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CBD & Sedation — Could CBD Oil Help You Fall Asleep?

Lately, there's been a lot of hubbub surrounding the health benefits of hemp extract. Global customers seem to be mesmerized by the cannabinoid CBD, which is found in high concentrations in hemp buds. Unlike THC, CBD is federally legal and won't give users a "high" sensation. Instead, many "CBD devotees" claim this cannabinoid has the uncanny ability to keep them cool, calm, and collected.

Unsurprisingly, these anecdotal reports have led some to suspect CBD may have sedative properties. In fact, it's becoming increasingly common for patients to try CBD oil for sleep issues. 

But does science support the use of CBD for sleep? Could this cannabinoid keep you from counting sheep, or is it just another unsubstantiated "too good to be true" claim?

How Does CBD Influence The Sleep Cycle?

To understand how CBD may influence sleep, it's crucial to go over the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Although you probably didn't learn about the ECS in biology 101, it's a natural physiological process in most mammals. Interestingly, our body can make specific cannabinoids (aka endocannabinoids) that regulate various areas of our health. Scientists are still learning the intricacies of the ECS, but it appears this system helps us maintain a sense of balance. 

So, what does the ECS have to do with sleep health? Well, there's some evidence the ECS may play a role in regulating our circadian rhythm. This is where CBD may step into the picture.

To date, cannabis is the only plant with cannabinoids that mimic our endocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD have such profound effects on our bodies because they can influence the ECS.

However, CBD doesn't seem to have as direct of an impact as THC. Instead of landing on CB1 receptors, CBD may influence chemicals like the hormone serotonin and the endocannabinoid anandamide. Both of these compounds seem to play a crucial role in mood and sleep regularity. At this point, it's safe to assume CBD's indirect action on the ECS may be responsible for many of its purported benefits, including sleep health. 

So, Does CBD Make You Sleepy? 

It's tough to say whether CBD should be considered a sedative. A few studies suggest CBD has sedative potential, but scientists still have many questions surrounding CBD's correlation with sleep health. 

For instance, one University of Colorado study tracked sleep and anxiety levels in a group of over 70 adult patients. After one month of daily CBD supplementation, 66 percent of patients noticed superior sleep quality. Even more impressive, almost 80 percent of patients claimed they felt less anxiety.

These findings lead us to the core question in the current debate over CBD for sleep: Does CBD directly influence the circadian rhythm, or do CBD's anti-anxiety effects improve sleep quality? 

There's increasing evidence from Brazil and Japan that CBD performs better than placebos for social anxiety disorder. There's also another Brazilian study that suggests CBD could reduce the stress hormone cortisol. All of these findings imply CBD's anti-stress potential could explain why patients sleep better when taking it. 

What's The Ideal CBD Dosage For Sleep? 

Dosing CBD is a tricky topic. Not only do patients have to factor in their age and metabolism, they also have to consider which form and spectrum of CBD they're using. 

As a rule of thumb, CBD tinctures, vape juices, and hemp flowers have the most direct effect on a person's ECS. Therefore, you'll need lower concentrations of these products to have an immediate and potent impact. Other CBD items like edibles and capsules tend to take longer to work and have more subdued effects. 

In terms of CBD spectrums, full-spectrum products may have the strongest effects due to the "entourage effect." Some cannabis researchers believe natural hemp cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce this heightened effect. By contrast, CBD isolate may have a weaker effect since it's "isolated" from all other hemp cannabinoids. 

Finding the proper CBD dosage for you will depend on how your body responds to your CBD product. In the beginning stages, it's best to keep a CBD dosage journal and record any sensations you experience. 

Please note: CBD tends to have its highest sedative potential when taken in large doses. However, if you're new to CBD, it's best to start with the lowest recommended dose and gradually work your way up. Just know that you may have to take doses in the 300 - 600 mg range to notice drowsy effects. 

Should Patients Use CBD Or Melatonin For Sleep?

Although CBD is becoming popular for common sleep conditions, it's probably not the first sleep supplement that pops into your head. Indeed, melatonin pills remain the most dominant OTC option for people seeking sleep relief.

Unlike CBD, melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that plays a significant role in regulating our circadian rhythm. Estimates suggest a staggering 3 million Americans use melatonin-containing capsules before going to bed. However, many sleep doctors caution melatonin isn't the optimal solution for every patient. Also, there are some concerns about whether using melatonin capsules could disrupt our body's ability to produce this hormone. 

As with CBD oil, sleep patients should speak with a doctor before using melatonin supplements. There are instances where low-dose melatonin capsules may be beneficial, but patients should only use them after meeting with a sleep specialist. 

CBD For Sleep — An All-Natural Way To Snooze? 

There's a lot of promise surrounding the use of CBD for sleep. Even if CBD doesn't directly impact the circadian rhythm, it seems like this cannabinoid positively affects a patient's stress levels. By helping dampen anxiety, CBD may have a positive effect on sleep quality and duration. 

Although CBD shows potential for sleep issues like insomnia, customers should speak with a doctor before adding this supplement to their daily routine. Patients should also double-check the ingredients in their CBD products, especially if they were made specifically for sleep. The FDA still doesn't regulate the CBD industry, so it's up to customers to ask companies for third-party lab tests. Also, some CBD products marketed for sleep have traces of other compounds like melatonin or Valerian root. Always do plenty of research when searching for your "dream" CBD product. 

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CBD For Anxiety — Could CBD Settle Your Nerves?
Health and Wellness George Mouratidis

November 01, 2021

CBD For Anxiety — Could CBD Settle Your Nerves?

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