Using CBD for Sleep: Can it Lead to a Better Night’s Rest?

cbd for sleep

Posted on January 31st, 2021

A good night’s sleep is vital for the general health and wellbeing of human beings. However, according to a Sleep Foundation poll, sleep doesn’t come easily for about 30% of the general population. To make things worse, sleeping pills and similar medications usually come with side effects. Well, CBD has recently been in the limelight as a potential alternative to these medications. The main reason is because it is natural and does not have intoxicating effects. CBD is currently trending as a sleeping aid as many discover its potential to promote drowsiness. Many say it helps with sleeping hurdles such as stress and anxiety. But does it really help you sleep better? Let us delve into the details regarding CBD for sleep. 

What is CBD? 

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the many compounds in the plant Cannabis Sativa L and plays a number of roles in the human body. According to many research studies, CBD induces a more relaxing sleep and is a natural sedative. In small doses during day time, it can also promote wakefulness. But just how does this compound work to bring about all this? 

Well, as a cannabinoid, CBD is able to interact with the endocannabinoid system, a complex network of receptors, enzymes and endocannabinoids that controls a wide array of processes inside the body. Some of these processes include mood, appetite, stress levels, heart rate, and of course, sleep. The receptors in this system respond and interact with cannabinoids, and thus provide beneficial effects. The cannabinoids include those that your own body produces (endocannabinoids) and those in plants (phytocannabinoids). 

According to research, cannabidiol can help with somnolence; a condition characterized by exhaustion in the daytime because of poor sleep. Cannabidiol may encourage a better sleep cycle by promoting wakefulness during the day and promoting deep sleep at night. 

How Does CBD Make You Feel?

In regards to how CBD will make you feel, it mostly depends on individual-specific factors. Every individual’s reaction to the compound varies. Factors like whether the product is a full-spectrum or CBD isolate also play a role. It’s also worth keeping in mind whether you’re consuming supplements or medications. 

Terpenes in broad and full spectrum products also influence a person’s response. Scientists know that terpenes play a vital role in determining the strain as well as influencing an energetic effect, sedative effect, or even both. 

A study published in Translational Psychiatry suggests that cannabidiol inhibits anandamide uptake. This is an endocannabinoid that’s sometimes called the ‘bliss molecule’.  It binds to the CB1 receptors in the ECS system just like cannabidiol. However, when CBD interacts with these receptors instead, the pleasant effects of CBD may last longer. 

According to a study in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, CBD can give distinct responses depending on the dose. A low dose can cause one to feel alert and energized, while a higher one can be relaxing and sleep-inducing. 

Also, CBD is frequently reported to reduce anxiety. It’s also anxiolytic, meaning that it’s calming and may alleviate anxiety. Additionally, it may help relax the muscles. These properties could contribute to mind and body relaxation. 

cbd for sleepDoes CBD Cause Drowsiness?

Experts have mixed opinions when it comes to asking if cannabidiol causes tiredness. There is no genuine clinical evidence supporting the compound as a sleeping aid, but the product itself shouldn’t make you drowsy. 

With that being said, scientists acknowledge that it may help alleviate the anxiety that can affect sleep. This means it can act as a natural sleeping aid for those who need to calm down and relax. 

According to studies, there’s evidence that taking CBD in high doses can regulate adenosine pathways in your brain. Adenosine is a compound that tends to accumulate during the day, deactivating the sensory neurons in the brain region that keeps you awake. 

Also, CBD can trigger sleep response or tiredness by interacting with 5-HT1a serotonin receptors. When binding to these receptors, CBD blocks them from the other agonists binding to them. Depending on your body chemistry, when cannabidiol binds to 5-HT1a serotonin receptors, it blocks the depression or anxiety-causing molecules, resulting in instant relief. As a result, some people may experience a sensation of sleepiness. 

THC vs CBD for Sleep

Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis and is reputed for its intoxicating effects and inducing sleepiness. According to some scientists, the drowsiness some attribute to CBD consumption is most likely THC. So, if a CBD product is making you drowsy, it’s perhaps because of the trace amounts of THC in the substance. 

THC is not necessarily more effective compared to cannabidiol as a sleep inducer. Your body’s chemistry affects how you respond to THC. For some, it can be counterproductive if you are looking for a deep slumber. While THCs psychoactivity can result in drowsiness, it can also make your mind race. Ultimately, it depends on the symptoms you’re trying to alleviate and what works best for you. 

Researchers also agree that THC can induce restlessness and anxiety in high doses, particularly over 10mg. As such, we can conclude that CBD is a better sleeping aid for most individuals. However, consuming 20mg or more of CBD and less than 10mg of THC can be an excellent combination. 

When THC is exposed to light and heat, it transforms into CBN, a cannabinoid that has more sedative effects. According to Steep Hill Labs analysis, 5mg of CBN is as effective as 10mg of diazepam, a product used to treat anxiety, seizures and muscle spasms. As such, it is highly likely that using older cannabis may have more sedative and sleep-inducing effects compared to the fresher variants. 

sleepCBD for Sleep Disorders

Although CBD research is still in its infancy, there are many studies available in the United States National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine. According to a 2019 review, using THC and CBD for sleep shows that cannabinoids can boost sleep quality, reduce sleep disturbances and minimize the time it takes for one to fall asleep. 

However, most of the studies reviewing CBD assessed sleep as a secondary result in the context of other conditions. A 2019 study that looked into the use of cannabidiol for kids with autism to treat related conditions like sleep disturbances, showed that it improved sleep in over 71% of the patients. 

Health Risks of CBD for Sleep?

Back in 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report concluding that CBD does not cause harm. However, the organization ideally advised people to use it cautiously. 

The liver is responsible for breaking down medicines and it interacts with CBD as well. So, if you consume CBD while under medication, it can lead to slowing down the drug metabolism process. High doses of CBD can result in liver injury. As such, it is imperative to consult a doctor before consuming any CBD product, particularly if you are taking other medication. 

Few people experience negative effects from CBD. However, some may experience some side effects including dry mouth or drowsiness. The latter can affect your ability to work properly and even impair your ability to drive. As such, you should be cautious when consuming CBD products to ensure safety. 

How To Use CBD for Sleep

As we know, our bodies are all built differently. What works for others may not work for you. When it comes to determining the optimal CBD routine, experimentation is key. Body chemistry, time of day, dosage, and form of the product are all variables you need to consider when consuming CBD. 

Of all CBD forms, CBD tincture has the highest cannabinoid percentage. Most people prefer consuming it in tincture form in order to preserve the terpenes responsible for the product’s smell and taste. Tanasi produces full spectrum hemp tinctures to include every possible compound that hemp has to offer. This allows the entourage effect to take place. To improve your sleep, consider taking small and consistent CBD amounts. 

Other CBD Potential Benefits

As cannabidiol interacts with your immune, circulatory and nervous systems, it may also provide other benefits for an array of conditions. According to a study in the European Journal of Pain, CBD can alleviate pain and inflammation. Another study shows that CBD can have anti-depression and anti-anxiety effects when used in small doses. Also, the compound shows promise in alleviating epilepsy-induced seizures and some forms of muscle spasms. 

According to a study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD also has the potential to boost heart health and may provide protective benefits for neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease. 

The Takeaway

There is solid evidence that shows CBD can alleviate anxiety and boost the feelings of calmness and relaxation. This should result in better sleep for some individuals. However, there are few clinical studies on humans, particularly looking at the effects of CBD for sleep disorders. It is possible that future research will improve our comprehension of cannabidiol, its mechanisms as well as its role in sleep regulation. 

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