CBD & Sleep

The importance of sleep is frequently understated. Getting a decent nights rest is becoming more and more difficult in this day and age with as many as 16 million people in the UK often tormented by sleepless nights.

The majority of insomnia cases are stress and anxiety-related, and with more of us working longer hours, it’s inevitable we notice more churn on sleep quality. Consequently, interest in sleep aids is skyrocketing, and sleep seekers are increasingly searching for natural solutions — all in an attempt to catch some shut-eye without feeling groggy the next morning.

man with book on his face

Can CBD help?

While there isn’t heaps of research directly on CBD oil and sleep, the mechanics of how CBD could potentially impact resting are relatively clear.

Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC act upon receptors within the endocannabinoid system, which regulates sleep patterns amongst other physiological functions. The ECS works like an internal body clock, chiming in according to our pre-set patterns, helping us maintain a day and night rhythm.

A growing volume of anecdotal evidence highlights the potential for improved sleep patterns with CBD use. Although, challenges persist around finding the right dose, consumption route and timing. Additionally, anecdotal evidence is subject to placebo and a lack of quality control, which we know is a huge problem with CBD.

Whilst there isn’t heaps of research directly on CBD oil and sleep, the mechanics of how CBD could potentially impact sleep are relatively clear. 

What does the research say?

Early indications from studies outline CBD can potentially help improve sleep patterns, especially when a lack of sleep is related to anxiety.

A study of 72 participants examined the effect of CBD on anxiety. Concluding CBD had a calming effect and thus helped the participants sleep, suggesting the impact on sleep is attributed to an indirect result of reduced anxiety. A 2012 study on rodents further supports this suggestion, indicating that “CBD may block anxiety-induced REM sleep alteration via its anxiolytic effect, rather than via sleep regulation per se”.

Other research is indicative of a more direct impact on sleep. Primarily through interactions with the CB1 receptor found in the endocannabinoid system, suggesting CBD has “therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia.”

Consumption Methods Matter

Given different forms on consumption, absorption and onset rates differ significantly. For example, CBD gel caps take at-least 30 minutes to absorb. On the other hand, if you vape a CBD concentrate such as crumble, a highly effective and potent dose can be delivered with speed. Due to the fact, some methods have quicker access to the bloodstream than others, with vaping being the most ‘efficient’ and fastest way to use CBD. Otherwise it may be best to buy CBD oil UK.

It’s also critical to remember different methods of use have varying levels of bioavailability. Meaning one approach doesn’t directly translate to another in respect to absorption.

Dosing Difficulties

CBD is said to be mildly stimulating in small amounts, and medium to high doses are considered to be sedating. It also appears the time it is used can have an adjustment on the overall effect. Consequently, CBD is regarded as a stimulant by some and a relaxant by others, adding to the confusion.

Whilst CBD is said to be mildly stimulating in small amounts, whilst medium to high doses are considered to be sedating, it also appears the time it is taken can have an adjustment on overall effect. Given this dilemma, CBD is considered a stimulant by some and a relaxant by others, adding to the confusion.

Studies specifically tackling dosing are few and far between. Nonetheless, we have come across a couple, and they all suggest a higher dose than average can help improve sleep. For example, a 2004 study suggested medium doses of CBD and THC in combination correlated with improved sleep patterns. If the enhanced rest is attributed to CBD, THC or both in combination is another question for discussion. On the flip side, in another instance, individuals with insomnia were given very high doses of 160 mg CBD, resulting in reduced sleep disturbances and an increase in the hours slept.

The Bottom Line

Issues with quality control are likely to dilute anecdotal evidence, and without robust QA checks, we cannot be confident consumers are using the amount of CBD they think they are.

Also, the interactions with anxiety and poor sleep muddy the water, making it difficult to assert if CBD helps with the former, naturally improving the latter or both independently. Inferring a need for a larger pool of double-blind studies and at a variety of doses. 

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Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Nature & Bloom and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention for any disease. Nature & Bloom products have not been evaluated by the MHRA.