While many of its potential benefits are still being researched, early studies have shown that those who take CBD to improve sleep quality or battle insomnia have experienced positive results when CBD is taken in doses of 160 mg or more. This information comes as a huge relief to many Americans who struggle with sleep on a nightly basis.
CBD, or cannabidiol, and other cannabis-based health products extracted from hemp were federally legalized in the U.S. in 2018. Since then, its potential health benefits have been publicized widely.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of the main components derived from the cannabis plant species. This component, known as a cannabinoid, interacts with your body’s cannabinoid receptors, which are responsible for regulating your body’s physiological processes, such as mood, pain, appetite and memory. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another cannabis extract from the marijuana plant, CBD does not have psychoactive properties. However, it does have many potential health applications, including reducing the occurrence of seizures in individuals with epilepsy, pain relief and sleep quality improvement.
Is CBD Safe?
While CBD is generally safe for use in most individuals, it’s important to talk with a physician before using it to treat sleep issues or any other health conditions. There is potential for CBD to react with prescription medications, so it’s also best for individuals who are taking these medications to discuss the use of CBD with their pharmacist.
How You Can Use CBD to Improve Sleep
CBD doesn’t work in the same way that prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills do. Instead of causing drowsiness, which is what these drugs are designed to do, CBD has the potential to treat the root cause of low-quality sleep or occasional sleeplessness and promote relaxation in the body. Most individuals who use CBD to improve sleep don’t report a feeling of grogginess upon waking, which is common when using prescription sleeping pills.
Some of the causes of poor quality sleep and excessive sleepiness can include:
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Chronic pain
- Caffeine use
- Overuse of screens before bedtime
- Noise or discomfort
Of course, CBD doesn’t have the ability to treat environmental factors, such as screen usage, noise or discomfort, but it can help to ease the mind and promote relaxation before winding down for the night. Additionally, CBD does have the potential to reduce the effects of chronic pain, stress, anxiety and depression, which contribute to occasional sleepiness and low sleep quality.
Negative Effects of Low-Quality Sleep
Not getting a good night’s rest can lead to plenty of trouble during the day. Symptoms of poor sleep quality, occasional sleeplessness and insomnia vary among individuals who experience these issues. These symptoms can include:
- Irritability and mood swings
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Grogginess upon waking
- Problems falling asleep at night, staying asleep or waking up in the morning
Other Benefits of Regular CBD Use
In addition to the potential for improving sleep quality, CBD may offer a broad range of other health benefits, as well. Research has shown that regular CBD use may help reduce the occurrence of seizures in individuals with certain types of epilepsy. While research is still pending on other topics, CBD has also shown promise in helping with the following conditions:
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety and stress
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Cancer cell growth
- Multiple sclerosis and other central nervous system disorders
- Spinal cord injuries
- Skin conditions, such as cystic acne
How to Use CBD
There are several ways to ingest CBD. It’s available in vape concentrates, oils and tinctures, pills/capsules and edibles, such as gummies, tea and chocolates. The most effective and quickest form of ingestion is vaping, but it’s important to keep in mind that vaping does come with potential respiratory risks. Oils and tinctures can be taken orally and are typically placed under the tongue. Generally, the efficacy and speed/rate of delivery into the system is similar with oils, pills and edibles.
Determining the appropriate dosage depends on factors, such as your weight and how the body reacts to CBD. While overdose is unlikely, it’s best to start with a smaller dosage of 25 mg or less and gradually increase if necessary. In most clinical trials, doses ranging from 25 mg to 1500 mg have been tested on subjects, and while a higher dose has generally proven more effective in most, some find that less is more when it comes to using CBD to improve sleep quality.
If you feel that poor sleep quality is interfering with your life, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the benefits of using CBD to improve your sleep.