There are a lot of questions about this experimental sleep aid. Here’s what we know about CBD and sleep. Can CBD oil cause insomnia by keeping you awake all night? Does CBD act as a stimulant that negatively affects your sleep? CBD oil is unlikely to cause insomnia and may help you get to sleep, but there are some ways CBD can negatively affect sleep.
Can CBD Improve Your Sleep? The Experts Weigh In
There are a lot of questions about this experimental sleep aid. Here’s what we know about CBD and sleep.
There are many proven strategies to better the quality of your sleep, such as leaning away from blue light and alcohol in the hours before you hop into bed, and opting for room-darkening curtains and keeping the temperature cool. But these days, more and more companies are marketing products that include a unique ingredient for better shuteye: CBD.
Used in everything from trendy lotions and lattes to massage oils, CBD — short for cannabidiol — is one of the most prominent chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. While effects vary from person to person, research shows that CBD can have a calming effect on people.
Humans have been cultivating the cannabis plant since at least 4,000 B.C. Not surprisingly, we’ve developed various strains based on how the plant is used. Hemp is a cannabis plant that contains high levels of CBD and low levels of THC — or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound that causes the “high” in cannabis plants. Marijuana, its psychoactive cousin, has low levels of CBD and high levels of THC.
Because of its THC levels and the resulting “high,” marijuana has far fewer uses than hemp. Every day, hemp is utilized in tens of thousands of ways, from rope and insulation to cooking oils, protein powders, and CBD products, which are often derived from hemp and are sometimes marketed as “THC-free.”
What the latest research says about CBD for sleep
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a vast receptor system that’s constantly working to maintain homeostasis as we go throughout our day. On its quest to restore balance, the ECS influences nearly every system in the human body. CBD supports the ECS, helping it respond to imbalances in inflammation, brain health, pain, the stress response, and — you guessed it — the sleep-wake cycle.
CBD is biphasic, which means low doses and high doses can cause opposite effects. Those effects also vary from person to person. Whereas melatonin puts you in a state of calmness before sleep, CBD can make you feel alert when it’s taken in low or moderate doses. In higher doses, studies have associated CBD use with increased sleep. However, in one 3-month study where participants with anxiety took 25 mg to 50 mg of CBD, researchers found that sleep improvements decreased month over month.
Researchers are continuing to explore the complex dynamics between CBD and sleep. A recent study of persons suffering from Parkinson’s disease indicated that the cannabinoid was able to reduce REM (rapid eye movement) sleep disorders. A 2019 sleep-quality study found more patients experienced improved sleep than disrupted sleep when using CBD. But when it comes to CBD and sleep, most research backs the need for further study. (One current large-scale clinical study, for example, is exploring the impacts of CBD for patients with diagnosed insomnia.)
Since research is still relatively new, there is no guidance on CBD’s long-term efficacy.
Here are other considerations:
1. Be wary of extreme promises and CBD claims
Currently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one CBD product, and that’s for the treatment of seizures. The FDA is aware that some companies are marketing products containing CBD in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and that may put the health and safety of consumers at risk, and it is monitoring unproven CBD claims around serious diseases and product contamination.
To feel more confident about your purchase, you can ask the brand for a certificate of analysis (COA), which lets you know if the product contains the amount of CBD advertised.
A COA will also list:
- how much CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids the product has
- potential contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticides, or microbes
- which lab did the testing; make sure it’s a third-party lab
2. Effects will vary, based on your health
As with the 100+ other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, CBD can have different effects on different people. One study found that it can increase sleep duration for people with clinical conditions, while another published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that CBD had zero impact on sleep in healthy volunteers.
Dr. Dustin Sulak, an integrative medicine physician based in Maine, has seen mixed results with patients who use CBD. “There’s a portion of people who take it before bed and sleep great, and then others who are not affected,” he says, adding that some research has found that CBD can actually keep individuals awake at night. “Like everything when it comes to cannabis, there’s a wide individual variability.”
3. Sleep issues stemming from anxiety and pain disorders may benefit from CBD
“For many people, their sleep issues may be rooted in anxiety,” says Dr. Chris Winter, sleep specialist and Sleep Advisor to Sleep.com. “It’s not that they can’t sleep, it’s that they’re scared that they cannot. That anxiety loop can make it such that people will take longer to fall asleep, and that’s where I can see CBD coming into play.”
One 2020 study found that individuals who took CBD for treatment for anxiety and depression reported less symptoms and an improvement in their ability to perform daily functions. The three-month study mentioned above also found sustained decrease in anxiety symptoms with use of CBD.
Studies show that pain, especially the anxiety around pain disrupting sleep, may be treated with CBD. One analysis concluded that CBD is effective for pain management, especially when inhaled.
Ways to use CBD
There are many methods for using CBD. Inhalation, sublingual, digestive, transdermal, topical, and intranasal are the delivery methods currently used for CBD products, and the one you choose can directly impact how quickly it enters your bloodstream — and how strongly you feel its effects.
You can use CBD through oral, inhaled, sublingual, transdermal, and topical forms such as:
- oils, sprays and tinctures for under the tongue
- nasal and mouth sprays
- pills and capsules
- juice for vape pens and vapes
- topical oils, lotions, patches, and bath bombs
- beverages, gummies, and other edibles
- transdermal patches
Since the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD, it can be hard to know if the product contains the amount advertised on the packaging. An analysis of CBD products online found that 26% of products has less CBD, while 43% had more. Some products were also found to include THC, which can be dangerous for children if accidentally consumed.
If you choose to purchase a CBD product, look for labels that identify the CBD isolate and indicate whether or not the product contains broad- or full-spectrum CBD. Then check the COA to identify the level of CBD and other chemicals in the product. If a product is labeled full-spectrum CBD, then it will have trace amounts of THC and the other cannabinoids found naturally in the cannabis plant.
Some CBD products are formulated with other ingredients that help with sleep, such as lavender and melatonin.
Risks and side effects of CBD
Although researchers are still exploring CBD’s long-term implications, its documented side effects are mild. When researchers looked at people who took 1,500mg daily, experts reported that the most common issues included tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite/weight.
The Mayo Clinic reports additional symptoms such as dry mouth and drowsiness. The appearance of these symptoms may depend on how much CBD you’re taking and if CBD is interacting with any existing medications you’re already taking. Talk to a doctor before adding CBD to your bedside table.
Still, Sunak says that the risks associated with CBD use are quite low. “Because it’s typically so well tolerated, even into the triple digits in terms of milligrams, that offers room for individuals to experiment with products and see how it makes them feel, especially with sleep,” he says.
What is the bottom line on CBD?
A little fuzzy? We hear you.
If you want to completely avoid CBD, there are plenty of alternative, researched-backed supplements and techniques to try. For anxiety and stress, we love progressive muscle relaxation, essential oils, and journaling before bed. When it comes to pain and sleep, try heat compresses, massages, or switching up your pillows and mattress.
Additional reporting by Emily Hubbell
Emily Abbate is a freelance writer, certified trainer and run coach, and host of the podcast Hurdle. You can find her work in GQ, Shape, Runner’s World, and other health and fitness publications.
Will CBD Oil Keep You Awake At Night?
Can CBD oil cause insomnia by keeping you awake all night? Does CBD act as a stimulant that negatively affects your sleep?
CBD, otherwise known as Cannabidiol, oil is a relatively new medicine in Australia that patients are taking to treat chronic conditions that have existed for more than three months.
Studies show that CBD oil has great benefits for patients with insomnia.
Further studies indicate that CBD oil combats sleep apnea and sleep disturbances.
So what does this tell us? CBD oil should not be keeping you awake at night, and in fact, it should be promoting your sleep by relaxing you.
CBD oil should be treating your anxiety, stress and depression. This is one of the main ways CBD oil helps you sleep.
If you are having trouble sleeping after taking CBD oil, then any of these could be keeping you awake:
- CBD oil ingredients may include stimulants
- Poor quality CBD oil may have an adverse reaction
- CBD oil dosage may be affecting your sleep
If you think that CBD oil is keeping you awake, then you should discuss this with a health professional that can ensure these aren’t signs of a larger problem.
If you are buying CBD oil with peppermint flavouring, this may have little-to-no effect on most people, but for you it may act as a stimulant. Flavouring is another way that CBD oil can keep you awake at night.
CBD oil should not keep you awake, and the most common cause of people in Australia having insomnia after taking CBD is due to inferior quality products. Stay safe and buy legal medicinal CBD oil.
Have you had any experiences with CBD oil and insomnia? Does CBD oil keep you awake at night? Let us know about your experiences down in the comments!
Can CBD Oil Cause Insomnia?
While cannabidiol (CBD) oil does not often cause insomnia, there are a few circumstances in which CBD may negatively affect sleep.
However, it is more likely that CBD oil will promote better, more restful sleep. CBD’s effects are dose-dependent, having stimulating effects in lower doses and sedative effects in higher doses.
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Can CBD Oil Cause Insomnia?
CBD is a cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis plants. The main difference between CBD and the other most common cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is that CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not cause the “high” feeling associated with cannabis. CBD oil does not contain THC.
Insomnia is when a person struggles to fall asleep, experiences sleep disturbances such as night awakenings, or wakes up too early and cannot fall back to sleep. Common causes of insomnia include stress, anxiety, depression, pain, alcohol, and recreational drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy.
CBD is not thought to cause insomnia and is believed to have the opposite effect in most cases. The most common therapeutic effects of CBD are relief from anxiety, pain, depression, and stress. These effects can help improve sleep onset and duration, resulting in more restful sleep.
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Why CBD Oil Could Potentially Cause Insomnia
CBD may cause difficulty falling asleep or insomnia because it may be wake-promoting in low doses. Research shows that in low doses (around 15 milligrams or less), CBD may provide an energy boost, directly negating feelings of tiredness.
It is thought that low doses of CBD may increase protein synthesis in specific parts of the brain that are involved in wakefulness. This increased activity in the brain may wake you up rather than help you sleep. However, this wake-promoting effect of CBD is only observed when taken in low doses. Therefore, if you experience an energy boost at night when using CBD oil, you may find that this effect does not occur when taking a larger dose.
Sleep assistance is a byproduct of many of the therapeutic effects of CBD oil. If CBD oil helps you fall asleep by relieving symptoms inhibiting sleep, you might find you are using it every night to fall asleep.
This alone is not bad; some people can use CBD every night without adverse effects. However, some people may develop a tolerance for it. This means your body becomes used to CBD levels, so you no longer experience the desired effects. To combat this, you would increase the dosage to continue feeling the effects, creating an ongoing cycle. You may start to rely on CBD during this cycle to fall asleep. This creates problematic use patterns and may result in insomnia if you happen to be without CBD oil at night.
How to Use CBD Oil for Sleep
How Does CBD Help Sleep?
CBD may provide relief from anxiety, stress, depression, and pain. By relieving the symptoms of these conditions, CBD may help you fall asleep or maintain sleep, reducing insomnia. Additionally, high doses of CBD have been shown to sedate healthy adults (adults who do not suffer from conditions that negatively affect their sleep). However, it is unclear whether this sedative effect is a direct result of CBD use or if it is due to a significant drop in the amount of cortisol in the bloodstream following CBD administration.
Dosing for Sleep
The general guideline for using CBD for therapeutic benefits is to start low and slowly increase the dose until you experience the desired effect. If you experience conditions that affect your sleep, such as anxiety or pain, you may require a lower amount than healthy adults to aid in sleep.
Research has shown that 160 mg per day of CBD can increase total sleep time and decrease the frequency of awakenings in the night in patients with insomnia. However, healthy adults require 300-600 mg of CBD daily for sedative effects.
When to Take CBD for Sleep?
If you require help falling asleep, taking CBD 30 to 60 minutes before bed is best. This is because CBD must be absorbed into your body and enter your bloodstream before it can take effect. The time it takes for you to notice an impact will vary based on the following factors:
- Method of ingestion
- Personal metabolism rate
When CBD oil drops are placed under the tongue, effects tend to take place within 15-30-60 minutes. This occurs much quicker than the CBD molecules absorbed directly into the bloodstream, where they can start working. If CBD oil is used in beverages or edibles, the effects take longer, closer to 60-90 minutes. This is because the CBD must pass through the liver and undergo metabolism before entering the bloodstream.
The Bottom Line
CBD oil is unlikely to cause insomnia. Some people may experience an energy boost with small doses, but taking larger doses can help you avoid this issue.
Common therapeutic uses of CBD oil include relief from pain, anxiety, stress, and depression, all common causes of insomnia. Easing these conditions’ symptoms may help you fall asleep more quickly and have better quality sleep, reducing insomnia.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will taking CBD oil late at night keep me awake?
CBD oil may keep you awake at night if you take low doses. However, many people experience the opposite effect when they take CBD for sleep. Often, insomnia is caused by anxiety, pain, or stress. CBD oil can reduce symptoms of these conditions and help you feel more relaxed, improving the ability to fall asleep.
Why is CBD keeping me up at night?
CBD may keep you awake at night if you’re taking low doses. CBD has an energizing effect, increasing protein synthesis in certain parts of the brain that keep you awake.
Cannabinoids like CBG and terpenes like limonene can also combine with CBD and have stimulating effects. If CBD keeps you awake at night, try increasing the amount of CBD oil you take. Higher doses of CBD oil have sedative effects in healthy adults. Keep an eye out for products that test higher for terpenes like myrcene and linalool, which have more relaxing, sedative effects.