- 09/22/2021 -

Can CBD be Used as a Sleep Aid?

As the modern world continues to get busier, it’s no surprise that sleeping problems are prevalent among adults. Besides causing general tiredness throughout the day, ongoing sleep deprivation has been associated with an increase in mental health challenges and a decline in general health, with links to a weakened immune system, heart disease, and depression. With this in mind, it’s no wonder sleeping pills are being prescribed so frequently. However, these measures are never meant to be used long-term, often being associated with chronic tiredness, mood swings, liver damage, and dependence.

It’s because of these adverse effects that people are turning to alternative remedies and at-home solutions. As such, the use of CBD is becoming an increasingly popular way to help support a good night’s sleep. That said, we think it’s important to take a look at the research and see what the current science has to say about CBD and sleep. While current studies seem positive, there’s still a lot we don’t know.

Sleep and the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a series of chemicals and receptors that help maintain our body’s homeostasis, or balance. While we’ve spoken about it both here and here, it’s worth noting that the ECS plays an important role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle our body goes through daily.

CB1 receptors, a large part of the ECS system, are associated with feelings of calm, largely through the release of a chemical called anandamide. Anandamide is found in larger quantities during the night, while another ECS chemical, 2-AG, is more prevalent during the day. Both of these chemicals activate CB1 receptors associated with regulating sleep cycles. CB1 receptors are also linked with decreasing pain, anxiety, and inflammation; all things that often get in the way of a good night’s sleep.

CBD is known to have a large impact on these systems, activating CB1 receptors and preventing the breakdown of anandamide so more of the chemical is available to us. It is also shown to trigger other receptors, such as 5-HT1A and TRPV1, which are known to mediate pain, anxiety, and inflammation, while regulating body temperature and helping to maintain consistent sleep-wake cycles.

Essentially, when our body struggles to regulate itself, the research suggests that CBD can help get us back to our baseline by activating receptors and chemicals that contribute to healthy sleep-wake cycles. It may also mitigate disruptions, like pain and anxiety, that can make it harder to fall and stay asleep.

The Effect of Terpenes

Terpenes, or terpenoids, are the compounds that are responsible for the unique aromas found in cannabis plants. Terpenes can be found in a multitude of plants and are said to have therapeutic properties. Depending on the terpene content, the therapeutic profile of a particular cultivar could vary greatly.

Several of the terpenes commonly found in cannabis are known to help promote particular health effects, including ones that can contribute to sleep. Myrcene, for example, is a compound known to be a painkiller, sedative, and muscle relaxant. Another terpene, called linalool, prevalent in lavender and some strains of cannabis, is said to help treat anxiety and manage stress.

Terpenes, along with other cannabinoids like THC, can work together in what’s called the entourage effect. Put simply, this means that these unique compounds work together in order to create a therapeutic effect greater than the sum of their parts.

Current Research

The ECS and terpenes aside, recent studies have shown CBD to be an effective sleep aid. One study, testing 409 people, found that the use of medicinal cannabis dramatically reduced insomnia in participants. Another study suggested that CBD might be an effective treatment for both anxiety and sleep challenges, though admitted the results were inconsistent and fluctuated over time.

When it comes to sleep, CBD dosage matters. Research suggests that CBD can have either a sedative or energizing effect depending on the amount consumed. Lower CBD dosages seem to be more stimulating, while higher dosages have been shown to be more sedative. Additionally, CBD content that contains greater amounts of THC also appears to work better for some people.

That said, bodies function differently. Factors like age, weight, sex, and body chemistry can mean that an effective dosage may look different for different people. Because of this, in order to properly dose CBD for sleep, it can often come down to individual trial and error.

However, as the research would suggest, our understanding of CBD’s effectiveness as a sleep aid is still limited. Much of the research that has been conducted investigated sleep as a by-product when trying to assess CBD’s effectiveness in treating other disorders. While pre-trials have shown promising results, more work needs to be done. We still have a ways to go before fully understanding the impact CBD has on sleep cycles, next-day grogginess, and cognitive functioning.

Practical Tips for Sleep

Aside from CBD, there are many practical ways to help improve sleep. The idea of sleep hygiene is that we can practice habits that will promote restfulness, both helping us fall and stay asleep throughout the night. While there are many adjustments we can make, some of the most common suggestions are listed below:

  1. Keep a consistent schedule.
  2. Follow a night time routine, including lots of down time.
  3. Turn screens off an hour before bed.
  4. Practice breathing or meditation exercises.
  5. Cut down on caffeine in the evenings.
  6. Get exercise.
  7. Create a good bedroom atmosphere, including a cool temperature and darkness.
  8. Keep your bedroom/bed just for sleeping and avoid working in these areas.
  9. Get out in the sun during the day, especially when just waking up.
  10. Reduce afternoon naps.

TL;DR

Getting a good night’s sleep is important, and chronic sleep deprivation is associated with both physical and mental health challenges. While the research is still limited, current studies have suggested that CBD can have a positive impact on our sleep patterns, both through terpenes and by helping our endocannabinoid system manage our sleep-wake cycles effectively. However, CBD aside, there are always practical adjustments that can be made in order to improve sleep.





- 09/22/2021 -

Can CBD be Used as a Sleep Aid?

As the modern world continues to get busier, it’s no surprise that sleeping problems are prevalent among adults. Besides causing general tiredness throughout the day, ongoing sleep deprivation has been associated with an increase in mental health challenges and a decline in general health, with links to a weakened immune system, heart disease, and depression. With this in mind, it’s no wonder sleeping pills are being prescribed so frequently. However, these measures are never meant to be used long-term, often being associated with chronic tiredness, mood swings, liver damage, and dependence.

It’s because of these adverse effects that people are turning to alternative remedies and at-home solutions. As such, the use of CBD is becoming an increasingly popular way to help support a good night’s sleep. That said, we think it’s important to take a look at the research and see what the current science has to say about CBD and sleep. While current studies seem positive, there’s still a lot we don’t know.

Sleep and the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a series of chemicals and receptors that help maintain our body’s homeostasis, or balance. While we’ve spoken about it both here and here, it’s worth noting that the ECS plays an important role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle our body goes through daily.

CB1 receptors, a large part of the ECS system, are associated with feelings of calm, largely through the release of a chemical called anandamide. Anandamide is found in larger quantities during the night, while another ECS chemical, 2-AG, is more prevalent during the day. Both of these chemicals activate CB1 receptors associated with regulating sleep cycles. CB1 receptors are also linked with decreasing pain, anxiety, and inflammation; all things that often get in the way of a good night’s sleep.

CBD is known to have a large impact on these systems, activating CB1 receptors and preventing the breakdown of anandamide so more of the chemical is available to us. It is also shown to trigger other receptors, such as 5-HT1A and TRPV1, which are known to mediate pain, anxiety, and inflammation, while regulating body temperature and helping to maintain consistent sleep-wake cycles.

Essentially, when our body struggles to regulate itself, the research suggests that CBD can help get us back to our baseline by activating receptors and chemicals that contribute to healthy sleep-wake cycles. It may also mitigate disruptions, like pain and anxiety, that can make it harder to fall and stay asleep.

The Effect of Terpenes

Terpenes, or terpenoids, are the compounds that are responsible for the unique aromas found in cannabis plants. Terpenes can be found in a multitude of plants and are said to have therapeutic properties. Depending on the terpene content, the therapeutic profile of a particular cultivar could vary greatly.

Several of the terpenes commonly found in cannabis are known to help promote particular health effects, including ones that can contribute to sleep. Myrcene, for example, is a compound known to be a painkiller, sedative, and muscle relaxant. Another terpene, called linalool, prevalent in lavender and some strains of cannabis, is said to help treat anxiety and manage stress.

Terpenes, along with other cannabinoids like THC, can work together in what’s called the entourage effect. Put simply, this means that these unique compounds work together in order to create a therapeutic effect greater than the sum of their parts.

Current Research

The ECS and terpenes aside, recent studies have shown CBD to be an effective sleep aid. One study, testing 409 people, found that the use of medicinal cannabis dramatically reduced insomnia in participants. Another study suggested that CBD might be an effective treatment for both anxiety and sleep challenges, though admitted the results were inconsistent and fluctuated over time.

When it comes to sleep, CBD dosage matters. Research suggests that CBD can have either a sedative or energizing effect depending on the amount consumed. Lower CBD dosages seem to be more stimulating, while higher dosages have been shown to be more sedative. Additionally, CBD content that contains greater amounts of THC also appears to work better for some people.

That said, bodies function differently. Factors like age, weight, sex, and body chemistry can mean that an effective dosage may look different for different people. Because of this, in order to properly dose CBD for sleep, it can often come down to individual trial and error.

However, as the research would suggest, our understanding of CBD’s effectiveness as a sleep aid is still limited. Much of the research that has been conducted investigated sleep as a by-product when trying to assess CBD’s effectiveness in treating other disorders. While pre-trials have shown promising results, more work needs to be done. We still have a ways to go before fully understanding the impact CBD has on sleep cycles, next-day grogginess, and cognitive functioning.

Practical Tips for Sleep

Aside from CBD, there are many practical ways to help improve sleep. The idea of sleep hygiene is that we can practice habits that will promote restfulness, both helping us fall and stay asleep throughout the night. While there are many adjustments we can make, some of the most common suggestions are listed below:

  1. Keep a consistent schedule.
  2. Follow a night time routine, including lots of down time.
  3. Turn screens off an hour before bed.
  4. Practice breathing or meditation exercises.
  5. Cut down on caffeine in the evenings.
  6. Get exercise.
  7. Create a good bedroom atmosphere, including a cool temperature and darkness.
  8. Keep your bedroom/bed just for sleeping and avoid working in these areas.
  9. Get out in the sun during the day, especially when just waking up.
  10. Reduce afternoon naps.

TL;DR

Getting a good night’s sleep is important, and chronic sleep deprivation is associated with both physical and mental health challenges. While the research is still limited, current studies have suggested that CBD can have a positive impact on our sleep patterns, both through terpenes and by helping our endocannabinoid system manage our sleep-wake cycles effectively. However, CBD aside, there are always practical adjustments that can be made in order to improve sleep.