If you arrived on this page because you Googled:
“I can’t sleep.”
“Can CBD oil help insomnia?”
“Get me to sleep before I go crazy!”
or some other such phrase, this article is for you.
Maybe it’s 2 am right now and your tired eyes are searching for answers to help you sleep. Maybe it’s daytime and you are drowsily researching things you can do to help get your sleep on track.
Unfortunately, if you have a hard time sleeping, you are not alone. There are millions of Americans suffering right along with you. In fact, it is estimated that 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia each year. An additional 20 million people experience occasional sleep problems.
CBD oil has been found by many to help alleviate insomnia and sleep difficulty. In fact, in a survey of CBD users, insomnia was the second largest medical reason given for taking CBD, right after anxiety.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in cannabis. CBD is one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant—both hemp and marijuana. How much CBD is found in a particular cannabis plant depends on which strain of plant it is.
In addition to being found in plants, cannabinoids are found in our bodies. Cannabinoids in plants like cannabis are called phytocannabinoids. Cannabinoids found in our bodies are called endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids like Anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) interact with the receptors of the recently discovered endocannabinoid system.
It was initially believed that endocannabinoid receptors were only present in the brain and nerves. However, later research revealed that the receptors are located all over the body. They are found in our skin, immune cells, bone, fat tissue, liver, pancreas, skeletal muscle, heart, blood vessels, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract. Research has found that the endocannabinoid system is involved in a wide variety of processes, including pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, metabolism, immune function, reproductive function, and SLEEP.
“Endocannabinoids are arguably one of the most widespread and versatile signaling molecules known to man,” reports the UCLA Health Cannabis Research Initiative.
The endocannabinoid system is largely responsible for maintaining homeostasis (balance) in the body. Optimal balance is necessary for good health.
It has been discovered that people suffering from conditions related to the endocannabinoid system can benefit by taking CBD oil in one of its many forms including tinctures, vaping, and smoking. It is likely that CBD oil’s positive effects on some suffering from sleep difficulties are due to helping the body return to optimal homeostasis.
What is Insomnia and Why is it a Big Deal?
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. There are different types. Some sufferers have a hard time falling asleep, others have a hard time staying asleep, and still others wake up too early can’t get back to sleep.
Insomnia can cause a person to continue to feel tired when they wake up. Insomnia adversely affects one’s energy level, mood, mental health, productivity, and quality of life.
Just this summer, the American Psychological Association released a research report which shows that teenagers who don’t get enough sleep may be at an increased risk for unhealthy behavior. These include a increase in drug and alcohol abuse, unsafe driving, engaging in unsafe sex, and aggressive behavior.
“Teens, by and large, are not getting the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep a night, due to a number of reasons, including biological changes in circadian rhythms, early school start times, balancing school and extracurricular activities and peer social pressures,” said Wendy M. Troxel, a senior behavioral and social scientist and lead author of the study published in the journal Health Psychology. “Insufficient sleep may increase the potential for sexual risk-taking by compromising decision-making and influencing impulsivity.”
For adults caring for children or elderly parents, or who have a lot of family and work responsibilities to balance, insomnia can make these tasks feel even more overwhelming according to the National Sleep Foundation.
What Causes Insomnia
Insomnia can be caused by one or a combination of many factors. For this reason, if you are suffering from insomnia, it is important to take a look at all of the factors and address as many as you can.
There are medical conditions that can cause insomnia like:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Endocrine problems
- Neurological conditions
Medications taken for these conditions can also cause insomnia.
There are mental reasons as well that can cause insomnia like:
What Does Research Say About CBD and Insomnia?
In several studies, it has been found that CBD oil has provided relief for those suffering from pain. Studies have also shown that CBD can help treat mental conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
CBD is an anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety compound. A research paper published by the National Institutes of Health found that evidence from human studies “strongly supports the potential for CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders.”
Another paper, Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series, took a sample of 72 adults who suffered from anxiety and/or poor sleep. This study found that 79% of those with anxiety showed decreased anxiety within the first month. Additionally, their anxiety stayed decreased for the entire duration of the study (three months). In the case of individuals suffering from poor sleep, scores showed that 67% improved in the first month but fluctuated over time.
In the case of depression, researchers are finding that for certain people with depression, inflammation may play a huge role. This means that CBD, an effective anti-inflammatory, is a promising treatment for depression.
In July 2018, the National Center for Biotechnology Information published Cannabidiol as a Therapeutic Alternative for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: From Bench Research to Confirmation in Human Trials. The paper states that addressing the endocannabinoid system is a better and more efficient alternative to standard treatments for PTSD.
In addition to improving conditions that cause insomnia, there is evidence that CBD may help treat insomnia directly.
According to a 2017 review of sleep and cannabis, CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness. REM sleep is the deepest phase of sleep, during which your eyes and muscles make many small movements. This is when you have dreams.
Comparison of Side Effects of Sleep Medications and CBD
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages that CBD oil has over medications, whether prescribed or sold over-the-counter, is safety.
According to Consumer Reports, sleeping pills have been found to have great risks and relatively small benefits.
In a July 2018 Consumer Reports survey of 1,767 U.S. adults, nearly one-third of people who complained of sleep problems at least once per week said they had used an over-the-counter or prescription sleep drug in the previous year.
But for the majority of folks taking the medications—two-thirds in fact—the medications did not work. They did not help them attain a good night of sleep. What’s more, 6 out of 10 of the people taking medication reported side effects like feeling drowsy, confused or forgetful the next day. Three percent even admitted to dozing off while driving. (!)
Consumer Reports also found that 40% of people taking sleep medications are doing so improperly. This magnifies the risks. For example, combining sleeping pills with other sedatives, prescription pain drugs or alcohol puts a person at risk for serious side effects. These side effects include dangerously slow breathing and physical impairment that may linger into the next day.
On the other hand, in its white paper on CBD, the World Health Organization states that “cannabidiol does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm.” The paper also states:
“CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications….. To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
Taking a Holistic Approach to Get Better Sleep
There are a lot of different factors that can cause a person to have difficulty sleeping. So it is important to realize that there is no silver bullet that can guarantee success in handling the issue.
Those suffering from insomnia and sleep problems should consider all of these factors.
Travel or Work Schedule
A person’s schedule has a huge impact on their sleep. If you work at odd, fluctuating times or travel a lot, your circadian rhythms can get disrupted. These rhythms act as your body’s internal clock and monitor your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism, and body temperature. Disruption of your body’s circadian rhythms can lead to insomnia.
Many people who eat too much late at night experience the discomfort of heartburn. This can keep you awake. So if you must eat, keep it light and eat as early as possible.
Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep. Medications like antidepressants as well as medications for asthma or high blood pressure are in this category. Many over-the-counter medications contain caffeine and other stimulants which can disrupt sleep as well.
Alcohol and Nicotine
While you may feel more relaxed after a beer or a cigarette, if you are suffering from sleep difficulties, these may be contributing factors. Nicotine found in tobacco products is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Alcohol, while it may help you fall asleep, actually prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes one to awake during the night.
People have been drinking coffee for hundreds of years because of its ability to give a temporary boost in energy. Coffee, tea, cola, and any beverage containing caffeine act as stimulants. So if you drink them, stay away from them in the late afternoon and evening when they could keep you from falling asleep.
Poor Sleep Habits
Poor habits, like watching TV right or being on some other electronic device, can interfere with your sleep cycle. Doing these things in bed can make that interference even worse. So use your bed for sex and sleep and turn off the tube.
There are some medical conditions that cause sleep problems. If this is the case for you, consult your doctor in finding safe ways to address both your medical condition and your sleep issues.
Balance is Key
For those suffering from insomnia, the work of achieving balance, both physically and mentally, is part of the journey to resolution. CBD oil has been shown to help many individuals achieve this balance.
To check out Fusion CBD’s tincture options as well as our other CBD products, visit our store.