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Can CBD help me sleep?

Could CBD help to improve your quality of sleep or help with conditions such as insomnia?



Hotel: A woman asleep on a bed
Poor sleep can have a detrimental effect on your physical and mental health

Getting a good night’s sleep can be really difficult for some especially those experiencing pain or anxiety. We examine if CBD could help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer

Poor sleep or insomnia can leave you feeling really ill. Some of the effects of poor sleep can include:

Slowed thinking.
Lack of energy
Reduced attention span.
Poor memory.
Poor decision-making.
Increased stress and anxiety

How does CBD work for sleep?

Our endocannabinoid systems manage our body functions such as appetite, mood and sleep. It’s made up of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. The receptors are tiny proteins attached to the cells which receive signals from different stimuli and respond. It is thought that CBD interacts with these receptors in the brain and immune system.

A study from 2019 examined if CBD could improve sleep or reduce anxiety. It involved 72 patients with 47 experiencing anxiety and 25 experiencing poor sleep. The participants were given a capsule containing 25 milligrams of CBD daily. In the first month, 79.2 per cent reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7 per cent reported better sleep.

It is also thought that CBD may also help with chronic pain that can also keep people awake at night.

A review from 2018 studied how effective CBD could be for relief from fibromyalgia, cancer and neuropathic pain. It examined studies from between 1975 to 2018 before concluding that it may be effective without overwhelming side effects.

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The best way to take CBD to improve sleep

There is no right or wrong way to take CBD for sleep. Some people may find oils work better than vaping for them but it comes down to the individual’s endocannabinoid system.

The best way to monitor the effect that CBD is having on your system is to keep a record of what, how much and when you take it. Over time, that should give you a clear insight into what works for you. It is also best to start with a lower dose and increase gradually.

Be patient as the study on sleep and CBD mentioned above took a month to show results in patients. CBD builds up over time in our systems meaning the longer you stay on it, the more chance it has of working.

A woman unable to sleep in a bed staring at an alarm clock

Is medical cannabis better than CBD for sleep?

One of the differences between CBD and medical cannabis is the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

CBD is not psychoactive meaning it won’t leave you with the feeling of being high the same way that THC might. It is thought that THC could help to potentially induce sleep by making a person feel drowsy. Some cannabis strains such as Indica may be more calming than others such as Sativa.

Will CBD make me sleepy throughout the day?

CBD may help you to feel better by easing anxiety or stress which may help you to feel more relaxed. Our bodies naturally produce anandamide, often referred to as a mood enhancer, which functions as a neurotransmitter and cannabinoid-receptor binding agent. Anandamide is a fragile molecule that can be broken down easily by the body. CBD is thought to potentially slow the breakdown of this leaving you feeling calmer.

This is not enough to make you feel tired.

Learn more: Case study: Cannabis, endometriosis, fibromyalgia and me 


Cannabis Health is a journalist-led news site. Any views expressed by interviewees or commentators do not reflect our own. All content on this site is intended for educational purposes, please seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about any of the issues raised.

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