How CBD Can Help You Catch Some Much Needed Zzzzzz’s
CBD Oil for Insomnia and Sleep
CBD has grown immensely in popularity these last few months, and it is unlikely to go away anytime soon. This is because – as much as snake-oil salesmen are jumping at it – CBD really does work and in a variety of ways. It can help anxiety, depression, psychosis, pain, and inflammation.1 2 3 4 It has been called “neuroprotective” and contains anti-oxidant capabilities.5 6 The research is still a long way from “complete,” but already CBD has demonstrated an incredible repertoire of benefits.
One benefit you may have heard of is an improvement in sleep. Hearing stories of people who had insomnia, who were entirely dependent on sleeping pills, suddenly finding themselves able to sleep again after using CBD is becoming more common. This author himself knows one such person (me!). But is there any real science to CBD promoting sleep? Or is it just one big placebo effect? In this article, we will address that question. Furthermore, we will take a brief look at the basics behind the sleep, in order to better help us understand how CBD might actually improve it. The article will then conclude with tips for CBD products and how to best use them when looking for some “zzzzz’s” at night.
The Science of Sleep:
Ask an expert in sleep what the actual physiological need for sleep is, and they’ll likely tell you one thing: “Sleep cures sleepiness.” Well DUH. Why can’t they give any better answers? Well, it’s simple… because they don’t really have better ones.
The actual need for sleep still confounds scientists today. While we have bits and pieces that can help clue us in, no clear, concise picture of sleep has emerged yet. Clearly it is important, otherwise, it wouldn’t be shared across so many different species of animal! Many of us know firsthand how terrible it is to get sleep, but is that its only purpose, to keep away grouchiness? Let’s find out.
First and foremost, sleep appears to have a relationship with oxidation in the brain. Oxidation refers to the toxic byproducts of metabolism. When your cells use energy, it requires the use of oxygen. The oxygen atoms become highly unstable afterward, making them hazardous for the cell. This can have incredible repercussions, such as leading to eventual brain degradation and illnesses like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.6
Our bodies have plenty of time to fight off oxidation when we just sit around and rest. But what about our brains? So long as our brains our active (i.e. we are awake and aware) metabolism is going on in it, and toxic Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS’s) are being produced. It stands to reason that one purpose behind sleep may be to help the brain cleanse itself of these metabolic poisons in order to keep it healthy and running at its peak.
Such a link between sleep and oxidation in the brain was found in research on fruit flies. Flies that had greater anti-oxidant capabilities in their brains naturally slept less. Mutant flies that were simply unable to sleep less – but had no better anti-oxidant capabilities – were found to more easily die when oxidative stress was introduced.7 The conclusion was that sleep has at least some kind of link with fighting off oxidation, even if it is still more complicated than that.
Other uses for sleep include giving the brain a chance to store memories, and even generating more ATP (the molecule that carries cellular energy) for brain cells to use when awake.8 9 Regardless of exactly what sleep is needed for, it’s safe to say that we all ought to be able to do it. And that’s where CBD can come in.
CBD and Sleep:
One of CBD’s most popular benefits has been its supposed ability to improve sleep. Much of the research on CBD is still being done, and it will take several years more before we fully understand even the currently verified benefits. But at least one study shows that CBD can help with sleep. There is a strange catch, however: sleep only consistently improved during the first month, after which results varied.10
What is to be taken from this? The mechanisms underlying exactly how CBD promotes sleep is still not known. There are theories and ideas, of course. One possible mechanism involves the use of CB1 receptors in the brain – CBD doesn’t directly affect these, but increases the levels of the natural human cannabinoid anandamide to affect them.2 11 When anandamide activates CB1 receptors, it can help modulate neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, the excitatory brain chemical.12 It can also affect other chemicals known to interact with the process of sleep, such as serotonin.13 By suppressing chemicals like glutamate, CBD helps relax you, thus providing one possible way to improve sleep.
Other possible mechanisms of how CBD improves sleep have to do with its impressive anti-oxidant abilities. CBD can help regulate the anti-oxidant zinc, it can kill off cells causing too much pollution, and it can even help keep control over the energy production of cells.6 14 15 It may well be that the improvements in sleep from CBD stem from just those anti-oxidant abilities. Perhaps, after the first month, most people have reached a threshold of CBD helping clean their brains up. This is purely conjecture, as science has yet to fully understand it all.
This brings us to a few major questions about CBD and sleep. For one, can it help insomnia? While few studies have been done, many people attest to it helping their insomnia (I myself being one such person). It quite definitively can help many people sleep, and thus should be able to help insomnia. Perhaps more concerning is the question of whether or not CBD can cause insomnia. While no research papers could be found on this subject, it should be noted that – because CBD also causes GABA, the inhibitory chemical, to be suppressed in the brain – it may arouse you and keep you more awake.12 Of note, CBD will simultaneously suppress GABA and glutamate, so both the inhibitory and excitatory chemical levels will fall. This shouldn’t cause insomnia, but without more research into the matter it is difficult to say.
Overall, there is reason to believe CBD can help with sleep, between the many anecdotes and at least one scientific study. At the same time, this is still a field of ongoing research, so very little can be said beyond “It may help you sleep.”
How to Take CBD for Sleep
If you decide to use CBD for sleep, there are a few product tips you should keep in mind. First and foremost, use a water-soluble CBD oil tinctures (drops) I bring this up because it is incredibly easy for some con-man to just get some CBD, dump it in oil, and sell it off. Such a product will do very little once inside your body, and you’ll usually pay a lot for it. It mostly amounts to expensive poop. A water-soluble product will instead absorb readily into your body, especially if you hold it under the tongue for 15-30 seconds before swallowing. To test whether your product is water-soluble, just put some of it in water: if it mixes in, you’re good to go. If it stays separated out, like ordinary oil, then don’t count on your product doing much for you.
With a water-soluble product in hand, you will usually only need around a 250 mg dose. Not only does this tend to be much cheaper than a lot of what is sold out there (up to 3000 mg for several hundred dollars!) but you tend to get more CBD in your blood from it anyway via the water-solubility. You usually only need 1 or 2 ml, and it is often advised you take it right before bed. As mentioned before, keep it under the tongue for up to half-a-minute, and then swallow. Feel free to follow up with a drink. Keeping the CBD under the tongue helps it get directly into your bloodstream quick, and avoids first-pass metabolism by the liver.
If you aren’t sure about what products to try, head on over to http://Yes.Life and order one of their CBD oil tinctures! Their CBD comes in two flavors – Mixed Berry and Cinnamon – and avoids the terrible taste that tends to accompany most CBD oils. Furthermore, Yes.Life offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can rest assured you are buying a product that works. Most CBD oils take up to 2 or even 4 weeks to fully provide their effects, so Yes.Life’s 30-day guarantee will keep you covered. And of course, Yes.Life CBD is all water-soluble, ensuring you get the most bang for your buck!
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2 Leweke, F M, et al. “Cannabidiol Enhances Anandamide Signaling and Alleviates Psychotic Symptoms of Schizophrenia.” Translational Psychiatry 2, no. 3 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2012.15.
3 Hammell, D.c., et al. “Transdermal Cannabidiol Reduces Inflammation and Pain-Related Behaviours in a Rat Model of Arthritis.” European Journal of Pain 20, no. 6 (2015): 936–48. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.818.
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10 Shannon, Scott. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” The Permanente Journal,2019. https://doi.org/10.7812/tpp/18-041.
11 Thomas, A, et al. “Cannabidiol Displays Unexpectedly High Potency as an Antagonist of CB1 and CB2 Receptor Agonists in Vitro.” British Journal of Pharmacology 150, no. 5 (2009): 613–23. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bjp.0707133.
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15 Osullivan, Saoirse Elizabeth. “An Update on PPAR Activation by Cannabinoids.” British Journal of Pharmacology 173, no. 12 (2016): 1899–1910. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.13497.