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The Science Behind CBD Oil For Sleep And Insomnia

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It’s safe to say that every single one of us struggles with getting a good night’s rest occasionally. Life is getting faster-paced, harder, and more demanding (and expensive), and with that comes higher rates of mental health issues.

Sleep is one of the first things that can suffer, and insomnia rates are on the rise. But the last thing that most of us want is to take heavy medications with a lengthy list of side effects to help us sleep. This is where CBD for sleep comes in.

CBD oil for sleep

Key takeaways

  • CBD can help with sleep by reducing anxiety
  • The research on CBD and sleep is still in its early stages, but the results so far are promising
  • CBD may be beneficial for insomnia, but more clinical studies are needed to make concrete claims
  • Medical cannabis options may also be helpful for sleep, but they require a prescription from a specialist
  • Full or broad-spectrum CBD products may be more effective for sleep due to the entourage effect of other cannabinoids and terpenes
  • CBD oil, gummies, capsules, and topicals are all options for improving sleep

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most prevalent cannabinoid in most weed strains and the one found in the highest concentrations in the vast majority of hemp plants. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD’s intoxicating kin, CBD offers up a pretty surprisingly wide range of therapeutic benefits without the psychoactive effects.

In this quick write-up, we cover:

  • How does CBD help you sleep?
  • What does the science have to say regarding CBD and sleep/insomnia?
  • What type of CBD is best for sleep issues?

But first…

What is CBD, and how does it affect the brain?

CBD is one of the two major cannabinoids produced by cannabis plants, with over 110 cannabis-derived cannabinoids identified so far. Apart from CBD and THC, the other cannabinoids are usually found in only trace amounts (or sometimes none at all, strain dependent).

CBD has been proven to interact with us humans in a couple of ways.

First up, it can modulate how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) functions.

What is the endocannabinoid system?

Simply put, it is one of the most important neuromodulatory systems in our bodies and is responsible for maintaining homeostasis. It is made up of our own naturally produced cannabinoids (called endocannabinoids), special cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), and enzymes that produce and also break down these endocannabinoids.

What is homeostasis?

Homeostasis refers to the ability of our body to maintain a stable internal environment, no matter what’s going on outside. This includes regulating our sleep-wake cycle, pain, mood, appetite, immune response, sexual function – the list goes on. You can think of it like an internal thermostat that automatically tweaks things to keep your body working as it should.

How does CBD interact with the ECS?

CBD has been shown to reduce the breakdown of our own endocannabinoids, allowing them to stick around in the body for longer and exert their beneficial effects.

There is also research showing that it may be able to weakly interact with CB2 receptors, but it doesn’t directly activate them as THC does. Instead, it seems to modify how other compound’s bind with these receptors, creating a more balanced and controlled response.

CBD and serotonin production

CBD has also been proven to interact with serotonin receptor activity in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, anxiety, and sleep cycles. By regulating serotonin production and uptake, CBD can help boost our mood and induce better sleep.

What is the current state of research on CBD and sleep?

We are living through a super interesting time when it comes to research into CBD (and medical cannabis), thanks to the sweeping legislative changes happening globally regarding marijuana/weed/cannabis – whatever word suits.

For almost a century leading up until now, the laws and policies surrounding cannabis were incredibly strict and meant that studies were few and far between, but that’s changing quickly. Still, the research is early on, and we expect to see more concrete results in the near future.

With that said, there is one key study to look at regarding CBD and sleep.

Anxiety is one of the main triggers for a bad night’s sleep. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series” measured the sleep and anxiety scores of 103 adult patients taking CBD over a period of three months. The research found that 79.2% had reduced anxiety, and 66.7% slept better while taking CBD.

This piece of research backs up the seemingly never-ending list of anecdotal evidence that CBD can be extremely helpful for those needing a better night’s sleep.

Does CBD help with insomnia?

It seems to, but there is not enough clinical research to make any concrete claims right now.

Again, the research is in it’s infancy, but a paper was published late last year titled “Use of Cannabidiol in the Management of Insomnia: A Systematic Review” which gives some insight. It concludes:

“The results of our systematic review suggest that CBD alone or with equal quantities of THC may be beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of insomnia. “

And that leads us to the next point.

Is CBD better than medical cannabis for sleep?

No, not necessarily.

Think of it this way – Medical cannabis products can legally contain the same amount of CBD as over-the-counter CBD options, but over-the-counter CBD cannot contain THC.

Why is that?

Because THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the intoxicating effect of weed. It is still a controlled substance and must be prescribed by a specialist.

So, while we see that many people with sleep issues have seen positive results from using CBD products, that doesn’t mean that medical cannabis options would not work better for some.

CBD oil for sleep

What type of CBD is best for sleep?

With the CBD market exploding here in the UK over the past 5 or so years, it’s safe to say that the options available can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. There’s so much lingo being thrown around (full-spectrum? broad-spectrum? isolate?), so don’t worry if you’re a bit confused. You’re not alone.

Finding the best CBD for sleep really comes down to personal preference. The one thing we do heavily suggest is looking for a full or broad-spectrum option, which includes other cannabinoids and terpenes that can work together with CBD to provide a more holistic effect.

CBD oil for sleep

CBD oil is the most sold form of CBD and the most commonly used product for sleep. It is easy to take, works quickly, and has no added sugar. CBD oil for sleep is best taken under the tongue for faster absorption.

CBD gummies for sleep

Gummies and capsules offer a more discreet way to take CBD without the need for measuring out doses or worrying about the taste of oil. Some people find that taking a gummy or capsule before bed can help for a full night’s sleep. However, the effects will take longer to kick in compared to CBD oil.

CBD topicals for sleep

While not typically associated with sleep, CBD creams, lotions, or balms can help with localized pain and inflammation. If aches and pains keep you up at night, a topical CBD product may be the perfect solution.

How to choose high-quality CBD oil for sleep?

We started this website to give UK CBD consumers a place to find unbiased, detailed reviews on all the CBD options available.

We are not going to sit here and tell you what you should and shouldn’t be taking, as CBD works a little differently for each of us.

Go browse the reviews, see what others are saying, and if you have anything you would like to share, please do so! Your insights may prove invaluable to someone else in the UK looking for help with sleep.

Remember, it’s important to look for third-party lab testing results when choosing CBD products, and if you want the best advice possible, you should reach out to a private cannabis clinic. They work with specialists to help patients find the best cannabis-based medical solutions, including CBD, for their individual needs.

So, while we won’t make any specific recommendations, we can give you the tools to make a better-informed choice based on your health needs.