What most of us wouldn’t give for a good night’s sleep? Without it, we can’t function at an optimal emotional, physical and mental level, yet in today’s highly stressed and connected world, many of us suffer from poor sleep quality.
Insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy…and many others, cause patients to turn to over-the-counter and prescription medications for relief, yet many of these medications have significant side effects.
Many consumers then explore natural aids, such as cannabis.
That’s why cannabis oil is growing rapidly to help people with insomnia.
But can its main component, cannabidiol (CBD), a non-toxic cannabis compound, have many beneficial effects on your sleep?
If you’ve been considering trying CBD to treat your sleep issues, you’re in luck. This article highlights how CBD could help you sleep better, as well as the different forms available to consume it.
What Is CBD?
In 2019, medical cannabis became legal in 33 states, including France. Cannabis contains various chemical compounds, including cannabinoids.
While Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is considered the main psychoactive constituent, other cannabinoids have also revealed less potent psychotropic effects. These include cannabidiol (CBD).
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, which means it won’t get you “high”. Instead, it has a range of health applications, such as reducing seizures in people with epilepsy and relieving pain.
CBD also has conclusive evidence for improving chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, spasticity in multiple sclerosis, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress (for review, see this article).
In this sense, CBD is gaining ground as a possible treatment for many diseases.
Notably, some research suggests that, like melatonin, CBD may also help you get a good night’s sleep.
To understand whether CBD can improve your sleep, we must first understand the causes of poor sleep.
What Is The Difference Between CBD And THC?
Even if they are found in the same plant and are received by the same receptors in the brain, CBD and THC are two totally different molecules, therefore with totally different effects.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol to be exact), is a psychoactive substance, unlike CBD. This means that THC alters your brain’s rhythm and acts directly on your psyche. This is the reason why THC is considered a drug and forbidden to be consumed and sold in France.
What Causes Poor Sleep?
Psychiatric Disorders Or Problems Are The Most Common Cause Of Insomnia.
Among these, we can mention:
- Anxiety: Many people with an anxiety disorder have trouble dealing with their own thoughts and worries that keep them awake at night.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Flashbacks and feelings of fear and anxiety can be responsible for arousals and nightmares.
- Stress And Worry: People often experience insomnia while going through a stressful life event, such as the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a divorce, for example.
Physical Causes Of Insomnia.
Insomnia can be caused by a number of physical or medical conditions.
Here are some of them:
- Lung Disease: These can include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and sleep apnea.
- Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): This is quite common and can lead to insomnia. It is characterized by an uncomfortable tingling sensation in the legs, accompanied by an irresistible urge to move them.
- Parkinson’s Disease: This is a neurological disorder in which sleep disturbances are common and can worsen as the disease progresses.
- Pain: The pain of any kind is enough to keep a person awake at night.
If your insomnia is caused by external factors or related conditions, CBD can help by treating the causes of insomnia.
How Does CBD Work?
Cannabinoids and CBD interact with our bodies through the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system plays a role in maintaining certain body functions, such as mood, appetite, and sleep.
The endocannabinoid system includes a network of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, the two main ones being CB1 and CB2 receptors. (Source: royalqueenseeds.fr)
In terms of how they can affect sleep, some research indicates that the one that impacts sleep directly is CB1.
This receptor also plays a role in the regulation of many other important functions such as digestion, anxiety, or mood to name a few.
CBD by acting on this receptor can therefore reduce anxiety and pain, both of which can interfere with restful sleep.
The CB2 receptor, on the other hand, impacts sleep in an indirect way: it affects our immune system and therefore regulates functions such as inflammation, pleasure, and pain.
Recent scientific evidence attributes to CBD anxiolytic, neuroprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, antidepressant, antipsychotic and hypnotic.
CBD To Help You Sleep.
As previously mentioned, CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system. This system is involved, among other things, in the management of sleep mechanisms. CBD also interacts with serotonin, which is one of the hormones essential to our rest and recovery cycles.
Effectiveness Against Sleep Disorders.
Therefore, without replacing a possible drug treatment but rather complementing it, CBD can help fight against certain sleep disorders such as:
- Sleep Paralysis.
- Sleep Apnea.
- Daytime Sleepiness.
More generally, CBD improves the quality of sleep, particularly by improving the transition from REM sleep to deep sleep, and by extending the duration of deep sleep phases, which is the most recuperative phase for our body.
Finally, CBD can also alleviate some of the symptoms that may be causing your sleep problems such as anxiety, or counteract the effects associated with the consumption of exciting substances such as coffee.
What Does The Research Tell Us About CBD And Sleep?
Studies abound regarding the soporific effect of cannabis. People suffering from a variety of conditions, including pain, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, report a disorder in which the person experiences dreams. DBR is associated with poor sleep and nightmares.
What Are The Different Forms Of CBD?
There are many ways to consume CBD. It comes in different forms, including:
- Oils and Tinctures.
- Pills and Capsules.
- Edibles, such as gum.
CBD oil is the most common way to consume it. It can be placed under the tongue.
It is available in different concentrations. The exact dose to treat sleep problems is not completely known.
The dose of CBD you use depends on a number of factors:
- Your weight.
- Your body chemistry.
- Your age.
- The nature and duration of your sleep problems.
Most clinical trials on CBD and sleep have involved giving subjects between 25 mg and 1500 mg of CBD per day. It is best to start with a low dose and gradually increase it.
Regardless, it’s essential to talk to your doctor before taking any kind of medication – including CBD!
Is CBD Legal?
CBD can be extracted from either the marijuana plant or the hemp plant, both of which are derived from the cannabis plant.
But they are harvested differently. Hemp comes from the seeds and stems of the plant, which contains less THC than marijuana.
Because the THC content of CBD oil can vary depending on the state in which it’s sold, there may be restrictions.
For example, in some states, CBD oil is sold legally if all THC is removed. If CBD oil still contains THC or other cannabinoids, it can only be sold in states that have legalized marijuana use.
Depending on your state’s laws, you may need a medical prescription for CBD oil. But laws continue to change rapidly, so in the near future, the situation may be different.
What The Legislation Says.
Cannabis and hemp are highly regulated plants due to the presence of the psychoactive substance THC. However,
For a CBD-based product to be legal in France, it must meet the following 3 rules:
- The CBD must have been extracted from a specific variety of hemp that is part of the Public Health Code, whose THC content is less than 0.2%. Indeed, at this rate, THC can not have a psychoactive or addictive effect.
- CBD products marketed in France must not contain hemp flowers or leaves. Only the seeds and fibers can be used.
- It is forbidden to put forward therapeutic effects of any kind (for example, to say that CBD can cure you of this or that disease), to deliver medical recommendations, or to promote cannabis.
CBD Is Not A Medicine.
The vast majority of CBD-based products found on the French market today are not medicines. This means that they have not been validated by the ANSM (Agence Nationale de Sécurité des Médicaments), that they do not require a prescription to be delivered, and that they have no officially recognized therapeutic virtue.
On the other hand, there are drugs containing synthetic CBD such as Sativex or Marinol, but these, although authorized by the ANSM since 2014, are subject to strict regulations (reserved for patients with multiple sclerosis, prescription subject to a special and temporary authorization, obligation to prove that all other conventional treatments have been ineffective, etc.).
Today, more and more people are turning to more natural remedies as an alternative to prescription sleeping pills. Hypnotics can be addictive and increase the risk of long-term mortality.
Through the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, CBD can have a direct positive impact on sleep, but also indirectly by limiting the factors that prevent you from sleeping.
However, more research is needed to advance the use of CBD and improve our knowledge.