Can CBD help you sleep? Experts explain the current CBD research
This article was medically reviewed by Mia Hazle, MD, a psychiatrist in the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
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- CBD for sleep has limited research — though some early studies have shown promising results.
- CBD researchers theorize that CBD may help with sleep by alleviating anxiety and pain.
- Smaller doses of CBD may make you more alert, while slightly larger doses may aid in sleep.
Touted to relieve everything from acne and anxiety to pain and poor sleep, CBD (cannabidiol) is making waves in the wellness industry despite a lack of scientific evidence proving the compound’s overall effectiveness.
Medical term: CBD is a component of cannabis that does not cause you to feel high or stoned.
That said, a handful of small, preliminary studies have found that CBD may help improve the sleep quality of certain individuals. Here’s what researchers know so far.
Can CBD help you sleep?
There have only been a handful of small, trusted studies that look at pure CBD for sleep, says Jeff Chen, MD, MBA, Founder of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative and Cofounder and CEO of Radicle Science.
What the research says
of 72 adults with anxiety and sleep troubles found that doses of CBD ranging from 25 milligrams to 75 milligrams improved sleep in 66.7% of participants. found that since CBD can reduce pain, it may improve sleep in people who suffer from chronic pain and related sleep problems.
- A 2018 study of 27 healthy participants found that a dose of 300 milligrams of CBD had no significant effect on sleep versus a placebo.
Though early results are encouraging, researchers aren’t sure why CBD may help with sleep — but it may have something to do with how it can help improve underlying conditions.
“Sleep disorders, mood disorders, and pain disorders are often co-occurring, and CBD could possibly indirectly improve sleep by improving an underlying anxiety or pain condition,” says Chen.
And to make things even more confusing, it’s possible that smaller doses of CBD may have a stimulating effect rather than a sedating effect, says Me Fuimaono-Poe, MSN, FNP, faculty at Pacific College of Health and Science, and the medical director for the Malie Cannabis Clinic.
For example, a 2014 study found that a dose of 15 milligrams of CBD may have an “alerting” effect.
The lack of large-scale clinical studies makes it difficult to draw solid conclusions. “There is no firm evidence regarding whether CBD may help with sleep, and if so, what dose of CBD is most appropriate,” says Chen.
How should I take CBD to sleep?
Since researchers haven’t determined a rule of thumb when it comes to CBD dosage for sleep, experts can only guesstimate. If you want to give CBD a shot, Fuimaono-Poe suggests starting with 25 milligrams and increasing as needed, taken one to two hours before bed.
There’s also the question of what form of CBD is best for sleep. Fuimaono-Poe says two common delivery methods are taking CBD oil or smoking CBD flower. CBD oil is preferable and healthier for your throat and lungs since smoking can cause throat irritation and coughing, says Fuimaono-Poe.
However, smoking CBD flower comes along with the benefit of having a more rapid onset than taking a dose of CBD oil, so you can use that closer to bedtime. You’ll feel the effects five to ten minutes after smoking, says Fuimaono-Poe.
Risks of CBD
CBD is typically well-tolerated, however, it is possible to experience some side effects. Some documented potential side effects of CBD (discovered during human studies of using CBD for epilepsy and psychiatric disorders) include:
- Drug interactions
Additionally, there are some groups of people who should avoid using CBD, such as:
- Women who are trying to get pregnant, women who are pregnant, and women who are breastfeeding: Chen says researchers don’t know the impact of CBD on human fetuses or babies, but animal studies indicate that it stunts fetal development. Therefore, it’s safer to err on the side of caution and avoid CBD.
- People with liver disease or people who drink heavily: It’s possible that CBD may damage the liver, Chen says, so it may be safer for these people to not take CBD. This is because drinking excessive alcohol also causes damage to the liver.
- People taking certain medications: CBD may cause drug interactions or increase your risk of adverse side effects, says Chen. Therefore, if you take any prescription drugs, check with your doctor before taking CBD.
At the end of the day, more research is needed to determine the efficacy of CBD for sleep, as well as the best dosage and most effective ways to consume it.
However, in the meantime, it likely won’t hurt to give CBD a try if you’re experiencing trouble with sleep.
If CBD doesn’t help and your sleep problems persist or worsen, be sure to see a doctor for guidance.
Ashley Laderer is a freelance writer from New York who specializes in health and wellness. Follow her on Twitter @ashladerer
Think You’ve Tried Everything for Your Sleep Issues? Enter CBD…
As editor-in-chief and co-founder of Miss Grass , an elevated lifestyle shop and publication for women and cannabis, Anna Duckworth has tried cannabis for everything from sex to cooking. And now, she’s sharing her cannabis knowledge with Well+Good. Today, she takes on a topic we’re all more than a little bit obsessed with over here: how to get a better sleep.
We are an exhausted nation: Roughly 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders. And, considering lack of sleep can lead to mood and personality changes, we’re a cranky one, too. To put it simply, we’re tired of being tired and we’re looking for solutions.
Cannabis—CBD (cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis that’s cropping up in everything from lotions to lattes) in particular—is a tantalizing alternative to the typical Ambien prescription or medicine cabinet full of melatonin that, according to Elizabeth Cramer Ernst, nurse practitioner and owner of the medical marijuana clinic Hamptons Medi Spa, could provide significant relief for insomniacs. In recent studies, CBD has shown promising signs of being both an effective and safe way to get more zzz’s, although much more research needs to be done before definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Through the fog that comes with pulling unintended all-nighters night after night, however, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that difficulty sleeping is very rarely just that. It’s almost certainly the result of an underlying condition. For many people, a lack of sleep comes down to anxiety—which, as we know, can be attributed to any number of external or internal factors from PTSD to financial strain. For others, sleepless nights are rooted in something physical, like chronic pain or restless leg syndrome. That’s why there’s truly no one-size-fits-all solution for sleep problems—including cannabis.
To find the best way for you to use cannabis or CBD oil for sleep, follow these three steps. And remember, it’s important to speak with your doctor before adding any new supplements to your routine.
1. Get to know your options
Cannabis remains illegal for recreational and/or medical use in many states. The good news for the canna-curious who live in a state that’s still under prohibition is that the passing of the Farm Bill in late 2018 federally legalized hemp, the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive compound known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). And that means you can now legally access a whole range of hemp-derived cannabis products no matter where you live.
If you’re experienced with products that contain THC, know that some amount of the high-inducing compound can be effective in treating sleep disorders. But if you’re new to the cannabis party, it’s recommended to start with non-intoxicating cannabis products. These contain a high concentration of other active compounds—like the ever popular CBD (cannabidiol) or the lesser known but powerful sedative CBN (cannabinol)—that work by activating a network of receptors in the body known as the endocannabinoid system. Ultimately, your job is to test and try different products to find the dose just right for you.
2. Identify your main sleep issues
Everybody and every body is different. When you’re deciding on a course of treatment for sleep issues, first ask yourself this question: Do you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both?
According to Cramer Ernst, when using cannabis or CBD oil for sleep, there are a range of products from short-acting ones that can help you fall asleep fast to long-acting ones that can help you stay asleep, so you want to make sure you pick the one that addresses your particular ailment.
A vaporizer like the Her Highness Sleeping Beauty Vape Pen is considered short-acting because it takes effect in less than 10 minutes and is great for people who need help falling asleep. A tincture under the tongue, like Mineral’s Robyn for Sleep, is considered medium-acting because it takes 20 minutes to kick in and lasts between four and five hours. And then there are the edibles or capsules, like Plant People’s Be Calm Caps, which can take up to two hours to take effect but typically last between six and eight hours. (These long-acting ones are a great bet for people who can nod off easily but need help staying asleep.)
3. Integrate CBD into your sleep hygiene routine
So many of us stay up late working or scrolling through Instagram and don’t shut off our screens until it’s way too late (guilty!). Blue light from the screens has been proven to interrupt sleep dramatically and, experts say, should be avoided for up to four hours before bedtime. That’s not realistic for a lot of us, but even putting your phone down and turning off the TV an hour before you snuggle between the sheets can make a difference. It also helps to keep a regular sleep schedule so your body can start to anticipate the routine and begin shutting down without you having to force it.
One easy way to ease off the tech and begin regularizing your sleep habits is to create a bedtime ritual for yourself (with or without CBD—but, me being me, I vote for “with”). Practice meditation if that’s your jam, spritz your skin and bed with a soothing lavender spray, dim the lights, and give yourself a little massage with something like Apothecanna’s Calming Body Oil. One of my favorite tricks is to take a CBD bath with Vertly CBD Bath Salts or the CBD Bliss Bath Bomb, which Cramer Ernst says works by being absorbed into your skin. The mood-boosting power of a good soak plus CBD could be just the ticket to Dreamland you’ve been after.
CBD Oil for Sleep –
Is it Effective? Is it Safe? Is it Legal?
Disclaimer – Nothing on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment… Read More Here .
Are you considering using CBD oil for sleep? Do you have questions about safety, effectiveness, and especially, legality?
To start with, we’re assuming it’s legal where you’re from. If you need to double-check, feel free to consult our chart that gives a state-by-state run down or contact your local state or county to find out if it is legal in your area.
There’s been a lot of buzz recently about CBD and cannabis thanks to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp-based CBD with less than 0.3% THC at the federal level.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 14% of Americans say they personally use CBD-based products with 11% of them citing usage for sleep (40% for pain and 20% for anxiety).
As a nurse and health coach, I’ve been very intrigued by the growing research on this plant-based substance and recently decided to try it out myself. The results were very noticeable, and I was surprised by how quickly it took effect. Keep reading to get the full scoop on how to use CBD oil for sleep.
We’ve worked hard to give you the best information you can find. But if you still have questions, we have a growing community waiting to lend an ear.
What Do People Use It For?
How Does It Work To Make You Drowsy?
Can It Impact Sleep Quality?
Can It Treat Insomnia?
Will It Stop Snoring?
CBD vs. Other Sleep Aids
Ask Your Doctor
The Bottom Line
What Is It?
Cannabidiol (or CBD for short) is one of 80 known cannabinoids that is derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant. Unlike THC, this cannabinoid doesn’t produce the same psychoactive “high” that is acquainted with marijuana plants. In the United States, CBD as “hemp oil” is legal as long as it is derived from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC.
Cannabidiol is available as a crystalline isolate, meaning it has been purified to contain only CBD, or as a full-spectrum oil containing a variety of compounds including cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils.
It was previously thought that the isolate form was the best choice, but now researchers are investigating something called the “entourage effect” where it is believed that properties found within the whole plant work synergistically to create a compounding effect.
Walking into your local gas station or pet store, you’ll likely notice the wide range of hemp oil products available as pure oils, tinctures, gummies, vapors, and more. Quality and concentration can vary from product to product, so be sure to do your research before buying and check the label for the recommended dosage.
Looking to learn more? Check out our top rated cbd oil guide here.
What Do People Use It For?
CBD has a long history of use dating as far back as 1200 A.D. where an ancient Chinese medical text refers to its benefits for inducing sleep. Many other cultures have been using hemp and cannabis products for years to treat conditions like epilepsy, pain, anxiety, constipation, and more. More recently, a purified form of plant-based CBD called Epidiolex was approved by the FDA for the treatment of epilepsy.
Let’s take a look at some of the other conditions people are using this oil for:
Chronic pain can be debilitating, impacting the quality of life, the ability to work, social interactions, and sleep. Many over-the-counter and prescription pain medications have a long list of potential side effects and run the risk of developing tolerance and dependency.
Certain types of pain including cancer-associated pain, neuropathic pain, and central pain states (associated with multiple sclerosis) are often difficult to treat with traditional opiates, anticonvulsant drugs, and antidepressants. Medical marijuana is available in some states with a prescription and is commonly used for treating chronic pain and several other conditions.
Recent research has supported the use of cannabis for treating pain from a variety of conditions, and one study of 177 cancer patients found that patients who used a combination of CBD/THC had a 30% greater reduction in pain compared to placebo, whereas those who used THC alone saw no effect.
Learn More: How to Cope With Pain and Sleep
Anxiety rates have been rising rapidly, and many people suffering from various forms of anxiety have turned to cannabis for relief. Unfortunately, anxiety may be a risk factor for dependency in some and the use of this psychoactive drug could also make users more likely to develop anxiety. Conversely, cannabidiol has been shown some promise in the treatment of anxiety.
Preclinical evidence has found that cannabidiol may be a safe and effective way to manage anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more. A study conducted at a psychiatric clinic looking at the use of CBD for anxiety and sleep found a reduction in anxiety scores in 79.2% of patients and an improvement in sleep scores in 66.7% of patients within the first month of treatment.
Want to know more? Read our full guide for sleeping through anxiety.
Mental illness impacts people of every age, race, gender, and socioeconomic class. Treatment may involve the use of medications or non-pharmacological options. Some of these treatments may produce unwanted side effects, impact sleep, cause weight gain, or interact with other medications, and scientists are always looking for safer treatment alternatives.
A systematic review looking at a total of 1,629 patients with conditions including Alzheimer’s disorder/dementia, schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa, ADHD, Tourette’s disorder, substance use disorder, and others found that treatment with cannabis was associated with improvements in several symptoms of mental disorders, but not complete remission.
Some animal studies have found that CBD may interact with serotonin receptors in the brain with similar effects to antidepressants. More research is needed in humans, but preliminary evidence is promising. Sleep disorders are much more common in individuals suffering from mental health conditions, so it is possible that effectively treating one could improve the other.