For several years now, CBD has been touted as being effective in managing several conditions. The most common use of this hemp-based substance has been for pain relief, which many find quite effective. Likewise, the FDA has approved its use for special types of intractable seizure disorders. And CBD treatment has also been used as one of the ways to combat anxiety. Based on its calming effects on the nervous system, millions report it alleviates tension and worry. However, the most recent reports are exploring the use of CBD for sleep problems like insomnia. And while research support doesn’t yet exist, anecdotal reports are certainly favorable. As a result, perhaps it’s worth exploring the use of CBD for sleep in a little more depth.
What Is CBD and How Does It Work?
The formal name for CBD is cannabidiol, which is one of the cannabinoids derived from hemp or marijuana. Its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short, is the better-known marijuana cannabinoid that has psychoactive properties. But unlike THC, CBD treatment does not give you a “high” or cause any mind-altering effects. It also has been found to be extremely safe and does not have any risks for producing dependency. This is why CBD products are perfectly legal if extracted from hemp and do not concurrently have THC included. And while states regulate its production, regulations vary significantly. For the most part, CBD is treated like any other supplement with relatively minimal oversight.
Despite CBD treatment being used for various conditions including epilepsy, researchers have not yet identified how it works. It appears that CBD interacts with the brain’s serotonin system in some way, and in the process, creates a calming effect. This is presumably how it reduces anxiety and may also explain any sleep benefits. Its effectiveness of pain relief is less clear. However, many antidepressants that boost serotonin levels in the brain are also helpful for chronic pain. Some researchers also suggest CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. While these may be CBD’s mechanisms of action, the fact remains that no one really knows how CBD works. And that includes those who support the use of CBD for sleep.
Is CBD for Sleep Effective?
When it comes to the effectiveness of CBD, the only area where solid research has been conducted involves seizures. This is why it has only been approved for use in these conditions. But while research is lacking in other areas related to CBD treatment, some studies look rather favorable. In a recent CBD study, researchers did past patient chart review to determine CBD effectiveness in anxiety and insomnia patients. Out of 103 patients, 72 had anxiety and 25 suffered insomnia. Based on patient self-reports, 79% of the anxiety group reported benefits with CBD treatment. Likewise, two-thirds of the insomnia group said CBD for sleep was helpful.
While these figures are impressive, the study itself was hardly one that proves CBD treatment effectiveness. For one, other factors might have accounted for the patients’ improvement other than CBD. Placebo effects, which describe subjective improvement when taking any new treatment, could explain the results. Likewise, other factors such as diet, stress, and changes in their environment might have similarly explains the improvement. Because of this, it remains difficult to clearly recommend CBD for sleep presently. But there are additional studies on the horizon that will better determine if CBD treatment for insomnia is worthwhile. Specifically, a study is currently being conducted in New South Wales, Australia, that may soon provide better insights.
Where Can You Buy CBD Products?
CBD products can be found a number of places. Not only are they often in pharmaceutical stores, CBD stores and at marijuana dispensaries. You can also find CBD treatment products online as well. Because it is not psychoactive or habit-forming, and because it has been safe and non-toxic, it’s quite easy to find. However, like many other types of supplements, CBD products vary in their level of purity and labelling accuracy significantly. In one study that tested 84 CBD products, 26 were improperly labelled. They either had more or less CBD than reported. In addition, 18 of the products contained some level of THC as well, which was not reported. Therefore, finding a dependable formulation can be challenging if seeking CBD for sleep.
As far as recommendations go, its best to get CBD treatment products from a national brand or from an actual dispensary. You should also seek out a brand that states its CBD products contain a Certificate of Analysis. This means that an independent lab has determined the contents and labelling to be accurate. Another positive sign are CBD products that promote good manufacturing practices recommended by the FDA. Using these strategies, you’ll at least be able to receive reliable formulations whether using CBD for sleep or other ailments.
CBD for Sleep – The Bottom Line
While CBD treatment for insomnia cannot be fully recommended, it does appear to be safe. As a result, some people may choose to give CBD a try, especially if other measures to treat insomnia have failed. The best strategies for treating insomnia involve proper sleep hygiene. That means adhering to a set sleep schedule, making your bedroom conducive to sleep, and eliminating distractions. It also involves avoiding stimulating activities and caffeine in the late afternoon or evening. And it involves the use of stress management and relaxation techniques to unwind. By far, these measures are healthier and more effective in the long run.
If these have failed, however, and you want to give CBD for sleep a try, there are some basic recommendations. First, start at a low dose and slowly advance until you see an effect. Most experts recommend starting at 20mg of CBD a day and then going up to 300mg a day gradually if needed. Studies have tested these doses for as long as 6 months and found no major side effects. CBD treatment can occasionally cause sluggishness and stomach issues, but these are quite rare. Naturally, if these occur, then it’s best to discontinue CBD use. Until better research appears, this is the best advice currently if choosing CBD for sleep management.
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