Does CBD oil help you sleep? Sleeping disorders can result in serious health problems which, in turn, can worsen sleep problems, causing a downward spiral in health. But recent research suggests that CBD could be an effective treatment for sleeping disorders.
When it comes to health, happiness and success in life, everything rests on being well-rested. However, 50 to 70 million adults suffer from some type of sleep disorder. About 60% of those sleep disorders stem from some kind of chronic health issue.
CBD oil might help many with sleep disorders break that cycle, get some sleep and enjoy better health. Many researchers are now looking closely at the question of how CBD oil helps you sleep.
CBD in the form of hemp oil has been used medicinally for centuries as a sleep aid as well as a pain reducer and mood enhancer. Although researchers have only been studying the effects of CBD for the past 50 years or so, the results are extremely promising.
Let’s take a look at some of the causes and dangers of sleep disorders, then we’ll look at some of the research that’s being done to determine CBD’s effects on sleep disorders and their causes, and some of the ways people commonly use CBD to help them sleep.
What Causes Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders?
Sleep is a complicated topic. There is ample clinical evidence to connect getting a good night’s sleep with having better overall mental and physical wellness. And, although not enough sleep can elevate the risk of illness, getting too much sleep can also cause health serious health problems.
Researcher shows that lack of sleep is intimately linked to a wide range of coexisting conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety and depression. Some conditions associated with sleep disorders — such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and sleep apnea — can be life-threatening.
Researchers have identified no fewer than 84 different kinds of sleep disorders, the most common of which are insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy (sudden onset sleep state).
Adults aren’t the only age group to suffer from sleep disorders. They can affect children as well. Ideally, adults should average 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night, while children need more sleep — an average of 9 to 10 hours each night. About 30 to 40 percent of children do not get enough sleep.
Women and the elderly are the most likely to have difficulty with sleep. Fifty percent of Americans over the age of 65 experience disturbed sleep. While this age group makes up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, they consume more than 40 percent of sleeping pills.
About half of those with a sleep disorder report snoring and 25 million adults suffer from one of the major causes of snoring which includes obstructive sleep apnea, another life-threatening condition.
There are both short-term and chronic sleep disorders. They can be caused by a variety of factors such as a pain or injury, medical conditions such as asthma, psychiatric conditions such as anxiety or depression, and environmental conditions such as noise, light, etc. Alcohol consumption is another common factor which causes short-term sleep problems, and may cause long-term issues which in turn exacerbate sleep disorders.
Other factors that can interfere with sleep include genetics, working night shifts, medications, aging and stress.
How Does CBD Oil Help You Sleep?
Hemp, the non-psychotropic cousin of marijuana, produces a family of compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are one of the most studied compounds in the world today. Research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) in particular may provide a natural and safe treatment option for a wide range of medical conditions — sleep disorders included.
CBD is also being studied for its potential in treating pain, stress and anxiety, all of which can contribute to lack of sleep.
Cannabinoids were first identified by scientists in the mid-1960s. Since then, more than 80 individual cannabinoids have been identified. Each of them has distinct effects on the human body.
The human body actually produces its own natural cannabinoids. Researchers refer to these as endocannabinoids while those derived from plants — such as CBD — we call phytocannabinoids. Together, cannabinoids and their receptors make up what we call the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is involved in regulating many physiological processes, including mood, pain perception, appetite and cognitive functions.
The two phytocannabinoids that are most abundant in cannabis, and therefore widely known for their medicinal value, are THC and CBD. While THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) causes a high, CBD does not. In fact, CBD has been shown in studies to mitigate the effects of THC, including THC-induced anxiety and memory loss.
CBD is known to interact with a variety of receptors, proteins and other chemicals in the brain and produce changes in the production and behavior of neurotransmitters, hormones and immune cells throughout the brain and body.
According to recent research, CBD may even promote the growth of new brain cells in a process scientists refer to as neurogenesis. CBD oil is also known to provide powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Let’s take a closer look at some of this research and see what mechanisms might be involved in CBD’s use as a potential sleep aid.
Research Studies On CBD for Sleep
Scientists have made great progress in recent years in understanding how CBD produces its calming, pain-reducing, anti-inflammatory effects in the body
Studies into CBD’s medicinal benefits suggest that CBD oil may provide relief for some sleep disorders. Current research suggests that the ECS may be intimately involved in regulating sleep cycles and determining how well we sleep at night. Targeting the ECS with phytocannabinoids such as those found in CBD oil may provide therapeutic benefits for patients with sleep disorders.
Interestingly, CBD has been shown in research studies to have the ability to help regulate sleeping patterns both promoting sleep at night and greater alertness during the daytime. Some studies suggest that CBD oil may exhibit a stimulating effect in small doses, while at mid to high-level dosages it acts as a sedative.
The journal Current Psychiatry Reports published a review of the existing literature on cannabinoids and sleep titled, “Cannabidiol in humans.” After reviewing all the available data, the report concluded that “Medium- and high-dose CBD is sedating, and has been examined in the context of a number of sleep disorders including insomnia. Initial basic research has suggested that medium-/high-dose CBD is associated with an increase in the percentage of total sleep.” 
Authors also point to a pilot study in humans which associates high-dose CBD with improved sleep. A clinical study on individuals with insomnia showed that the administration of 160 mg/day of CBD increased total sleep time and decreased the frequency of disturbances during sleep. On the other hand, data from other studies associated low doses of CBD with increased wakefulness.
A report of findings from a series of experiments on mice titled, “Endocannabinoid signaling Regulates Sleep Stability,” published in the journal PLoS One gives insight into why this might be. Authors of the study concluded that ECS regulation “is both necessary and sufficient to promote long (stable) bouts of NREM sleep.”
Recent findings from researchers done at the National Center for PTSD-Dissemination & Training Division, published in the journal, Current Psychiatry Reports suggest that CBD may increase REM sleep and reduce daytime sleepiness. The report, entitled, “Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a review of the literature,” concluded that “CBD may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia.”
Pain, anxiety and depression are common reasons for short-term sleep issues. Some studies suggest that CBD may have powerful analgesic, anxiolytic and antidepressant properties which may help reduce pain, anxiety, and depression, and in turn help patients get more sleep.
Finally, a report by researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Wholeness Center which was published in The Permanente Journal details the case of a ten-year-old girl who was sexually abused and suffering from PTSD. The girl was given CBD to help treat anxiety and sleep disorder as an alternative to traditional medications.
According to the authors, “Pharmaceutical medications provided partial relief, but results were not long-lasting, and there were major side effects. A trial of cannabidiol oil resulted in a maintained decrease in anxiety and a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of the patient’s sleep.”
Which CBD Products Are Used For Sleep?
There are a variety of types of CBD oil and methods for administering it which users claim can promote better sleep, and also reduce pain, anxiety and depression which can cause sleeplessness.
The benefits of each method depend on whether or not the condition is a short-term issue, or a long-term issue, what the cause is, and the dosage being used.
As discussed above, higher doses are used to treat sleep disorders. A dosage of 100 to 200 mg per days has been recommended by some medical professionals. There are a number of methods that can provide you with these dosages, but some will be more convenient than others.
The onset time will vary from method to method. For instance, vaping and sublingual application (under the tongue) have a fast-acting effect. However, you’ll have to do a lot of vaping or take a lot of drops to reach those higher dosages.
Edibles and capsules, on the other hand, have a very slow onset time — 20 minutes to half an hour for capsules and gummy candies (because they melt almost instantly) and a half hour to an hour or more for items such as baked goods, which take longer to digest.
The most recommended method for higher dosage programs is capsules. They are much easier to administer than all other methods, they act relatively quickly, and you may only need to take one capsule a few times a day depending on the CBD content of the product. Taking two capsules which contain 25 mg of CBD three times a day will provide you with a total of 150 mg of CBD.
Another aspect to consider is the bioavailability of CBD in the product you’re using. If you were to vape 100 mg of CBD you’d end up with about half that amount available to your body, while if you eat CBD-infused edibles, about a quarter of the CBD — give or take — will be of use.
That’s not to say that you should increase your dosage accordingly. It’s best to start small. Medical professionals often recommend that CBD users start with a small dosage of between 5 and 25 mg a day, depending on your body weight. See how that affects you, then move up from there. Although that low dosage may not help you sleep, this is just to determine how CBD affects your body. (Smaller dosages may help with anxiety and depression issues.)
Current research indicates that CBD oil may be a safe and effective sleep-aid for those suffering from sleep disorders which are due to pain or mental health problems.
Further investigation into CBD’s effects on sleep disorders and the mechanisms involved is needed to make any solid conclusions about the long-term efficacy of CBD oil therapy in treating sleep disorders. Always consult a qualified medical professional before you begin any dietary supplement regimen intended to treat a medical condition.
You may also be interested in our article about CBD’s health benefits.