The legalization of medical cannabis means natural sleep-aid market is acquiring a whole new sub-sector. As states continue to modify their cannabis legislation, a relatively unknown cannabinoid called Cannabinol, or CBN, has caught entrepreneurs’ eye as a potential sleep aid and alternative to oral tablets like melatonin.

CBN has been found to occur in aged cannabis, when THC turns into the cannibinoid with prolonged exposure to heat and light. Some research indicates the novel cannabinoid may be able to counter the hangover, or “stone-over” effects of THC, the active ingredient in the cannabis plant and America’s most commonly used psychotropic molecule. In other words, a user would feel clear-headed the day after consuming the product. This is significant because residual drowsiness is a fairly common side effect of over-the-counter sleeping aids. Research suggests CBN can also amplify THC’s psychoactive effects. Since CBN is marketed as a “natural” molecule with similar effects to melatonin, cannabis manufacturers are betting on this obscure molecule that can potentially disrupt the $700 million global melatonin market.

“In the coming years, I expect the CBN market to grow rapidly,” Drew Ford, chief science officer at Kase Manufacturing, one of the first cannabis manufacturing labs approved for operations in the state of California, told Quartz. “As we learn more about the functions of these specific cannabinoids, I believe the markets will continue to follow an exponential curve and redefine the wellness industry top to bottom.”

In January 2020, Kiva Confections, one of the most recognized cannabis companies in California, became the first company to commercially launch CBN-infused edibles. Each gummy has 1 milligram of CBN and 5 milligrams of THC, and the mix is designed to produce an unparalleled entourage effect to help put the consumer to sleep.

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