With the legalization of cannabis products in many countries around the world, it’s a good time to review whether one of the benefits of CBD oil is if it can help you sleep better.
For a lot of people with sleep disorders, finding a natural path to better sleep is valuable. You could even say it’s life-saving. After all, the side effects of not getting enough deep, or poor-quality sleep can include irritability and clumsiness, difficulty learning or studying which can impact work performance or grades, to serious health considerations such as heart health, strokes, diabetes, and more.
Sleep is very important, but if you’re having troubles getting a good night’s sleep – instead of turning to the pharmaceutical world (which has created a variety of prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids) perhaps it’s time to try a more natural approach. After all, there can be side effects to the long-term use of these pharmaceutical aids.
So, If you’re one of the 40 million North Americans struggling with a chronic sleep disorder, looking to a more natural solution makes good sense.
The continuing legalization of cannabis in the US, Canada, and around the world has opened up some opportunities for the chronically sleep-deprived and sleep anxious to find a long-term solution.
What is CBD?
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, which is an active ingredient in cannabis. It occurs naturally in cannabis plants.
CBD is extracted from hemp, and it may be useful for both medical and recreational purposes. Medical research is limited, but it is said to have both medical and pain-relieving properties, as well as other purported health benefits. Because of these alleged benefits, it may be wise to make use of CBD oil in order to sleep better.
However, you will want to make sure that you know exactly what CBD oil you’re using, and that you purchase it from a reliable source. There are various types of CBD oil on the market today. In comparison to other types of CBD products, pure CBD oil comes from hemp plants that have not been contaminated with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
One of the primary benefits of CBD is that it is non-psychotic. In other words, it doesn’t contain any of the hallmarks of a psychoactive drug. Unlike the psychoactive component of cannabis that gets you “high”—THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol—CBD is derived from hemp and won’t give you that feeling of being high.
This is crucial for an individual who is worried about their legal status with regard to their cannabis usage. Many people are concerned that simply smoking cannabis could lead them to become “addicted” to it. This is a misconception. In actuality, the psychoactive properties of cannabis result from the interaction between THC and other cannabinoids.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is also little to indicate that CBD has long-term ill effects, such as substance abuse and dependence issues.
Can CBD Really Help You Sleep Better?
Your first instinct might be to reach for your over-the-counter sleep meds, but sleep experts agree that the best and safest way to get good sleep is to avoid taking any medication in the middle of the night.
CBD oil can provide many of the same benefits that a sleep aid might: easing pain, helping you relax, and increasing your overall happiness. It may even provide some additional benefits that will improve your sleep, like managing anxiety and improving the quality of your sleep.
The bottom line is that you can take CBD oil while sleeping without risking the adverse side effects of prescription medications that can be taken while you sleep.
However, CBD is not for everyone. Some people have reported the reverse effect – that taking CBD sleep aids actually keeps them awake during the night when they need to get to sleep. The human body is so complex that it’s impossible to predict how one thing will impact every single person.
While currently being successfully used and further tested as a treatment for epilepsy, there is a growing body of research—albeit largely anecdotal—that shows that CBD is also beneficial for individuals who suffer from anxiety and anxiety-related sleep disorders, like insomnia.
“CBD’s most far-reaching health effect may be its anti-inflammatory properties. And not just in a knee or hip joint, but throughout the body, including the central nervous system and the brain, says Joseph Maroon, M.D., a clinical professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who has investigated the link.
In a 2018 review, he and colleagues said such effects could possibly reduce anxiety, depression, seizures, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even benefit people who have had a concussion.” (Source)
In fact, some studies have shown that CBD may help people suffering from insomnia to not only fall asleep but to remain asleep through the night.
In a large uncontrolled study to examine the connection between CBD, anxiety and sleep, a study of 72 individuals showed the following results:
“… presenting with primary concerns of anxiety (n = 47) or poor sleep (n = 25). Anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration.
Sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%) but fluctuated over time.” (Source)
The positive results of this study make the case for more controlled clinical studies to be conducted.
But based on anecdotal evidence, it’s clear that CBD may be helpful to those who suffer from anxiety and anxiety-related sleep disorders.
Instead of a sedative effect as occurring with prescription remedies or THC, CBD works to lessen anxiety. With less anxiety, individuals are able to get better, more restorative sleep.
How Does CBD Lessen Anxiety & Lead to Better Sleep?
“… cannabis compounds interact with receptors throughout the body—the so-called endocannabinoid system—including in the brain. At least one of those types of receptors is thought to affect the body’s sleep/wake cycle, offering one explanation for how CBD could affect sleep directly. And CBD also interacts with another receptor in the brain that researchers have linked to anxiety.” (Source)
CBD is one of the best cannabinoids available for managing anxiety. CBD is non-psychoactive and helps to ease anxiety in many situations.
Here are some of the ways that CBD can help you sleep better:
The plant contains a ton of anti-anxiety properties. When CBD is taken, it becomes anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and stimulates the release of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the brain. These substances calm anxiety and produce an overall sense of well-being.
What this means is that there are some proven links between the receptors in your brain that are linked to sleep cycles / anxiety and CBD.
Those links are an excellent starting point for researchers to continue to develop their understanding of how CBD affects sleep.
What does seem clear in the research is that there are few side effects, such as dependence, to using CBD so trying it out to see if it will work for your sleep issues is a low-risk endeavour.
NOTE: CBD, like other natural supplements, can interfere with the proper functioning of other medications that you are taking, so you should definitely consult a doctor if you’re planning on trying CBD for sleep.
What Forms of CBD Are Available?
CBD—not to be confused with hemp oil—is available in an ever-growing array of products.
There are several ways that you can get high-quality CBD oil in the US today.
First, you can get it from the plant by using a vaporizer to inhale it. This is best when you are in a very relaxed state, such as when relaxing in bed.
But if you are anxious or a bit nervous about taking a CBD product for the first time, then you could try CBD capsules. In general, they are well tolerated, and most people have no trouble absorbing it into their system.
You can also buy it in the form of oral capsules and tinctures. As a general rule, tinctures tend to be more potent than capsules, but both have advantages. The tinctures are easier to use, and the oral products can be stored in your purse or pocket, rather than having to carry around a bottle.
There is even some development in the area of topical usage, in the form of creams where you absorb the CBD transdermally.
Vaping it will get into your bloodstream quickly but for a more sustained, slow-release, an oil is taken under the tongue will be a more effective method to achieve improvements in your quality of sleep.
Why under the tongue?
Because it will enter your bloodstream directly and be effective in about 15 minutes, versus if you swallow it and it goes through your slower-absorbing digestive tract, delaying the effects of the CBD by 30 minutes or more.
Dosage is also an area that continues to be researched, but as an example, the study involving the 72 individuals had them on a dose of 25 mg.
Less is unlikely to have much effect; higher doses are available—100 mg or more—but they are also much more expensive.
“Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and on the advisory board the marijuana advocacy group NORML, suggests starting with a modest dose of 30 mg and slowly working up if that doesn’t work.” (Source)
The use of oils or edibles also makes it easier to gauge how much you are getting in a dose, so you can determine for yourself if it is helping you get better sleep.
If you mix good sleep hygiene with an excellent mattress and a high-quality CBD, you’re far more likely to get the restorative sleep that you need for a healthy and happy life.
Important Note: This post is intended for information only and should not be used to diagnose or treat any health conditions. If you are concerned about your sleep patterns, consult your doctor.