Does CBD Help with Sleep?
by Elizabeth Denton
Whether you suffer from insomnia or only have trouble falling asleep once in a while, you know the frustration. No matter how tired you are and how much you want to sleep, something keeps you awake. It could be Sunday scaries, body aches and pains or just an overall restlessness. Cannabidiol can help your body relax to the point that you can fall asleep naturally, without the use of drugs that will make you groggy the next day. But how much CBD do you need to take? And when do you take it? We break it down to help you get better sleep naturally.
What Is CBD?
Let’s define CBD first. It’s a compound that won’t get you high. Hemp, the source of CBD, must contain less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol by law—and THC is the main ingredient in cannabis that does get you high. (CBD is found in marijuana, too, but in smaller concentrations.) Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is now a much more broadly legal agricultural commodity, and CBD, while still closely regulated at the federal level, is becoming more readily available in many states. The hemp and CBD wellness industries have boomed after this legislation with the launch of many new and exciting products.
Does CBD Help with Sleep?
In short, CBD can help you sleep. A study published in January 2019 surveyed 72 adults with short-term problems falling asleep, mostly due to anxiety. Anxiety scores in more than 79 percent of the patients decreased during the entire period of the study. More than 66 percent of patients had improved sleep scores in the first month but results fluctuated over time. Most importantly, and in stark contrast to the current drugs on the market, all but three patients tolerated CBD well.
Joseph Maroon, MD, a clinical professor and neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, told Consumer Reports that he’s researched the effects of cannabis on the brain, and CBD has properties that can help some people sleep. This is mostly because it can ease anxiety and pain, which are major reasons why people have trouble staying asleep. He also notes that it can help some people not just fall asleep but sleep better. While CBD isn’t a sleeping pill in the traditional sense, it can deal with the reasons you have trouble sleeping in the first place.
How Much CBD Oil Helps with Sleep?
There have been few studies on CBD dosing. It seems more of a trial and error situation for consumers at this point, because how individuals react to CBD varies. The patients in the above study were given a 25-milligram dose, but most need at least 30 milligrams to feel its calming effects. A 2004 study found that a 160-milligram dose was helpful for anxiety, but it’s best to start small and work your way up.
If you’re looking for the calming effects of CBD to hit quickly, vaping is your best bet. With this mode of delivery, CBD hits your bloodstream in less than one minute. This can be especially helpful for pain (such as migraines) and to relieve severe anxiety. It might not be as helpful for sleep, since you want its effects to hit your system slowly, to help you stay asleep longer. Tinctures, drops or sprays in your mouth generally take 15 to 30 minutes to kick in. Edibles, including pills, take even longer because the CBD has to pass through your digestive system first.
While some exciting studies already show that CBD helps with sleep, more research is sure to be conducted with the passing of the Farm Bill. One thing, however, seems clear: CBD is safe for adults and appears to have few if any side effects in most people. Whatever type of CBD you take, test yourself to determine the dosage of CBD that helps to calm your body, eases aches and pains and allows you to drift off to sleep. You’ll wake up rested, energized and ready to take on whatever the day brings.
Elizabeth Denton is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, and consultant.