CBD for sleep: how CBD sleep products can help fight insomnia

CBD has become an incredibly popular sleep aid. Learn how this natural health supplement works and how it can help you beat insomnia!

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

Perhaps it’s not surprising to learn that, every year, people are having more and more difficulty sleeping. With all the problems and stressors of daily life — keeping up with increasing work demands, managing a household, trying to find some balance in it all — now being compounded by a global pandemic and an unending tide of bad news, more people than ever find themselves tossing and turning with insomnia instead of getting the essential sleep they need for good health. 

As these difficulties continue to rise, some people are finding relief in CBD, a previously overlooked cannabinoid derived from hemp plants. In this article, we’ll take a look at what CBD is, some of the benefits of CBD (including CBD for sleep), and some things to look out for should you decide to shop for CBD oil sleep products. 

What CBD Is and Where It Comes From

CBD stands for “cannabidiol,” an organic compound belonging to a family known as cannabinoids that are found in plants of the cannabis genus, including hemp. Until recently, the lion’s share of research into cannabinoids centered on delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound responsible for giving marijuana users a high. However, as states began decriminalizing cannabis for medicinal uses near the end of the 20th century, some research began shifting to other organic compounds found in cannabis plants. This shift accelerated with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing the growth, manufacture, and sale of hemp in the United States. 

Hemp vs. Marijuana

You’ve probably seen terms like hemp, cannabis, and marijuana used variously in CBD discussions, ranging from medical use to recreational use to industrial use. But what do these terms actually mean? 

All of these terms refer to plants from the cannabis genus, but they aren’t all the same thing. Not exactly. Marijuana is the word used to describe high-THC cannabis that is cultivated and used for recreational purposes. Hemp, on the other hand, generally refers to low-THC cannabis plants intended for industrial purposes, such as making papers, fabrics, and even as a component of animal feed. In addition, cannabis hemp can be understood as a legal term specifically defining cannabis plants that contain very low concentrations of THC — less than 0.3 percent, by law. It’s important to note that the traces of THC that occur in hemp are not enough to get a person high.

CBD products intended for human consumption are made with hemp, as it requires less effort to exclude or minimize the presence of THC in the finished product. That should not be taken to mean that these products are derived from the waste of industrial hemp, however. Rather, this is usually hemp that is grown for the specific purpose of being made into CBD products. 

How CBD Works 

CBD, and indeed all cannabinoids, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is entwined with the central nervous system and other crucial organs and systems. The ECS helps these systems and organs to maintain homeostasis, or balance. This helps the body to regulate several important functions, among them the regulation of circadian rhythms (your sleep cycle), memory, mood, pain, stress, appetite, and immune function. The endocannabinoid system consists of receptors and chemical neurotransmitters known as “endocannabinoids.” These endocannabinoids are produced naturally by the body, and are chemically similar to the cannabinoids from cannabis plants. 

When a person ingests CBD, it enters the bloodstream where the CBD can then interact with the receptors of the ECS and, just like the body’s own endocannabinoids, produce beneficial effects throughout the body. And as different endocannabinoids have different effects when they engage these ECS receptors, different cannabinoids produce different results when ingested, as well. 

The Specific Effects of CBD for Sleep

While CBD research is still relatively young, studies into CBD's benefits have already found a large range of effects. Among the effects relevant to sleep, CBD seems to be effective at helping regulate and stabilize circadian rhythms, or the body’s sleep-wake cycle, and at lowering anxiety levels, which can cause insomnia and take a toll on your health. 

Anxiety and sleep disorders, such as insomnia, tend to have a relationship in which one exacerbates the other, leading to a spiral of increasing anxiety and diminishing sleep. Excess anxiety makes it difficult to sleep, and then insufficient sleep deepens anxiety. By addressing both of these problematic health issues, CBD can make it easier to overcome both and result in users finally obtaining the rest they need. 

The Entourage Effect and CBD Products for Sleep 

CBD is only one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, in addition to other health-boosting compounds called terpenes and flavonoids. And while each of those compounds have their own effects when ingested on their own, they also interact with each other when taken in combination. These interactions are known as the Entourage Effect, and they can enhance the effects of CBD and other various hemp compounds. 

This Entourage Effect is useful when creating CBD products aimed at specific uses. For example, sleep CBD oil products sometimes bolster the calming effect of CBD by adding extra CBN (cannabinol) or THC, or even both, in their formulations. CBN is worth noting, because its own relaxation effects are quite pronounced. In fact, CBN is commonly referred to as the “ultimate relaxation cannabinoid.”

Full-Spectrum CBD Oil vs Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil vs CBD Isolate

Understanding the different types of CBD oil is useful if you’re looking for a CBD product that can deliver the Entourage Effect. Full-spectrum CBD oil is the most powerful CBD oil in this sense, because it contains all of the compounds of the hemp plant, unfiltered. Full-spectrum CBD products, thus, deliver the strongest Entourage Effect.

Because full-spectrum CBD oil contains trace amounts of THC, many people prefer a filtered CBD oil option. Broad-spectrum CBD oil is the exact same oil as full-spectrum CBD oil, but with the THC filtered out. It’s true that this oil filtration process does remove a few of the other cannabis compounds in the process, but the resulting broad-spectrum CBD is still a robust and powerful oil that delivers the Entourage Effect, albeit in a slightly diminished strength.

CBD isolate is CBD with all other hemp content removed, making it 99% pure CBD. This form of CBD does not deliver the Entourage Effect, though it is sometimes preferable in vape oil or bath products, because it is flavorless and odorless.

But for sleep, you’re best served by using a full-spectrum CBD or broad-spectrum CBD product.

Other Active Ingredients in CBD Sleep Aids

Some sleep aid CBD products incorporate non hemp-derived active ingredients to further enhance their potency. Frequently used herbal sleep supplements include chamomile, lemon balm, passion flower, and valerian root. Minerals, such as magnesium, are not uncommon. Some CBD sleep aid products even include the natural hormone, melatonin, which is a common sleep supplement on its own. 

It’s important for your health and wellbeing to only consider sleep CBD products that use natural ingredients, such as these, and to avoid artificial colors, preservatives, and other such ingredients that can be potentially harmful to your health.

Different Types of CBD Sleep Products 

As you may have noticed, CBD products for sleep come in a variety of formats. Perhaps the most common CBD sleep products are CBD gummies and CBD oil tinctures. Both of these are orally ingested products, but the mechanisms by which they are absorbed are different, and this leads each to have specific advantages and disadvantages, mostly related to the bioavailability of CBD and the body’s metabolization processes. 

CBD Gummies for Sleep 

CBD gummies for sleep are an edible form of CBD, which means they are eaten and processed by the body’s digestive system. This is one of the slower ways for the body to absorb CBD, as it must be broken down in the stomach and liver before finding its way into the bloodstream. 

As such, the bioavailability of CBD gummies is relatively low, yet this can be accelerated somewhat by other factors. Significantly, since CBD is highly lipophilic, consuming CBD gummies along with a small snack that is rich in fats will cause them to take effect sooner. 

The upside of CBD gummies’ low bioavailability is that the effects also last longer, as the slower absorption acts as a sort of time-release effect for the CBD. This can be particularly attractive for applications involving getting a full night of sleep, as the CBD will continue to be effective for several hours. 

While everyone’s bodies process CBD differently and there isn’t a universal bioavailability that we all share, you can generally plan on a CBD edible taking 30 minutes to two hours to kick in, and for the effects to last six to eight hours. So, plan accordingly when you take a CBD sleep gummy.

Other advantages of CBD gummies are that they are easy to travel with. If you don’t want to bring your entire supply for a short trip, you can simply put a few CBD gummies in a sandwich bag. They don’t take up much space, and there’s no chance of a broken bottle leaking in your luggage, as with an oil. Dosage is consistent and simple with CBD gummies, as each gummy will have exactly the same amount of active ingredients. 

CBD capsules are another common form of CBD sleep edibles, and have nearly all of the same benefits as CBD gummy products, though they aren’t nearly as fun to eat.

CBD Oil Tinctures for Sleep

Sublingual tinctures made of CBD oil are also a popular way to use CBD for sleep. Functionally, the biggest difference between an edible, such as CBD gummies, and an oil tincture is in the bioavailability of the different delivery methods. Oil tinctures are absorbed through sublingual ingestion, which basically means the oil is dropped into the mouth and held for a period of 60 seconds or so under the user’s tongue. 

This method of ingestion allows the CBD to enter the bloodstream via the network of tiny blood vessels just under the surface of the skin inside the mouth. Sublingual oil ingestion is much quicker than waiting for the CBD to travel through the digestive system, usually taking only 15 to 30 minutes for you to feel the effects of the CBD. CBD oil tinctures are a great sleep aid option if your priorities include being able to fall asleep quickly as opposed to waiting for an edible to take effect. 

Another advantage of CBD oil for sleep is that it is easy to create custom CBD dosages. Since the tincture is a liquid, it is typically sold in a bottle with a dropper-style dispenser that allows the user a fine degree of control over how much CBD is taken in any single dose. This eliminates much of the guesswork that would be involved in creating custom doses by cutting up CBD gummies or other edibles into smaller portions. 

Whether you want to try CBD edibles or a CBD oil tincture to help you sleep will depend on your specific goals, as well as the products available on the market containing or excluding certain ingredients. Of course, you may also wish to try a different method entirely, such as a relaxing CBD vape product or even a CBD bath bomb. There’s no shortage of ways one can enjoy the relaxing benefits of this useful, natural compound. 

The Advantage of CBD vs Other Sleep Aids 

Pharmaceutical sleep aids have been around for over a century now, with varying degrees of safety and success. Prescribed sleep medications can be helpful to some, but they can carry certain downsides. Perhaps the most common is their potential for abuse, which frequently stems from being habit-forming in nature. 

Quaaludes were just one pharmaceutical sleep aid that became famous for its use as a recreational drug. This became such a problem that the product was pulled from the U.S. market entirely several years ago. While there’s no doubt that this and other drugs have helped people fall asleep when used as directed by a doctor, the problematic elements attached to sleep aids such as this are a significant reason many people would prefer to avoid them. 

CBD, on the other hand, has almost zero potential for abuse. This is because even at very high dosage levels, CBD produces no psychotropic effects. At most, it promotes calmness and reduces anxiety. It’s useful, yes, but doesn’t exactly have the makings of a party drug. Cannabidiol also has not shown to be habit-forming in studies and clinical trials. When users wish to discontinue taking CBD as a supplement, they simply stop taking it. There are no known withdrawals or ill effects from discontinuing CBD supplements. 

Additionally, as people look more toward nature for health and wellness supplements, CBD has quite the advantage over sleep aids that are synthesized in laboratories. CBD is as natural as chamomile tea, and quality CBD products for sleep (the best CBD products, at least) are made from all natural and organic ingredients. 

Final Thoughts: Fighting Insomnia With CBD Sleep Products

With all the things going for it, we think CBD can be an excellent, all-natural sleep aid that is both gentle and effective. If you’re experiencing difficulty sleeping, it may be worthwhile to consider taking CBD for sleep support. Just make sure to look for CBD products derived from organic hemp, with the CBD oil extracted from the hemp by means of clean carbon dioxide. The best CBD oil companies will deliver products manufactured in this way, and they’ll prove for the customer the purity and potency of their products with lab reports, created by independent third-party laboratories. Whether you’re looking for CBD products for sleep or other hemp products, like CBD gummies for pain, CBD capsules, legal delta-9 THC gummies, THC pen and THC oil vape products, or CBD for dogs, make sure they are accompanied by such a report.

CBD can be a fantastic weapon in the ongoing war against insomnia and other sleep issues. CBD sleep aid products provide a healthy, natural way to fall asleep quickly and to keep you sleeping soundly through the night. Hopefully, this article will help you find the perfect CBD sleep product for you!

This article was written in cooperation with CBDfx.