CBD Use for Sleep
Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill the popularity for hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products remains strong. Today, it’s not a question of whether Americans know or do not know about CBD. Millions of Americans know about CBD, and many use CBD for its various therapeutic benefits and to support their general health and well-being. One such CBD benefit is sleep improvement, whether that is falling asleep faster or staying asleep through the night.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. CBD is one cannabinoid of over 100 cannabinoids that naturally occur in the hemp plant. THC is another cannabinoid. However, unlike THC, CBD does not produce any intoxicating effects or cause a “high” feeling, has no potential for abuse, and does not cause any withdrawal symptoms once CBD use is stopped.
Studies report that CBD helps the body’s endocannabinoid system promote a state of balance of the mind and body. In essence, the body’s endocannabinoid system is the master balance regulator of other bodily systems and functions. These include the central nervous system and functions such as mood, stress, sleep, anxiety, appetite, how pain is perceived, motivation, pleasure and reward, and memory (among others). When there is a state of balance within, there is a healthy mind and body.
⇒ Learn more: How CBD Enhances the Endocannabinoid System
Studies focusing on CBD for improving sleep is scarce. A handful have reported that CBD has a therapeutic role in sleep regulation. In one study, 600 mg of CBD was found to induce sleep. In another study, 160 mg of CBD was found to improve sleep.
Pending additional research, companies have started to survey consumers about CBD use for sleep including whether it helped them sleep better.
CBD Users Experience Better Sleep
To learn about CBD for sleep, companies have surveyed consumers asking if they use CBD for sleep and whether CBD was effective for improving their sleep quality.
In a survey of 3,506 Americans, 43.4% reported using CBD for sleep. Participants reported falling asleep faster and awaking less frequently in the night. Specifically, they fell asleep within 20 minutes when they used CBD, compared to 62 minutes without using CBD. They woke up roughly once in the night when they used CBD, compared to awaking roughly 4 times when they didn’t use CBD. Also, nearly three-quarters of these CBD users felt “refreshed” when they awoke in the morning.
In a 2019 survey of 4,000 Americans, 10% used CBD for better sleep. Of these, 52% found CBD “extremely effective or very effective” for better sleep while 16% found CBD “slightly or not at all effective”.
In a 2019 joint survey of over 2,000 Americans, 45% used CBD to improve sleep.
In a March 2019 survey consisting of 855 CBD using women, 39.7% of Baby Boomers used CBD to improve sleep, 39% of Generation X used CBD to improve sleep, and 44.7% of Millennials used CBD to improve sleep. Among all CBD using women for sleep, 42.5% found CBD was effective in helping them sleep better.
In a survey of 1,047 American seniors, 45.6% found CBD improved their sleep quality.
In a 2019 Gallup poll, 11% of Americans used CBD for sleep/insomnia.
In a survey of 2,600 arthritis patients conducted by the Arthritis Foundation, 71% found CBD helped them sleep and over 30% found CBD relieved their symptoms of fatigue.
In a summer 2019 survey of over 2,000 Americans, 5.81% used CBD to help a sleep disorder. Notably, none of these participants experienced any adverse side effects from using CBD.
In a winter 2019 survey of 1,273 vitamin and supplement users, 45.4% used CBD for sleep.
In a 2020 survey of 1,055 Americans, 38.8% used CBD for sleep and 76.8% found CBD was “extremely or very effective” in helping them sleep better.
In a separate 2020 survey with roughly 3,000 Americans participants, 26% used CBD for promoting sleep/improving sleep quality.
And, in an April 2020 survey of 2,000 American adults, 42% used CBD for sleep and insomnia.
Type of CBD for Sleep
There is no one-size-fits-all or works-best-for-all type of CBD product for sleep. CBD has helped many people sleep better and for others it has not. The reason CBD works for some and not for all is due to various factors. These factors include:
- body weight
- the amount of CBD taken
- the type of CBD product used
- the quality of the CBD product
- medical history, and
- internal and/or external causes that keep an individual from falling asleep and/or waking up during the night
When it comes to the type of CBD product to try for sleep, consumers typically use a CBD ingestible product such as a CBD oil drop tinctures, capsules/soft gels, gummies or vape.
Others use a CBD topical relief cream to help subside their soreness, muscle tension, neck pain, back pain, knots, joint pain and other aches that keep them from falling asleep and/or wake them in the night.
If you are considering trying CBD to help improve your sleep quality, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Buy a quality CBD product from a brand that makes the lab report available for you to view. Look for the cannabinoid content, cannabinoid potency, and testing results for contaminants like pesticides, residual solvents, heavy metals and mycotoxins to ensure you’re buying a quality product that is safe to use.
- Do not shop for CBD products on Amazon because there are none. Amazon doesn’t allow the sale of CBD on its shopping platform.
- Start with the suggested serving size indicated on the product’s label to see if that amount works for you. If that amount is ineffective, increase it by a serving size or two and keep gradually doing so until you feel a noticeable difference.
- Be patient. Your chances of having to increase or decrease the amount should be expected as part of your CBD experience. No two people are the same, and the amount of CBD that’s right for you is just as unique as you. Monitor the amount you take and its effect, and adjust accordingly.
- No matter the amount taken, no amount of CBD will make you feel high. Unlike THC/marijuana, CBD has no intoxicating side effects.
- If using an ingestible CBD product, such as CBD oil, take it after dinner in the night roughly 60 minutes before you go to bed.
Also, do not sabotage your sleeping goals by keeping your mind and body active. Engage in your winding down process by decreasing your mental and physical activity. This includes avoiding drinks with caffeine, alcoholic beverages, and foods with sugar, as all these can keep you up and disrupt your sleep.
Finally, do put your devices away. Scrolling through social media, reading emails, shopping online, or searching online will only keep you up and defeat your sleeping goals.
**The list of surveys highlighted in this educational blog are not exhaustive, but rather a list of surveys compiled as examples.
Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, Crippa JA. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Curr Drug Saf. 2011;6(4):237-249. doi:10.2174/157488611798280924; https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf (the World Health Organization reported that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”).
WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. Cannabidiol (CBD) Pre-Review Report: Agenda Item 5.2. World Health Organization. Thirty-ninth meeting, Geneva, 6-10 November 2017.
Zuardi AW, Guimarães FS, Moreira AC. Effect of cannabidiol on plasma prolactin, growth hormone and cortisol in human volunteers. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research = Revista Brasileira de Pesquisas Medicas e Biologicas. 1993 Feb;26(2):213-217.
CARLINI, E.A. and CUNHA, J.M. (1981), Hypnotic and Antiepileptic Effects of Cannabidiol. The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 21: 417S-427S. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1552-4604.1981.tb02622.x