In today’s high-stress, fast-paced world, a decent night’s sleep is considered a luxury. Insomnia, sleep apnea, and excessive daytime sleepiness cause people to turn to over the counter and prescription medications to relieve their sleeplessness. However, these medications are not without risk. Taking this into consideration, does CBD help sleep or hinder it?
For that reason, a lot of consumers have started to explore natural sleep aids like cannabis. THC-rich varieties are well known for helping people achieve sleep, but what about those who are afraid of the high and are simply seeking out a sleep aid?
CBD and Sleep
CBD has exploded onto the market, and consumers have turned to this cannabinoid treatment to treat ailments like insomnia.
In a recent Consumer Reports survey, 10% of respondents reported using CBD as a sleep aid. While most said it worked, this response was purely anecdotal, with few trials or studies to support the belief. There are a number of factors which complicate this research.
High CBD strains of weed often contain myrcene, a terpene that is said to be sedating. Myrcene’s sedative effects are well established in animal literature, however, controlled studies in humans are lacking. For centuries, herbalists have used hops as a human sleep aid. No surprise then that hops are very high in myrcene.
THC has been shown to have a sedative effect and reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. Some research shows the entourage effect, which is a harmonized interaction between cannabis compounds like CBD and THC, and these effects seem to carry over into sleep.
THC, however, does not put people to sleep. Rather, it has sedative properties that allow people to feel restful enough to fall asleep. THC makes a person feel comfortable while remaining still, called catalepsy.
But because CBD doesn’t alter consciousness in the same way, can it even be possible that it can work as a sleep aid on its own
Dr Dustin Sulak, founder of Healer.com, explained that CBD may actually just be relieving symptoms like anxiety in order to allow a person to relax so that their natural sleep mechanisms take over. Sulak says that he rarely treats sleep disorders with CBD alone, and prefers to use THC with a sedating terpene profile, one usually high in myrcene.
CBD and You
When it comes to the question ‘Does CBD help sleep?’, Sulak says that CBD may offer a benefit to people who suffer from sleep disturbances. He also says that because it is extraordinarily safe, higher doses can be used without a worry of adverse reactions.
It is important to note that research is needed to establish whether there are drug interactions with cannabinoids, and CBD appears to be safe on its own, consulting with a medical professional before adding CBD to your current pharmaceutical regimen is the safest thing to do.
Despite the lack of CBD sleep studies, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medical, concluded in a 2017 report that moderate evidence exists for cannabinoids to improve short term sleep outcomes. As more and more research is added to the body of knowledge, CBD may prove to be beneficial for patients with sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and anxiety.