Have you been struggling to find a solution for your sleeping issues? If so, you’ve probably tried everything from melatonin to magnesium supplements. You might have even undergone testing for a sleep disorder.
While there are some tried-and-true medical treatments out there, another answer to sleep disturbances comes in the form of CBD.
Although some in the medical field still have reservations about its use, CBD is being more thoroughly studied and widely used now that hemp-derived CBD has been legalized throughout the United States per the Farm Bill of 2018.
While scientific studies are ongoing, personal anecdotes tend to suggest that CBD is an effective – and safe – way to combat pesky sleep disturbances.
So, is CBD something that you should try? Let’s take a more in-depth look at what CBD is, how it works, and how it might help better regulate your body’s circadian rhythm.
Just what is CBD anyway?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a compound that is found in the cannabis plant. It is second in abundance only to THC, which, of course, is the main ingredient found in marijuana. They are both metabolites of their own respective decarboxylated acidic forms.
However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning that it does not produce the feeling of being “high”. Also, whereas THC triggers the appetite, CBD is actually an appetite suppressant that can counteract the “munchies” that THC creates.
While some might mistakenly think it is THC that makes marijuana users feel so mellow, it is truly CBD that gives cannabis its calming effect. For those with anxiety and stress disorders, this effect can be helpful.
Of course, since these conditions often play into sleep patterns and habits, CBD’s ability to relax the body and mind potentially has even more merits.
Currently, CBD is used to treat a wide array of health conditions. It seems especially potent at combating inflammation-based autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and lupus, and Sjogren’s syndrome.
It is also being used more widely than ever to treat both humans (adults and children alike) and animals with seizure disorders.
Is CBD safe to take?
As far as anyone can tell, CBD is considered safe for most people to take. The only real issue that can be taken with CBD is the lack of regulation for its manufacturers. This is due to the fact that, as Dr. Brent Bauer points out, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one CBD product, a prescription named Epidiolex, which is only used to treat two different forms of epilepsy.
For the most part, the average person can tolerate CBD. However, like basically every other medicinal substance known to humankind, it does carry some risks. The most noted side-effects include dry mouth, lowered appetite, increased fatigue or drowsiness, and gastrointestinal upset (like diarrhea).
It is also known to interact with certain medications – in particular, blood thinners. It might also interact with anti-psychotics, beta-blockers, and steroids.
As you should with any medication or herbal remedy, speak with your physician before starting a CBD product. Doctors can give recommendations on brands and starting potency as well as inform you as to whether CBD might interact with one of your current medications.
How can CBD help regulate sleep patterns?
There are more than 70 known sleep disorders, and over 40 million Americans alone suffer from them. Staggering, right? Well, in our get-it-done-yesterday society, this number should not be so shocking.
Chances are, if you do not suffer from a sleep disorder, you probably know at least one person who does.
Stress and anxiety play serious roles in our sleep habits, but there are other causes for sleep disorders too. As Cleveland Clinic cites, causes for sleep disorders include medication, aging, genetics, and even working third shift.
Physical conditions, medical issues, psychiatric disorders, and environmental factors can all contribute as well. Even just thinking about whether you will be able to sleep at night can factor into the profound impact of a sleep disorder.
Every year, Americans spend over $3 billion on various types of sleep aids. Dr. Daniel F. Kripke notes that many of these sleep aids can be particularly dangerous. Hypnotics are associated with 10,000 deaths per year, but the number of fatalities is likely a lot higher.
If you have ever driven the day after taking a powerful sleep aid, you are probably aware of just how scary and immense the effects of sleep aids can be.
CBD doesn’t generally give you that sense of excessive drowsiness, certainly not the morning after you take it. In fact, our bodies have something called an endocannabinoid system.
As Pacher, Batkai, and Kunos write, this system is responsible for maintaining many aspects of human health. It hosts a series of cannabinoid receptors that can be located in the body’s major organs.
Those with alterations in their endocannabinoid system often get diagnosed with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and various neurodegenerative disorders.
It has been shown that CBD helps to improve signaling of the receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which get slowed down when there is some sort of dysfunction going on.
The pineal gland is responsible for melatonin (which aids in sleep) production and contain receptors for the endocannabinoid system. When CBD binds to those receptors, it might help improve the manufacturing of melatonin in the pineal gland. Even small dosages of low-potency CBD might be enough to exert some control over melatonin production.
Should I give it a go?
CBD comes in many forms. Typically, you can find it as an oil that comes in a tincture. However, you can also get it as soft gels, capsules, topical salves, powders, and even as a component in bottled water. And the oils themselves can be taken straight from the tincture or added to your favorite beverage.
Of course, CBD isn’t for everybody. A lot of people are initially put off by the plant-like taste the oils typically have. Also, while starting out on small dosages of low-potency (about 10 mg) CBD is recommended, it might prove ineffective for some people.
If your condition is considerably chronic, you will likely need to move up in potency. You might also need to avoid taking CBD if you are on blood thinners or other medications with which it might interact.
For most of you, CBD is safe and worth a try. Results are never guaranteed, but, as far as personal anecdotes go, plenty of consumers will testify to the healing potential of CBD. Since it has no psychoactive effect, many people are choosing it over smoking marijuana.
Establishing a regular sleeping pattern and feeling rested can be possible with CBD. Finding the right potency is key, and it is equally important to do research into different brands.
A lot of companies are now emerging in the United States, so rest assured that the CBD industry will be booming within the next few years. Consider giving CBD a try if you struggle to get a full night’s rest; the results might surprise you.