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CBD For Sleep And Insomnia: A Buyer’s Guide

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Cannabidiol is a natural remedy that's become quite popular in recent years and is used for many common ailments. You probably know it better as CBD, and it is one of the 100+ chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that's found in the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa). CBD doesn't contain THC which is the psychoactive compound.

Because this substance is missing from CBD, it's an appealing option for people that are searching for relief from pain and other ailments without the adverse effects of marijuana or some pharmaceutical drugs. CBD oil is manufactured by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or coconut hemp seed oil.

It’s gaining momentum in the wellness world, with some scientific studies confirming it can help treat a variety of ailments like chronic pain, sleep issues and anxiety.

This article covers some of the recent scientific research on this substance as well as the health benefits as backed by scientific evidence.




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To make sure we're all starting from the same place, it's worth taking a moment to define what CBD is. Some people may have an exact definition of what CBD is, so let's do a quick refresh on what this natural compound is, and also what scientists think it can do for health, sleep, and health.

CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it is one of the most heavily studied natural chemicals found in the cannabis plants. CBD is what's called a cannabinoid, a variety of chemicals found in cannabis which have gained a great deal of recognition and attention for their benefits to human health, and treating disease and pain.

Contrary to THC, yet another renowned cannabinoid, CBD does not have any mind-altering results. To the contrary: CBD appears to counteract the psychotropic effects of THC, that's the chemical compound in cannabis that delivers the "high" associated with bud.

(If you're uncertain about the distinction between CBD and cannabis, know that CBD is not the same thing as marijuana.)

CBD also has anti-seizure properties and has demonstrated significant neuro-protective effects.

For all these reasons, in recent years CBD has become a therapeutic tool for dealing with sleep difficulties, depression, anxiety and other psychological problems, pain and substance use disorders. Additionally, it is regarded as a promising and effective treatment to deal with epilepsy, in addition to several cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

With a record like that, it's little surprise that CBD has become a popular all-natural nutritional supplement. Unlike medical cannabis, CBD is 100% legal in all 50 states. That's right - even if you live in a state where you can't yet purchase medical cannabis, you can still purchase and use CBD.

CBD for sleep research

CBD has the ability to decrease anxiety, which can be helpful in reducing sleep problems and improving sleep quality. CBD might raise overall sleep amounts, and improve insomnia, based on research. CBD has been demonstrated to reduce insomnia in people who are dealing with chronic pain.

When taken in smaller doses, CBD stimulates alertness and reduces daytime sleepiness, which is essential for daytime operation and for the strength and consistency of the adrenal cycle.

REM behavior disorder is a condition that causes people to behave physically during dreaming and REM sleep. Usually, during REM, the entire body is mostly paralyzed, a state known as REM atonia. This immobilization keeps sleepers from reacting physically to their fantasies. In REM behaviour disorder, this paralysis doesn't happen, leaving individuals free to move--which may lead to disruptive sleep and to injuring their sleeping spouses. Cannabis may also be effective in reducing pain and improve sleep quality in people with Parkinson's disease. Additionally, CBD may help improve REM sleep abnormalities in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

All of the above being said, there is actual research beginning to appear on the topic of CBD for sleep and issues related to insomnia. The article "Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature" in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports summarizes the state of CBD research on specific sleep disorders up to 2014. (You may be able to find a non-gated copy of the article by putting the title into Gooogle Scholar and seeing if any PDFs pop up.)

Another article on the effects of CBD on a ten year old child dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder is entitled "Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report." It presents clinical data that supports the use of CBD oil as a safe treatment for improving sleep and reducing anxiety.

Can I take CBD oil with melatonin?

cbd oil  and melatonin

There are some sleep supplements that combine CBD with melatonin. This indicates you can combine them yourself in pre-determined doses or purchase products where the ingredients have already been combined for you.

Power Sleep contains two main elements that helps to fight against the blue light in our modern technology that can be disruptive to sleep : CBD and melatonin. CBD is thought to have anti-anxiety and antidepressant qualities, making it easier to unwind before bed. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in the body which has implications in the regulation of the circadian rhythm. It's normally produced in greater amounts as our environment gets darker, helping us fall asleep. On the other hand, the grim light of technologies inhibits production, resulting in a delay in sleep onset and quality.

The combination of both CBD and melatonin in Power Sleep operate together to decrease sleep latency (the quantity of time that it takes to get to sleep), also promotes a healthier circadian rhythm, which can lead to a better quality of sleep (according to the manufacturers of the product).

Does CBD make you sleepy?

cbd and sleep

What about CBD's effects on sleep? The answer is more challenging to pin down than you might imagine. In animal research, varying doses of CBD are administered, frequently directly into specific areas of the brain. A fairly well-documented pattern emerges: CBD's consequences on the sleep-wake cycle are biphasic.

In other words, CBD seems to have opposite effects on sleep, depending on the dose administered.

Human Studies
Higher doses of CBD (600 mg/day) were associated with more time spent sleeping in 1 study. Even lower doses (160 mg/day) were linked to more time spent asleep among volunteers who commented on the inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep.

From the study, individuals who obtained CBD reported sleeping more, with fewer periods of wakefulness or restlessness. CBD use also seemed to impact dream remember, but subjects reported no feelings of"hangover" the next day. The decline in dream recall seems to be reflective of a possible reduction in the amount of time spent in REM sleep; the stage of sleep associated with dreaming. It is possibly for this reason that CBD has been related to relief from nightmares in some people suffering from PTSD.

However, when CBD is given in low doses (15 mg/day or less) or together with THC, subjects generally report feeling more stimulated instead of drowsy. In essence, these studies imply that people react to CBD much like other mammals do: low doses of CBD are stimulating, but at high doses it is sedating.

Can CBD cause insomnia?

cbd and insomnia

On the contrary, mounds of supporting medical research and several testimonials suggest cannabis-derived CBD has turned out to be successful in improving symptoms of insomnia. (See for example this article from the journal PLoS One titled "Endocannabinoid Signaling Regulates Sleep. Stability".)

As a result of this unique benefit, some are faced with an ironic concern:"If CBD makes it possible to fall asleep, does CBD make you sleepy? If it does, will it impact my mindset if used throughout the daytime?"

To the ordinary person, it's easy to assume CBD would make you tired, especially if you're familiar with the sedative effects of using the plant variety. After all, how can CBD help alleviate sleep disorders like insomnia without getting the user sleepy?

So this begs the question: Can CBD Make You Sleepy? Paradoxically, the answer is not at all. While CBD has been shown to be effective in alleviating symptoms of insomnia, how it accomplishes this may be different than you imagined. Instead of administering sedative effects like THC or sleeping pills, CBD combats insomnia at the origin.

At the root of today's insomniac epidemic isn't a hereditary illness or some infectious sickness. It's the exact same thing behind cancer, higher blood pressure, so many other illnesses: stress. While regular levels of anxiety may cause minor distress and mood swings; prolonged anxiety was associated with serious health conditions like cancer, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and much more. In simplest terms, stress is the result of how someone reacts to a situation.

Studies indicate that when CBD interacts with ECS receptors (Endocannabinoid System) throughtout the human anatomy, cognitive functions improve which allows the brain to respond more effectively to stressful situations. Because of this, negative behavioral output signal is mitigated and the stress cycle is negated. By improving the brain's capability to react to stressful situations, CBD helps alleviate present stress levels, while functioning as a preventative measure against future anxiety.

Does CBD affect REM sleep?

A recent article in the journal Frontiers in pharmacology with the title of "No Acute Effects of Cannabidiol on the Sleep-Wake Cycle of Healthy Subjects" concludes a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study concludes CBD is not like antidepressants or benzos that typically do interfere with REM sleep.  Specifically, the study concludes no differences between placebo and CBD in respect to polysomnographic findings or cognitive and subjective measures could be found in a sample of healthy subjects.

That's a mouthful, but the title of the article really says it all - the sleep wake cycle of healthy subjects in the study were no different from those that didn't receive the treatment.

Does CBD build up in the body?

is it true that cbd oil builds up in body

For the savvy individual using CBD for its benefits, concerns about CBD tolerance is a valid one given that THC is well-known for building up endurance in consumers. Nevertheless, when it comes to CBD, the answer is really a straight-up"no".

Actually, when it comes to CBD, in some cases the opposite is true (known as reverse tolerance).

Tolerance occurs when you begin to see less benefits with a previously effective amount. The consequence of developing a tolerance is that you begin to need more of something to have the same desired result. Reverse tolerance, also referred to as medication sensitization, means that less of something is required to get to the same endpoint. This is actually the reverse of tolerance. A smaller dose is needed and, sometimes, has been slowly decrease.

Research shows long-term and normal usage of THC contributes to users building up a tolerance due to the manner that it binds directly to the human body's endocannabinoid receptors. Specifically, THC binds firmly to the CB1 receptor in the brain (hence the mind-altering experience) and chronic THC users have fewer cannabinoid receptors as time passes, therefore needing more THC to get exactly the same outcome.

Though CBD and THC come from the exact same cannabis plant species, CBD does not trigger tolerance because it doesn't operate by binding to the cannabinoid receptors in the same way that THC does. CBD averts the problem of tolerance altogether and, unlike most THC which reduces the effectiveness of cannabinoid receptors over time, CBD actually promotes increased receptor activity. Some people have even reported that after a couple of months of CBD with desirable results, they find that they don't need as much, and reduce their dose without the reduction of effects (hello, inverse tolerance!) .

Can you get addicted to CBD?

CBD is created by withdrawing cannabidiol from the stalks and seeds of cannabis, hemp, or kriya (a member of the hops family) and, unlike THC, it's completely non-psychoactive. THC, found in marijuana is the material which causes the sensation of being"high." CBD contains just trace amounts of THC, and additionally contains omega-3s, vitamins, chlorophyl, and amino acids.

Though infrequent, the THC in marijuana may lead to addiction in some people, but since it has no intoxicating effects, CBD oil is non-addictive. The official guide of psychiatric disorders, the DSM-5, defines"cannabis use disorder" as"the continued usage of cannabis despite clinically significant impairment, ranging from mild to severe." CBD doesn't activate the dopamine center and is therefore non-addictive. In fact, a 2017 report by the World Health Organization declared CBD to have no "abuse or dependence possible."