CBD for Sleep: Research, Benefits, Risks, Products
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Getting a restful night of sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being, yet many people struggle with sleep problems. While there are numerous remedies out there – from over-the-counter medications to prescription drugs – many are turning to CBD as a better natural remedy.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring chemical found in the cannabis plant that is gaining popularity for its potential health benefits, including improving sleep.
In this article, we will dive into the use of CBD for sleep, including its effectiveness, safety, and practical tips for adding it to your sleep routine.
Why take CBD?
Unlike THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana, CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive. Taking CBD will not get you high.
It is a safe option for those who want to avoid the side effects of traditional sleep aids or THC while experiencing the goodness of marijuana.
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating sleep, among other functions. It has many health benefits, ranging from pain relief to easing stress, seizures, anxiety levels, and inflammation.
Scientific research: CBD and sleep
Most studies on cannabinoids and sleep have looked at the combination of THC and CBD rather than just CBD alone.
Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to determine CBD’s specific effects on sleep quality. That said, below is a summary of what we know about how CBD helps poor sleep.
Better sleep quality
Similarly, another study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that CBD improved sleep in 66.7% of participants within the first month of treatment. The study also found that CBD decreased anxiety in 79.2% of participants.
Eases other symptoms
Another understanding is cannabidiol works as a sleep aid by managing the symptoms that interfere with sleep – like chronic pain, stress, and anxiety. Cannabidiol has a calming effect on the body, reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation, which can help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
In addition, two case reports have documented the successful use of CBD oil to reduce marijuana addiction and improve insomnia and anxiety symptoms. One report describes a 27-year-old male with a history of daily marijuana use, while the other documents the improvement in sleep quality and anxiety in a young girl with PTSD after using CBD oil for six months.
Studies have suggested that CBD may help reduce symptoms of PTSD, including nightmares and sleep disturbances.
The effects of CBD on sleep may be dose-dependent, with low doses potentially having alerting effects – especially when taken with THC. Medium to high doses have more soothing and relaxing effects.
While some evidence supports the use of only CBD for treating insomnia and other sleep issues, more studies are needed. Questions about dosage, safety, and long-term use must be answered with further research.
Which CBD products should you take for sleep?
CBD flowers are the raw, dried buds of the hemp plant. They can be smoked or vaporised, which can be a quick and effective way to experience the effects of CBD. Some people find this method to help them to relax and fall asleep faster. Popular CBD strains are ACDC, Charlotte’s Angel, Harlequin, and Cannatonic.
CBD oils are widely available in Thailand and come in a range of strengths and flavours. Some formulations are also approved by the Thai Government Pharmaceutical Organisation and can be prescribed by medical marijuana doctors.
They can be taken sublingually (under the tongue for 30-90 seconds) or added to food and drinks. Cannabidiol oil tinctures can take effect quickly and may be a good option for those who need fast-acting relief.
CBD topicals such as creams, balms, and lotions can be applied directly to the skin to ease muscle tension, soreness, and chronic pain.
They are often used for a relaxing massage that can help improve sleep. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort that’s preventing you from getting a good night’s rest, CBD topicals can help.
Gummies, edibles, capsules
CBD gummies are an enjoyable and easy way to eat CBD, with various flavours and strengths available. Edibles & capsules also fall in the same category.
Some gummies for sleep may also include a blend of melatonin and CBD, which can enhance their sleep-promoting effects. These products have a specific dosage (mentioned on the packaging).
Taking CBD for sleep: Practical steps
When it comes to adding CBD to your sleep routine, there are a few things to keep in mind for best results.
CBD products come in varying strengths (expressed in milligrams), and selecting a dosage appropriate for your needs is vital.
If you are new to cannabis, start with a lower dose, see how you are doing, and gradually increase as needed.
The amount of cannabidiol you need to take for sleep depends on:
- Cannabis tolerance/sensitivity
Serious cases of sleep disorders will likely require a lot more cannabidiol.
If you are wondering how much CBD to take for sleep, there is no fixed or universal recommended dosage. What you can try is:
- Start with a low dose and gradually increase until you find the right amount. A starting point can be 15-20 mg of CBD.
- Take it at least 30 minutes before bed to allow it to take effect. The time it takes for CBD to start working can vary depending on your product.
- CBD oil is often absorbed more quickly through the mucous membrane under the tongue, leading to effects in 15-20 minutes. If you’re taking gummies or capsules, take them an hour or two earlier to allow enough time for your system to process them.
- Consider using sleep apps to track your sleep patterns and see if CBD is making a difference.
- Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a relaxing environment in your bedroom.
It is well-tolerated in varying amounts. A review published in 2017 highlighted that humans could tolerate up to 1,500 mg of cannabidiol per day without any adverse effects. Most people take between 100 mg to 200 mg per day – but this may not be the case for you.
Speak to your doctor to find the suitable CBD dosage for sleep – especially if you have any medical conditions.
Type of CBD
CBD oils come in three varieties: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant, including trace amounts of THC. Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum CBD but has been processed to remove THC. Finally, isolate CBD is the purest form of CBD, with all other compounds removed. You can learn more about the potential of CBD oil for wellness here.
Look for products that have been tested for purity and potency in third-party labs. These lab test results will be published on the site or on the product label in the form of a QR code.
This ensures that the product contains the amount of CBD advertised on the label and is free from contaminants like pesticides, additives, and heavy metals.
When selecting a CBD product, choose a reputable brand with high-quality organic ingredients and a proven track record of producing effective products. Look for positive reviews, transparency, and quality.
Side effects of using cannabidiol as a sleep aid
While CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, there are side effects that users should be aware of. These can include dry mouth, decreased appetite, dizziness, and drowsiness.
In some cases, CBD may also cause changes in blood pressure or heart rate. It’s important to note that the severity and frequency of these side effects can vary depending on the individual and the dose of CBD used.
Taking CBD with other medicines
CBD can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, antipsychotics, and antidepressants. When this happens, it can interfere with the medicine’s functioning, leading to unwanted effects.
Similarly, those with liver disease may also need to be cautious, as CBD can interact with liver enzymes and potentially worsen liver function. It is best to talk to your doctor before taking CBD in such cases. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid using CBD due to the lack of research on its safety in these populations.
CBD shows potential as a natural sleep aid due to its effects on anxiety, pain, and inflammation. While research is still limited, the available evidence suggests that CBD may improve the quality and quantity of sleep in some individuals without causing significant side effects.
Remember, CBD is not a magical cure for sleep problems and may not work for everyone. Approach it with realistic expectations while also focussing on your sleep hygiene routine for the best results.