Does CBD Make You Sleepy?
CBD’s rise to popularity comes with lots of promise. As of now, it’s associated with pain relief, improved mood, skin health, cancer treatment, and of course —better sleep. Understand that cannabis-related products can improve sleep, you’re probably wondering if they make you drowsy.
Although individual reactions to CBD vary, responses should be separated from THC, the high-inducing drug in cannabis. CBD’s effects differ from the THC found in marijuana. Rather than inducing drowsiness, it makes it easier to sleep through stress reduction. To learn more, continue reading all about CBD and sleep below.
What is CBD?
CBD is an acronym for its longer name: cannabidiol. Much like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), it’s a compound found in the cannabis plant. While years of regulations focus on cannabis’ high-inducing qualities, there’s much more to this amazing plant. Cannabis has been used in textiles, food, construction, and medicine for centuries.
More recently, scientists have discovered that cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, interact with human regulatory systems. Unlike THC, however, CBD doesn’t lower inhibition, reduce motor skills, heighten senses, stimulate drowsiness, or cause any other symptoms of being high. Although its medicinal use are in the early days, CBD is widely regarded as safe, with little to no side effects.
How does CBD affect sleep?
If CBD doesn’t make you drowsy, how does it affect sleep? Turns out, it works through your endocannabinoid system to calm everything down.
CBD Reduces Stress By Promoting Homeostasis
According to research in the Journal of Neuroscience, endocannabinoid signaling runs across regions of the brain, controlling neurotransmitter release and endocrine activity. Discovered in 1988, cannabinoid receptors exist in the brain and throughout the body to regulate everything from excited activity to complete sleep.
Specifically, researchers note the effect of cannabinoids on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, amygdala, and glucocorticoid hormones. These areas control our response to stress – do we tense up? Does our heart rate rise? Are we more vigilant and aware? Or do we relax, calm down, and recover?
While both reactions have their place, CBD works with the endocannabinoid system to maintain homeostasis. It keeps things from getting out of whack either way. Chronic exposure to glucocorticoids (AKA elevated stress) is associated with poor cognitive function, high blood pressure, and impaired sleep. Take CBD to keep your levels at bay, and relax for a good night’s rest.
CBD Can Cure Insomnia
As noted above, CBD provides great stress management. While stress is logically related to less sleep, it’s difficult to prove in a lab, as there are so many confounding variables. One study showed moderate sleep impairment over three days of high stress. Another suggests that an individual’s coping style has more to do with sleep quality during stressful periods. And finally, one study showed stress management treatments reduced reliance on pharmaceuticals for sleep quality in a select population.
As insomnia often results from stress, it makes sense that anxiety and stress reduction help. Pre-sleep arousal, in particular, is associated with nighttime wakefulness. By mitigating the stress response at its origin, CBD lowers arousal levels. Its effects on dopamine can elicit positive feelings of tranquility. For many, it serves as its own stress management tool to cure insomnia.
CBD Improves Focus
Have you ever not been able to sleep because you’re running over your long to-do list? Or even your “I didn’t get this done today, oops” list. I definitely have one of those, and it can keep you up at night. Sometimes, scrolling through social media ends up looking at your friend’s co-worker’s brother’s story. It’s a spiral, for sure, that can impair sleep. But CBD can help. By improving your focus, you can get things done efficiently and put the phone away in time for bed.
CBD changes the shape of neurotransmitter receptors. Known as an allosteric modulator, it works to increase the potency of serotonin, acetylcholine, and GABA. While serotonin keep you happy, GABA blocks nerve impulses. Think of it as your mom turning off the TV so you have to focus on your homework.
Acetylcholine facilitates learning, memory, and neuroplasticity. By augmenting the strength of nervous synapses, it literally helps fortify pathways for thoughts, decisions, and actions. CBD’s role in neurotransmitter signaling, therefore, keeps you on track during the day so you can sleep comfortably at night.
CBD vs THC for sleep – Which one should you use?
While both of them contribute to sleep quality, CBD and THC act in different ways. THC has been shown to reduce sleep latency, helping those who take it fall asleep faster. The psychoactive effects of THC also include possible sedation — so don’t take it while driving or doing anything that requires your full attention for safety.
The Current Psychology Reports associate CBD, on the other hand, with a reduction in excessive daytime sleepiness. Its benefits work to develop REM sleep, reduce nightmares in those with PTSD, and even work against sleep apnea in the short term.
THC, on the other hand, can impair sleep with long-term use. Chronic THC consumption from marijuana perpetuates negative use habits. Withdrawal from marijuana ruins sleep in as little to 24 hours without the drug. So while it might help you sleep tonight, it’s not recommended as a long-term solution.
CBD Doesn’t Make You Drowsy (Unless it contains too much THC)
CBD on its own won’t make you drowsy. It has been shown to alleviate insomnia in chronic sufferers, but not because of sedation. Rather, CBD reduces stress, anxiety, pain, and other issues that keep us up at night. According to research in animals, CBD helps regulate sleep/wake cycles as well. Rats treated with CBD slept longer at night, and they stayed awake in accordance with daytime conditions.
Over all, its calming, soothing effects can be relaxing, which is why CBD is widely used to combat stressful situations. But with THC removed from the parent plant, it won’t negatively affect day-to-day performance. Therefore, if you want sleep benefits without drowsiness, be selective with your supplements.
Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum For Helping With Sleep
There are three main types of CBD products out there – full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolates. While you can find all three in oils, gummies, tinctures, and more, it’s important to distinguish the right choice for sleep.
Full-spectrum CBD comes from the whole Cannabis sativa plant, THC and all. The combination of THC and CBD packs a potent punch, with some conditions warranting the use of both. The terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids make for an all-around entourage effect. But you risk a small amount of THC-consumption. If you’re not going to use it long-term, it’s a perfect solution for a good night’s rest.
Broad-spectrum CBD, however, removes THC from the plant. Still featuring the other plant powered benefits, it’s the perfect middle ground for insomnia. You reap all of the rewards without any real risk. CBD isolates, on the other hand, are straight CBD. You can choose those as well, but you’d be missing out. Plants, even cannabis, have all-natural qualities that add to holistic health. That’s why we recommend broad-spectrum oils.
The Best CBD Oil For Getting Some Sleep
Now that you know which type of CBD to look for, are there any brands that work better? In fact, yes. Joy Organics and NuLeaf Naturals stand out in an ever-growing field of CBD products.
First up we have Joy Organics, a Colorado-based CBD company. They offer tons of broad-spectrum options, from sublingual terpenes to a CBD-enriched energy drink. Obviously the latter won’t help you sleep, but it goes to show they cater to everything. Instead, reach for their melatonin-enhanced CBD softgels.
Their CBD oils come in 250mg to 1500mg concentrations. Choose the THC-free product that suits your height, weight, and sleep condition by asking a doctor. Experience their top-of-the-line products for yourself by visiting their website.
NuLeaf Naturals sources their full-spectrum CBD products from hemp. While that means they contain the entire plant, hemp (by law) can’t contain more than 0.3% THC. The likelihood of negative effects from such a small amount is low. Also based in Colorado, they use local farms and organically-sourced ingredients. They pride themselves on a no-additive product line, ensuring you get the cleanest, most natural form of CBD. Finally, their extraction method – using CO2 to separate CBD – represents the gold standard. If you’re ready to give them a try, visit their website for more information.
Final Thoughts – Does CBD make you sleepy or not?
CBD products that don’t feature high levels of THC won’t make you drowsy. If you get a 50/50 THC to CBD blend, however, it might. CBD instead cures sleepless nights by treating anxiety, stress, and time management at the source. It can help you focus, relax, and find tranquility at the end of a long day. For best results, try broad-spectrum products, or full-spectrum ones from hemp.
With regulations finally relaxing on cannabis products, we’re sure to learn more about CBD’s effects on sleep in the future. But for now, you can rest easy knowing you’ve got an all-natural solution to catch some Z’s.
Aidan Lehane is an serial entrepreneur who has a passion for CBD and allowing people to find an effective natural remedy to many of their pains and illnesses. Having created a successful marketing agency, Aidan has turned his hand toward providing as many people as possible with quality information on CBD and its best products