The medical community now recognizes the importance of getting adequate sleep. Those who get an adequate nights rest get sick less often, tend to more easily maintain a healthy weight and have a lower risk of serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease. Sleep is a time of cellular repair, production of depleted hormones and neurotransmitters and memory building. Better sleep can reduce stress, improve mood and provide clearer thinking when you are awake.
Unfortunately, whether intended or not, about 1/3 of Americans get fewer than 6 hours a sleep per night. Per the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged 18 to 64 should sleep between seven to nine hours per night. The major causes of potentially correctable poor sleep are sleep apnea and other medical conditions that can interrupt sleep. These would include urinary problems, certain medications, and restless leg syndrome are common examples.
A common non-medical cause for poor or lack of sleep is over-stimulation of the brain. This can be related to many factors but the most reported cause is stress or anxiety. Worrying about your health, money, relationships, etc., are often thoughts than can cycle in our brains for hours during the night.
Can CBD Help Sleep?
In a recent online article, Consumer Reports writer, Lisa L. Gill, recently interviewed Dr. Joseph Maroon about his research on the benefits of CBD and sleep. In her article, Can CBD Help You Sleep? Some research suggests it might be worth a try, dated February 06, 2019, Dr. Maroon notes:
CBD has properties that could help some people sleep better. Most notably, he says, it appears to ease anxiety and pain, both of which can make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Maroon says he doesn’t see CBD as a treatment for insomnia, but instead as an “alternative natural method to help calm anxious thoughts that often delay or interrupt natural sleep.” Maroon urges those with insomnia to see their doctor before using any treatment. Still, he notes that if you occasionally have difficulty sleeping, CBD is considered a safe, non-habit-forming, natural alternative.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol, is a molecule found in both marijuana and hemp plants. Unlike THC, CBD does not alter thinking, but it can affect mood. CBD, once consumed, inhaled or applied as a lotion, interacts with our body’s synapses, or connections between nerve cells. There it can increase a naturally occurring neurotransmitter called anandamide. This transmitter and the receptor in the brain it links to can have significant anti-anxiety effects. In various studies, CBD was shown to be helpful for decreasing anxiety during public speaking, reduced pain sensation by 1/3 and increased the duration of sleep.
In a study also cited by Consumer Reports, sleep and anxiety scores were measured in 72 adults presenting with primary concerns of anxiety or poor sleep. After using CBD anxiety scores decreased in 79% of the participants and remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores improved in 67 % of those enrolled.
Some sleep problems certainly can require professional help, but CBD and lifestyle changes can help. Not smoking, limiting alcohol, eating a
healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise will help with sleep. Always speak to your doctor or healthcare professional if you are concerned about your sleep.
Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: A large case series. Perm J 2019;23:18-041. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041