Does CBD for sleep work? That’s a question increasingly asked by some of the estimated 70 million people with a sleep disorder.
Tossing and turning all night is common. But it’s not normal. An occasional sleepless night is par for the course in our busy hectic lives. However, chronic low sleep quality is indicative of imbalance in the body (and perhaps both mind and spirit).
For instance, medical conditions associated with chronic insomnia include stroke, seizures, high blood pressure, and heart disease. And according to a meta-analysis involving over one million subjects, chronic insomnia increased the all-cause mortality rate by 12%. Moreover, not catching enough Z’s can cause mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The interest in CBD oil for sleep has significantly increased because of three primary reasons:
1: Several research studies support CBD, aka cannabidiol, for insomnia.
2: Hemp-derived CBD with a maximum of 0.3% THC is now legal in all 50 states, making it readily available to consumers.
3: There is increasing concern about potential serious side effects of prescription sleep medicines—and their lack of efficacy over time. (Melatonin supplements also lose their effectiveness with increased usage and deplete the body’s natural melatonin levels.)
If you’ve tried virtually every sleep solution from counting sheep to sleep apps, sleeping pills, white noise machines, etc., with no long-term success, is CBD the miracle sleep remedy you’ve been waiting for?
The short answer is: maybe.
High quality full spectrum CBD oil may indeed be very helpful for improving sleep quality. The problem is, however, many low quality CBD products have flooded the market. Keep reading to find out how you can tell if a CBD product is pure and of high quality.
CBD & Sleep: What Does The Research Say?
Several studies have demonstrated positive results. For example, a 2017 research article published in Current Psychiatry Reports summarizes recent study findings: “Preliminary research into cannabis and insomnia suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia.”
In addition, the co-authors write, “CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness.”
A more recent review of clinical trials involving phytocannabinoids (plant-derived cannabinoids like CBD and THC as well as CBN and THCV ) for sleep was published in 2019 in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.
The co-authors of the review reached similar conclusions, writing: “Many of the reviewed studies suggested that cannabinoids could improve sleep quality, decrease sleep disturbances, and decrease sleep onset latency [the amount of time it takes to fall asleep].”
In addition, the researchers believe that CBD directly affects sleep quality by interacting with receptors in the brain that control the body’s circadian rhythms that influence the sleep/wake cycle.
Although most of the studies demonstrated a positive effect on sleep, the researchers noted that the studies had limiting factors. These include a small number of study participants and lack of dosing uniformity. In addition, sleep outcomes were often evaluated as a secondary factor, in the context of another illness.
A study from nearly a decade ago published in the Swiss journal, Pharmaceuticals compared CBD with the benzodiazepine insomnia drug, nitrazepam, and found that high-dose CBD at 160 mg effectively increased the duration of sleep.
Is A Combination of CBD & THC Recommended For Sleep?
CBD is the second most abundant chemical compound in the cannabis sativa plant, which can be selectively bred as hemp or marijuana. When cannabis sativa is bred as hemp, CBD, which is non-intoxicating, becomes the most prevalent compound. The leading chemical compound in marijuana is THC, which is psychoactive.
Some people believe it’s best to consume a product that has both CBD and THC for certain conditions, especially pain management. However, when it comes to sleep, the research article published in Current Psychiatry Reports suggests THC may impair sleep quality long-term.
How Does CBD Work For Better Sleep Quality?
According to Harvard University, CBD has arguably shown the most promise in research studies for insomnia, anxiety and pain management. CBD may improve all three conditions by interacting with the body’s internal cannabinoids, also known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors throughout the body that regulates homeostasis (balance) in the body.
One way in which CBD may help improve sleep and anxiety is by indirectly stimulating the body’s production of GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that plays a critical role in helping both body and mind feel more calm. Technically, CBD doesn’t bind to the two primary ECS receptors in the body (CB1 and CB2). And it also technically doesn’t bind to GABA. But it does enhance GABA’s receptor-binding-affinity, which makes GABA’s natural sedative effects more potent.
Is It Better To Take CBD For Sleep In the Morning Or Evening?
Anecdotally, most people report that CBD is more effective for sleep if taken before bedtime. Some people, however, may experience a stimulatory effect taking CBD at night and would have a more positive outcome taking it earlier in the day.
For certain conditions such as inflammation and pain management, CBD may work best if it’s taken twice per day. You may experience improved sleep quality if you take CBD both morning and evening.
What Is The Best CBD Dose For Sleep?
The Food & Drug Administration does not regulate CBD products. As such, there is no suggested dosing guidelines like there is for pharmaceuticals. An article on ConsumerReports.org suggests a higher dose might be more beneficial. Many experts recommend starting with a low dose, e.g. 25 mg, and then increase the dose by 5 mg as needed. CBD dosage also depends on body weight. A 200 pound adult may want to start with a higher dosage, beginning at 50 mg.
Can You Use CBD & Melatonin?
There is currently no research studies to caution against taking both supplements. Melatonin is the body’s so-called sleep hormone. As mentioned above, taking a melatonin supplement can inhibit your body’s natural production of the hormone. And that’s an important thing to consider because melatonin is involved with more than sleep cycles. The hormone also plays a role in immune function, blood pressure and production of the stress hormone, cortisol (which CBD helps lower).
Rather than trying both CBD and melatonin together, it may be better to self-experiment with only CBD at first.
Gummies vs Tincture: Which CBD Is Better For Sleep
Tinctures (aka drops, oil) are more bioavailable, meaning more easily absorbed by the body. Therefore, tinctures may be more effective for sleep quality than gummies, which often have synthetic additives such as food coloring.
For best results, use CBD sublingually (pour the drops under the tongue). That’s because the sublingual gland is the quickest pathway for CBD to cross the blood-brain barrier and get to work.
What Type of CBD Is Better For Insomnia?
Pure, full-spectrum CBD contains more phytocannabinoids than CBD isolate. Because of this, the plant compounds work in concert together, making their cumulative actions greater than the sum of their individual parts. This is called the “entourage effect.” It’s a well-known fact that herbs and other plant compounds work synergistically together.
The entourage effect may lead to better sleep improvements than a product containing CBD isolate.
How Long Does It Take CBD Oil To Work For Insomnia?
Because everybody is different and there’s no regulations on CBD products, it’s difficult to say. If you choose a high-quality CBD supplement, you may notice positive results within a few days to a couple weeks.
What is the Best CBD Oil For Sleep?
Choose a brand of pure, full-spectrum CBD oil derived from organically-grown hemp that prominently displays certificates of authenticity and third-party verified lab reports for each batch of CBD that it sells.
Max & Steven’s Premium Hemp Extracts meets those criteria.
What To Expect If You Start Taking CBD Oil For Sleep Improvement: Conclusion
Don’t expect CBD to knock you out like a strong sleeping pill. But because it can help your body’s many intricate systems operate in better balance, CBD, as long as it’s a high-quality, pure full-spectrum extract, may very well help you get a blissful night sleep. Try CBD oil for sleep for a minimum of a couple weeks to notice any positive outcomes.
The good news about trying CBD for sleep is that it can’t hurt to try it. It’s non-habit forming and non-addictive. Using CBD doesn’t negatively impact your body’s natural hormone levels or lead to any unwanted side effects.