Can CBD Improve Sleep?


There are many claims circulating about how CBD might support improved sleep, however, as with many aspects of the hemp industry, a lack of scientific research limits our ability to make definitive claims of this nature. Despite this, an overwhelming number of CBD users report that CBD not only increases the amount of sleep they are able to get, but also improves the quality of their sleep. 

So what’s the deal - are people actually improving their sleep with CBD, or is it the mother of all placebo’s? Unfortunately the data currently available does not paint such a clear picture on this question. 

One study conducted in Brazil in 2018 concluded CBD does not appear to interfere with the sleep cycle of healthy individuals, stating that “there were no differences between CBD and placebo in respect to polysomnographic findings or cognitive and subjective measures in a sample of healthy subjects.” [1]

However other studies exploring the causal impact of CBD on sleep tell a different story. One finding in particular revealed CBD to have different effects on sleep based on dose, with lower doses of CBD having a stimulating effect, and higher doses of CBD have a sedating effect. This phenomenon of having oppositional effects based on dose, might seem counterintuitive at first blush, however upon examination of the ways our Endocannabinoid System moderates our Circadian Rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle [2].

Endocannabinoid signalling occurs throughout the body, serving as a mechanism to regulate a wide variety of physiological functions, including sleep/wake cycles, temperature regulation, food consumption and fat storage, endocrine functions, gastrointestinal function, mood and sensory perception [3].

When CBD and other phytocannabinoids interlock with CB1 and CB2 receptors in our endocannabinoid system, they administer their anti-inflammatory properties at a cellular level, which appears to have a stabilizing impact on the systems governed by our ECS [3].

By helping to regulate our circadian rhythm, CBD has a unique ability to promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle, rather than just knock you out. Perhaps this is the reason that so many people report experiencing a restful sleep without the grogginess when using higher doses of CBD at night. 

While there is still a great deal of research to be done on exactly how CBD and other phytocannabinoids improve our sleep, the evidence demonstrating their impact on our circadian rhythm gives us a strong indication that CBD does in fact support improved sleep, at least for most people. 

 

  1. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5895650/
  2. https://www.med.upenn.edu/cbti/assets/user-content/documents/s11920-017-0775-9.pdf
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2931554/#b130