Research Into CBD And Insomnia
You’ve undoubtedly heard about cannabidiol (CBD) by now, one of the primary non-psychoactive chemical compounds in cannabis. Its popularity has propelled it to the top of the health and wellness space. Among its many benefits, research indicates that you can get a better night’s sleep with CBD.
CBD is one of the main cannabinoids in cannabis. THC is another. Cannabinoids interact with your endocannabioid system (ECS) to maintain your body in a stable state of balance called homeostasis.
Distinct from THC, CBD won’t get you “high.” CBD is FDA approved in the treatment of childhood epilepsy. It’s also been hailed for its ability to help reduce pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Before looking at how CBD can improve insomnia, let’s look at some of the causes of poor sleep.
Per the Mayo Clinic, insomnia can be caused by the following:
- Anxiety, depression, and PTSD
- Medicines that disrupt the sleep cycle
- Medical conditions including chronic pain
- Environmental stressors like noise and discomfort
Some research suggests that CBD can help alleviate anxiety.
- A 2014 study showed that CBD affects the sleep cycle. CBD improved the symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) in participants. RBD is linked to poor sleep, nightmares and acting out dreams.
- A 2017 study again noted CBD improved the symptoms of RBD and also showed the potential for reducing daytime sleepiness.
- Per a 2018 study, CBD can improve sleep by reducing chronic pain which can cause insomnia.
- A 2019 study focused on improving sleep and/or reducing anxiety with CBD. The participants were each given 25 mg CBD capsules every day. In the first month, 79.2% reported less anxiety and 66.7% reported better sleep.
The above-noted studies all emphasize that more research on CBD is needed. These studies highlight CBD’s interaction with the brain’s serotonin and GABA receptors. Serotonin plays a key part in anxiety. GABA is the chief inhibitory compound that calms excess brain activity and promotes relaxation. Anti-anxiety drugs like benzodiazepines target GABA receptors.
How To Use CBD For Insomnia
CBD is available in different methods of consumption, including:
- Oils and tinctures
- Lotions and creams
Your dosage of CBD and what time you take it depends on several different factors: Your particular sleep problem, your weight, and your metabolism. These factors will also affect how CBD works. Clinical trials on CBD and sleep have given the participants anywhere from 25 mg to 1500 mg of CBD per day. But it’s recommended to start with a low dose and work your way up incrementally until you find the dose that works for you.
The 2019 study noted above indicated that it took about a month for the participants to notice a difference. So be patient and aware that you’re unlikely to see immediate results.
You could experience some minor side effects. However, side effects have been rarely noted. CBD may interact with any prescription medications you’re taking, so check with your doctor before taking it. And always use high-quality CBD products from a company that performs third-party lab testing.
- National Institutes of Health, Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviours associated with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder (May 21, 2014)
- Springer Link, Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature (April 2017)
- National Institutes of Health, Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules (November 13, 2018)
- National Institutes of Health, Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series (January 7, 2019)