Should You Use CBD Oil for Sleep? Is it safe?

Updated on April 22nd, 2021
Does CBD Make You Sleepy

There is still a lot of misinformation for such a popular product—and ensuing confusion—around Cannabidiol (CBD). In addition to questions surrounding psychoactive effects, legality, tolerance, and dosing, we field many questions about whether the product will cause sleepiness.

What the studies say about CBD and sleep

To understand whether Cannabidiol can enhance sleep, we first have to know what causes poor sleep.

Several things can cause you to sleep poorly. Insomnia may be caused by:

  • mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression
  • medication, which can disturb our sleep-wake cycle
  • physical conditions, such as restless leg syndrome and chronic pain  
  • caffeine, mainly when consumed late in the day
  • environmental influences, such as an uncomfortable bed or loud noises 
  • If external factors or related conditions cause your insomnia, CBD may help treat sleeplessness causes.

While studies on CBD are still in their infancy, some studies indicate that Cannabidiol can treat anxiety [1].

A review published in 2019 looked at whether CBD could reduce anxiety and improve sleep. The research involved 72 subjects, with 25 experiencing poor sleep and 47 experiencing anxiety.

[Read: How to find the right CBD]

The subjects were each given 25 mg (milligrams) of CBD in capsule form each day. In the initial month, 66.7 percent reported better sleep, and 79.2 percent of the patients reported lower anxiety levels.

Pain, which can also cause sleep disorders, can be supported by CBD as well. A 2018 study in Frontiers in Pharmacology remarked that there’s a fair amount of proof to support the claim that Cannabidiol soothes pain. The authors point that by reducing chronic pain, Cannabidiol can promote sleep [2].

Other studies tell us that CBD affects the sleep cycle. A study from 2014 looked at 4 patients with Parkinson’s disease. It found that CBD improved REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) symptoms, a condition in which an individual acts out their dreams. RBD is linked with nightmares and poor sleep [3].

A 2017 review also noted that CBD might help treat RBD and show potential for treating excessive daytime drowsiness.

Grogginess, another symptom of insomnia, can also be influenced by Cannabidiol. A 2014 review found that Cannabidiol could have the potential to promote wakefulness, based on both animal and human research. The authors remarked they weren’t sure exactly why or how CBD promoted wakefulness in some cases [4].

How CBD works to enhance sleep

Even studies that confirm that CBD can enhance sleep aren’t always able to say why this is the case. Most of the studies mentioned above emphasize that we need more research on CBD before understanding how it affects sleep.

However, as discussed above, many scientists say that CBD improves sleep because it tackles insomnia’s root causes. As more studies are done on CBD, we’ll learn more about why and how it can help us sleep.

[Also Read: How Much Sleep Do We Need]

How to use CBD for sleep

There are several ways to take CBD. It comes in a few distinct forms, including:

  • vape concentrates
  • tinctures and oils 
  • capsules and pills 
  • edibles, like gummies

Generally, vaping Cannabidiol gets it into our system faster than other forms. However, there’s not much research on vaping Cannabidiol, and vaping, in general, can pose respiratory risks.

The dosage of Cannabidiol we use and the time we take it will depend on several factors. Our weight, personal body chemistry, and the nature of our sleeping troubles will affect how the Cannabidiol works. What acts for some individuals might not work for others.

Most clinical trials on Cannabidiol and sleep have involved giving the subjects anywhere between 25 milligrams (mg) to 1,500 mg of Cannabidiol per day. It’s wise to start with a low dosage and slowly increase it until we find something that works for us.

Much of the studies on CBD, sleep, and anxiety have noted that most patients don’t notice an immediate difference. The 2019 review noted above noted that it took about 30 days for the subjects to notice a difference. Be patient, and remember that we’re unlikely to get instant results.

[Read: Benefits of CBD Oil]

Side effects and safety concerns of CBD

A 2017 study looked at numerous studies on the safety of Cannabidiol and confirmed that it’s a comparatively safe treatment. Side effects are rather uncommon. However, we may experience some minor side effects.

  • Possible side effects
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • changes in weight
  • changes in appetite

Talk to the physician before trying CBD

It’s necessary to talk to your physician before taking medication of any kind — including CBD or supplements. A physician is well equipped to tell you how to use Cannabidiol to improve sleep based on specific circumstances.

Is Cannabidiol Legal? 

Hemp-extracted Cannabidiol products (with less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are legal on the federal level but are still illegal under some state laws.

Marijuana-derived Cannabidiol products are illegal on the federal level but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Remember that nonprescription Cannabidiol products are not FDA-approved and may be inaccurately labeled.

Bottom Line

While Cannabidiol can be used to relax and de-stress, it shouldn’t necessarily cause sleepiness. However,  we all absorb, metabolize, and respond to the compound in different ways, so it’s essential to see what works for you. If you’re new to the product, try a low dose (10 to 15 mg) of Cannabidiol at a time to begin.

Try taking it at specific times of the day to understand how it makes you feel. You might find it somewhat stimulating and prefer to take it in the mornings, or it may show as more calming and be a nighttime event.

Either way, its impact will probably be pretty slow: Think slow, a tsunami of sleepiness steady versus waves of relaxation.

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