CBD Oil for Sleep –
Is it Effective? Is it Safe? Is it Legal?
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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.
Does cbd oil work for insommnia
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis, which is a plant that’s commonly known as marijuana. From cannabis, we derive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol).
While marijuana is still illegal in many states, cannabis derivates that contain less than 0.3% of THC (hemp) and CBD are legal and can be found in shops across the country. In fact, many people swear by CBD as a way to soothe health ailments—including poor sleep.
CBD’s impact on sleep, though, is a bit complex in nature; and not only that, but present-day research continues to find answers to how CBD impacts the body as a whole. Let’s break down what we know so far, and whether or not you should consider using CBD to help improve your rest.
Effects of Taking CBD
Research has revealed that CBD has a calming effect on the nervous system, altering moods by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps naturally regulate moods. When serotonin levels are balanced, people feel happier, calmer, more focused, less anxious, and more emotionally stable. In relation to sleep health, studies suggest that serotonin deficiencies have been linked to anxiety and subsequently, insomnia.
Unlike THC, CBD does not induce a feeling of being high—it actually reduces the psychoactive (mind-altering) effects of THC. The impact of CBD on a person is dependent on the amount taken. Low doses of CBD can be stimulating for the brain, while high doses act as a sedative.
80% of participants who used CBD as treatment for anxiety reported lower anxiety levels within a month. Sleep improved in more than 65% of participants.
How can CBD Help with Sleep Disorders?
Many studies suggest that a high dose of CBD before bedtime can help improve the sleep quality of those with chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, REM sleep behavior disorder, as well as many other sleep disorders. In one study, 80% of participants who used CBD as a treatment for anxiety reported lower anxiety levels within a month. Sleep also improved in more than 65% of participants.
Important to note is that anxiety and sleep disorders often go hand-in-hand: anxiety can lead to decreased sleep quality, while sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety. One sleep disorder that falls into this category is insomnia. Those with insomnia have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, and anxiety can cause these symptoms to worsen. Typically, levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) peak in the morning, but those with insomnia experience heightened levels of cortisol in the evening hours, which can lead to increased anxiety about getting inadequate sleep and increase sleeplessness at night.
Another sleep disorder that has been found to be improved by CBD is REM sleep behavior disorder. REM sleep behavior disorder is often found in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients and involves symptoms such as aggressive movements and verbalizing during sleep. A recent study found that patients with REM sleep behavior disorder who experienced symptoms 2-7 times weekly decreased to 0-1 times weekly after being treated with CBD.
What Forms Does CBD Come In?
There are many different forms of CBD commonly available:
- Oral solutions
- Oral sprays that are applied under the tongue
- Oils and tinctures (drops)
- Vapes and vape juices that are used in a vaping pen
- Edible items (gummies, cookies, chocolates, beverages)
- Pills and capsules
- Topical creams, patches, gels, and ointments
While CBD comes in different concentrations, research is still ongoing. The exact dose to treat sleep issues isn’t fully known and may take some trial and error to determine the best dose for each individual user.
Before treating anxiety and sleep disorders with CBD, be sure to consult your doctor. CBD can react with other medications or supplements, hurting sleep rather than helping it. A healthcare professional, such as Dr. Dibra or Dr. Smith, will be able to provide you with more information on CBD.
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