Can CBD Help You Get A Better Night’s Sleep?
Regular cannabis users will readily admit that one of the number one benefits of the plant is that it helps them get a better night’s sleep. Certain strains are well-suited to relaxation and winding down before bed, particularly those high in cannabidiol (CBD). But not everyone wants to light up a joint before hitting the hay. Pot contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical that is responsible for the high associated with marijuana use.
Further, products containing THC are still illegal under federal law. While many states have medical and recreational cannabis programs in place, some people would simply like to benefit from the relaxing and restful properties of cannabis without feeling stoned. This is where CBD comes in. Sourced from federally legal hemp, it contains only trace amounts of THC (some formulations contain zero THC). Not enough to get you high, it can provide the same calming and sleep-enhancing benefits of pot without the associated side effects and stigma.
How CBD Works
The human body is comprised of various well-known systems. The cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, digestive, immune systems, and more are all familiar to most of us. Yet, another important system exists which has only been discovered in the past few decades. It’s called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, and it is vital to your health and well-being. All mammals possess an ECS. Even some crustaceans have it.
The ECS consists of an enormous network of receptors that work within the human body to maintain homeostasis. These receptors are located throughout the body and the brain and outnumber all of our other signaling systems put together. The primary corresponding compounds that interact with these receptors are cannabinoids. Nature has an unusual sense of humor. While cannabinoids are plentiful in cannabis (phytocannabinoids), our bodies also produce them naturally (endocannabinoids).
The ECS is not to be underestimated. It is responsible for regulating some of the body’s most essential functions including mood, temperature, appetite, reproduction, pain, inflammation, memory, and—you guessed it—sleep. When the ECS is in balance, homeostasis occurs and you feel in good health.
If the body makes enough of its own cannabinoids, it is likely you won’t experience malfunctions in these crucial areas. However, many people need a little extra push. Supplementing with a phytocannabinoid like CBD is often enough to nudge the body back into balance and help you get back to sleeping like a baby.
How Does Cannabidiol Help With Sleeping Issues?
1. CBD Improves Sleep
There are plenty of people who can attest to this (the aforementioned pot smokers, for example), but now science is backing it up. A 2019 study published in The Permanente Journal is just the latest in a growing amount of research suggesting that CBD can play an active role in decreasing insomnia and sleep issues.
Conducted by four prominent researchers, the results speak for themselves: Nearly 80% of the participants had improved sleep scores within the first month of taking cannabidiol. This is a remarkable outcome considering that CBD is safe, well-tolerated, and easy for the average person to obtain. Further, using this natural remedy to improve your sleep can allow you to forego sleeping pills, benzodiazepines, and drugs like Ambien, which have all been shown to have an array of unpleasant side effects associated with their use.
Other studies suggest that CBD may be helpful in the treatment of REM sleep disorders and excessive daytime sleepiness. For those who experience mood issues and a clear decrease in physical and cognitive performance during waking hours due to poor-quality sleep, this is excellent news. REM sleep is vital to overall functioning and performance. Even sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome—both troublesome causes of interrupted sleep— have been shown in some studies to improve with the regular use of CBD.
1. CBD Is a Powerful Anti-Anxiety Compound
In our fast-paced and highly charged society, sleep issues are closely related to anxiety. In this arena, CBD truly shines. Researchers have been studying CBD’s anti-anxiety effects for several years, and the data supporting its effectiveness is hard to disprove. There is little doubt that cannabidiol may be a potent remedy for anxiety disorders, PTSD, panic attacks, and the like.
Exactly how it works remains unclear, but scientists believe it binds to the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A. This action seems to exert a strong sense of calm and well-being in both the brain and the rest of the body. CBD also works to relax the central nervous system–so heart rate, respiration, and overactivity in the body tend to slow just enough to allow the other vital systems to relax.
It is no secret that excess anxiety can wreak havoc with your quality of sleep. For those who can’t seem to get their mind and body to wind down enough to fall asleep, CBD may be an excellent option to assist this process along.
2. CBD Is a Potent Anti-Inflammatory and Pain Reliever
Sometimes, physical pain is an issue when it comes to sleeping. A night of tossing and turning is often due to the obvious—unrelenting discomfort brought on by illness, injuries, or aging. For those who suffer from chronic pain, a good night’s sleep can be elusive.
The most frustrating part of this is that the body truly needs rest to heal itself, yet if you can’t sleep due to discomfort, you don’t get the chance to take advantage of the therapeutic effects sleep has on your overall health. It can become a vicious and exhausting cycle, as many will attest.
Debilitating pain takes its toll. Many people turn to prescription pain relievers or habitually use NSAIDS to get some rest—both of which carry some severe side effects. Numerous studies have confirmed CBD’s ability to dampen the body’s response to pain, and it is not hard to find first -hand accounts of people who have been able to ditch opioids in favor of CBD.
Perhaps even more importantly, CBD has been proven to have highly-potent anti-inflammatory effects. The body’s natural response to injury or illness is inflammation. Yet, that same inflammation can cause extreme discomfort.
And it’s not just a pain issue—inflammation is implicated in a host of conditions that can contribute to sleeplessness. Digestive problems, autoimmune disorders, and even several neurologic conditions related to inflammation can cause poor sleep. By relaying the message to the body that it does not need to create an inflammatory response, CBD may potentially help with the conditions that keep you from having quality rest.
Choosing The Best CBD Product
Many people would like to try cannabidiol, but simply don’t know where to begin. Due to its enormous popularity, more and more retailers offering hemp-based products pop up every day. Combine this with mainstream media coverage regarding CBD, and it is easy to get confused and give up, assuming that this is just another health fad that will quietly go away in time.
However, while CBD is certainly a trending topic, its implications are far-reaching, and its introduction into the natural health sector is arguably one of the most important events in alternative medicine to date. Yet, because the hemp industry is still largely unregulated, it is up to the consumer to do their own research on the best products for themselves and their family members.
One way to circumvent all of the exhaustive research is to utilize a reputable and trusted review site that can help walk you through the purchasing process. As a result of the lack of standards in the CBD industry, independent and unbiased review companies have been established. In essence, these clearinghouses of information provide relevant education and a vetting process for CBD brands and products that can help you navigate the confusion surrounding CBD.
There are hundreds of books, publications, and articles written about insomnia and sleep problems, illustrating just how prevalent these issues are. Without proper sleep, your entire life is thrown off-balance, as those who suffer from a lack of sleep have already experienced up close and personal.
There are as many remedies for sleep as there are sleep problems. Some of them have been passed on through generations as old-wives tales (your grandmother probably recommended some warm milk). Some solutions are basic common sense suggestions like avoiding caffeine or too much screen time before bed. Other options that may help are guided meditations, soothing music, or a warm bath.
The last line of defense for most people is a trip to the doctor for a prescription. Yet for those who are seeking alternative natural remedies and haven’t yet found their sweet spot, CBD may very well be just what the Sandman ordered.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.