Written by Jen Keehn
Updated September 23, 2021
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zora DeGrandpre
Have trouble falling asleep at night?
You’re not alone – between 50 and 70 million US adults suffer from a sleep disorder or have trouble sleeping at night due to chronic pain.
A lack of sleep doesn’t just leave you feeling groggy and grumpy the next day.
If you’re dealing with a frustrating sleep disorder, CBD oil might be the solution that you’ve been searching for.
As a natural, plant-based, alternative to over-the-counter drugs, which can be dangerous and habit-forming, using CBD for sleep has gained rapid popularity in recent years.
By the time you finish reading this, you’ll know what CBD is, the effects of CBD on the body, how much you should take to help improve your sleep quality, and where you can buy CBD oil.
Once you’ve read this article, you can also read our article summarizing the latest research with a special Q&A section where CBD expert, Dr. Rachna Patel, answers some commonly asked question: See How Effective is CBD for Sleep?
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a type of cannabinoid, an active compound found in hemp and its cousin, cannabis.
But while it’s derived from cannabis, it doesn’t have any of the psychoactive properties of marijuana.
The “high” associated with cannabis comes from a different cannabinoid, THC3.
CBD has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and calming properties that may improve insomnia by reducing symptoms of pain and anxiety that make it difficult to sleep at night4.
Because it’s not psychoactive, you can legally buy CBD oil derived from hemp in all 50 states as long as the THC level is ≤0.3%.
However, if you buy CBD oil derived from marijuana, the higher THC content might make it illegal where you live. That’s why it’s always a good idea to do your research and check your state’s laws beforehand.
If you do happen to live in a state where marijuana is legal for medicinal or recreational use, you can try products with different CBD:THC ratios to see what works best for your sleep patterns. Most commonly these fall between 2:1 (CBD:THC) to 1:2 (CBD:THC)
In addition to treating sleep disorders, studies have shown that CBD effects may also include the potential to relieve symptoms associated with a wide range of other medical conditions including chronic pain, diabetes, fibromyalgia, depression, epilepsy, and arthritis.4
Using CBD for sleep disorders
One of the most well-known CBD effects is its ability to treat sleep disorders.
If you have trouble falling asleep or frequently wake up in the middle of the night and find that you can’t get back to sleep, the relaxing properties of CBD oil may help you get the good night’s rest you’ve been missing out on.
CBD oil may be an effective treatment for lack of sleep caused by any of the following conditions:
- Daytime sleepiness/fatigue
- Restless leg syndrome
- Chronic pain (caused by migraines, arthritis, back pain, etc.)
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The theory of CBD’s action involves our own endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors in the human body that has been part of our lives for many thousands of years and that helps regulate sleep, mood, appetite, the immune and hormonal systems and more5.
The receptors which are part of the endocannabinoid system are activated by the natural cannabinoids found in cannabis plants like hemp.
CBD is thought to relax the body and mind by helping to regulate the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for helping the body maintain homeostasis (the natural balance of bodily functions) and improving overall stability.
CBD effects on chronic pain
If chronic pain is preventing you from falling asleep at night, CBD oil might be able to help.
CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain and nervous system, and may act by effectively reducing pain by increasing the levels of the natural endocannabinoids and making it easier to sleep6, 7, 8. More specifically, CBD prevents the body from breaking down the compound anandamide, which is associated with pain regulation9, 10. A higher concentration of anandamide in the bloodstream has been linked to significant pain reduction11.
Our recommendations for high-quality cbd products for sleep
For our full reviews of these products, please visit our article: CBD Oil and Gummies for Sleep Reviewed.
Benefits of using CBD over sleeping pills
If you walk into any drug store, you’ll find dozens of different products claiming to treat sleep disorders and chronic pain.
Why should you pass those up and buy CBD for sleep instead?
Many of the pharmaceuticals prescribed to treat sleep problems come with a long list of sometimes harsh possible side effects, such as anxiety, depression, impaired driving, and symptoms of withdrawal – long-term insomnia sufferers often have a hard time quitting them.
Using CBD for sleep, on the other hand, is non-habit forming and has relatively few minor side effects.
How much CBD to use for better sleep (dosage)
How much CBD in oil or capsules form should you take to treat a sleep disorder?
It’s always best to talk with your doctor and pharmacist before starting any treatment, especially if you’re taking other prescription medications.
That being said, dosage amounts vary on an individual basis depending on your weight, body chemistry, diet, and the type of condition you’re trying to treat.
Some of the research on CBD for sleep has recommended a dose of up to 160 mg CBD by mouth before going to bed. However, it’s always best to start with the lowest effective dose and only add more as needed. The general “rule” to remember is to “Start Low and Go Slow”
The typical serving size of CBD hemp extract in capsules will contain 10 mg to 25 mg CBD.
If you are using CBD for sleep, you can start with one serving size and see if that is enough for you. You can then gradually add more if needed. If you are using CBD oil, you can start with a ¼- ½ dropperful and slowly increase as needed. If you use edibles, start with a ¼- ½ piece and slowly increase as needed.
While CBD is generally considered safe to consume, starting at a low dosage allows you to slowly adjust until you feel that your sleep quality has improved.
Medterra, a CBD company based in Irvine, California, has taken an innovative approach in combining traditional supplements, known for their calming effects, with CBD (25 mg per capsule) to create a product that’s highly effective in helping people get good quality sleep.
Medterra’s Good Night capsules include melatonin, GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid), passionflower, and chamomile, all-natural supplements known for their calming, relaxing effects. The combination of CBD with these supplements provides a synergistic effect that effectively induces sleep and prolongs sleep duration.
Before you start any new supplements for sleep, it’s recommended that you discuss your particular situation with a trusted medical professional. Always seek medical advice from a doctor or medical advisor before starting anything new or if you have questions about your health.
Things to consider before using CBD oil
Humans have been using cannabis-based medicines for thousands of years, but we’ve only recently begun to research them.
Our understanding of CBD effects is growing rapidly, and the future of natural cannabinoid treatments is exciting.
But while CBD oil has shown great potential as a safe, non-habit forming sleep aid and pain reliever, more research is needed to fully understand its long-term effects.
As always, we recommend talking with your doctor before starting any new supplement to treat sleep disorders or chronic pain.
Also, keep in mind that most studies involving CBD for sleep focus on adult use.
The way CBD affects children is still largely unknown, which is why we only recommend it for adults.
If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any other sedative medication, consult with your doctor before you begin using CBD for sleep.
Where to buy CBD for sleep
Not all CBD products are made the same, so you shouldn’t buy CBD oil without doing your research first.
You may also need to experiment with different products to find the most effective concentration of CBD for you.
Medterra, the previously mentioned CBD company, specializes in the development of liposomal (slow release capsules) CBD for sleep management.
For full disclosure, Medterra is a CBD School partner but we wouldn’t recommend their products without first testing them. We’ve tested their Good Night Liposomal CBD capsules and we can tell you this, they work wonderfully well. We needed only one 25 mg capsule to drastically improve sleep duration and quality.
We recommend them as a starting point for finding the right CBD oil for you. Follow this link to learn more about their Good Night capsules and if you want to give them a try, use our special promo code CBDSCHOOL25 to get 25% off your order.
Don’t let sleep disorders and chronic pain prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep any longer – give natural cannabidiol a try.
Have you tried CBD for better sleep?
Whether you’ve already tried CBD for sleep or are curious to know more before giving it a shot, head over to our forums. There you can discuss product recommendations, get advice, and support from fellow CBD School members. As a first time user, you’ll have to register. You can access the discussion here: CBD for sleep forum.
1Irwin, M. R., Olmstead, R., & Carroll, J. E. (2016). Sleep Disturbance, Sleep Duration, and Inflammation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies and Experimental Sleep Deprivation. Biological psychiatry, 80(1), 40–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.05.014
9de Almeida DL, Devi LA. Diversity of molecular targets and signaling pathways for CBD. Pharmacology research & perspectives. 2020 Dec;8(6):e00682. https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1002/prp2.682
10dos Santos R.G., Hallak J.E.C., Crippa J.A.S. (2021) Neuropharmacological Effects of the Main Phytocannabinoids: A Narrative Review. In: Murillo-Rodriguez E., Pandi-Perumal S.R., Monti J.M. (eds) Cannabinoids and Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 1264. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57369-0_3
11Scherma M, Masia P, Satta V, Fratta W, Fadda P, Tanda G. Brain activity of anandamide: a rewarding bliss?. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica. 2019 Mar;40(3):309-23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc6460372/
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Article first appeared on cbdschool.com