Can CBD oil be used effectively to combat sleep disorders? There is research which suggests that cannabinoids, such as those found in full spectrum CBD oil, might be able to play a role in helping to regulate daily rhythms and sleep patterns. And there are plenty of CBD users who would back up that claim. In fact, hemp extract, the raw material from which CBD oil is produced, has been used as a sleep aid for centuries.
What You’ll Learn in This Article:
Overview of Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders are not to be taken lightly. Good all-around health depends on getting a good night’s sleep every night. If sleep issues are not solved they can spiral out of control, causing cognitive declines such as an inability to focus and a reduction in memory recall. It can also result in reductions in motor skills, lethargy, anxiety, depression, high blood sugar, heart disease and much more. And, while not getting enough sleep can elevate the risk of illness, getting too much sleep can also cause serious health problems. As with many of the body’s systems, balance is needed in order to maintain good health.
Researchers have identified more than 84 different kinds of sleep disorders. The most common are insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy (sudden onset sleep state). The causes of sleep disorders are also numerous and varied. They can include pain or injury, medical conditions such as asthma, psychiatric conditions such as anxiety or depression and environmental conditions such as noise, light, etc. Other factors that can interfere with sleep include genetics, working night shifts, certain medications, aging and stress. Diet can also play a role. Compounds found in foods such as the caffeine in coffee and tea can result in loss of deep sleep. Alcohol is also known to disturb sleeping patterns.
CBD’s Effects on Sleep Patterns
Because the causes of sleep disorders are so varied, their treatments and remedies can also vary from person to person. Prescription medications are usually formulated to take a single approach to helping people sleep. However, other medications are often prescribed to treat the issues, such as pain or anxiety, that are causing sleep problems. CBD oil may be one of the few therapeutic options that has effects on almost all aspects of sleep disorders. CBD has been shown in studies to be a potential remedy for pain, anxiety and depression, and even appetite and addiction issues.
Interestingly, CBD has been shown in research studies to have the ability to help regulate overall sleeping patterns. Some studies suggest that CBD is a biphasic compound. This means it has a different set of effects when taken in small doses or high doses. Alcohol is a good example of a biphasic drug. In small doses, alcohol can give people energy and make them more sociable, but in larger doses it can render them completely unconscious. Likewise, CBD oil may exhibit a stimulating effect in small doses, while at mid to high-level dosages it acts as a sedative.
After reviewing all existing literature on cannabinoids and sleep, researchers published a report in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports titled, “Cannabidiol in humans,” which concluded that “medium- and high-dose CBD is sedating, and has been examined in the context of a number of sleep disorders including insomnia. Initial basic research has suggested that medium-/high-dose CBD is associated with an increase in the percentage of total sleep.”
One of the clinical studies mentioned in the report showed in particular that the administration of 160 mg/day of CBD increased total sleep time and decreased the frequency of disturbances during sleep.
Also, in a report of findings from a series of experiments on mice titled, “Endocannabinoid Signaling Regulates Sleep Stability,” researchers concluded that cannabinoids play a role in sleep regulation and are “both necessary and sufficient to promote long (stable) bouts of NREM sleep.”
Conversely, data from other studies have associated lower doses of CBD with increased wakefulness. According to a report out of the National Center for PTSD-Dissemination & Training Division, published in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports, CBD may both increase REM sleep and reduce daytime sleepiness. The report, entitled, “Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a review of the literature,” concluded that “CBD may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia.”
How is it possible that CBD oil can both promote sleep and wakefulness? Sleep is a complicated issue which involves a number of areas of the brain. This activity is regulated via a host of neurotransmitters and hormones. Cannabinoids found in CBD oil can mimic neurotransmitters such as anandamide and interact with a variety of receptors, proteins and other chemicals in the brain. These interactions produce changes in the production and behavior of other neurotransmitters. They might also regulate the production of hormones such as melatonin that are involved in sleep.
CBD also helps to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression in much the same way — by helping to modulate the production of hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, which are characteristically low in those suffering from these conditions.
Cannabinoids such as CBD have also been shown in studies to be involved in the modulation of pain signals in the brain and may help to reduce the severity of neuropathic pain. Also, CBD helps to minimize inflammation, which is involved a number of forms of pain.
CBD Products for Sleep
There are a variety of types of CBD oil and methods of administration. The simplest approach is to use full spectrum CBD oil softgels. Using an oral product facilitates the slow absorption of cannabinoids which, in turn, results in more constant levels of CBD in the blood throughout the evening. Conversely, methods such as vaping result in sudden spikes in CBD levels that fade more quickly.
It is highly recommended that consumers purchase a CBD oil product which has undergone a process known as nanoemulsion encapsulation, or simply nanoencapsulation. The reason for this is that blood is made up mostly of water and, as we know, oil and water don’t mix. This process improves the bioavailability of the cannabinoids by making the product water soluble, thereby allowing more of it to make its way into the bloodstream. These nanoencapsulated products have as much as four times the bioavailability as nonencapsulated oils and are usually about the same price.
For adults, experts recommend a dosage of 100 to 200 mg, depending on the patient’s size, taken 30 minutes before bedtime. Some patients might not need this high of a dosage, so it’s best to start small and work your way up. Try 25 or 50 milligrams and see how you react. If it doesn’t help, raise the dosage.
Keep in mind that everyone is different and CBD’s effects will vary from person to person. Effects depend on a variety of factors such as size and weight, whether or not it is taken with food and which products are being used.
Further investigation into CBD’s effects on sleep disorders and the mechanisms involved is needed in order to make any solid conclusions about the efficacy of CBD oil in treating sleep disorders. Always consult a qualified medical professional before you begin any dietary supplement regimen with the intention of treating a medical condition.