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 and many have turned to hemp CBD for its various therapeutic benefits and to simply support their general health and well-being. One such CBD benefit is to improve sleep. Based on a handful of studies and numerous CBD user surveys, some have found that CBD helps sleep.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. CBD is a naturally occurring cannabinoid among 120+ cannabinoids that naturally occur in the hemp plant. Generally, CBD works with the body’s endocannabinoid system to promote a state of balance of the mind and body. In essence, your body’s endocannabinoid system is the master balance regulator of other the body’s other systems, such as 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).
⇒ Learn more: How CBD Enhances the Endocannabinoid System
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.
Scientific research and clinical studies focusing on CBD for improving sleep is currently scarce. A handful of studies have shown 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, asking if they use it for sleep and, in some cases, whether CBD was effective with helping them sleep better.
CBD Users Experience Better Sleep
Numerous CBD consumer surveys have been done since the boom of CBD, all showing that many Americans have tried CBD from the hemp plant to help them go to sleep faster and to help them stay asleep through the night.1
In a survey of 3,506 Americans, 43.4% reported using CBD for sleep. The data also revealed that participants were able to fall asleep faster and awoke less frequently in the night. Specifically, participants reported that they fell asleep within 20 minutes when they used CBD, compared to 62 minutes without using CBD. Participants reported waking 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% reported taking 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% reported using CBD to improve sleep.
In a March 2019 survey consisting of 855 CBD-using women, 39.7% of Baby Boomers reported using CBD to improve sleep, 39% of Generation X reported using CBD to improve sleep, and 44.7% of Millennials reported using 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 reported using 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% reported using CBD to help them with their sleeping 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% reported using CBD for sleep.
In a 2020 survey of 1,055 Americans, 38.8% reported using 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% reported using CBD for promoting sleep/improving sleep quality.
And, in an April 2020 survey of 2,000 American adults, 42% reported using CBD for sleep and insomnia.
Hemp-derived CBD has helped many people sleep better. The reason CBD works for some and not for others is not clear. That being said, there are various factors that may influence the result. Such factors include gender, body weight, age, the amount of CBD taken, the type of CBD product used, the quality of the CBD product, and internal and/or external causes that keep an individual from falling asleep and/or waking up during the night.
Type of CBD for Sleep
With so many variables playing a role, there is no one-size-fits-all or works-best-for-all answer when it comes to trying a hemp-derived CBD product for sleeping issues. Typically, consumers use a CBD ingestible product to help them sleep, such as oil drop tinctures, capsules, soft gels, and gummies. 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.
Many individuals have experienced better sleep with the use of CBD. If you’re interested in trying a CBD product for sleep improvement in the form of a CBD oil drop tincture, CBD soft gels, CBD gummies, or any other type of an ingestible product, start with the suggested serving size indicated on the product’s label to see if that amount works for you. If you find that amount ineffective, you can increase the amount by a serving size or two and keep gradually doing so until you feel a noticeable difference. 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 then adjust accordingly. While human CBD studies have reported a CBD dose of up to 1,500 mg per day to be well tolerated,1 a new user shouldn’t start with that amount unless recommended by a doctor.
No matter the amount taken, rest assured that no amount of CBD will make you feel “high” by using a CBD only product or a CBD product with up to 0.3% delta-9 THC.
Lastly, if using an ingestible CBD product such as an oil, vape, soft gel, or gummy, take your CBD after dinner in the night, roughly 60 minutes before you go to bed. To maximize your experience, try not to sabotage your sleeping goals by keeping your mind and body active. Be mindful and actually 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