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Best CBD Oil for Sleep and Insomnia: Why (and How) It Works


CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound in the cannabis plant that has captured scientific interest for its potential therapeutic benefits. CBD is now used to treat a wide range of diseases and symptoms. The disorders include sleep, pain, inflammation, anxiety, cancer and Parkinson’s diseases.

In recent years, there has been much progress in understanding how cannabinoids work in producing pain-reducing, calming, and anti-inflammatory effects in the body. The calming effects and medicinal uses have sparked interest in the potential of using CBD for sleep disorders.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol is present in multiple species of cannabis. The chemical compound was first isolated in the 1930s and produced in synthetic form in the 1940s. Since then, researchers have discovered 80 individual cannabinoids.

Recent studies have established that CBD interacts with multiple varying proteins, receptors, and other chemicals in the human brain. These interactions affect changes in the activities of hormones, neurotransmitters, and cells throughout the body. The chemical properties of the compound create changes in many of the body functions. These functions include emotional regulation, sleep-wake cycles, pain perception, seizures, and inflammation.

The human body naturally produces cannabinoids through the endocannabinoid system. The system is vital in regulating many physiological functions such as pain perception, appetite, mood, and cognitive functions. The processes alter when CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors.

New developments in research have hinted at cannabidiol playing a vital role in the growth of new brain cells. The formation of new brain cells transpires through a process called neurogenesis. The chemical compound also promises therapeutic functions due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has helped to treat depression, chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, and neurological disorders. It also works as an analgesic or pain reducer in the body.

Is CBD Legal?

Unlike medical cannabis, CBD is legal in all the states in the U.S. It can be used even in states where marijuana is currently illegal.

In 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act legalized CBD derived from hemp, and that contains less than 0.3% THC. However, individual states may have restrictions on hemp and hemp-derived CBD.

Benefits of CBD for Sleep

Person with insomnia holding an alarm clock that reads seven am

Scientists are devoting a lot of time and resources to researching the benefits that CBD can offer to our bodies. Here is what we know about the benefits it provides on sleep:

Curbed Symptoms of Insomnia

Although more research is currently underway, results have shown that CBD can improve sleep. The Medicines Journal published a study conducted on 490 people with insomnia. Data collection transpired from mid-2016 to mid-2018. At the start of the study, participants rated their symptoms of insomnia on a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being the most intense. The average rating was 6.6.

During the study, the participants submitted ratings after partaking in cannabis flowers administered via various forms, including pipe, joint, and vape. CBD potency was 5.7 percent and 30 percent at most. TCH was 20 percent on average and 30 percent at most. After using cannabis, the participants rated their insomnia at an average of 2.2, which was a decrease of 4.5 percent.

Although this study involved the use of cannabis flowers, it was clear that cannabis reduced the symptoms of insomnia. However, it is difficult to determine whether the relief from insomnia was because of CBD or other cannabinoids.

Improved Sleep Patterns

Another case study showed improvement in sleep quality after the use of CBD. The study involved a 10-year girl with PTSD and poor sleep. The girl received 25mg of CBD supplement, administered at bedtime. Researchers administered an additional 6–12 mg throughout the day for anxiety. Within five months, her sleep quality and quantity had gradually improved.

Reduced Anxiety

Ongoing research suggests that CBD may have users to fall and stay asleep by helping to manage anxiety. Patients with anxiety can exhibit symptoms of insomnia. The calming effects of CBD in reducing anxiety suggest its potential to curb insomnia.

Enhanced Pain Management

Chronic pain can affect sleep patterns. A study published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management reported promising results for CBD and pain management. For people who suffer from chronic pain, CBD has been used to treat their sleeping problems. When administered in smaller doses, it can stimulate alertness and reduce daytime sleepiness. The effects can enhance performance during the day and establish a consistent sleep-wake cycle.

Normalized REM for Parkinson’s

For people with Parkinson’s disease, CBD is used to reduce their REM behavior disorders. The disorder causes its patients to act out physically during REM sleep and dreaming.

Usually, during REM, the body is in a state called REM atonia, where most of the body is nearly paralyzed. This paralysis causes the sleeper to be physically dormant and cannot react to their dreams. In REM behavior disorder, the immobilization doesn’t occur, so the sleepers are free to move. The disease can lead to patients having a disruptive sleep or injuring themselves or other people around them.

Forms of CBD

CBD derives from two species of the cannabis plant: hemp plant or marijuana. Hemp comes from the stalks and the seeds of the plant. It contains less THC than marijuana and has approval for most medical purposes.

Because the levels of THC and CBD may vary, some states in the U.S. have set restrictions. For instance, some states allow the legal sales of CBD oil if the producer has removed all the THC. Other states have legalized CBD oil that still contains marijuana.

Apart from being extracted from the cannabis plant, there also exist synthetic forms of cannabidiol. It can take the form of inhalers, pills, sprays, and tinctures.

CBD products include:

  • Edibles: cakes, cookies, and gummy bears.
  • Tinctures: oils for sublingual consumption or addition to food or beverages
  • Vape: infused in a vaporizer or vape pen to produce a vapor that one can inhale.

CBD oil is available in different concentrations. The exact dose in treating sleeping disorders isn’t known and requires more research.


While the potential for CBD to help with sleep disorders and disturbed sleep patterns requires more research, the results of recent studies are promising. Users are encouraged to check local state guidelines and regulations before consuming or purchasing.

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