Image source: unsplash.com
If you struggle with falling asleep at night, you're not alone. There are few things as annoying yet universally understood as lying awake to a growing list of thoughts and worries. It's a common occurrence, especially now with so many things to keep most anyone up at night: money, health pandemics, social injustice and everyday life. It's easy to feel overwhelmed, but that doesn't mean you should be losing sleep.
According to the CDC, roughly 50% of American adults experience sleep issues. If you're one of the millions suffering from sleep deprivation, insomnia, anxiety, or other sleep-related problems, it might be time to consider alternative treatments. We suggest talking to your doctor about CBD oil for sleep. Cannabis has become the subject of increased scientific study, and many recent reports have found promising answers to the question, "does CBD help with sleep?" Here's what we know so far about CBD and sleep:
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the two most prominent chemical compounds in marijuana and hemp. Because of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, CBD products derived from hemp that contain less than 0.3% THC are now federally legal. This means that, regardless of your state's marijuana laws, you can legally buy and use a variety of CBD products.
Not only has CBD been found by the World Health Organization to not cause dependency or health-related problems, but it has also shown serious potential for treating various conditions and chronic pains, including arthritis inflammation, seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy syndromes, insomnia, and anxiety. Additionally, there are very few negative side effects attributed to CBD, which are mostly limited to nausea, fatigue, irritability, and raised levels of other medications.
Recent studies have increased our understanding of the endocannabinoid system, which has underlined the significant impact CBD and THC have on pain and stress. CB1 and CB2 are receptors within the endocannabinoid system that mediate the body's pain and anxiety. CBD has been found to interact with these receptors in a way that promotes relaxation and pain remediation, both of which have a direct impact on sleep. CBD works in several ways as a sleep aid. Not only is it thought to help you fall to sleep faster (up to an hour quicker based on this Project CBD survey), but it has proven effective to use CBD oil for sleeping sounder for longer periods of time.
Does CBD oil make you sleepy during the day? Does CBD make you tired at all? These are two questions that commonly keep people away from using CBD. Fortunately, the answer is no. We suggest taking CBD before bed not because it makes you tired, but because it reduces anxiety and reduces pain that may get in the way of falling asleep. If you take CBD during the day, it will have the same effect and not cause drowsiness.
Stress and anxiety both actively contribute to sleeping problems and add to the severity of legitimate sleeping disorders (i.e. insomnia). It also works the other way around - individuals with sleeping disorders are more likely to develop anxiety. In fact, according to a recent study, individuals that suffer from insomnia are five times more likely to develop anxiety and depression.
It makes sense that, if anxiety and sleep are so closely related, CBD may prove beneficial to both. A 2019 study conducted tests over several months to measure the effectiveness of CBD oil for sleeping and anxiety. They found that one month of consistent CBD use improved the majority of subjects' anxiety levels and sleep quality. This is just the beginning of studies, but results continue to underline the effectiveness of CBD oil for insomnia and anxiety.
Another method people often use for falling to sleep quickly is a combination of CBD and melatonin. Melatonin has been a natural sleep remedy used legally for decades and shares similar effects on sleep with CBD. Companies even offer products infused with both melatonin and CBD. For effective use, professionals recommend taking melatonin and/or CBD an hour or two before bed, although there are currently no official best-use guidelines.
Unlike CBD, THC has psychoactive effects and causes a "high" when ingested. Different levels of THC provide different effects. Traditionally, indica strains are used for a more relaxing high (more ideal for falling to sleep) and sativa strains are used for a focused, euphoric high (ideal for daytime productivity and creativity). Using cannabis products that are higher in CBD and lower in THC are likely to provide a relaxing high that is ideal for sleep aid.
Together, CBD and THC create the "entourage effect," wherein the two chemicals work together to maximize the therapeutic and medicinal qualities of both. A recent CBD sleep study (with up to 30% THC) showed lowered anxiety levels and increased sleep levels in the majority of subjects. Scientists are still working to understand the exact effects THC has on sleep (with and in contrast to CBD). However, if you are interested in using medical marijuana for supplemental treatment, check if there's a medical marijuana doctor near you and ask about obtaining a medical marijuana card.
Currently, the FDA has only approved one CBD product, Epidiolex, which treats two forms of epilepsy. Because no other products on the market are regulated, there are no official dosage guidelines. As an example, Epidiolex calls for 5mg per day, with an increase to 10mg after one week. And while not official guidelines, studies have been conducted to determine ideal CBD dosages. For example, one study found that high doses - 150mg of oral CBD - were best for inducing the therapeutic effects needed to alleviate anxiety and sleeping disorders.
Please note that, because there are no official guidelines, self-dosing is conducted at the individual's risk. For conditions like anxiety and insomnia, self-dosing has not been proven to have any negative side effects. It is suggested that CBD be taken in small amounts at first, increasing dosage over time until you feel a positive, well-tolerated effect. But if you're taking CBD for serious conditions, such as seizures, it's critical you consult a doctor before self-dosing.
The most common CBD products include oil, topicals, edibles, and vape pens. While the best CBD for sleep generally comes as oil or an edible, you can find it in almost any form. There are chocolate bars, drinks, gels, patches, and CBD gummies for sleep. You can even buy CBD-infused pillows. But just because there are tons of products out there doesn't mean they're all worth buying.
Because CBD isn't regulated, it's important that you buy products from reputable sources. To cut back on the risk of buying incorrectly labeled products (one study found that only31% of CBD products are correctly labeled), look for brands that have certificates of analysis from third-party testing labs. This extra step means the CBD concentration and other ingredients have been checked by someone other than the manufacturer, which provides an extra layer of reputability. Make sure to read labels, do your research, and know what you're buying before trying something new. Here are some of our favorite CBD oils and gummies for sleep from well-know, reputable brands:
Have you tried CBD to help you fall asleep? Did it work for you? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!