Most of us could use better sleep. By now, you’ve probably heard about the potential benefits of CBD (cannabidiol), one of the compounds found in cannabis. If you want to try CBD oil for sleep, this is what you need to know to use it safely.
What is CBD?
Cannabinoids refer to chemical compounds found in cannabis plants. There are more than 100 cannabinoids, and humans have utilized cannabis plants medicinally for thousands of years.
The 2 most well-known compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is known as the mind-altering compound used to achieve a “high.” But it’s also used in experimental treatments for conditions like epilepsy and symptoms experienced by people who are being treated for cancer.
CBD is best known as a non-mind-altering mental health option for people experiencing anxiety and having trouble sleeping. Many people use CBD for insomnia, and it’s also commonly used to ease anxiety and pain, both of which negatively impact sleep.
In recent years, CBD sleep aids have become a popular option for people experiencing pain, anxiety, and sleep issues.
How does it work?
When you take CBD, its endocannabinoids interact with the receptors in your body, prompting your body to produce its own cannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids (eCBs) and their receptors regulate homeostatic functions such as sleep and digestion within our bodies. They exist throughout the nervous system, organs, immune cells, and tissues. The receptors influence circadian sleep-wake cycles, mood, immune system responses, and appetite.
And because of the way CBD affects the nervous system and body, it may help regulate mood, pain, sleep difficulties, and epilepsy. Plus, CBD seems to have anti-inflammatory and calming impacts on the body without the psychoactive “high” that we usually associate with marijuana.
Does CBD help you with sleep?
The reality is, we still aren’t sure about the enduring relationship between CBD oil and insomnia. Yes, there has been promising research indicating that CBD may improve sleep quality and may be used as a part of a treatment plan for people with insomnia.
And in some cases, particularly for people experiencing anxiety, there’s a positive correlation between CBD and sleep. But there’s not yet sufficient evidence that you’ll be able to consistently sustain these improvements over time. More clinically-controlled studies are underway.
If you decide you’d like to try CBD oil for insomnia or other sleep difficulties, follow the suggestions below to make sure you’re doing it safely.
How to use CBD safely
There are ways to use CBD and marijuana safely. Here are some research-based suggestions for the best possible outcome when using marijuana for sleep.
1. Choose CBD over marijuana.
CBD appears to decrease anxiety and promote sleep without the risks of substance abuse or intoxication. This holds true across all doses tested in human and animal studies. In contrast, THC is associated with increases in anxiety, especially in higher doses.
2. Limit the dose.
Lower doses are less likely to cause anxiety and more likely to reduce it. Be mindful of consumption and stick to the dosage suggested by your medical provider.
3. Use it in conjunction with other treatments.
If you’re using CBD oil for sleep, it shouldn’t replace sleep hygiene and other behavioral techniques. For the best results, use CBD in conjunction with behavioral therapies.
4. Talk to your provider.
Because marijuana can interfere with some medications, talk to your medical provider if you’re taking meds for anxiety or anything else. It’s recommended that you use CBD products under the care and supervision of a healthcare professional to ensure they’re safe for you to take.
How much CBD should I take?
If you’re wondering how much CBD to use for sleep, there are some variables to consider. First of all, it depends on the way you’re using it—that is, whether you’re ingesting it, inhaling it, using a nasal spray, or applying it to your skin.
But there are more variables on top of this. For instance, your body weight, your personal reaction to or experience with this type of product, and whether this is the first time you’re using it.
Based on research and various studies, there’s a broad dosage range for different conditions. For instance, when it comes to CBD oil & sleep, the recommended dosage is between 40 – 160 mg. But for social anxiety disorder, the dose can be as high as 600 mg.
While we can share the suggested CBD dosage for insomnia, it’s essential that you work with a healthcare provider to find the right amount for your body and mind.
Finally, if it’s your first time using CBD, it’s recommended you start at a low dose and then work your way up depending on how you tolerate it.
Forms of CBD
There are different ways to consume CBD. You can use it in the following forms:
- Vape concentrates
- Edibles (like CBD gummies for sleep)
Side effects and safety issues
Research on the therapeutic use of CBD is ongoing worldwide. Presently, the best therapeutic CBD dosage for sleep remains unclear.
Lack of regulation
One concern is that it’s difficult to know the dosage of the CBD products purchased over the counter, as most don’t have FDA approval and aren’t regulated rigorously.
Another issue is that CBD can cause sedation, so you may want to avoid activities like driving or operating other vehicles.
It may be confusing that the U.S. federal government categorizes marijuana-based medications as controlled substances, yet many states have legalized medicinal and even recreational use. Check your state laws before considering cannabinoid treatments to ensure that they’re legal in your home state.
Interaction with meds
As with any natural or herbal treatments, there are possibilities of adverse side effects or interactions with other supplements or medications. Inform your primary care provider about all prescribed, complimentary, traditional, and over-the-counter treatments you’re using so they can work with you on the best combination for your health.
Safe ways to manage insomnia
You can maximize the potential sleep-enhancing benefits of CBD by integrating fundamental sleep hygiene skills and routines into your daily life.
Here are some suggestions for getting as much restful sleep as possible.
- Keep a consistent bedtime and waking schedule.
- Stop or reduce the use of substances that impact sleep, such as nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, particularly in the hours before bedtime.
- Avoid naps during the day, especially in the afternoon and evening.
- Make exercise a regular part of your schedule (but don’t do it before bedtime).
- Avoid very heavy or spicy meals close to bedtime.
- Adjust light and temperature to optimize sleep.
- Avoid intensely stressful, triggering, or activating entertainment or activities close to bedtime.
- Shut off electronics at least an hour before bedtime.
- Practice a mindfulness technique like progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) or any of these relaxing exercises.
- If you find yourself overthinking or catastrophizing, jot down your thoughts and set them aside.
For more ideas, check out these behavior-based home remedies for insomnia.
- CBD impacts the nervous system and body in ways that may help regulate mood, pain, sleep difficulties, and epilepsy.
- CBD products have demonstrated promise in improving issues with sleep, especially insomnia related to anxiety.
- Use CBD with medical supervision and in conjunction with healthy lifestyle habits to sustain consistently restful sleep.
*This article is offered for informational purposes only. At this time, the Lemonaid Health medical team doesn’t recommend using CBD products for insomnia.*
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