Can CBD Help You Sleep?
CBD has many uses and is gaining favor among patients looking to improve a range of health conditions, but can it really help you get a good night’s sleep?
We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about CBD and if it can help you with your sleep.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound known as a cannabinoid that is found in both marijuana and hemp plants. Standing for cannabidiol, CBD has gained quite a reputation for its various therapeutic applications.
CBD can be purchased in a range of forms, but the most common is CBD oil. CBD oil is an oil-based product that contains high levels of CBD that has been extracted from either marijuana or hemp plant material.
CBD can be consumed in a variety of ways: as a topical, edible, vape, or nasal spray, to name a few.
Once consumed, CBD has shown an ability to induce a range of effects on the body. Interestingly, the way that CBD induces these effects is slightly different from how other cannabinoids affect the body.
Unlike other cannabinoids, which largely induce their effects through the endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, CBD can only weakly bind to these receptors. Instead, CBD’s effects are largely facilitated through CBD binding to non-cannabinoid receptors and acting on other receptor pathways.
The Problem with Sleep Deprivation
We all know that getting a bad night’s sleep can leave you sleepy and not functioning at your best, but for people with sleep disorders, the symptoms can be severe.
Conditions like sleep apnea, insomnia, or narcolepsy can leave patients feeling constantly fatigued, struggling to complete everyday tasks, with reduced cognitive functioning, with changes to their breathing rhythm, and even developing secondary symptoms like anxiety or depression.
Current treatment options for sleep disorders also have their issues. Benzodiazepines, a commonly used sleep aid, carry with them the risk of addiction and overdose (1).
Can CBD Really Help Improve Your Sleep?
So, can CBD actually help you to get a better night’s sleep?
Early research tells us yes.
CBD has demonstrated an ability to improve sleep scores and the symptoms of certain sleep disorders. Although more research is needed to fully establish the effectiveness of CBD as a sleep aid and its exact methods of action, current research shows us that this cannabinoid does show promise as a sleep aid.
A 2019 study, for example, focused on the potential sleep-inducing effects of CBD. By retrospectively analyzing clinical sleep and anxiety cases involving CBD treatment, researchers in the study were able to review CBD’s effectiveness. Impressively, the study found that within the first month of CBD treatment, 66.7% of patients saw their sleep scores improve (2).
As well as improving sleep scores, CBD has also shown promise as a treatment for sleep disorders. A 2017 study that reviewed research into both sleep and cannabinoids found that CBD demonstrated significant potential as a treatment for excessive daytime sleepiness and REM sleep behavior disorder (3).
Will CBD Get You High?
Since CBD is an active compound found in marijuana, you may understandably be concerned that it may result in some intoxicating effects that could interrupt healthy sleep patterns.
The good news for those wanting to try CBD for sleep is that CBD can’t induce a “high.” While it is found in marijuana, CBD is not the compound responsible for the psychotropic effects of marijuana. Instead, another cannabinoid called THC causes the infamous psychotropic effects of marijuana.
CBD and THC are both major cannabinoids and are similar in structure; however, they induce their effects through different receptor pathways. This difference could help to understand the difference in psychotropic effects between the two.
So, as long as you take CBD without THC, you can be sure you’re getting all the sleep-boosting benefits without any psychotropic effects.
How Else Can CBD Help Sleep?
As well as directly improving sleep, CBD may also be able to help you get a good night’s sleep by improving other symptoms that can negatively impact sleep quality, like pain and anxiety.
It’s not hard to see how pain could stop you from getting to sleep. Patients who suffer from chronic pain can struggle to meet their sleep needs, leaving them in sleep debt (4).
Thanks to CBD’s interaction with serotonin receptors, this cannabinoid has demonstrated a strong ability to reduce pain levels (5). With reduced pain levels, CBD can help you to be in a better position to get a proper night’s sleep.
Anxiety is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, dread, and fear. These intrusive thoughts could easily keep you up way past your bedtime, and in fact, anxiety and insomnia have long been associated with one another (6).
The good news for those of you struggling to get past your anxiety at night is that CBD has shown significant anxiety-reducing qualities. In one study, 79.2% of participants saw improvements in their anxiety levels during one month of CBD use (7).
The Bottom Line
Early research tells us that CBD shows impressive potential as a sleep improver. With its ability to improve sleep scores, act directly on certain sleep disorders, and even improve secondary symptoms that can interrupt sleep, CBD offers exciting potential as a sleep aid.
While more research is needed to fully understand its effects, CBD is certainly an exciting future treatment option.
**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**