You might have heard of CBD. It is becoming increasingly popular across the world, increasingly available and increasingly backed up by research which shows how it can be beneficial to our health.
One of the things that more and more people are using CBD for is to help them with their sleep problems. Getting to sleep and enjoying good quality sleep is vital for us to be able to live our lives healthily and effectively, and it seems that CBD can be useful in giving us that.
What is CBD and How Does CBD Work?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is one of the natural compounds that are found in the cannabis plant, which can be extracted and taken for health benefits.
Although you might associate cannabis with getting high, CBD doesn’t get you high – it is a different compound – THC which does this. When you buy CBD products in the UK, they must be made of hemp – and therefore have a level of THC of less than 0.2% to be legal. This means that you won’t get high by using CBD products.
Within the body, we have a system called the endocannabinoid system. This is not just limited to humans – in fact, most animals except insects have one. The endocannabinoid system has the responsibility of regulating a number of factors within the body, including:
- Central nervous system
- Digestive System
The endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors (known as CB1 and CB2) which interact with endocannabinoids that are produced by the body. CBD and some of the other compounds in cannabis (including THC) are also cannabinoids, meaning that when they are taken, they can also interact with the cannabinoid receptors. This can boost the endocannabinoid system and optimise its effect.
The endocannabinoid system was only discovered in the 1990s and this is why we are still relatively near the beginning of explorations into the medicinal potential of cannabis.
Can CBD Help with Sleep?
It would be nice to be able to say that CBD is a miracle drug that will send you off to sleep, but due to the fact that research is still relatively recent, it is still not possible to make these claims. We do know, however, that a lot of people believe that it helps them with their sleep problems.
There is still a lot that we don’t know about sleep, but we know that the endocannabinoid system helps to regulate our sleep-wake cycle. There are over 70 different sleep disorders so it would be difficult to say that CBD can ‘cure’ them all. However, there are some ways which scientists believe that CBD can help.
Research shows that CBD can actually have a mildly ‘awakening’ effect. However, it can also affect some of the chemicals in the brain which help with calming and anxiety, which can then help you to get to sleep as well as sleep well.
We also know that there is a link between our activities during the day and having a good quality night’s sleep. It’s, therefore, possible that CBD can help you during the day to focus, be productive, and be alert, naturally, meaning that it is easier to sleep when it comes to bedtime.
How to Dose CBD
CBD is ‘bi-phasic’. This means that it can have sometimes opposite effects depending on how much you take. It could be true to say, therefore, that if you take a small amount of CBD it could be awakening and stimulate the mind, whereas if you take a larger dose it could help you to sleep.
It is, therefore, important that to get the right effect, you take the right amount of CBD. The best way to do this is to start off with a very small dose, then gradually increase it over a number of days until you get the effect that you want.
The Best Way to Take CBD
There are different ways that you can take CBD for sleep. Each one has its strengths and weakness depending on your own personal preference and what you are using it for.
- CBD Oil – is usually taken in drops that are held under the tongue. It enters the bloodstream quickly and lasts for a short while.
- CBD Edibles or Capsules – are taken or eaten. As it goes through the digestion process CBD can take up to 2 hours to work but can last for about 8 hours.
- CBD Vape – takes effect almost instantaneously but will also not last for long.
CBD is safe to use, non-addictive and has no long term side effects, but if you are considering trying CBD it is important that you discuss it first with your doctor especially if you are taking medication as it can affect its metabolization.
If you are having trouble sleeping there could be a number of reasons for it. Although we are still waiting for more research to come through, CBD has the potential to help you, so why not give it a try?