of CBN, CBC and more and what exactly they bring to the table.

If you’re looking for a natural aid and would like to regulate your consumption and potency so it better suits your needs, you might want to look at the bulk/raw option of these products so you have more control on its potency and how it provides effects.

As with all cannabinoid products, there should always be a Certificate of Analysis that will show exactly what it is you purchase.

How Important Is A COA?

A Certificate of Analysis is very important as it will tell you exactly what’s in the product you purchase. Within the hemp sphere, labs have a certain standard of quality that they have to adhere by. Keep in mind that while hemp is not FDA regulated yet, it will serve you well to get familiar with how to read COAs, especially if you’re looking to consume cannabinoids on a regular basis.

Don’t forget that bulk (distillates/isolates) and finished goods (softgels, gummies, vapes etc) all come with Certificates of Analysis.

FDA and Hemp

Keep in mind that currently the hemp industry is not officially regulated by the FDA. This means that claims made by manufacturers on the benefits of their hemp products are officially baseless due to the fact that hemp has not been widely accepted as a medically beneficially component that falls within pharmaceutical capabilities. Please always consult with your doctor before consuming any cannabinoids for medical purposes as they are the only ones who will have the ability to asses your unique situation and determine whether cannabinoids could provide appropriate solutions.

Final Words

In general, it is to be noted that any cannabinoid derived from the hemp plant provides much more than a singular benefit. CBN has been reported to provide anxiety and also pain relief benefits for example. The current state of the hemp industry is still in its infancy when it comes to alternative cannabinoids. The best way to look at alternative cannabinoids, is that all provide an abundance of health benefits, but some specific cannabinoids have the ability to target specific parts of the body more accurately.

Over the course of the next few decades, we can expect more studies to be done in the alternative cannabinoid fields in the hope to better understand their benefits. Not only that, but there is a high chance many more new cannabinoids could be discovered.

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