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CBD For Sleep

Written by Dianelle Bresler

Did you know that one in three people in the United States and the UK suffer from some sort of sleeping difficulty, whether falling asleep or staying asleep1-2? Instead of reaching for prescription medications, you might want to consider reaching for the CBD. You’d be surprised to find out how it can be just as good if not better of a sleep aid.

The Problem:

The three main issues that cause sleep problems are: The inability to calm the mind, also known as racing thoughts, which are often associated with underlying issues such as anxiety and depression. Inability to relax due to chronic pain can trigger sleep problems when there is insufficient pain relief. Insomnia due to disturbed REM cycles is the final issue, which is often associated with PTSD. To alleviate these symptoms, people turn to prescription medications. However, sedatives and other pharmaceuticals leave people physically dependent on them and in a zombie-like state1.

The Research:

CBD has powerful anxiolytic effects that improves sleep biomarkers (including onset) helping sleep patterns reset1,3. According to a Brazilian case study, the administration of CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective/general anxiety and increased mental sedation4. So, if anxiety and stress is the cause of sleeping issues, CBD helps break that vicious cycle allowing you to drift off into a night’s sleep.

Another study suggests that CBD attaches to the endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 within the body which work to maintain homeostasis. They found that those suffering from arthritis have higher amounts of C2 receptors in their joints, and when CBD was introduced orally, it interacted with those receptors promoting analgesia in the affected area5.

CBD allows those who wake up in the middle of the night to stay asleep by increasing the third phase of sleep (deep sleep)6. One study showed that CBD can improve complex sleep-related behaviors associated with rapid eye movement (REM)7. Another found that CBD’s anxiolytic effects were responsible for blocking reduced REM sleep suppression typical of PTSD symptoms, which were mimicked by repeated combination tests8.

The Solution:

Key to Cannabis suggests starting with 5-10 milligrams of CBD per day. If your main problem is either anxiety or pain, take CBD in the form of a tincture sublingually or through a gel capsule one to two hours before bed. For those who wake up in the middle of the night, use a vaporizer when it occurs for instant effects to help you fall back asleep. If you feel this dosage is not enough, gradually increase it in 5-10 milligram increments until the desired effect is achieved2.

Thanks to the research on CBD, many people are benefitting from this wonderful non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Just remember, there is no universal method of using CBD, it all depends on what results you are trying to achieve.


  4. Crippa et al. The Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Regional Cerebral Blood Flow. Neuropsychopharmacology 2004:29;417–426.
  5. Eisenberg and Vulfsons. The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain. Rambam Maimonides Med J. 2013;4(4):e0022.
  7. Chagas et al. Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviours associated with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder in Parkinson’s disease patients: a case series. J Clin Pharm Ther 2014;39(5):564-6.
  8. Hsiao et al. Effect of cannabidiol on sleep disruption induced by the repeated combination tests consisting of open field and elevated plus-maze in rats. Neuropharmacology 2012;62(1):373-84.

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Dianelle Bresler

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