You’ve tried drinking warm milk before bed. You’ve counted herds of jumping sheep. You’ve even donned a sleep mask and earplugs in hopes of shutting out the external world.
But still, you toss and turn, can’t stay asleep, and feel wiped out the next day.
If you struggle with catching some z’s, you’re not alone. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one-third of all adults get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep. If you’re among the bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived, you’ve probably tried everything you can think of to solve your sleep problems.
And, if you’ve done your research on sleep aids, you’ve most likely come across Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a non-habit-forming, naturally occurring compound derived from the flower of the cannabis plant. CBD is increasing in popularity. It’s difficult to travel a few city blocks without passing a store with a sign proclaiming “CBD sold here” or see ads for it while we’re scrolling through the internet.
Though many people use CBD for its sedation-inducing effects, it’s still a fairly new phenomenon, featuring both pros and cons.
It won’t get you high
While CBD may come from the hemp plant—a close relative of marijuana—you don’t have to worry about devouring entire bags of potato chips while experiencing oneness with your couch if you take it. Medical experts agree: there’s no significant number of psychoactive compounds in CBD that will make you feel high.
CBD is derived from industrial hemp which contains less than 0.3 percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive compound found in high-inducing marijuana. This limit of 0.3 percent is an official designation by the FDA, and any cannabis plant at or below this level is legal to grow or sell.
There are laws governing CBD
The FDA gives a green light to CBD products that fall beneath the 0.3 percent threshold of THC, making it federally legal across the country. The DEA classifies anything above this percentage as a Schedule 1 drug, which is illegal at the federal level despite the fact that some states have legalized recreational or medical marijuana.
States do vary with regard to the legal particulars though. Idaho, for instance, requires an absolute zero percentage of THC, and CBD products must be made from specific parts of the hemp plant. You should always know the laws of your home state, especially if you’re ordering online.
CBD can contribute to better sleep
CBD has been embraced by many looking for higher-quality sleep—and research does suggest it can help users relax and slip into a better state of slumber.
That’s because at the root of many sleep problems is the hormone cortisol. Cortisol isn’t a feel-good chemical, but rather one that’s associated with anxiety and stress. That feeling of tension you get after a poor performance review at work, or after receiving an overdraft fee notification on your debit card? You can thank cortisol for the discomfort, a mechanism that’s actually invaluable to the fight or flight response.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), cortisol enters your system fifteen minutes after experiencing stress and can course through your body for hours. Going to bed with an elevated level of cortisol can give you a terrible night’s sleep.
Meanwhile, CBD has been shown to reign in cortisol levels. Research indicates that taking 300 mg or 600 mg of CBD oil can actually decrease the amount of cortisol in your blood—and dampening this stress hormone can help you out when it’s time to hit the sack.
How effective is CBD? In a recent study from Consumer Reports, 10 percent of those polled used CBD as a sleep aid and reported positive results from using it.
CBD may improve sleep, but it does have potential drawbacks.
It can have negative health effects
While CBD may set you on course for a tranquil slumber, it may also present bumps in the road with regard to other aspects of health.
The FDA reports that CBD can be linked to liver injury, interact with the efficacy of prescription drugs, and contribute to digestive issues. Even though CBD is legal doesn’t mean there aren’t risks. And, because it’s a fairly new development, there’s still more research required to determine its long-term effects.
If you’re considering using CBD as a sleep aid, consult with your doctor to get the go-ahead. Like anything else you choose to ingest, you should make an informed decision before adding it to your sleep regimen.
Is CBD right for you?
In summary, there’s a lot of hype around CBD, with many touting it as a miracle cure-all. There’s evidence that shows that CBD can help you find a better night’s rest, but there’s also still so much that’s unknown. Before trying out CBD supplements, oils, edibles or other sleep aids, always do your research and consult with a doctor.
We wish you the best of luck in your journey to a better night’s rest!