CBD improves sleep: Myth, or No?

Is it just me or are everyone and their mother using CBD these days? A 2019 poll confirmed that 1 in every 7 Americans is using CBD. CBD is short for cannabidiol and is one of the elements in cannabis, but it doesn't get users “high” or “stoned' - that comes from the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) part of the plant. CBD is regarded as a powerful healing agent, stabilizing the body's system with strong calming effects. So, everyone and their mother must be doing something right, but what about their sleep? Is CBD the missing part of your sleep routine?


CBD’s backstory

The cannabis plant has roots 30,000 years ago, though it is impossible to determine exactly when humans first discovered it. Historians accept that Europe’s Age of Discovery (14th – 16th century) introduced and planted cannabis across America. Until the 1900s, cannabis was regarded as an excellent medicine. Restrictions soon entered, pushed by the prohibition era, accumulating with the 1970 Controlled Substances Act of America, making cannabis illegal. Meanwhile, in 1942, American chemist Roger Adams impressively isolated cannabinol from the plant.


Research discovered CBD’s ability to ease chronic pain, epilepsy, and numerous neurodegenerative diseases. In 1996, California legalized medicinal marijuana, and the stigma around marijuana slowly shifted, through improved understanding of THC vs CBD, though it remains complicated. Research continues to discuss the therapeutic applications of CBD and hemp-derived CBD was legalized in 2018 and products are sold in many major retailers.

Curious how CBD works?

Research explains a high concentration of CBD activates the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor in our brains, linked to (amongst other processes) memory, mood, sleep, and anxiety. Additional research says that CBD can influence CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are in our central nervous system and regulate brain function and CB2 receptors are ON immune cells throughout the bloodstream. These receptors help with movement, pain, memory, and inflammation/pain. As such, CBD can elicit therapeutic responses in the body by influencing these receptors and mood through 5-HT1A. 


While CBD is legal, the FDA does not control all products. CBD comes in oils, creams, sprays, gummies, and tablets. This means doses are varied, which can impact the quality and amount per dose. One study of 84 CBD products determined that 26% had less CBD than the label and 43% had more. With this in mind, we recommend looking out for pure, high-quality CBD, without additional sugars, or additives. 


There is no official dose, as everybody is different, but researchers have determined orally, 300-600mg helps decrease anxiety and can have sedative results. It’s always best to speak to your doctor to determine your dose.


Snoozing with CBD

With more than one-third of Americans reportedly not getting the recommended amount of sleep, (7-9 hours nightly) it’s no surprise folks look to alternatives to help. First and foremost, CBD’s effect on sleep is preliminary. For some people, CBD eases anxiety and/or pain, and with this eased, sleep improves. Some users note sleeping quicker, deeper and waking rejuvenated. Other research monitored 72 adults with poor sleep and anxiety taking CBD with 79.2% noting decreased anxiety and 66.7% reported sleep improvement, but this did fluctuate post research.  People who suffer from  REM sleep disorder, noted symptoms going from 2-7 times per week to 0-1 with CBD.


Conversely, one research determined that taking 160 mg or less of CBD can encourage alertness. As dosage can impact folks differently, dose matters i.e., 10mg might make someone sleepy whereas others need 100mg. Researcher Scott Shannon, M.D, argues the impact on sleep may be placebo, but it isn’t a bad thing as people are less worried about their sleep and therefore, are able to sleep.


CBD doesn't present addictive side effects but can include sleepiness, stomach issues, change in appetite/weight. It can impact prescriptions, so always speak to your doctor.  

Sleep On

So: CBD for sleep is not technically a myth, but it is important to note that research for sleep is still anecdotal. Analyze how bad your sleep is, how long you’re suffering and how it's impacting your day. Ask questions like:

  •   Do you exercise late at night?
  •   Are you having caffeine too close to bed?
  •   What are your stress levels like?
  •   Could your sleep be linked to hormonal problems?


You are the expert on yourself, so when it comes to CBD use, evaluate it, use high-quality products, and be as safe as possible – never hesitate to speak to a medical professional.


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