If you've had problems sleeping, members of your friend group or family might have recommended using CBD or melatonin as a sleep aid. Both products can be obtained without a seeing a doctor, unlike prescription medications. Both encourage healthy sleep cycles, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep. What's the difference between the two? Is one of them better than the other?
Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid discovered in 1940. It is one of more than 100 cannabinoids in cannabis sativa plants, also known as hemp plants. CBD can have a supporting effect on a healthy sleep cycle. It can also help the body recover after exercise-indused inflammation. And CBD can support good mental health.
It does these things by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in your body (or the body of your pet-- CBD is popular with pet parents). The endocannabinoid system helps to govern many cycles in the body and bring them into balance. CBD activates this system by binding with receptors in the brain and elsewhere in the body.
Full-spectrum CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant. With it comes all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in the plant, including tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC, which is the cannabinoid in the marijuana plant that creates the "high" sensation we associate with the plant. Hemp plant flowers contain less than 0.3 percent THC by weight, within the legal limit established by the Farm Bill of 2018.
All of those cannabinoids work together creating the "entourage effect." This means that the positive health benefits of each of the cannabinoids is amplified by the presence of other cannabinoids.
People looking for a good night's sleep often turn to CBD, especially full spectrum CBD.
Melatonin is a hormone your body creates in response to darkness. It plays a role in your body's sleep wake cycle. The production of melatonin in your brain increases when it is dark and decreases when it is light. It helps with the timing of your circadian rhythms, which have a strong effect on your physical and mental health.
Melatonin supplements are mostly fabricated in a lab, typically as a capsule or tablet, however you can also get liquid melatonin supplements. People commonly use melatonin for sleep issues like insomnia and jet lag.
The Mayo Clinic concludes the following about melatonin supplements: "Your body likely produces enough melatonin for its general needs. However, evidence suggests that melatonin supplements promote sleep and are safe for short-term use. Melatonin can be used to treat delayed sleep phase and circadian rhythm sleep disorders in the blind and provide some insomnia relief. Treat melatonin as you would any sleeping pill and use it under your doctor's supervision."1
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, "In the United States, melatonin is considered a dietary supplement. This means that it’s regulated less strictly by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) than a prescription or over-the-counter drug would be. In several other countries, melatonin is available only with a prescription and is considered a drug."2
CBD and Melatonin
Some supplement companies make products that combine CBD and melatonin, but that's unnecessary. You're probably not getting enough of either to really engage the full health benefits.
The only drawback CBD has when considered against melatonin as a sleep aid is that melatonin has been much more widely researched and is therefore much more familiar to people.
However, one of the major benefits of CBD is that in addition to helping to maintain the natural sleep wake cycle, it helps with other things that may be causing you to lose sleep. For example, CBD oil is known for easing pain due to exercise-induced inflammation. If you're hurting, it could be difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. CBD is also popular for supporting people through everyday stress. Poor sleep can exacerbate stress, and stress can exacerbate insomnia.
Also, CBD is natural, and full spectrum hemp extract is as close as you can come to the plant. Melatonin may be a naturally occurring hormone but melatonin pills are made in a lab.
How much melatonin and cbd for sleep
Both Melatonin and CBD encourage healthy sleep cycles, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep. However more research needs to be done about the combination.
Whole Flower CBD oil vs Melatonin
Whole flower CBD oil with THC is the best for night time use. The CBD oil is a natural supplement made from the cannabis plant. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the body, the pills that are available are made in a lab.
About the Author
Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD
A board certified oncology pharmacist with 25 years experience at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Leslie Mudd now serves as the Cornbread Hemp resident pharmacist and medical expert. Read Dr. Mudd's full author bio here.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. "Melatonin." Mayo Clinic. Accessed: 13 April 2022. <https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-melatonin/art-20363071>.
- "Melatonin: What you need to know." US Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed: 13 April 2022. <https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-know>.