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Does CBD Make You Sleepy?

Posted on July 28th, 2020

It’s only been a few years since CBD, or cannabidiol, made its debut on the mainstream market, but already, countless CBD shops are cropping up across the country. Since the federal US government legalized CBD in 2018, many people, including scientists, have explored CBD for its ability to transform your body’s health. In fact, CBD has almost eclipsed its psychoactive chemical companion – THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – thanks to the numerous benefits it appears to offer, all without the fear of getting “high“. Thanks to the variety of CBD growers and industry tinkerers, we’re learning there’s still a lot to discover about this cannabis compound. Now, if you’re new to the CBD world, the last thing you want is to get lost in confusion, wondering which product form best suits your needs. That’s why we strive to offer you helpful, informative CBD content on our Tanasi platform. And it’s why, today, we’ll explore the ways in which CBD affects your body, specifically your sleep cycle, and address whether or not CBD can make you sleepy.

What Is CBD?

What exactly is CBD? Cannabidiol can be defined as a naturally occurring compound found in the stem, flowers, and leaves of cannabis plants. Most legal CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp (a cousin of the marijuana plant), which has less than 0.3% THC concentrations and is therefore not a plant capable of producing psychoactive effects.

What’s the Difference Between CBD and THC?

It would be impossible to talk about CBD oil without mentioning the elephant in the room – THC. While both CBD and THC are prominent cannabinoids in cannabis plants, the two compounds are quite different. The best way to differentiate CBD from THC is by looking at how both compounds affect you, the user. CBD works by attaching itself to the CB-2 receptors that are found in your cells and throughout your body, outside of your central nervous system. Conversely, THC is more likely to attach itself to CB-1 receptors, found in your brain. While we’re still working to understand exactly how these cannabinoids affect your body, this difference may help explain why THC is a psychoactive compound, but CBD isn’t.

Does CBD Affect Sleep?

Are you worried that using CBD oil could keep you up at night? Or, are you worried that CBD might make you sleepy? Well, you don’t need to be! In fact, some studies suggest CBD could help manage insomnia. If you’ve considered using CBD oil to help with your sleep problems, you’re in luck!

In many cases, sleep cycle issues are a result of stress-related disorders. While no definitive studies link CBD use and sleep, CBD has been associated with helping patients with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other stress disorders. Pain can also contribute to sleeplessness, and CBD may help reduce inflammation to deliver pain relief, which could help users sleep better.

CBD and Sleep Explained

It would be fair to assume that CBD delivers a sedative effect similar to what you experience with THC use. However, CBD does not make you sleepy, even though it may help you battle sleep disorders. That’s because of the unique way in which CBD seems to alleviate symptoms of insomnia.

CBD may help you sleep in two different ways. First, CBD appears to directly interact with the receptors in your brain that dictate your body’s wake and sleep cycle. And second, CBD may help alleviate pain and stress, two factors that can keep you up at night.

The human body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), a system responsible for receiving cannabinoids. Its receptors are present throughout your brain, tissues, and even your skin. This system controls stress, anxiety levels, and pain perception, working to maintain balance (homeostasis) in your body. The ECS can synthesize phytocannabinoids, which are plant-based cannabinoids. CBD triggers your ECS by activating its receptors to regulate stress, pain, and anxiety. It does this by:

Producing Neurochemicals

CBD appears to attach itself to receptors and connectors that influence the release of melatonin and serotonin both of which are biochemicals that help you maintain a normal sleep cycle.

May Help Loosen Muscles

Muscle conditions like hypermotility, as well as sore, tense muscles, can interfere with sleep. When CBD works with your muscles’ receptors, they might cause a relaxing sensation, leading to better sleep.

Modulating Cortisol

Your body also releases cortisol, a hormone that causes anxiety that can, in turn, interfere with sleep. CBD may help regulate the production of cortisol, which in turn might help the user to fall asleep faster and enjoy better quality sleep.

Minimizing Nightmares

If nightmares give you interrupted nights, you’ll appreciate this study that suggests using CBD may help stop nightmares so you can enjoy better quality slumber.

May Help to Control the Wake/Sleep Cycle

Ever heard of the term somnolence? It refers to being drowsy or having a strong desire to sleep during the day. And somnolence during the day can interfere with your sleep at night. So, if you’re nodding off at the wrong times of the day, taking CBD may help your body’s internal clock get back on track.

Pain Relief

Pain, no matter where you feel it, can be a great hindrance to sleep. CBD might help mitigate this issue by connecting to your cannabinoid receptors. When CBD interacts with your receptors, it can reduce the intensity of pain signals transmitted to your brain. And, once the pain is reduced, you may be able to sleep better.

Does CBD Affect Sleep Disorders?

Sleep problems come in many different forms, including:

Snoring

Snoring, when severe, can significantly reduce your quality (not to mention the sleep quality of those around you). Sleep is affected when your snoring impacts your breathing by reducing the amount of oxygen in your brain. According to research, CBD shields the brain from the effects of snoring and improves the quality of sleep .

Insomnia

If taken properly, CBD may help combat insomnia for many of the reasons we’ve already reviewed.

What the Research Says About CBD and Sleep

In the last decade, growing interest in the health benefits of CBD has encouraged many researchers and scientists to study its effects. Several studies indicate that high doses of CBD may help support sleep. Here are examples of research studies related to CBD and sleep:

Scott Shannon conducted a study involving 72 subjects. Twenty-five subjects experienced difficulties with sleep, while the remaining 47 patients had anxiety. The study results revealed that in the first month, a 25mg CBD pill ingestion resulted in two changes:

  1. 79.2% of the subjects said that CBD helped alleviate anxiety
  2. 66.7% of the subjects said that CBD helped them fall sleep and even gave them a better sleep experience

In another study, compared with a placebo, a 160mg CBD dosage helped increase sleep duration. The research also showed that the placebo, 5mg of nitrazepam (insomnia drug), and 40, 80, 160mg of CBD improved participant’s sleep experience.

In another study of CBD and sleep, researchers recruited 103 subjects who had poor sleep and anxiety . The study aimed to investigate the effects of CBD combined with prescribed medications. The CBD dosage ranged from 25 to 175mg, and it was found that 25mg was the best dosage for anxiety. Troubled sleep, on the other hand, needed a higher dosage. This study concluded that while CBD may help people sleep in the short term, its effects may not be sustained.

Another study published in the journal, Medicines , involved 409 participants with insomnia. They were studied from June 2016 to May 2018. During this period, participants reported their symptoms and rated them on a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the worst cases of insomnia. Starting symptoms had an average rating of 6.6. The subjects were treated using cannabis flowers with different intake methods, including pipe, joint, and vape. CBD potency, on average, was 5.7% and limited to 30%. THC potency was, on average, 20% and also limited to 30%. After using the cannabis flower, subjects rated insomnia symptoms, and the average rating was 2.2, which was 4.5 points lower than the starting rating . The results of these findings indicate that cannabinoids may help decrease symptoms of insomnia. But since the study was conducted using cannabis flowers, it’s difficult to determine if the insomnia relief was due to CBD, THC, or other cannabinoids.

What Are the Different Types of CBD and Which Is Best for Sleep?

Full Spectrum CBD

Refers to CBD products that contain all compounds found in hemp plants. That means the product will contain other cannabinoids such as CBN and trace amounts of THC. Full-spectrum CBD oils and other products are popular since the benefits of each component are multiplied when combined (referred to as the entourage effect). Because full-spectrum CBD oils contain THC, they could be spotted during a drug test.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Refers to CBD products with zero THC. Broad-spectrum CBD oil is basically full-spectrum CBD without the THC.

CBD Isolate

Often labeled as “pure CBD” because CBD has been isolated from all other components of the hemp plant.

While the choice is personal, if you’re using CBD for troubled sleep, consider starting with full-spectrum CBD products to maximize the impact of your supplementation.

What Are the Side Effects of CBD?

Typically, CBD oil is not linked to many side effects. Most people can enjoy different CBD products without experiencing any side effects. However, a few people do experience the following side effects, typically when taking higher than average doses:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite and weight

Other than the mentioned side effects, most research has identified CBD as safe and without side effects.

This guide will answer most of your questions regarding CBD oil and sleep, including if CBD will make you sleepy. Be sure to look at some of our other posts for more information on the effects of CBD oils in your body.

Today, we’ll explore the ways in which CBD affects your body, specifically your sleep cycle, and address whether or not CBD can make you sleepy.

Will CBD help you sleep?

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Contents

  1. What is CBD and how does it work?
  2. How does CBD make you feel?
  3. Does CBD oil make you tired?
  4. CBD vs. THC for sleep
  5. What effect does CBD oil have on sleep disorders?
  6. What are the other potential benefits of CBD?
  7. Bottom line

A good night’s sleep has incontestable benefits for general health and wellbeing. For 30% of the general population, however, sinking into an effortless slumber doesn’t come easily, according to a national poll by the Sleep Foundation. To make matters worse, sleeping pills and medications commonly used to induce sleep are often accompanied by side effects.

One possible alternative to these medications is cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabis compound. It is currently trending as a sleep aid as many are discovering that it promotes drowsiness by removing obstacles to sleep, such as anxiety. But are there scientific grounds to believe that CBD can actually support and bolster more healthful sleep? Weedmaps spoke with four experts to find out.

What is CBD and how does it work?

While we have some understanding of how CBD interacts with the body, there is still much to learn.

“CBD itself doesn’t do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors but instead promotes the binding of the endocannabinoids already in our systems,” Drew Ford, Chief Science Officer at Kase Manufacturing, a cannabis extraction facility, told Weedmaps. “It ensures they bind to the receptors that they’re supposed to go to.”

Research suggests that CBD may act on serotonin receptors, prompting the release of endocannabinoids. Serotonin is also one of the most important neurotransmitters for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Endocannabinoid receptors affect the entire body. According to Dr. Thinh Vo, Director of Quality and Compliance at Koi CBD, cannabidiol indirectly has an impact on receptors that send information between “the cells in the nervous, immune, and circulatory systems to regulate biological processes.”

Evidence from a study published in Translational Psychiatry also suggests that CBD inhibits the uptake of anandamide, which is an endocannabinoid that is often referred to as the “bliss molecule.” Anandamide binds to CB1 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, just like CBD. When CBD occupies those receptors instead, anandamide’s pleasant effects may last longer.

How does CBD make you feel?

When it comes to how CBD products will make you feel, the answer will depend largely on individual-specific factors.

“Each person’s reactions to CBD are unique,” Vo told Weedmaps News. “Reactions to CBD are also affected by other variables such as delivery method, whether the person is taking existing medications/supplements, and whether the product is an isolate or a spectrum oil.”

Vo points out that terpenes present in CBD oil also influence the individual’s response. “We know that terpenes play an essential role in determining the strain and influencing a sedative effect, energetic effect, or combination of both,” he explained.

CBD may diminish the anxiety that can render it challenging to fall asleep. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Per a study published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, when administered at different doses, CBD may provoke distinctive responses. Low doses may cause someone to feel energized and alert, while higher doses may be relaxing and encourage drowsiness. CBD is frequently anecdotally reported to alleviate anxiety.

“CBD is an anxiolytic, which means that it reduces anxiety and is calming,” explains Dr. Elaine Burns, a naturopathic doctor who is CEO and founder of Dr. Burns’ ReLeaf. “In addition, it helps to relax the muscles. These two properties both contribute to a feeling of relaxation in the mind and body.”

Does CBD oil make you tired?

As to whether CBD oil can cause tiredness, expert opinions appear to be mixed. “There is no true clinical evidence to support CBD as a sleep aid. CBD oil itself should not make a person drowsy,” Ford said.

That being said, Ford also acknowledges that CBD may diminish the anxiety that can inhibit sleep and “could be effective as a sleep aid for people who need to calm down and relax their mind.”

Dr. Patricia Frye, a board-certified cannabis clinician and Chief Medical Officer at HelloMD, pointed out that there is evidence that high doses of CBD can modulate adenosine pathways in the brain. “Adenosine is the substance that accumulates during the day and deactivates the sensory neurons in the area of the brain that keeps us awake.”

CBD may trigger tiredness or a sleep response through its reported effects on the 5-HT1a serotonin receptors. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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CBD may also trigger tiredness or a sleep response through its reported effects on the 5-HT1a serotonin receptors, as observed in a study published in the medical journal Pain. “When binding to the 5-HT1a receptors, CBD essentially blocks those receptors from other agonists binding to them,” Ford explained. “Depending on the individual’s body chemistry, when CBD binds to these receptors it can essentially block the anxiety or depression-causing molecules, leading to immediate relief.” As a result, some individuals may feel a sensation of sleepiness.

CBD vs. THC for sleep

THC, the cannabis plant’s most abundant and intoxicating cannabinoid, is reputed to induce sleepiness. Ford believes any feelings of drowsiness associated with CBD oil can most likely be attributed to THC. “If CBD oil is making you feel drowsy, it’s probably due to a fraction of THC being left in the product,” he said.

THC isn’t necessarily more effective than CBD as a sleep aid. An individual’s body chemistry affects how he or she responds to THC, and for some, it may be counterproductive if they’re looking for deep slumber. Ford explained that while the “psychoactivity of THC” can lead to drowsiness, it can also cause the mind to race, ultimately concluding that “it really depends on what symptoms you are trying to overcome and what works best for your own body.”

Burns agrees, adding that THC can also cause anxiety and restlessness at doses higher than 10 milligrams. “Because of this, I would say that CBD is a better sleep aid for most people; however, dosing less than 10 milligrams of THC along with 20 milligrams or more of CBD could be a great combination.”

CBN, the cannabinoid into which THC transforms when exposed to heat and light, may have more sedative effects. One analysis by Steep Hill Labs found that five milligrams of CBN was as effective as a 10-milligram dose of diazepam, a member of the “benzo” family used to treat muscle spasms, seizures, and anxiety. Thus, it’s likely that consuming older cannabis will have more sedative, sleep-inducing effects than fresher flower with less CBN present.

What effect does CBD oil have on sleep disorders?

Although more studies on CBD and sleep disorders need to be conducted, Vo pointed to the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, which returns more than 100 results for a search of CBD and sleep. The articles include studies and reviews of previous research, mostly conducted on animal models, which may overlap. A 2019 review of the use of CBD and THC for sleep indicates that cannabinoids may improve sleep quality, decrease sleep disturbances, and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.

Cannabinoids may improve sleep quality, decrease sleep disturbances, or reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Many of the studies reviewing CBD, however, examined sleep as a secondary outcome in the context of another illness. Frye highlighted a 2019 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology that investigated the use of CBD oil for children with autism spectrum disorder to treat related conditions such as sleep disturbances. “Patients with autism typically have sleep disturbances,” she explained. “The study showed that CBD improved sleep in 71.4% of patients.”

What are the other potential benefits of CBD?

As CBD interacts with the nervous, immune, and circulatory systems, it may also offer benefits for a gamut of conditions. An in-vitro study published in the European Journal of Pain suggests that CBD reduced evidence of pain and inflammation behaviors in rats, while another study published in Ingenta Connect found that CBD exhibited anti-anxiety and anti-depression effects in animal models. Too, CBD shows promise in reducing epilepsy-induced seizures and some types of muscle spasms, as shown in this in-vivo study published in The Lancet Neurology and this pilot patient study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience.

Per an in-vitro study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, there is also evidence that CBD may potentially improve heart health and, as seen in this scientific review published by CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, may offer protective benefits for neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

Bottom line

There is some evidence that CBD may reduce anxiety and promote feelings of calm and relaxation, which could lead to better sleep in some people.

However, there is presently little clinical research on human subjects specifically investigating the effects of CBD on sleep disorders. Possibly, future studies will enhance our understanding of CBD, its mechanisms, and its role in sleep regulation.

Will CBD help you sleep? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD and how does it work? How does CBD make you feel? Does CBD oil make