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Does CBD Make You Sleepy?

Does CBD Make You Sleepy?

Posted by Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD on Feb 9th 2022

It's the middle of the night and you have tossed and turned so much you've woken up the dog. Or maybe it's bedtime, but you're staring at the walls with your mind racing. Do you even feel sleepy? When was the last time you had a good night's sleep? You must feel tired all of the time. That's not good.

Quality sleep is one of the foundations of good health. Without a solid natural sleep cycle, you cannot achieve optimal wellness. Better sleep leads to a better you. And CBD is a great sleep aid.

Sleep health and disruptions

Sleep is a basic human need like oxygen or food. The average adult requires around seven hours of sleep every night.

Many Americans have trouble sleeping. A few facts:

  • According to a study, since the pandemic began, two out of three Americans are sleeping less than they used to.1
  • Lack of sleep has been linked to seven of the top fifteen causes of death in the United States, including cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, and even accidents.2 
  • Sleep deprivation also might affect your career, your personal relationships, and other aspects of life.  
  • 8.2 percent of American adults take prescription sleep medications at least four times a week. Though it has helped them get enough sleep, the majority experienced side effects like grogginess, oversleeping, and fatigue. 3

There's a difference between "insufficient sleep" and insomnia. According to the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, "insufficient sleep is defined as a curtailed sleep pattern that has persisted for at least three months for most days of the week, along with complaints of sleepiness during the day."4 This may be the sleep issues that face new parents, people with more than one job, people who work and go to school, or people whose sleep environment is disrupted. Insufficient sleep means that something external is getting in the way of you getting and staying asleep and entering a REM cycle.

Insomnia comes in two forms, acute and chronic. Acute insomnia may last days to a few weeks and is usually the result of trauma or stress. Long-term or chronic insomnia is one of a handful of sleep disorders. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Waking up during the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Not feeling well-rested after a night's sleep
  • Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression, or anxiety
  • Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks, or remembering
  • Increased errors or accidents
  • Ongoing worries about sleep5

If you're having problems functioning during the day because you're tired from the night before, see your doctor for a diagnosis. You may be referred to a sleep clinic if your doctor thinks you have a sleep disorder. Pay attention to your doctor's advice.

Does CBD Make You Sleepy?

What is CBD oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil comes from the hemp plant, which is one form of the cannabis plant. Its more famous sibling is the marijuana plant. CBD is a compound that is derived from industrial hemp plants. In 2018, the Farm Bill was passed stating that cannabis plants that have less than .03 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in them are legal and classified as hemp. Marijuana is any cannabis plant that exceeds that amount of THC. THC is a psychoactive compound in cannabis plants that creates a "high" sensation.

In the hemp plant, CBD is found in most abundance in the flower. The stalks, leaves, and seeds of the plant have relatively small amounts of the compound. Some CBD oil products companies, like Cornbread Hemp, use only the flower of the plant to create their oils and other products.

Full-spectrum CBD oil includes CBD, THC, and more than 100 other cannabinoids that are derived from a hemp plant. Many suggest that full-spectrum CBD oil is the superior delivery method for CBD because it includes those cannabinoids. They interact with each other, making them more powerful together than they would be if consumed separately from each other. This is called the "entourage effect;" just as you may enjoy a party that you go to alone, you're likely to enjoy that party more if you come with your entourage.

Broad-spectrum CBD is also used for better sleep. It usually contains most of the other cannabinoids with the exception of THC. Some consumers prefer broad-spectrum CBD products because they don't have THC, no matter the sedative effect of the THC. Usually, this is because THC has the potential to trigger a drug test, as drug tests don't test for CBD use but they do test for THC. Some people have jobs at which they are required to pass drug tests or are looking for a job at places that test before hiring.

CBD isolate is CBD in its purest form. It contains no other cannabinoids including zero THC. CBD isolate may also help with better sleep.

CBD interacts with a recently discovered system in the body called the endocannabinoid system. It affects all kinds of bodily functions like mood, sleep, pain from inflammation, and others. CBD mimics the body's own endocannabinoids and binds with receptors in the endocannabinoid system to facilitate bringing the body back into balance or homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system has been part of your body since before birth.

CBD products come in many forms including tinctures, capsules, topicals, and gummies.

How does CBD make you sleepy?

CBD oil as a sleep aid does not have sedative effects like narcotics or over-the-counter or prescription sleep medications. Instead, it sets you up for your body to fall asleep naturally. That's why CBD oil may help nurture and support healthy sleep cycles. It helps you relax before bed.

CBD oil products also work to ease pain caused by inflammation. Taking CBD reduces inflammation that occurs as a result of excessive stress, like injuries caused by sports or working out. The health benefits of CBD, in this case, have been well-researched and studied.

Pain can disrupt sleep. It's difficult to have a solid sleep quality when you are in pain or uncomfortable. As we've mentioned, CBD doesn't make you sleepy but pain relief is another way that CBD can improve your sleep quality and combat insomnia both long and short term.

Stress is also a major sleep disrupter. The stress of the pandemic has changed the way that people have been sleeping. According to Vox, " In one study conducted across 49 countries in March and April 2020, 40 percent of people said their sleep was worse than before the pandemic. Participants’ use of sleeping pills increased by 20 percent. Google searches for 'insomnia' also spiked in the US in April and May, when many parts of the country were under stay-at-home orders. Meanwhile, Americans’ spending on the over-the-counter sleep supplement melatonin increased by 42.6 percent in 2020."6 Melatonin is a hormone primarily released by the pineal gland at night and is used short-term as a sleep aid. Too much melatonin can be bad for your health.

CBD products interact with your body in such a way that it helps improve your reactions to stressors. This is another way that CBD helps you achieve homeostasis or balance.

Conclusion

Setting the scene for a good night's sleep is important whether or not CBD is part of your routine. That means abandoning poor sleep habits. The Mayo Clinic says, "Poor sleep habits include an irregular bedtime schedule, naps, stimulating activities before bed, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and using your bed for work, eating or watching TV. Computers, TVs, video games, smartphones, or other screens just before bed can interfere with your sleep cycle." The Mayo Clinic also warns against eating too close to bedtime. 7

Prescription medications and over-the-counter supplements and hormones like melatonin can help improve sleep but may have unwanted side effects and some may be more well-tolerated than others. Side effects include morning grogginess, dry mouth, stomach issues, and more. Some prescription medications can be habit-forming.

CBD interacts with your body in such a way that it helps you fall asleep faster by helping your body achieve homeostasis. CBD works to "set the scene" by relieving some of the obstacles to a good night's sleep like stress and pain from inflammation. CBD in general has few negative effects, including no psychoactive effects and no withdrawal.

If you are not in a situation where you have to undergo drug tests on a regular basis, full-spectrum CBD may be your best bet. Cornbread Hemp's products are all full-spectrum. They also, as mentioned previously, contain CBD sourced from the Flower-Only™ of the hemp plant. Cornbread Hemp's CBD oil is made of just organic CBD oil and a carrier oil, MCT organic coconut oil. Nearly the entire line of CBD products at Cornbread Hemp is organic and vegan.

CBD could improve sleep quality, help you achieve REM sleep (rapid eye movement), and have you waking up in the morning feeling rested with minimal to no side effects. More research, especially on human subjects, is needed.

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.

Resources

1, 6 North, Anna. "The pandemic has created a nation of insomniacs." Vox. Published 16 Sep. 2021. Accessed: 4 Feb. 2022. https://www.vox.com/22671566/sleep-deprived-insomnia-covid-pandemic-stress-anxiety

2, 4, Chattu, Vijay et al. "The global problem of insufficient sleep and its serious public health implications." NIH. Published: 10 Dec 2018. Accessed: 4 Feb. 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6473877/

3 Sunni, Eric. "Sleeping pills: medication and prescription sleep aid." The Sleep Foundation. Published: 3 Dec. 2020. Accessed: 4 Feb. 2022. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-medications

5, 7 "Insomnia." Mayo Clinic. Accessed: 4 Feb. 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167

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