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CBD for Sleep
The quality of sleep determines the quality of life and general wellbeing. Generally, adults should sleep about 7 to 9 hours each night. Getting enough sleep at night ensures you get enough rest and have enough energy to face the next day. Besides, having enough sleep each night will enhance muscle growth and repair, improve memory, and prevent sickness.
Lack of good night’s sleep can put at the risk of developing various chronic health conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Mental health issues
Despite this, many people have difficulty falling asleep, let alone staying asleep. In fact, statistics show that 1 in 3 Americans don’t have a restful night’s sleep. While taking prescription sleep aid and improved sleep hygiene can improve your sleep, some people turn to natural sleep aids like CBD to help have a restful sleep.
CBD has become more popular recently, especially after the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized cannabis products with less than 0.3 percent THC at the federal level. However, since research on CBD’s presumed benefits is still ongoing, a lot needs to be done to determine the effects of CBD on sleep, anxiety, and other health issues. Read along to learn if CBD can help with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Understanding Cannabis and Cannabinoids
The word cannabis usually describes any products from the Cannabis Sativa plant. However, cannabis plants come with different chemical compounds, including more than 100 cannabinoids. Researchers have mainly focused on THC and CBD as they appear to have a considerable impact on humans.
What is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)?
THC is known to cause the “high” effect associated with marijuana. The term marijuana describes the part of the cannabis plant that contains THC. On the other hand, hemp refers to cannabis plants and derivatives with less than 0.3 percent THC. The 2018 Farm Bill removed help products from the controlled substances under federal law. This has led to the increased popularity and availability of hemp-based products in the U.S. market.
About CBD (Cannabidiol)
CBD extract (when extracted from the hemp plant) is legal in the U.S. under federal law. That means you can sell and market it in the U.S. provided you adhere to the set regulations in your state. After all, although the 2018 law declassified hemp-derived CBD from a controlled substance, each state has laws that govern the growth, manufacturing, distribution, and sale of CBD products.
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it won’t bring the “high” effect to its users. Also, available research on CBD shows that it does not lead to the risk of abuse or potential dependency.
How Does CBD Work?
Although CBD is quickly becoming a household product in the U.S. and worldwide, there’s little research on how it may be helpful for health and wellness purposes. However, as more people and research bodies continue to accept CBD oil, the U.S. government is now more open to CBD use and how it can improve the quality of life.
Currently, many clinical trials are being undertaken to determine whether CBD may help treat various medical conditions in humans, including anxiety, chronic pain, acid reflux, among others. In fact, the FDA has approved Epidiolex, an oral CBD drug, to treat rare forms of epilepsy.
So, How Does CBD Work in the Body?
CBD binds to the receptors on the surface of the cells, thus impacting our bodies. The primary cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system are CB1 and CB2 receptors.
However, unlike THC, CBD does not bind strongly to these cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it binds to other types of receptors like serotonin to impact your body. Ideally, serotonin receptors affect things like mood, pain, and sleep.
The Endocannabinoid System and Sleep
The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in maintaining essential body functions, including appetite, mood, and ability to fall asleep. As you’ve seen earlier, CB1 and CB2 receptors are the two primary receptors in the brain and nervous system.
Cannabinoids bind to these cells, causing various effects. Some researchers believe that cannabinoid CBD may affect the sleep/wake pattern by interacting with specific receptors when it comes to sleep.
CBD and Sleep – What Research Says
Although much is needed to confirm whether CBD oil can help with sleep/insomnia and improve sleep cycles, available research points out that CBD may help improve sleep quality. For instance, one study involving 409 people was conducted between 2016 and 2018. The participants were given cannabis flowers using different combustion methods, including joints, pipes, and vape. The participants reported a decrease in their symptoms after using cannabis.
As per these results, the researchers believed that cannabinoids in cannabis might help with insomnia. However, since they used cannabis flower (which contain different cannabinoids), they could not ascertain whether the relief was from CBD or another cannabinoid.
Another trial involved 72 adults with anxiety and sleep issues. The participants took sleep and anxiety assessments before the study and a follow-up after one month. The participants took CBD capsules – those with anxiety took CBD in the morning, while those with sleep issues took CBD capsules in the evening.
The result: 79 percent of the participants had a drop in anxiety score after one month. A decrease in anxiety scores meant less trouble sleeping. Several other studies have shown that CBD oil may help with sleep and insomnia. Despite that, more research is required to confirm that CBD can help improve sleep. To that end, let’s look at how CBD may help with sleep issues.
How CBD May Help Improve Sleep
Most people who use CBD for anxiety and pain report sleeping better. Since research on the effects of CBD on sleep is not conclusive yet, it’s unclear whether these people sleep better because CBD directly affects their sleep or because of the pain or anxiety relief.
Another challenge is that different people may experience different outcomes with CBD use. Also, different doses might mean different effects or outcomes. While high doses are sedating, lower CBD doses are stimulating. The method of CBD administration and dose will also determine the experience. To help understand how CBD may help with poor sleep, let’s look at how it affects other health issues.
CBD for Pain Management
Some studies show that CBD may help treat pain effectively. Chronic pain is a major cause of poor quality of sleep in most people. CBD oil may help with neuropathic pain, cancer-related pain, and fibromyalgia, which could lead to sleep issues.
CBD and Anxiety
Anxiety is a major contributor to insufficient sleep, poor quality sleep, and insomnia – luckily, CBD may help decrease anxiety. Since CBD is known to calm the nervous system, it may help with anxiety-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder. In most cases, people who use CBD for anxiety report lower anxiety levels within a month. As such, taking CBD may come in handy, especially if your lack of sleep is due to anxiety.
CBD for Insomnia
Insomnia is associated with difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep at night. Insomnia impacts the ability to concentrate, mood, and daytime wakefulness. Poor sleep can lead to anxiety which might increase sleeplessness at night.
Since CBD may help with anxiety, it may also help with anxiety due to insomnia. This will lead to a night of restful sleep.
Excessive daytime sleepiness disorder is a condition that makes people struggle to stay awake during the daytime. Luckily, CBD may help you feel more awake during the day, positively affecting your night sleep. The available research on animals suggests that CBD may function as a wake-inducing drug. Other studies suggest that CBD may act as a sedating drug. Talk to your physician to determine what methods of CBD use and doses are suitable for wakefulness and sleepiness.
CBD for REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
Patients with REM sleep behavior disorder verbalize or make aggressive movements in this stage of sleep. The condition is common among older patients with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
CBD oil has been shown to help with REM sleep disorder in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Of course, further research is necessary to determine whether CBD is an effective and safe treatment for REM sleep behavior disorder.
How to Use CBD for Sleep
CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant. This can be from the marijuana or hemp plant. As earlier stated, hemp has less THC content than marijuana. Some states will only allow the sale of CBD oil if all THC is removed. CBD oil with THC or other cannabinoids can only be sold in states that allow marijuana use.
There are different ways to take CBD oil. CBD comes in various forms, including:
- Oil and tinctures
- Vape concentrates
- Edibles – this includes CBD sleep gummies, cookies, cakes, bears, etc., that are infused with CBD oil.
- Pills and capsules
Vaping CBD is the fastest way to get CBD into your system. However, vaping may pose respiratory risks, meaning further research is needed on vaping CBD.
If you choose to take a CBD oil tincture, you’ll need a dropper to place a small amount of CBD oil under your tongue. For better absorption and results, keep the CBD under your tongue for about 30 seconds before swallowing it.
For gummies and capsules, take about 1 or 2 servings (depending on the recommendations) about an hour before you sleep. Don’t forget to check the instructions on the packaging to get a better idea of how to take capsules and gummies.
Whichever method you choose to take CBD for sleep, remember you need to build up CBD in your system before you can experience the full benefits, so be patient.
How Much CBD to Take for Sleep
Before taking any CBD product as a sleep aid, check the packaging for information on the recommended dosage. From there, you can decide whether you should increase or reduce the dosage based on its effects.
Cannabis products are not created equal, so be sure to buy a CBD product formulated to improve sleep. In most cases, these products will contain other ingredients that will help calm your mind and reduce pain to ensure you get a night of uninterrupted sleep.
If you are more sensitive to CBD, you’ll get the result you want after taking the recommended mg of CBD dose. Others will not get the results they want from the recommended dose. In the latter case, more patience is needed. Getting the optimal CBD dosage for sleep requires much experimentation, which will take time. However, once you discover how much CBD to take, you will achieve the results you are looking for.
You might also want to try different products and formulas. Different products come with different formulas and dosages. Remember, how you take CBD oil will determine the effects you experience. As earlier mentioned, administering CBD oil tincture under your tongue provides more immediate results than using capsules or gummies.
Although the FDA does not recommend the best CBD dosage for sleep, some experts recommend 1-6 mg of CBD for every 10 lbs of body weight. However, the best practice is to start low and increase slowly until you get your optimal mg of CBD.
Is There a Good Time to Take CBD for Sleep?
The best time to take CBD for sleep is whenever you need extra help to feel relaxed. For instance, CBD oil will come in handy when taking overnight flights, especially if you experience travel anxiety. However, ensure to check CBD laws in areas you are traveling to determine whether CBD use is permitted in that region. Taking CBD oil for sleep will also be helpful if you have challenges sleeping the night before a big trip.
Stress and anxiety can act against your sleep. Whether you’ve been through a hectic day at work or have trouble shutting off your mind after a day’s work, taking CBD may be what you need to drift off.
That being said, the best time to take CBD for sleep is in the evening, about an hour before you go to bed. Avoid taking CBD if you have to operate heavy machinery.
CBD Side Effects
If you wonder whether using CBD for sleep is safe, pay attention to this section. According to available resources, CBD oil is a relatively safe treatment. However, in some cases, you may experience minor side effects, including:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in weight
Some studies suggest that CBD may have the potential to cause liver damage. It is worth noting that since the FDA does not regulate most CBD oil products on the market today, there’s no guarantee of the safety and effectiveness of most over-the-counter CBD products. That’s why you need to know the history of a CBD company before you buy any products.
Does CBD Interact with Other Medications?
Some CBD products may interact with other prescriptions. More specifically, CBD can affect the liver’s ability to break down certain medications. Also, you should be careful not to use CBD alongside some herbs or supplements, as this can make you feel sleepier. Before using CBD for sleep, talk to your doctor about possible side effects and whether it will interact with your current medication.
Choosing the Best CBD Oil for Sleep
The most vital thing to keep in mind when buying CBD for sleep is that CBD products are not equal.
To ensure that you purchase high-quality CBD products, only buy your product from reputable CBD brands. Ideally, here are two critical things to consider.
- Third-party lab testing
- Product labels
A reputable CBD company must subject their products to third-party lab testing and publish the results on their website. This way, you will be sure that what’s contained on the CBD product label is actually what is in the product.
Third-party lab results help determine that CBD oil is free from toxins like heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, microbial and that it has the right amount of CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids on the product label.
For better results, purchase your CBD products from brands that source their hemp from the United States, as it has undergone thorough testing than other countries.
Besides CBD, some products may include other natural ingredients, including passionflower, chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm, that help enhance calm and rest. As a rule of thumb, ensure that all ingredients, including flavoring contained in a product, are clearly labeled. You may also want to give preference to CBD products that contain melatonin, a natural hormone responsible for regulating sleep and wakefulness, and boosting it can be much helpful.
Reading Labels on CBD Products – Terms to Take Note Of
Before you choose any CBD product, it’s paramount to know the kind of products in it. To that end, here are the terms you need to consider when comparing labels in different CBD products.
As the name suggests, full-spectrum CBD contains CBD and other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. In other words, no cannabinoids (including THC), terpenes, or flavonoids are removed from the product.
Broad-spectrum CBD products contain mainly CBD and smaller amounts of flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids, but no THC.
Some CBD brands isolate CBD during manufacturing to create a pure CBD product without any other cannabinoids. In other words, CBD isolate products have no additional compounds.
Cannabis and hemp plants also contain flavonoids which vary from strain to strain. Flavonoids give cannabis its flavor, which explains why some cannabis strains taste different from others. Flavonoids are thought to offer health benefits.
Like flavonoids, terpenes vary from strain to strain. They are responsible for giving cannabis its fragrance. For example, you might get cannabis that smells like blueberries while others smell more like lemon. As with flavonoids, some researchers believe that terpenes may offer some health benefits.
Is It Safe to Use CBD Oil for Sleep in the Long-Term?
As of now, there is no data to show that CBD may be harmful. That means you can continue using it if it helps you sleep better. However, since the FDA does not regulate most products on the market, you need to be extra careful when purchasing your products to ensure you know exactly what is contained in the CBD product you want to buy.
Although some researchers think that CBD may interact with some of the body’s biological systems, there’s no research about how long-term CBD use will affect the body systems. The best way is to use these products in a controlled manner. Also, keep track of cannabis studies and trends to stay up-to-date with the current CBD data.
Will CBD Help You Fall Asleep? – Final Thought
It’s no doubt that your quality of sleep impacts your general wellbeing. Lack of enough sleep is not only stressful, but it can also make you gain weight, impair your immune system, or even create cognitive confusion.
A weakened immune system puts you at a higher risk of getting diabetes and some types of cancer. Lack of sleep can also cause stroke, reduce sex drive, or put you at risk of developing coronary heart disease.
If you have insomnia or sleep disorders and have tried prescription medication without success, then you might want to use CBD oils as sleep medicine. However, ensure to conduct thorough research on CBD products before you choose the best one for you. As a rule of thumb, choose CBD oils formulated to help promote sleep.
At AlchemyLeads, we don’t provide medical advice on CBD so talk to your doctor before trying any CBD products, especially if you are on other medications.