CBD and Sleeping Pills: Comparing the Effects and Potential Danger

cbd and sleeping pills

Posted on February 23rd, 2021

When comparing CBD and sleeping pills, there are many things to look at. CBD works on the endocannabinoid system and can regulate the receptors that induce sleep. Sleeping pills also work on the brain and help to induce sleep by promoting relaxation via different chemical interactions. 

Not everyone reacts the same to CBD or sleeping pills. Some people will have a paradoxical reaction to sleeping pills causing them to be wired and wound up in lieu of being more relaxed. Different types of sleeping pills will have different long-term effects on people. It’s important to understand the differences between sleeping pills (all kinds) and CBD products.  

It’s important to choose CBD products that are low in THC. THC is the chemical in cannabis that can cause intoxication. To avoid this, CBD products should have less than 0.3 percent of THC in them. Always opt for the lowest possible level of THC when choosing your CBD products. 

To fully understand how CBD works on sleep, we must first take a moment to determine what factors may affect sleep. Caffeine, other medications or vitamins, mental health conditions, pain, and environmental factors like room temperature are all variables.

How CBD and Sleeping Pills Work


CBD may help to regulate many of the hormones that regulate sleep. Cortisol levels can greatly affect a person’s sleep. For someone who may have issues sleeping, the cortisol may be peaking at night instead of during the day. CBD can help to regulate this hormone and adjust a person’s sleeping pattern accordingly. It can balance out the cortisol levels so that the levels are lower at night thus promoting sleep in lieu of wakefulness. 

Studies show that CBD works to decrease the levels of cortisol in the body thus helping to induce relaxation and sleep. CBD binds to the brain’s natural cannabinoid receptors and enhances the body’s ability to relax and begin to fall into sleep. Of course, just as with pharmaceuticals, not everyone is going to react the same to CBD products. Some people won’t notice any effect at all and others may feel more stimulated. This can also be dependent on the type of CBD products that are used. If there is too much THC in the products, this may cause them to be more stimulated. 

For this reason, it’s important to start with the lowest possible dose of CBD and allow up to 2 hours to see the effects of CBD. If, after 2 hours, you’re not feeling any effect at all, you can slowly increase the dosage and see if that helps you to relax. For most people, this will work very well on their sleep cycle and help them to relax and be able to fall asleep faster. 

Sleeping Pills

There are different kinds of sleeping pills available on the market today. There are over-the-counter or OTC type sleeping pills, and there are prescription sleeping pills. Both work slightly differently so it’s important to understand each type. To further complicate the issue, different prescription medications that induce sleep will work differently on the body. Some will promote more relaxation in the mind than others. Some will interact with other medications and may also interact with alcohol. Therefore, it’s vital to read labels and follow the instructions closely to ensure that you’re not overdosing. 

Some over-the-counter drugs include such substances as antihistamines and other chemicals that have side effects of drowsiness. Many OTC options weren’t originally intended to induce sleep. They were used to treat allergies and other medical conditions. The prescription sleeping drugs promote relaxation, reduce anxiety and depression, and thus induce sleep. 

Both the prescription and the over-the-counter options have side effects. Lingering drowsiness, confusion, dry mouth, agitation, and sometimes hallucinations and behavioral changes are some of these. Depending on the person, the side effects may be mild to moderate. 

For this reason, doctors closely monitor patients who are on prescription medications that may induce sleep. Those who take over-the-counter medications should notify a family member or close friend that they’re using them in case they have an unusual side effect. 

Comparing CBD and Sleeping Pills

There are many different degrees of sleep issues. Some people have an occasional rough night. However, many experience frequent restless nights that lead to more serious health issues.

CBD works very well for inducing and enhancing sleep in some people. What’s more, it comes with almost no side effects. On the other hand, sleeping pills may cause dry mouth, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, and sometimes behavioral changes. Some of these can be quite frightening to the user as well as those around them. It can be scary to hallucinate and have behavioral changes that you simply can’t control. 

To date, there are no reports of any lethal doses of CBD. By contrast, there’s been more than one case of someone overdosing on sleeping pills. Studies continue to show that CBD is non-habit forming. However, some sleeping pills may become habit-forming and require users to be weaned off of them to prevent addiction. 

Many researchers believe that using CBD may help to treat addiction, chronic pain, depression, acne, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep issues, and the side effects of chemotherapy. Sleeping pills don’t treat any of these conditions, and may, in fact, make them more exacerbated. While more research on CBD and sleeping pills should be conducted, the present information is helpful. 

sleepy womanWhy Choose CBD For Sleep Issues

The lack of serious side effects is one of the biggest advantages of CBD. It may work to promote sleep by relaxing the mind and leveling out the sleep hormones that are off-balance in the brain. 

If using CBD capsules, it’s wise to take them about two hours prior to the time that you wish to fall asleep. Any edibles require about two hours to work their way through the digestive tract and begin to take effect in the body. Tinctures, oils, and other forms of CBD will work more quickly in the body because they enter the body via a quicker route. 

Tinctures and oils are typically placed under the tongue and used sublingually. Massage oils and creams or lotions may be massaged into the temples, or elsewhere on the body. Everyone has a type of CBD product that works best for them. Most people who are using CBD to promote sleep will choose an edible or a tincture.

CBD products are non-habit forming even when they’re part of your daily/nightly use. CBD may also work on aches and pains that can impair sleep. So if you’ve had a particularly busy day that has required more of your body than normal, CBD may be an ideal solution to help ease you into dreamland. 


Clearly, there is much to consider between CBD and sleeping pills. It’s important to make a choice based upon the need for sleep and any other underlying medical issues. It’s important to inform your doctor before you try any new medication. No major drug interactions have been reported with CBD products. Still, a doctor may have insight on your specific medications’ interactions.

It’s important to discuss your sleep issues with your doctor in case there are serious underlying issues they can discover. CBD is great because it is a very low-risk treatment option. Whether it is the miracle you have been seeking or not, it shouldn’t cause any side effects. Sleeping pills cannot make a similar claim.

Always start with the lowest dose possible and slowly increase the dosage of CBD until you find the right amount for you. Make sure to wait an hour or so after taking the first dose to allow the effects to take place.

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