Millions of Americans suffer from pain regularly, and research shows that failing to address this chronic condition effectively may lead to other issues, such as lack of mobility, decreased quality of life, and disrupted sleep.
Modern medicine tends to focus treatment options on prescription pain medications. And though a pharmaceutical approach may help to alleviate the pain temporarily, it may come with side effects and other drawbacks like blunted cognitive abilities and, in some cases, dependency.
Integrated medicine practitioners, including some medical doctors, have begun looking to alternative medicines for a combined approach to treatment.
One novel approach that has emerged in medical practice is using concentrated plant extracts from hemp.
Used for centuries to target ailments like pain, gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, stress, pain, and sleep problems, the cannabis plant has recently undergone extensive clinical study to determine if its use throughout history is justified.
What are hemp extracts?
The cannabis plant contains several phytochemicals like cannabinoids and terpenes that have been shown in clinical studies to target various receptor sites in the human central nervous system (CNS). These receptor sites manage everything from stress response and sleep cycles to cognitive function and pain signaling.
Two non-psychoactive cannabinoids known as CBD and CBN appear to be promising options for those who experience chronic pain and sleep difficulty.
These compounds are present in hemp and can be extracted using highly pressurized or ethanol-based processes. These processes can isolate specific cannabinoids that can then be blended into various oral or topical products.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the most popular hemp-based extracts in the world. It is used by millions of people daily.
In clinical studies, CBD has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, pain, and to improve sleep.
Researchers believe CBD’s mechanism of action involves its direct effects on endocannabinoid receptor sites in the CNS.
CBD is non-toxic and unlike its well-known counterpart, THC, does not produce intoxicating effects.
A clinical analysis of CBD users notes that the most popular reasons for taking CBD are that the extract helps them to feel calmer, reduces pain, and improves mood.
Of users taking CBD for sleep, about 40% of people report better sleep, and 20% of users report better sleep patterns.
Cannabidiol extract is commonly blended into organic CBD oil, edibles like gummies, and topical salves for direct application to pain areas.
What is CBN?
CBN is short for Cannabinol and is emerging as one of the more popular hemp extracts for addressing sleep difficulty. Like CBD, it is believed that taking CBN plays a positive role in the body’s endocannabinoid system.
The CBN cannabinoid exists naturally in hemp, but in much lower concentrations than CBD. It is considered a “minor” cannabinoid that is present in full spectrum CBD oil formulas. Usually, the content of CBD in these formulas is relatively potent, ranging from 25 milligrams per milliliter dose to upwards of 200 mg in highly concentrated blends. Because CBN is rarer than CBD in terms of its availability in the hemp plant, it is usually found in much lower quantities in full spectrum formulas with concentrations ranging from 0.5 to 2 milligrams.
The good news is that CBN can be isolated into a highly concentrated powder during extraction. When blended into a CBN oil isolate, dosage potency can be boosted to levels as high as 83 milligrams per milliliter.
Cannabinol can be combined with cannabidiol to provide a synergistic entourage effect that may further support wellness.
In addition to each cannabinoid’s benefits for sleep, combining CBD and CBN has recently been shown to possess analgesic properties that may help to reduce pain.
This study, along with other studies reviewing the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicines for health, show that many of hemp’s traditional uses have been confirmed by modern science.