Does CBD Make You Sleepy? Benefits and Side Effects
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural remedy known to be associated with multiple health benefits, contributing to the CBD ‘craze’ over the years.
Although you might know that CBD the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis, those who are new to CBD or are simply curious might be wondering: does CBD make you sleepy?
In this article, I cover all things CBD to give you a better idea of whether this natural remedy is going to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Keep reading to find out more.
Health benefits of CBD
There are multiple health benefits associated with CBD, contributing to its exponential growth in popularity over the years that has resulted in a plethora of CBD products including CBD oil, CBD gummies, and CBD capsules to name a few. So, what health benefits could you receive from taking CBD?
CBD has been associated with reducing anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression are generally treated with pharmaceutical drugs, which can cause a number of adverse side effects including drowsiness, agitation, insomnia, and addiction to name a few. The popularity of using CBD oil as a treatment for both depression and anxiety is increasing, encouraging people who struggle with these disorders to take this natural remedy.
Certain components of marijuana, including CBD, are responsible for its pain-relieving effects. CBD, then, is associated with providing pain relief from various conditions, including chronic pain. Taking CBD oil can help users manage pain symptoms, and has been known to reduce inflammation, pain, and overall discomfort caused by an array of different health conditions.
CBD has also been known to help reduce seizures in people with epilepsy as it has anti-seizure properties. That being said, research on using CBD for treating people that suffer from seizures is still ongoing.
How is cannabidiol different from marijuana?
While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is generally derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant.
Sleepiness or a sense of euphoria is the side effect of marijuana which is rich in THC. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the high sensation.
Despite the fact that they have similar chemical structures, CBD and THC have different psychoactive effects. CBD is psychoactive, yet it isn’t in the same way that THC is. Despite the fact CBD is a component of marijuana, by itself, it does not produce the high associated with THC.
Does CBD make you sleepy?
Although you might associate cannabis with feeling relaxed and drowsy, using CBD oil to help treat sleep disorders is somewhat more complex than simply making you feel sleepy. As a result, whether it will work to help you sleep is largely circumstantial.
To determine whether CBD can help you sleep, you first need to address what can cause insomnia. For instance, bad sleep can be a result of a variety of reasons, including:
- Mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
- Physical conditions, such as chronic pain and restless leg syndrome.
- Medication that can disturb your sleep cycle.
- Environmental factors, such as a loud sleeping environment.
- Caffeine, especially if you consume it in the evening before you attempt to sleep.
Once you have attributed your insomnia to a cause, you can work out whether taking CBD is an effective option that you can try.
CBD has been associated with reducing symptoms of anxiety. So, if anxious thoughts are keeping you awake at night, then CBD could help you to relax and thus, sleep. Therefore, in this circumstance, CBD could make you sleepy as it tackles the root cause of insomnia.
However, in the same breath, if your insomnia is caused by a loud sleeping environment, then it is unlikely that CBD is the answer to your lack of sleep. In this context, it doesn’t tackle the root cause of insomnia.
The answer to whether CBD helps you to sleep, then, is that it could help you sleep, but it depends on what is stopping you from getting a good night’s sleep. Although it is known to be associated with easing symptoms of anxiety, pain, and stress, if your insomnia isn’t caused by these factors – then you may want to try something other than CBD to help you sleep.
What are the side effects of taking CBD?
Although CBD is a natural remedy and is perceived to be relatively safe, there can be side effects to taking it that you should be aware of. Although these side effects are relatively rare, they include:
- Fluctuations in appetite.
- Changes in weight.
Before you buy CBD from a company, make sure that they are reputable by researching their history. You should always try to avoid companies that have a history of mislabelling CBD and choose CBD that has been tested by a third party, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.
It is also worth mentioning that you don’t want to be reliant on any kind of sleep medication for more than a few weeks. If you’re having trouble sleeping, seek medical advice from your doctor, as it is important to get to the root of the issue and come up with a long-term solution, rather than masking it temporarily with sleeping medication.
Although CBD is associated with many health benefits, such as reducing anxiety, whether it will help you sleep is circumstantial.
If you’re looking for another natural remedy to help you sleep, CBD might be able to help you. However, if you’re interested in taking CBD, seek advice from your doctor or a qualified cannabis or CBD clinician before you start using it.
Although CBD is relatively safe to take, it’s best to seek advice from a professional. Your doctor will be able to provide you with the information that you need of steps you can take to help your sleeplessness, as well as give you further information on CBD if you’re new to taking it, too.
CBD for Sleep – February 2022
The human sleep cycle comprises four stages of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The first three stages are NREM sleep, followed by the fourth stage, REM sleep.
A good night’s sleep or a healthy sleep cycle experiences all four stages of sleep. NREM stages account for 75% to 80% of sleep time, while REM accounts for 20% to 25% of sleep time (7 ) .
An individual with insomnia may have trouble sleeping and maintaining a regular sleep- wake cycle . Some may even have difficulty getting to the first two stages of sleep.
The disruption of this cycle may lead to many health issues, such as hypoxemia (low oxygen) and dyspnea (shortness of breath), pain conditions, and neurodegenerative diseases (8 ) .
A 2017 study published in Current Psychiatry Reports mentioned that CBD might have therapeutic potential for treating insomnia and other poor sleep conditions. The study continued by acknowledging that CBD may hold promise for excessive daytime sleepiness and REM-sleep behavior disorder (9 ) .
A crossover study compared CBD with nitrazepam (a hypnotic drug). The authors found that a dose of 160 mg of CBD increased sleep duration among human subjects (10 ) .
REM-sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a parasomnia, is defined by undesired events during sleep. Parasomnias are disruptive sleep disorders .
An individual may suddenly wake between stages two to four in the sleep cycle . This condition often involves confusional arousal (disorientation of time and place), sleep terrors, loss of muscle atonia, and sleepwalking (11 ) .
RBD is prevalent among men over 50 years old and among patients with Parkinson’s disease. A study described the beneficial effects of CBD in reducing RBD symptoms among patients with Parkinson’s (12 ) .
Researchers treated four patients with CBD during the study, which resulted in the reduced frequency of RBD-related events. Upon discontinuation of the treatment, RBD complex movements and symptoms returned (13 ) .
The study stated that although positive results have been observed among patients, the mechanism of therapeutic action remains unknown. More research is needed to confirm the efficacy and implications of CBD.
CBD Oil vs. Anxiety-Related Sleep Disorders
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops after a traumatic event. PTSD is frequently associated with night terrors and disturbed sleep (14 ) .
A study posted in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine has demonstrated how CBD treatment (of over two months) decreased the severity of PTSD symptoms in healthy human subjects. The study showed examples of how CBD dosage of 12mg and 32mg have decreased anxiety symptoms and sleep disturbances in patients (15 ) .
Another study found that out of 72 subject patients with anxiety, 57 experienced improvements during the first month of taking CBD (16 ) .
The Frontiers of Pharmacology also published a recent study that experimented on how CBD affects children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children with ASD often suffer from comorbidity of symptoms, including anxiety and sleep disorder .
Parents have reported that CBD may have improved ASD symptoms. Among the 53 children (ages 4-22 years old), sleep problems improved in 71.4% and worsened in 4.7%, while anxiety improved in 47.1% and worsened in 23.5% (17 ) .
CBD Oil vs. Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder wherein the individual feels pain or discomfort when the legs are at rest. Moving the legs or walking may temporarily relieve the pain.
A recent study posted in Sleeping & Breathing discussed the potential benefit of cannabis use among patients presenting with refractory RLS. The study added that patients had reported total remission of RLS symptoms following cannabis use (18 ) .
The author proposed more clinical trials to study the effect and implications of cannabis use for RLS symptoms.
How CBD Oil Works to Help With Sleep
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is made of G-protein receptors located throughout the human body, such as cannabinoid receptor one (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor two (CB2).
These receptors are found mostly in the central nervous system , the immune system, and the peripheral nervous system.
It has been mentioned in a study from Pharmacological Reviews that modulating the ECS might lead to therapeutic promises in a wide range of conditions and diseases (19 ) .
A review posted in Elsevier discussed the role of the CB1 receptor in the regulation of sleep. The author mentioned how the localization of the CB1 receptor in sleep-inducing areas might be a potential mechanism for sleep promotion (20 ) .
According to a study, CBD activity on G-protein receptors might drive its neuroprotective, antidepressive, and anxiolytic benefits (21 ) .
Moreover, a study released in Current Neuropharmacology discussed how CBD microinjections into the lateral hypothalamus (next to the pituitary gland) led to the enhancement of dopamine to increase wakefulness during daylight hours (22 ) .
The endocannabinoid system modulates pain signals in the body. The cannabinoid receptors may be found in pain circuits (from sensory nerve endings to the brain) (23 ) .
Clinical trials seemed to indicate that the compounds of hemp plants ( Cannabis sativa ), such as CBD and THC , may be promising treatments for difficult to treat painful conditions (24 ) .
Risks of CBD
Although legal in the United States, CBD remains highly unregulated. Individuals are encouraged to research which brands are safe and legitimate.
CBD may present a few side effects , such as dry mouth, diarrhea, sleepiness, drowsiness , and reduced appetite (25 ) .
Another study published in Molecules discovered that extremely high doses of CBD might cause liver injury (26 ) .
It is also not advisable to take CBD in conjunction with other medications. Individuals must first consult with a licensed physician before taking CBD, which might create an interaction with pharmaceutical drugs.
There are many different hypotheses on CBD’s potential effects on sleep. Some studies said that CBD might induce wakefulness, while other studies suggested CBD might cause sleepiness (27-28 ) . Generally, higher amounts of CBD cause sedation.
CBD vs. Other Alternative Sleep Aids
Melatonin is a popular sleep aid that is marketed as a dietary supplement. Melatonin is a natural hormone in the brain responsible for the body’s sleep response to darkness. The body’s ability to produce melatonin is crucial in maintaining the circadian rhythm.
Although highly marketed, melatonin has produced conflicting results in clinical studies (29 ) .
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine did not include melatonin in the list of treatments for insomnia, although they’ve acknowledged that the dietary supplement produced better results compared to placebo (30 ) .
CBD is considered a natural alternative approach in treating insomnia. Like melatonin , CBD’s health benefits with regards to insomnia remain a hypothesis.
Around 40% to 80% of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may present with sleep problems . In 2019, doctors conducted an experiment on children and adolescents with ASD. They have found that melatonin improved sleep problems in 60% of the patients, while CBD improved sleep in 71.4% of the patients (31-32 ) .
Chamomile tea is another alternative treatment for insomnia. The traditional herb has been a staple among wellness enthusiasts. However, there is a lack of study on chamomile ’s effectiveness in treating insomnia.
CBD teas are also recommended for individuals who wish to widen their options and achieve overall wellness .
Cannabinoids and CBD
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds present in the cannabis plant . According to research, the cannabis plant contains roughly 80 to 100 cannabinoids and 300 non- cannabinoid compounds (33 ) .
Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ) are two of the main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant . CBD is non- psychoactive , while THC is the main psychoactive compound of the plant.
Other cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant include cannabinol ( CBN ), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).
CBD has gained popularity over the years after medical researchers found that it possesses medicinal properties.
Research posted on the National Institutes of Health ( NIH ) website discussed that CBD had analgesic properties and helped treat chronic pain in adults (34 ) . Another research found that CBD might help improve the health of patients with panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (35 ) .
Meanwhile, a 2016 study concluded that CBD helped reduce pain and inflammation in arthritis patients (36 ) .
Another research discovered that CBD might help prevent seizures in animals (37 ) .
Some CBD brands infuse their CBD products with terpenes and flavonoids. CBD brands provide CBD in the forms of gummies , tinctures , hemp extracts , vapes, and hemp oils .
Most brands also offer their CBD gummies or CBD tinctures in various flavors to attract more customers.
Individuals looking for joint or muscle pain relief may opt for a transdermal approach, such as CBD topicals, CBD creams, CBD lotions, or CBD patches.
CBD brands use different extraction methods to extract CBD from industrial hemp plants . Some brands use solvent -based extraction methods, while others use the Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE) or the CO 2 extraction process.
Most CBD brands offer high-quality CBD products in three forms: whole-plant or full-spectrum CBD , broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate .
Full-spectrum CBD or whole-plant CBD contains the full chemical profile of the raw hem plant material. Full-spectrum hemp products contain various phytocannabinoids, including CBD and THC .
Other compounds retained in whole-plant CBD products include terpenes , flavonoids, and fatty acids.
Most customers purchase full-spectrum CBD extracts for the “ entourage effect ,” an effect caused by the cannabis compounds working synergistically with each other for better results.
Meanwhile, broad-spectrum CBD contains various cannabinoid compounds from hemp plants . However, it is different from full-spectrum hemp extracts because THC is removed from broad-spectrum CBD products .
Much like broad-spectrum CBD products , CBD isolate or pure CBD products are also THC -free. CBD isolate contains only CBD and no other cannabinoids .
CBD vs. Marijuana
Marijuana defines the flowers of cannabis plants derived from strains high in cannabinoids , especially THC . Meanwhile, the term hemp is the fibrous, seed-bearing plants that possess a high amount of CBD.
To avoid confusion between CBD and marijuana, remember that marijuana is a cannabis plant harvested for its high THC content. Meanwhile, CBD is a non- psychoactive cannabinoid usually derived from hemp plants .
Although hemp and marijuana are both cannabis species, they are genetically different. Hemp plants are rich in CBD, while marijuana plants are rich in THC .
Is CBD Safe?
Some CBD brands use organic and non-genetically modified organism ( non-GMO ) ingredients to ensure product safety. Some brands also have gluten-free or vegan options.
Most brands also offer CBD oils with measured droppers for accurate and safe dosing.
CBD brands rely on third- party testing to gain the confidence of customers. With third-party lab tests, customers may be informed whether the products are free from contaminants, including pesticides , additives, and residual solvents .
However, CBD is still unregulated by the US Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ). Under FDA regulations, CBD companies are not allowed to make health claims or sell CBD as a food supplement.
Currently, there is only one pharmaceutical drug that contains CBD. Epidiolex is the first FDA -approved CBD drug used to treat rare forms of epilepsy (38 ) .
Is CBD Legal?
Derived from agricultural or industrial hemp, CBD is legal at the federal level in the US under the 2018 Farm Bill (39 ) .
Manufacturers are allowed to transport, produce, and sell CBD as long as the concentration contains 0.3% or lower THC levels.
However, it is recommended to read up on state laws before purchasing CBD products . CBD is still illegal under state laws in Idaho and South Dakota as of 2020 (40 ) .
Studies have shown that CBD might hold therapeutic benefits in achieving restful sleep by improving mental health, such as reducing anxiety and PTSD symptoms among human subjects (41-42 ) .
Existing studies have shown promising results. However, more studies are needed to confirm CBD’s effectiveness in achieving better natural sleep.
Experts advise that whatever treatments or medications have been chosen, a good sleeping habit is still essential in achieving a healthy circadian rhythm and better sleep pattern.