Using CBD to Treat Insomnia
Sometimes a little rest can go a long way in terms of our overall health. Some doctors, like UC Berkeley sleep scientist Matthew Walker, even believe that sleep should be prescribed, as too little rest has been linked to heart disease, mental disorders, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and more.
Unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t able to get in a sufficient, healthy level of sleep every night. Approximately one in four Americans and 15-20% of people worldwide have struggled with insomnia or sleep issues. Some resort to medicating with prescription sleeping aid pills, but they often carry their own set of health risks, including dependency, constipation, daytime drowsiness, hallucinations, and depression.
For those with chronic sleep issues, not all hope is lost. Cannabidiol (CBD) may be a viable alternative as a safer aid than traditional prescription meds for insomnia and other sleep issues. Stimulated endocannabinoid signals have been shown to regulate sleep stability, improve the quality of vital NREM sleep stages, and seem to mend sleep problems at their root.
If you are suffering from insomnia or other sleep issues and are contemplating using CBD to treat them, here’s what you should know.
CBD for Insomnia
Research on CBD as a potential treatment for insomnia has largely been in its infancy. However, early trials have exemplified immense promise. Given that CBD fundamentally works by modulating the Endocannabinoid System neurotransmitter network in every animal, it is a viable alternative for people with sleep problems.
A 2013 test on adult rats found that 40 mg of CBD significantly increased lighter sleep time, a useful prospect for someone desperate to get even a minimal amount of sleep. These results were corroborated by an earlier study in 2006 and a later one in 2016. In a study on a 10-year-old girl suffering from PTSD, her anxiety and sleep issues sustained a significant, steady decrease over a five-month period of taking CBD oil.
By and large, cannabidiol shows incredible potential as an aid for even the most severe ailments impeding sleep homeostasis. If you still aren’t persuaded, a more comprehensive journal encompassing the research on cannabis, CBD, and other cannabinoids in relation to treating sleep issues can be found here.
How CBD Treats Insomnia
CBD is one of the naturally occurring chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, and these cannabinoids primarily stimulate the two main (CB1 and CB2) receptors of the Endocannabinoid System. The ECS is a network of neurotransmitters found in every living mammal and plays a crucial role in regulating vital body functions to run optimally, including sleep. Due to it’s relaxing effect, CBD may sometimes be mischaracterized as a sedative, when ironically, it’s actually alerting, shown to activate the same adenosine receptors that caffeine boosts.
However, unlike caffeine, which can easily disturb the body’s circadian sleep rhythm when ingested too late in the day, cannabidiol is a modulating alert agent, bringing sleep and wake cycles closer to equilibrium.
Rather than alerting the body to be more wakeful at night, CBD alerts the body’s ECS to weed out chemical imbalance at the root of so many sleep disorders. It has also been shown to demonstrate powerful antioxidant and neuroprotective properties and is capable of reducing acute short-term brain damage associated with neurodegenerative conditions. This presents powerful implications for head trauma, dementia, and stroke recovery treatment. Given the integral link between damaged brain communication pathways and insomnia issues, CBD neuroprotectivity might be the tool to repair these damaged neural pathways.
Things to Consider
CBD poses far less baggage than other traditional sleep aid medications in regard to side effects, health risks, or potential for substance abuse.
To stay compliant on drug screenings, look for products with THC-free, full spectrum formulas like TruCure. CBD may also interfere with prescription drug metabolization in the liver, so depending on what you’re currently prescribed, we highly recommend that you speak to your primary care physician before trying CBD for treating insomnia, sleep disorders, or any ailment.