Cannabidiol (CBD) has begun to see increasing use in recent years to treat a range of conditions. Many people have described experiencing relief from chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and seizures following a regular regimen of CBD use. For individuals that struggle with staying asleep throughout the night, the side-effects associated with standard medical treatments may not be appealing. Instead, they have begun to cast an eye towards the potential benefits of CBD for sleep.
In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between CBD and sleep. We’ll seek to answer whether the use of CBD products can potentially help with sleep aid. Along the way, we’ll also explore what CBD is, where it comes from, and how it produces its effects. This information will provide important context for making a decision about whether or not CBD products may help you with sleep issues.
What is Cannabidiol?
Cannabidiol is one of over 100 active cannabinoids that are found within cannabis. Cannabis is a genus of plant that includes both marijuana and hemp. CBD can be found in both marijuana and hemp, however, most legal CBD sold online today is derived from the hemp plant. Marijuana is perhaps the more well-known of the cannabis plant due to the fact that it contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Many of the myths and beliefs surrounding THC have, by association, affected CBD. Let’s look at some of the most common mistaken beliefs around CBD.
Does CBD Get You High?
One of the most common questions surrounding CBD is whether or not it gets you “high”. When people ask this question, they are really wondering if CBD produces the same effect that THC does. THC is the predominant cannabinoid found in marijuana. In fact, marijuana is typically cultivated in order to produce the highest concentrations of THC possible. THC produces psychoactive effects, meaning that the use of it results in changes to an individual’s mental state.
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. If you take CBD, your consciousness is not altered and you will not experience a high. That being said, CBD does appear to result in a calming effect on the central nervous system. This effect is believed to be why it can be effective for treating anxiety, epilepsy, and other mental health disorders. This calming effect may also be why it sometimes results in drowsiness.
Does CBD Come From Marijuana?
Some people believe that CBD is derived from the marijuana plant. While this is possible because marijuana does contain CBD, typically CBD is extracted from hemp plants. Hemp has a couple of properties that make it an ideal candidate for the production of CBD. Hemp contains higher concentrations of CBD than marijuana does, making it a more efficient source. Additionally, hemp is not placed within the same legal framework as marijuana is. This is because hemp is traditionally a source for hemp fibers, which have been used for years due to their durability. Most hemp that is cultivated commercially cannot exceed a certain threshold of THC content, typically less than 0.3%.
Is CBD All Hype?
This misconception is more contested. To be sure, the explosive growth of CBD products and the CBD industry, in general, can make it seem like the health benefits and positive effects associated with CBD are overblown. The reality is that there hasn’t been extensive research done on cannabinoids in general, and CBD specifically, to determine their efficacy for the treatment of many ailments and conditions. Without extensive controlled, randomized testing, no one can say for sure what the efficacy of CBD is for the treatment of specific conditions. However, there are many positive studies that are being released on a regular basis that are showing that CBD is effective in the treatment of certain conditions and disorders.
There is currently one drug on the market in the United States that contains CBD as the primary ingredient, Epidiolex, which is prescribed to treat epilepsy. Other than that drug, the CBD market remains largely unregulated. This has led to consumers having to make their own decisions in regards to whether CBD is an effective treatment for their specific ailment. Anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of CBD as a treatment for certain conditions abounds, and the sheer weight of this evidence is difficult to dismiss completely.
There is also ample historical evidence of the use of cannabinoids as a treatment for a variety of conditions. Cannabinoids in ancient China were used as a treatment for gout, constipation, malaria, and menstrual cramps. By the Early Modern period, cannabinoids were being used as an analgesic and to treat epilepsy and nausea. Cannabinoids, including CBD, are still in wide use today for these same conditions and more, including CBD for arthritis, anorexia, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and more.
Why CBD Might Help You Sleep
Sleep problems can be especially debilitating. The relationship between sleep and our long-term health has been well established, and disruptions in our sleep patterns can have wide-ranging effects throughout the rest of our lives. Standard treatment modalities for sleep disorders carry with them a number of unpleasant side-effects. As such, many people choose to suffer through sleep issues rather than address them through prescription drugs.
If you are wondering “does CBD help with sleep?”, the truth is that CBD may be a viable alternative treatment for sleep problems. The reason for this is because CBD has been shown to have an effect on the central nervous system. This effect, which tends to be calming, is believed to also be the main reason that CBD is effective in treating epilepsy and anxiety.
Of course, there hasn’t been extensive research demonstrating beyond a doubt that CBD is effective in treating insomnia, sleep quality or other sleep disorders. Anecdotal evidence indicates that, at a minimum, it is effective for some people.
One recent study published in 2019 sought to help address the lack of research documentation on the efficacy of CBD on sleep disorders. The study looked at 72 adult participants that were suffering from anxiety or sleep disorders. For sleep disorders, the patients were given 25mg of CBD in capsule form after dinner. Of the 72 participants in the study, 25 were treated for problems with their sleep. Notable results of the study are as follows:
- After the 1st month of treatment, 66% of individuals being treated for sleep problems experienced improvement. Additionally, 79% of individuals being treated with CBD for anxiety also noted an improvement.
- By the 2nd month of treatment, 56% of individuals seeking treatment for sleep disorders found that the treatments had improved their condition.
- The treatment was well accepted, with few side effects reported. The most reported side-effect was sedation, which subsided after continued use.
What this study shows, in part, is that CBD treatment can be effective in the short-term for treating sleep issues. A more focused long-term study would have to be undertaken to determine whether or not continued use of CBD over long periods of time would result in continued beneficial effects. Like most treatment methods, CBD wasn’t an effective treatment for sleep problems for every person that used it. Rather, the majority of individuals that were in the treatment program noticed an improvement in their sleep quality.
There are some things to note about the above study. The first is that additional studies would need to be done to provide more context to this information. Ideally, subsequent studies would be randomized and controlled so as to produce more definitive results. The second thing to note about the above study is that CBD also seemed to be very effective at treating anxiety over a longer period of time. By the end of the 3-month study, the number of individuals reporting a positive improvement on their anxiety stayed about the same. For individuals whose sleep issues are a result of their anxiety, CBD treatment may very well prove even more effective than demonstrated in the study.
How Does CBD Work?
If you are considering trying CBD for sleep problems you have been experiencing – whether insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, sleep apnea, or other issues – you probably want to get a better idea of how CBD works within your body. While there haven’t been many studies looking at the effect of CBD on sleep in humans, there has been an increasing number of studies examining how CBD affects the body in general.
CBD affects the body through the endocannabinoid system. You may not have heard of the endocannabinoid system. This system was only recently discovered by scientists, which has resulted, in part, to the slow development of scientific literature about how cannabinoids work.
The Endocannabinoid System and CBD
The endocannabinoid system is a large, complex system that exists in every animal including humans. This system consists of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), enzymes, and lipids that exist throughout our bodies and in every major organ including the skin. You might be wondering why this system exists within our bodies given the fact that cannabinoids are found in sources outside of our body. The answer is that our body produces its own type of cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids.
The endocannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body to regulate a variety of functions. One such interaction is one most of us are familiar with. During the post-workout period, many people report that they feel a type of “high”, often referred to as a “runner’s high”. This runner’s high is due in part to the action of the endocannabinoid anandamide as it interacts with the CB1 receptor in the body.
The endocannabinoid system is believed to play a vital role in the regulation of a number of functions in the body. Among these are hunger and satiety, metabolism, pain, arousal, sleep, addiction, and even our immune system. Since the system plays such an important role across many bodily functions, there may be clear impacts on your body if you have an endocannabinoid deficiency.
The cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, such as CBD, are considered phytocannabinoids. CBD is believed to function in a couple of different ways in the endocannabinoid system. CBD indirectly interacts with the CB1 receptors throughout the body by slowing the destruction of the endocannabinoid anandamide. CBD also interacts with the CB2 receptors in the body directly, which are linked to how the body manages inflammation.
So, while the exact mechanism through which CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system to beneficially affect sleep patterns isn’t exactly known, it is almost certainly through either one or both of these cannabinoid receptors. The lack of scientific knowledge about the endocannabinoid system itself has contributed to this. Furthermore, studies on CBD itself and its action on the body have only recently begun to be undertaken in earnest. As such, keep a close eye on research in coming years that focus on the efficacy of CBD specifically for sleep disorders.
CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoid compounds found in plants of the cannabis family. CBD is primarily manufactured from agricultural hemp and doesn’t have the psychoactive properties associated with THC that produce a “high”. While CBD doesn’t alter an individual’s consciousness, it has been found to have a beneficial effect on a number of ailments and conditions. CBD is currently the main ingredient in one FDA approved medication for the treatment of epilepsy, but evidence suggests that CBD for pain relief, anxiety, and sleep disorders may also be effective.
If you are wondering, “will CBD help me sleep?”, it very well might. CBD works in the body by interacting with two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, which are themselves critical components in the complex endocannabinoid system. This system has been linked to the regulation of how we eat, sleep, feel pain, and deal with stress. Given this, it is no surprise that many people report a beneficial effect on their sleep patterns from regular CBD usage. Of course, how every substance interacts with our body is unique, given the fact that our bodies are all different. One of the benefits of CBD is that there are very few side-effects associated with its use. This stands in stark contrast to the common existing treatment methods for sleep disorders.
If you or someone you know has been struggling with sleep problems, you may want to consider trying CBD to help achieve a good night’s sleep. BioCBD+ CBD products are high quality and their purity, as verified by the Certificate of Analysis, increases both the potency and bioavailability of the formula. To learn more about these CBD products, their effectiveness and how they may help you get a better night’s sleep, try BioCBD+ today!
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The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.
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- Gill, Lisa L. “New Hope for Pain Relief?” Consumer Reports 83, no. 10 (October 2018): 44.
- Menehan, Karen. “Safety in Application.” Massage Magazine, no. 273 (February 2019): 70–72.
- “Endocannabinoid System.” Science Direct, Academic Press, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/endocannabinoid-system.