Does CBD Help Us Sleep?
Sleeping in on a Saturday might just be a thought more exciting than Friday night plans! Maybe you're a night owl like me, staying up to the wee hours of the night reading articles about ancient Mesopotamia...on a Tuesday. I'm also not one for pharmaceutical grade sleep aids, though many doctors recommend, prescribe or even endorse (for money) things like Ambien and Lunesta. While these medications may work, they also come with a heavy bag of side effects. Sometimes those side effects can be worse than losing sleep! Yikes.
Therefore we're taking a moment to highlight some anecdotal notes and studies performed that might shed light on whether the cannabinoid CBD would benefit sleep through its relaxing properties or stimulate our anatomy and disrupt our sleep cycles. To put it out there from the get-go, it looks like it has to do with dosage, as well as each individual's own anatomy and experience. So keep an open mind and be willing to do some...personal experiments!
What is CBD?
In case you missed the rising trend across the nation, CBD or cannabidiol is one of many cannabinoids, or molecules produced uniquely by the cannabis family. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the primary psychoactive element in marijuana), CBD is non-intoxicating, meaning it doesn't have a strong effect on cognitive brain activity and doesn't cause the "high" associated with marijuana.
All cannabis strains produce cannabinoids (hemp included, as it is cannabis). While CBD and THC are the most well-known cannabinoids, there are many different types, and only recently have significant resources been poured into their study. Our brains have specific receptors designed to accept cannabinoids, known as CB1 and CB2. These receptors are responsible for the assimilation of cannabinoid molecules into your system, resulting in the psychoactive and immune responses correlated with cannabis consumption.
Is it good as a sleep aid?
Evidence, and users, show that CBD does benefit sleep. Unfortunately, there aren't many studies that single out CBD as a sleep aid.
In a recent nationally representative Consumer Reports survey, about 10 percent of Americans who reported trying CBD said they used it to help them sleep, and a majority of those people said it worked. (1 out of 7 of those people involved in the study said they use CBD daily.)
Two years ago, the NCBI posted a report called, Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature. It states, "Preliminary research into cannabis and insomnia suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia."
Know your dose!
When it comes to all cannabis products, the consumption method, source material and dosage have a big part to play in bioavailability and effect. For instance, the bioavailability of edibles has a longer duration but takes a while to kick in. If you were to smoke a joint from harvested and cured flower, it's effects would be immediate, and not just focused on one cannabinoid--providing what we like to call the entourage effect. The profile of cannabinoids and terpenes combined create a more diverse effect on the user. However, it dissipates faster than those edibles, due to bioavailability.
When it comes to specifically CBD, there is very little published evidence regarding dosing. Research to date indicates that at higher doses, CBD has a calming effect; yet at lower doses, CBD has a stimulating effect.
In a 1977 animal study, the “hypnotic-like effects” of CBD were first studied. Since then, very few CBD dosing studies have been performed, but the evidence seems to indicate that the effectiveness of CBD depends on whether the person has a normal sleep rhythm or whether the person has a sleep disorder.
In a 2018 study on 27 healthy subjects, a high CBD dose (300 mg) qualifying as a clinically anxiolytic dose had no effect on the sleep-wake cycle. CBD was given 30 minutes prior to bedtime and sleep recordings were made for eight hours thereafter.
In a similar study, very high CBD doses (600 mg) had a sedative effect, but in subjects with insomnia, much lower doses of 160 mg reduced sleep disruption and increased total sleep duration. Conversely, very low doses of 25 mg had no effect.
If you're looking for some product recommendations check out these Dream Capsules by La Haute, or these CBN Capsules by Mary's Medicinals. (Check out our article on what exactly CBN is. In short, CBN is created from the deterioration of THC, is less psycho-active and contributes to the sedative properties when using cannabis--basically, really good for sleepy time.)
Leafly's reports show, well, basically what was mentioned earlier. There's a lack of evidence to make a thoroughly informed decision as to whether CBD is a good sleep aid. It seems as if it is so, but the science has yet to be dialed in. So as stated earlier, and I recommend this type of mentality for the blooming cannabis market--keep an open mind and be mindful of your own experiences.
Now go get some rest!