Insomnia is a crippling sleep disorder that torments the lives of over 3 million people in the US per year. It makes it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, and causes you to rise early. In short, you are always tired. Many people experience acute Insomnia at some point during their lifetime, which is insomnia that lasts anywhere from three days to a few weeks, however, some people have chronic insomnia which lasts for months or years. With new and existing research, there might be a link between CBD and insomnia to help millions of people catch some more Zs.
The main causes of insomnia are stress, depression anxiety, trauma, pain and physical illness, medication, poor sleeping habits, neurological problems, and genetics. Current treatments for insomnia are very limited, and doctors may recommend sleeping pills to help prevent next-day drowsiness and fatigue. Without a prescription, however, sufferers are limited to over-the-counter sleeping pills, which have adverse side effects and are less effective over time. Behavioral therapy, which aims to identify and target the cause of a specific patient’s insomnia, is the only known treatment for chronic insomnia. That is where CBD and insomnia may connect.
CBD and Insomnia: Does it Help?
The human body is equipped with an endocannabinoid system which is a system of neurotransmitters and receptors which helps regulate mood, appetite, pain, sleep, and overall homeostasis. It is believed that CBD interacts with this system, stimulating the processes that it regulates.
In terms of its applications to insomnia specifically, CBD affects the neurotransmitter adenosine, one of the many chemicals in the brain that promotes sleep. CBD in small doses relaxes adenosine receptors, naturally preparing your body for sleep. Another way, in which CBD can help with insomnia is by treating the related conditions that are causing your insomnia such as anxiety, depression, or stress. According to Healthline, a 2019 research study revealed that when 47 subjects with anxiety and 25 subjects with poor sleep were given a 25 mg capsule of CBD each day, 79% of patients reported lower levels of anxiety and 66.7% reported improved sleep.
Along with reducing anxiety, CBD can also be used to treat chronic pain and muscle soreness. This is because, as mentioned above, when CBD is applied or ingested, it activates the endocannabinoid receptors in the skin leading to pain and inflammation relief. CBD works as a natural alternative to sleeping pills due to the fact that it treats the underlying conditions that cause insomnia.
Pros? Cons? Is it safe?
In terms of safety, CBD is relatively harmless besides minor side effects.
First and foremost, although CBD is a cannabinoid, it is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not get you high. Second, CBD should not affect cognitive ability or focus however as with all medication, it is important to speak with your doctor before use as CBD may interact with other medications you are currently taking.
In terms of the legality of the product, in 2018 the US Congress passed the Farm Bill which made hemp, which CBD is derived from, legal in the US. Despite this, it is illegal to sell CBD in Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
It is important to note that CBD isn’t regulated on the same scale as other drugs and supplements, meaning there is a risk of mislabeling and unrealistic claims being present on CBD products. You can eliminate this risk by sticking to established brands that are transparent about the regulation of their products such as iCBD. Before using CBD products, one should perform extensive research to ensure they purchase a legal, quality product.
How do you use CBD to treat insomnia?
CBD comes in numerous different forms, including gummy form, vape concentrate, capsule or pill form, oil, and roll-on gel for skin application. Vaping will get the CBD into your system the fastest out of all the forms; however, it may post respiratory health risks. Roll-on gels and other CBD creams are best for on-skin application to areas of pain for chronic pain relief and subsequent insomnia relief.
Studies have shown that safe CBD doses range between 25 and 1500 mg a day, however, this heavily depends on a number of factors such as weight and body composition. It is safest to start small and increase the dosage over time as you get more comfortable with the product and its effects.
Generally, it takes anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes for the effects of CBD to kick in (closer to 15 if vaping and closer to 30 for a CBD gummy). Therefore, if taking CBD for insomnia, the product should be ingested 15-30 minutes before your scheduled bedtime for the best results. Lastly, consistency is key! iCBD recommends sticking to a CBD program for 4-6 weeks to begin to see its longterm effects.
Written by Preston Dankwah