Cannabis consumers have more product options today than ever before. As manufacturing processes evolve and consumers become more educated about various cannabinoids, we are able to develop products that meet the needs of consumers beyond recreational use. One trend on the rise is a sleepy little cannabinoid named Cannabinol. More commonly known as CBN, this cannabinoid is produced by the degradation of THC and provides a more sedating, non-euphoric experience than its counterparts. If you’ve ever smoked aged flower, you’ve likely experienced the calming effects of CBN yourself. In 2022, 80% of CBN products in the United States were marketed with sleep benefits at the forefront. This benefit is supported by increased and repeat consumer purchasing habits around it. CBN has also been cited as a product that consumers are using to assist with anxiety, pain, and stress, providing a cannabis alternative to THC for consumers who want to experience a lesser (or limited) high.
The natural process of degradation from THC to CBN is a time-consuming one. Cannabis begins to oxidize as it is subjected to air and sunlight and the THC begins its slow transition into a small percentage of CBN. While CBN was the first plant cannabinoid to be isolated at the end of the 19th century, it has been slow to enter the market. This is because the little to no CBN is found in freshly harvested flower and the production of CBN as an ingredient had historically been an arduous, time-consuming and costly process. In addition, the stigma associated with dry/old cannabis flower has led to the perception that it is of little value or therapeutic benefit once the THC has been degraded.
The recent evolution in production methods, however, have allowed manufacturers to speed up the natural oxidation process, allowing for more efficient manufacturing of CBN. The growing demand for minor cannabinoids, coupled with lower production costs, have revitalized interest in CBN significantly. At Motif Labs, our process starts with high-purity THC distillate, which is subjected to heated oxidative conditions to convert THC to CBN. This process is very similar to that which occurs naturally, just at a much more efficient rate. The resulting mixture is then distilled once more to further refine the product and then crystallized to form a >98% CBN isolate, which is then used in downstream cannabis products. This proprietary isolation method allows for the creation of profitable, high-purity CBN-dominant products, such as vapes and edibles.
The CBN market is now growing at a rapid pace. Consumer trends indicate that CBN may quickly become a staple in the cannabinoid ingredient supply chain, especially in the edibles space. In the United States the CBN-infused edibles market generated $186M in retail sales in 2022. This is attributed to growing consumer awareness of CBN, prompting edibles brands to continue to innovate, launch, and market new products. For brands looking to enter the market with CBN products in Canada, the timing is perfect. In Ontario, growth in CBN Infused Edibles is outpacing the edibles market as a whole! In July 2022, CBN edibles made up only 3.59% of total monthly sales, by February 2023, this has grown to 10.41%. With healthy gross margins this is an attractive product category for any LP or brand looking to expand their reach.
With the pandemic pushing many issues that Canadians experience to the forefront, it comes as no surprise that the interest in CBN has increased exponentially in the past three years. As manufacturing processes have evolved to meet this growing demand, there are more and more opportunities to service this growing consumer base with premium, high-purity products that taste great and deliver the experience they are seeking. Motif Labs is committed to continued innovation to allow our partner LPs to take the lead in the Canadian CBN market.
Pertwee, R. G. (2009, February 2). Cannabinoid pharmacology: The first 66 years. The British Society of Pharmacology. Retrieved December 2022, from https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/sj.bjp.0706406