Learn about the potential benefits and side effects of using CBD oil to treat sleep disorders.
The medicinal benefits of cannabis have been known for thousands of years. Historical documents and texts show that cannabis has been used to treat a wide range of ailments since at least 1500 BCE, and there’s evidence suggesting knowledge of the plant’s medicinal properties has been known for even longer.
With the large scale decriminalization and legalization of cannabis in many countries and U.S. states, more people are beginning to turn toward cannabidiol (CBD) as an alternative treatment for pain, inflammation, anxiety and sleep disorders.
CBD is the non-psychoactive element of the cannabis sativa plant. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t contain any compounds that result in users getting high. Because of this, a growing group of people suffering from sleep disorders and insomnia have chosen to use CBD instead of other pharmaceutical drugs to help them sleep through the night.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) report that more than 60 million people in the United States suffer from insomnia.
Being unable to fall asleep or sleep soundly through the night can have serious detrimental effects on one’s mental and physical health. Most people will experience some sleep disorder at some point in their lives. Depression, anxiety, compromised immune function and other physical and mental health problems commonly affect those who don’t get enough sleep each night.
Because well-known pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter sleep aids can sometimes result in serious side effects, more attention has been given to CBD in recent years to counter common sleep problems.
How does CBD affect sleep disorders?
The brain contains endogenous cannabinoid receptors—known as the endocannabinoid system—that respond when a person applies, ingests or inhales CBD. When activated, these receptors can help combat issues like anxiety and inflammation. A growing body of research shows that while CBD may not directly address sleep itself, it can have a marked effect on the underlying problems that prevent sleep loss in the first place.
For example, a study published in The Permanente Journal on how CBD affects anxiety showed that CBD use can have an indirect yet significant effect on improving sleep. The link between anxiety and sleep has been well-documented, and one of the most reported reasons for using CBD is to help treat anxiety. Of the 72 participants in the study, many who said their anxiety was causing them to lose sleep reported improvements after taking CBD.
Other studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system may have a more direct correlation to the body’s sleep/wake cycle. When activated by CBD, the body can fall into a more stable ratio of being asleep to being awake.
While more in-depth research is needed to fully understand the link between the endocannabinoid system and sleep, scientific research and anecdotal reporting point to CBD’s ability to improve the body’s natural sleep patterns.
Can CBD help with insomnia caused by inflammation and pain?
Another common reason for insomnia is inflammation and pain. Many people suffering from chronic pain and inflammatory autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis report trouble sleeping. People who can’t sleep due to pain may develop depression and anxiety as well, resulting in a snowball-like effect that further affects sleep.
Just as the endocannabinoid system can help reduce anxiety, it can also help treat pain. CBD has been shown to trigger the body’s immune response to help reduce the inflammation caused by arthritis, as well as alleviate overall pain in the body.
By addressing the broad range of symptoms that pain causes on the body, CBD can help bring a good night’s sleep to many people by treating both the physical and mental roots of sleep disorders.
Can CBD be used by everyone?
Most people who use CBD don’t report any negative side effects, and it’s considered generally safe for everyone to use. However, finding the appropriate dosage is necessary to glean the desired benefits from this compound. CBD users should start off with small doses and judge the effects from there, only increasing the dose incrementally over time. Too large a dose may result in gastric distress, nausea, dry mouth and drowsiness.
Taking CBD to relieve sleep problems may take some experimentation. Some users take CBD in the morning or afternoon to treat symptoms over the course of the day, while others prefer to take it at night before bed. It’s best to experiment with timing to get a good sense of how your body reacts to CBD.
While everyone’s bodies are different, and CBD may affect one person differently than another, its effects on improving sleep disorders and insomnia have been widely reported. For those seeking relief from these problems, CBD has the potential to bring back a good night’s sleep.
Of course, before you begin taking a CBD regiment, you should always consult with your doctor or a health care professional to make sure it’s right for you.