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Can CBD Help You Sleep?

Posted by Lewis Olden on
Can CBD Help You Sleep?

What is CBD?  

CBD, scientifically known as cannabidiol is one of the primary cannabinoids that exists within the cannabis plant.  Cannabinoids are known to interact with the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system helps the body to maintain its balance and stability. Homeostasis is achieved through the endocannabinoid system acting effectively.

Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is not a psychoactive substance and does not cause and psychoactive effects. This means that it is THC that causes the ‘high’ so often attributed to cannabis, CBD does not get you high. CBD instead has a variety of health applications such as reducing seizures in people with serious epilepsy, anti-inflammation for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and pain relief from other chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia.  

There is also anecdotal and clinical study evidence that CBD can assist with ensuring that you get a great night’s sleep. There are several things to bear in mind when considering using CBD to help aid your sleeping problems.

The Research into CBD and Sleep  

To comprehend why CBD can increase the quality of sleep, it is vital to ascertain what causes poor sleep in the first place.

There are numerous things that can result in you sleeping badly. Such as:

  • Anxiety and other mental health disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Certain medications can disturb your sleeping patterns and sleep-wake cycle
  • Physical conditions, such as fibromyalgia and other chronic pain problems
  • Caffeine, if consumed late in the day
  • Environmental factors, such as an uncomfortable mattress or excessive noise

If your poor quality of sleep or even insomnia is due to external factors or a chronic condition, CBD may be able to help treat the cause of the sleeplessness.

While research into the full benefits of CBD is still in its nascent stage, there is building evidence that CBD can help to treat anxiety

A study that was published in 2019 investigated whether CBD had the capacity to increase the quality of sleep or reduce anxiety in a study consisting of 72 participants. 47 of which were suffering with anxiety and the remaining 25 experiencing insomnia or significantly poor sleep. The participants in the study were each given a 25mg CBD capsule each day. Within the first month, 79.2% of the participants reported that their anxiety levels had significantly decreased and 66.7% reported that their sleep quality and the ease of getting to sleep had improved.

Chronic pain issues such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis can often be an inhibitor of sleep. In a 2018 study  it was discovered that there is substantial evidence that suggests that CBD can soothe pain caused by chronic pain conditions. The authors of the study noted that by reducing a sufferer’s chronic pain, CBD can then improve the quality of their sleep.

Research that was undertaken in 2014 to look into how CBD affects the sleep cycle. The research investigated the effects of CBD on sleep in four people with Parkinson’s disease. The research discovered that CBD substantially improved the symptoms of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep behaviour disorder (RBD). RBD is a disorder that causes a person to act out their dreams. RBD is commonly associated with dramatic nightmares and bad sleep.

A study that took place in 2017 found that CBD may be helpful in treating RBD and that CBD also had the capacity to treat excessive daytime tiredness and drowsiness.

Drowsiness and grogginess are both symptoms of insomnia. CBD may also be able to impact these symptoms in a positive manner. A 2014 study found that CBD had the capacity to promote wakefulness, this theory is based on both animal and human research studies. The authors of the study did note however, that they remained unsure how and why CBD caused the participants to feel more alert and awake throughout the day after taking CBD.    

How CBD Improves Sleep

Studies that disclose that CBD can improve sleep quality and patients get to sleep more easily, are often unable to pinpoint the scientific reason behind the efficacy of treating sleep problems with CBD. The majority of studies that have been carried out on CBD emphasise the importance of further research into the effects CBD has on sleep, so we can truly ascertain what the scientific mechanisms are behind CBD impacting sleep. Understanding precisely how CBD affects sleep is crucial in CBD being used as a treatment or a more widely used sleep aid. 

How to Use CBD For Sleep

There are an ever-growing range of CBD products to choose from when deciding which delivery method to use to consume CBD. These different forms include: 

Vaping CBD is typically the quickest way to get CBD into your system and is faster than most other forms of CBD. However, there is not very much data on how vaping CBD effects the body and may pose respiratory risks.

The dosage of CBD that you decide to use and the time of day that you take the CBD will impact the effect it has on the user. Body mass, body weight, body chemistry and the actual nature of the sleep issues you are experiencing will all have a bearing on how CBD effects your sleep. What works for some may not work for others. Therefore, using CBD can be a case of discovering what works best for you.

Clinical studies that look into the effect CBD has on the body and its impact on specific conditions, often give the subjects of the study anywhere between 25mg to 1,500mg as a daily dose of CBD. It is always advisable to start using CBD at a low dosage and then gradually increase your dose as you see fit until you find what it the most effective for you.

A lot of the research into the effect CBD has on anxiety and sleep has noted that many patients do not notice an immediate improvement. The aforementioned 2019 study noted that it was only after a month of using CBD that the subjects of the study began to notice a significant improvement. Therefore, it is extremely important to remain patient when you start using CBD and it make take a few weeks or even a month before you begin to feel the full benefits of using CBD. 

Side Effects of CBD  

There was a study that took place in 2017 that delved into multiple studies on CBD and concluded that it is a safe treatment. Side effects when using CBD are uncommon. However, there has been some minor side effects that have been found. Possible side effects include:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhoea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight loss 

There is new legislation being implemented in the UK on the 31st of March 2021. This legislation dictates that all ingestible CBD products must be Novel Food compliant. As a result of the new Novel Food legislation, all CBD ingestible products must be formulated with CBD isolate and there must be safety, stability and toxicology data available for the products to be deemed compliant.

If You Have Any Doubts, Speak to Your Doctor

If you have any reservations about trying CBD, it is always best to consult your doctor to get their view.

Is CBD Legal?

Hemp derived CBD products with less than 0.2% THC are legal in the UK. If you are travelling with CBD it is always advisable to check the laws in your destination to ensure it is legal there too. CBD is legal in the UK

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