CBD products for sleep
We already have various drugs and behavioral techniques to help us sleep and sleep well—but there’s a lot of interest in the possibilities of cannabidiol, or CBD, as another alternative.
CBD is one of the components of medical marijuana, but one that can’t make you high. About a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and not getting sufficient sleep can up the risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and depression as well as accidents. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults get between seven and nine hours a night. Learn exactly what CBD oil is, and how it works.
What’s the evidence?
The most robust evidence for CBD is in the areas of epilepsy, pain, and inflammatory conditions. The scientific jury is still out when it comes to sleep in general, and sleep conditions like sleep apnea in particular.
“There’s hardly any evidence in terms of the gold standard in the scientific community—the randomized controlled trial,” says Bonni Goldstein, MD, medical director and owner of Canna-Centers in Los Angeles, California, and author of Cannabis is Medicine: How Medical Cannabis and CBD are Healing Everything from Anxiety to Chronic Pain.
What the science says
One 2017 review paper outlines research that suggests CBD may help treat sleep apnea, REM sleep behavior disorder, excessive daytime sleepiness, nightmares from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and problems linked with chronic pain. But the authors also acknowledge the need for more research.
In a 2019 study, researchers evaluated CBD’s effect on anxiety and sleep in 72 adults and found that while CBD could benefit both, the only sustained effect was seen with anxiety. Of course, easing anxiety can also help improve sleep.
CBD dosage for sleep
One of many open questions is how much CBD to take.
“A lot of it has to do with dosage,” says Lee A. Martin, co-founder and director of Project CBD, a California nonprofit that promotes CBD research, and author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana–Medical, Recreational, and Scientific. “A small or moderate dose of CBD, as best we can determine, is alerting. It’s not like amphetamine, but it’s slightly energizing and promotes wakefulness. At high doses, it could have just the opposite effect, more sleep-inducing effects.”
For oral formulations of CBD, including CBD edibles, CBD capsules, and CBD gummies, consumers should wait a minimum of 30 minutes to see an effect, but it may be longer. Here’s everything you need to know about CBD edibles.
Now, for an even faster approach, meaning you can feel the effects much sooner, you can choose to inhale CBD via CBD vape oil. However, inhalation does come with its own health risks, like the EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury) outbreak.
Is CBD safe?
In general, CBD is very safe, says Dr. Goldstein. Still, you should check with a physician or pharmacist if you’re taking other medications. “CBD reacts with 60 to 70 percent of other medications,” says Dr. Goldstein. That includes certain blood thinners, like warfarin (Coumadin), and seizure medications.
Also, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CBD can lead to diarrhea, decreased appetite, harm the liver in the long-term, and possibly make you drowsy if taken with alcohol or other drugs. These are the facts you need to know about CBD.
The Wild West of CBD products
Only one cannabis-derived drug has been approved by the FDA. Epidiolex has been approved to treat certain rare forms of epilepsy in children. The rest of the CBD products on the market are considered supplements, not drugs, and aren’t regulated as strictly.
If you live in a state where CBD is legal, purchasing from a state-licensed dispensary pretty much guarantees a quality product that has been tested by the manufacturer and verified by a third party.
“It can only be a 10 percent difference between what the manufacturer and what the third party finds, otherwise it can not go to market,” says Dr. Goldstein. “So there is some consumer protection.”
State laws around CBD legality are always changing, but the National Conference on State Legislatures keeps a running tally. If you don’t live in one of these areas, you’ll need to do a little (or a lot) of research to get a quality product that addresses your needs. Start with these warning signs a CBD product is fake.
How to choose a product on your own
Make sure the product has a Certificate of Analysis or COA. “These are the test results that tell you how much CBD is in the product, how much is in one milliliter,” says Dr. Goldstein. It will also tell you if there are any contaminants like heavy metals or solvents and how much THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol—the ingredient in marijuana that makes you high) is in your product.
Also, find out if the product has been tested by a third party. (If a bottle has a QR code, you can scan it with your phone’s camera and get test results for specific batch numbers.)
When it comes to choosing what type of CBD product you would like, there are several options. Here are the three most common:
CBD products that are labeled as full-spectrum or broad-spectrum are believed to be more effective at lower doses because they have other plant components compared to CBD isolates. These various plant components can have synergistic effects, also known as the entourage effect. This is the idea that CBD and the different plant components in Cannabis sativa have a more powerful effect when combined together.
Look for specific characteristics
The CBD product you choose should also come from U.S.-grown hemp, be certified organic, and produced in compliance with the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP). And this may seem incredibly basic, but make sure the company has a website and a phone number. “If I can’t call you and ask a question, I’m not going to buy your product,” says Dr. Goldstein. Here’s when you might be overpaying for CBD products.
If you’re looking specifically for products that will help sleep, understand that 10 mg or 30 mg isn’t likely to do the trick, says Dr. Goldstein, who does not endorse any products. As Martin noted above, higher doses may be more beneficial for sleep.
Knowing the caveats, if you still want to try CBD for sleep, here are some options, though it’s best to talk with your doctor before you actually buy.
Best CBD products for sleep
Charlotte’s Web Hemp-Infused Gummies
Charlotte’s Web products, which come from Colorado, get high ratings. Each hemp-infused gummy contains 10 mg of CBD and 3 mg of melatonin, a hormone involved in the sleep-wake cycle. Supplements containing melatonin alone help some people sleep better. The website includes instructions on how to read a COA (Certificate of Analysis).
Fab CBD CBD Oil
$39-$129, strength varies
Like Charlotte’s Web, Fab CBD has a third-party test all of its products. The oil may be your best bet for sleep. It comes in five flavors and four strengths—300 mg, 600 mg, 1,200 mg, 2,400 mg. Ideally, check with a doctor before trying these but think about a higher dose to start with given that the smaller ones may actually perk you up just when you don’t want it.
NuLeaf Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil
$39, 300 mg CBD bottle/30 mg per serving
NuLeaf is another respected name in the CBD business. All products are tested by independent labs and have no pesticides, herbicides, mold or fungi, or heavy metals. The full spectrum Hemp CBD Oil is available in 300 mg, 900 mg, 1,800 mg, 3,000 mg, and 6,000 mg strengths.
Plus CBD Infused Gummies—Sleep
These gummies by Plus CBD have 0 percent THC and come in 25 mg formulas with 1 mg of melatonin. The company uses third-party labs to confirm its products. Directions suggest taking one gummy 15 to 30 minutes before bedtime.
Spruce CBD Oil
$269, 80 mg CBD per ml/30 ml bottle
Each dropper full of Spruce CBD oil (1 milliliter) contains 80 mg of CBD made from organic hemp seed oil. One caveat: The full-spectrum product does contain a small amount of THC (0.3 percent) which may result in a positive marijuana test.
Next, here’s how to understand the difference between CBD vs. THC.
5 Best CBD Creams for Pain
5 Best CBD Oils for Anxiety and Stress
13 Things to Know Before Giving CBD to Your Pet
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