Many people are finding CBD to be helpful in the treatment of sleep disorders like insomnia, insufficient sleep and restless leg syndrome.
Sleep disorders refer to changes in sleeping patterns or habits that negatively impact health. Sleep disorders are surprisingly common, affecting 50-70 million adults in the United States. Unfortunately, most physicians prescribe pharmaceuticals to combat sleep disorders rather than managing the disorder naturally. Medications like sleeping pills and allergy/cold medicine are habit forming, unhealthy, and induce negative side effects when taken regularly. Your body develops psychological dependency to sedative hypnotic drugs like Ambien and Lunesta, and they often leave you with residual feelings of grogginess in the morning, even after a full 8 hours of sleep.
The good news is that natural, plant-based remedies like CBD have helped thousands get off pharmaceutical sleeping pills. In addition to making lifestyle changes that facilitate a better night’s sleep, ingesting CBD oil before bed will help provide you with a restful night’s sleep—naturally.
The interesting thing about CBD and sleep is that in small to medium doses, CBD is mildly alerting. However, several patients with insomnia report that consuming CBD oil (in tincture or extract form) a few hours before bed leads to a great night’s sleep. So why do the anecdotal results contradict the reported medical studies?
For starters, research on cannabis and sleep is in its infancy and has yielded mixed results. But there’s more to it than that. The root cause of many sleep disorders is actually another disease like anxiety, stress, PTSD, or chronic pain—and CBD helps manage all of those conditions. So, while CBD’s hypnotic effects appear to be dose dependent, it combats the underlying condition that is the root cause of many sleep disorders.
Imagine waking up in the morning feeling rested and awake—no more residual grogginess or impairment.
In order to understand how CBD helps modulate sleep, we turn to a series of medical studies that have been conducted over the past forty years. These studies evaluated CBD’s medical efficacy in treating those who suffer from various types of sleep disorders.
A 1981 study evaluated the hypnotic effects of CBD. Acute doses of cannabidiol ranging from 10 to 600 mg and chronic administration of 10 mg for 20 days or 3 mg/kg/day for 30 days did not induce psychologic or physical symptoms suggestive of psychotropic or toxic effects; however, several volunteers complained of somnolence. Doses of 40, 80, and 160 mg cannabidiol were compared to placebo and 5 mg nitrazepam in 15 insomniac volunteers. Subjects receiving 160 mg cannabidiol reported having slept significantly more than those receiving placebo; the volunteers also reported significantly less dream recall; with the three doses of cannabidiol than with placebo.
2016 study evaluated the effects of CBD on a 10 year old girl with pediatric anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. Pharmaceutical medications provided partial relief, but results were not longlasting, and there were major side effects. A trial of CBD oil resulted in a maintained decrease in anxiety and a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of the patient’s sleep. CBD oil, an increasingly popular treatment of anxiety and sleep issues, has been documented as being an effective alternative to pharmaceutical medications. This case study provides clinical data that support the use of CBD oil as a safe treatment for reducing anxiety and improving sleep in a young girl with post traumatic stress disorder.
A 2017 peer review of the existing studies relating to cannabinoids and sleep concluded CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and [combating] excessive daytime sleepiness.
A 2018 study concluded that CBD had no acute effects on the sleep-wake cycle of healthy subjects—i.e. it didn’t negatively impact the sleep cycle in healthy participants. Different from anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs such as benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, acute administration of an anxiolytic dose of CBD does not seem to interfere with the sleep cycle of healthy volunteers. The present findings support the proposal that CBD do not alter normal sleep architecture.
As indicated by the studies above, CBD can be used to treat both insomnia as well as excessive daytime fatigue—the key is to choose the correct dose for your desired effects.
Colten, H. R. (1970, January 01). Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19961/
Carlini, E. A., & Cunha, J. M. (1981). Hypnotic and antiepileptic effects of cannabidiol. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7028792
Shannon, S., & Opila-Lehman, J. (2016). Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27768570
Babson, K. A., Sottile, J., & Morabito, D. (2017, March 27). Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: A Review of the Literature. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11920-017-0775-9
Linares, I. M., Guimaraes, F. S., Eckeli, A., Crippa, A. C., Zuardi, A. W., Souza, J. D., Crippa, J. A. (2018, April). No Acute Effects of Cannabidiol on the Sleep-Wake Cycle of Healthy Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5895650/