Quality and sufficient sleep are undeniably important for optimum performance in life. Unfortunately, it’s sad that most people struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep, which has led to many other challenges, such as health deterioration. However, some evidence suggests that CBD may help with sleep problems.
Recently, the use of marijuana and CBD to treat various ailments has risen significantly. Also, people have long used the cannabis plant for recreational purposes. Compounds called cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are responsible for the effects on the brain. The two most prevalent cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). A good night’s sleep is important to your overall health and well-being. According to experts, adults should have 7-9 hours of sleep each night. However, it’s unfortunate that falling asleep or staying asleep might be difficult for some people. Some studies suggest that CBD may be a sleep aid. This article discusses whether or not this is true and the associated risks.
What is Cannabidiol?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of the many chemical compounds naturally occurring in the cannabis plant. Most people often confuse CBD with its counterpart, THC, better known as the substance that causes a high feeling. CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties but has been embraced due to its therapeutic benefits. THC, also known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, is mostly used for recreational purposes to intoxicate the user. While CBD products may contain trace levels of THC, it’s never enough to get you high.
Additionally, CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States, provided they contain less than 0.3% THC. Under federal law, this amount isn’t enough to intoxicate you. Rather, you’re left with the benefits of CBD and many minor cannabinoids, as seen in formulas containing full-spectrum CBD or broad-spectrum CBD. However, some CBD consumers prefer a free THC-free product, and for such, a CBD isolate product is preferable.
You may encounter some CBD products that contain delta-9 THC. Consequently, these products may not be available in your state. Double-check the state laws you live in and those you may be traveling to stay out of legal trouble. If you are in a state where THC is banned, you can reap the benefits of full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate.
Benefits of CBD as A Sleep Aid
Although research on the effects of CBD on sleep disorders is still young, some users report that using CBD for chronic pain has helped them to sleep better. CBD works in conjunction with a network of receptors in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to regulate important body functions such as energy, sleep, and mood.
Kwan Cheung & Peiris (2019) found that CBD, naturally found in the hemp plant, interacts with ECS receptors throughout the body, much like molecules produced naturally by the body. Further, experts state that the best CBD products for sleep should help you wind down by addressing some of the root causes of restlessness and stress.
Most people rarely notice that quality sleep is closely related to stress and maintaining a strong immune system. Shannon & Lewis (2019) found that CBD can keep you awake if your cortisol levels increase. Moreover, CBD is thought to decrease this, thus keeping your body in balance.
Relaxing herbs like lemon balm, chamomile, and passion flower have been shown to help with providing a full restful night.
The rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep is a common disorder in older patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In REM sleep behavior disorder, patients verbalize and make aggressive movements. According to Chagas & Eckeli (2014), CBD helps manage the REM sleep behavior disorder symptoms. Before consuming CBD, the patients experienced frequent disorder symptoms. After taking CBD, the symptoms occurred fewer times. Although more studies are required to validate these claims, the initial results suggest that CBD is a possible treatment for REM sleep behavior disorder.
Also, some people experience excessive daytime sleepiness disorder and thus struggle to stay awake during the day. Sadaka & Ozuna (2021) showed that CBD functions as a wake-inducing drug. Consequently, other studies suggest that CBD also functions as a sedating drug.
Anxiety isn’t a sleep disorder, but it can contribute to poor quality, inadequate sleep, and insomnia. Since CBD calms the nervous system, initial studies state that CBD can be used to treat anxiety-related disorders. Moltke & Hindocha (2021) noted that almost 80% of patients who used CBD to treat their anxiety reported lower anxiety levels within a month. Subsequently, sleep improved in more than 65% of the participants, followed by fluctuating results.
Sleep disorder, commonly known as insomnia, is a common condition, especially in this century where most people are anxious and always on the move to pursue a better life. Doctors usually recommend behavioral changes such as cognitive restructuring and relaxation techniques combined with prescription drugs. However, some people try to self-medicate sleeping problems with CBD. While CBD seems generally safe, research into its effects, especially long-term effects, is limited.
Medics are unsure whether CBD helps patients sleep, but some evidence suggests that it may enhance sleep duration. However, determining the most effective way to take CBD and the right amount to support sleep requires more research. Moreover, it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking supplements or medication, including CBD. A physician is best equipped to advise you on using CBD to improve your sleep, depending on your specific circumstances.
Chagas, M. H., Eckeli, A. L., Zuardi, A. W., Pena‐Pereira, M. A., Sobreira‐Neto, M. A., Sobreira, E. T., … & Crippa, J. A. S. (2014). Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep‐related behaviors associated with rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder in Parkinson’s patients: a case series. Journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics, 39(5), 564-566.
Kwan Cheung, K. A., Peiris, H., Wallace, G., Holland, O. J., & Mitchell, M. D. (2019). The interplay between the endocannabinoid system, epilepsy, and cannabinoids. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(23), 6079.
Moltke, J., & Hindocha, C. (2021). Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. Journal of cannabis research, 3(1), 1-12.
Sadaka, A. H., Ozuna, A. G., Ortiz, R. J., Kulkarni, P., Johnson, C. T., Bradshaw, H. B., … & Ferris, C. F. (2021). Cannabidiol has a unique effect on global brain activity: a pharmacological, functional MRI study in awake mice. Journal of translational medicine, 19(1), 1-16.
Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: a large case series. The Permanente Journal, 23.