Trouble falling and staying asleep is a common problem many of us face. Over the counter pills, aromatherapy, cannabis, and CBD have been used as the most common sleep aids. More than ever, people are seeking alternative solutions to incorporate in their nightly wellness routine.
Unlike THC, CBD (hemp extract, not to be confused with hemp oil) does not cause psychoactive effects. When interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, CBD is able to aid in sleep as well as other health conditions such as anxiety and pain, both common causes of insomnia.
How does the endocannabinoid system work?
Researchers discovered that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) maintains certain body functions, such as sleep, mood and appetite. Within the system is a network of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. The two primary receptors are CB1 and CB2. Cannabinoids attach to these cells and have varying effects. As far as how they may affect sleep, some research indicates that the cannabinoid CBD may interact with specific receptors, potentially affecting the sleep cycle.
What does the research say about CBD and sleep?
Levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, typically reach their highest levels during the morning, but those with insomnia may also have high cortisol levels at night time as well. Outside of insomnia, high cortisol levels at night are associated with waking up multiple times during the night.
One study conducted found that against a 5mg placebo pill, a CBD dose of 40, 80, and 160 mgs was shown to have enhanced and increased sleep duration. In another study on the effects of CBD, researchers discovered that cortisol levels decreased significantly more when participants took 300 or 600 mg of CBD oil. The results suggest that CBD has an effect on the release of cortisol, in which it acts similar to a sedative. (Eloise Theisen, “What to know about CBD and sleep” Medical News Today).
Researchers found that 25mg of CBD was the most effective dosage for anxiety but that addressing troubled sleep required higher doses of CBD.
It is important to note, when it comes to CBD (whether for sleep, anxiety, pain, etc.) - one dose does not fit all. Furthermore, not all CBD is created equal.
The amount of CBD you take every day will affect how quickly you will begin feeling its effects. In general, the more that you're taking, the quicker you’ll feel it
When you’re choosing a CBD product, you should consider the type of results you're trying to achieve and adjust your dosage accordingly. This may also include testing different consumption. It can also depend on your body mass, your goals and expectations, along with other variables like your age, body weight, metabolism, and if you're taking any prescription medications.
Everyone is different, and this is something you need to assess for yourself.
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The Bottom Line
CBD can be used as a tool to decrease anxiety and pain, which can both interfere with restful sleep. By reducing certain symptoms, it’s also possible that it can help those looking to maintain and regulate their sleep schedules.
Tinctures, gel capsules and inhalants are the most common ways people intake CBD for sleep aid. Alternatives such as balms and teas can also provide added physical and mental soothing properties in the process. You can experiment with the various ways CBD intake works for you.
Always consult a doctor before incorporating CBD into your wellness practice.
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