We all know the importance of getting a good night’s sleep for your general health and wellness. Regular, good-quality sleep – approximately seven to nine hours per night – should have you feeling sufficiently rested and provide an abundance of energy throughout the day. Sleep also significantly contributes to muscle and tissue growth and repair, a healthy immune system, maintenance of a healthy weight and lowered stress levels.
Unfortunately, a good night’s sleep feels out of reach for many people. One 2021 study found that 36% of adults in the UK struggle to fall asleep on a weekly basis and almost 50% of adults have trouble getting to sleep at least once a month. Research carried out in 2020 also found that three-quarters of UK adults get less than eight hours of sleep per night.
Lack of sleep can be a result of a diverse range of factors including stress, anxiety, caffeine, overuse of digital devices, irregular sleep schedules, physical illnesses, medications and more. Subsequently, there are many solutions for better sleep which include prescription medication and natural sleep aids.
CBD has become an increasingly popular sleep aid recently as regulation surrounding cannabis-derived products has relaxed and users are discovering the non-psychoactive benefits of the hemp plant compound. In this article, we’ll look further into what CBD is, how it works and when to take it to achieve a healthy, restful slumber.
Medicinal and recreational use of the cannabis plant dates back to ancient times. Cannabis contains natural chemical compounds called cannabinoids which are responsible for influencing the brain. The two most famous cannabinoids are CBD and THC.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid of the hemp plant. It is a legal compound in the UK and is extracted and used as an oil for its therapeutic benefits. CBD is a psycho-inactive substance and will not cause any intoxicating effects when used, nor is it addictive.
There are many reported health benefits attributed to CBD but in many cases, further research is required to confirm its effectiveness in humans.
What is THC?
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is another well-known cannabinoid that is predominantly found within the marijuana plant. The psychoactive effects or “high” that is associated with cannabis are specifically attributed to THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol remains an illegal substance in the UK and as a result, cannabis or hemp-derived products must contain less than 0.2% THC.
Types of CBD
You will most commonly find CBD in one of three forms:
- Pure CBD Isolate – this is the purest form of CBD that contains no additional cannabis compounds.
- Full-Spectrum CBD – this type of CBD contains large amounts of CBD and a small volume of terpenes (aromatic compounds that give certain plants their fragrance), flavonoids (compounds that produce a specific flavour) and additional cannabinoids – including less than 0.2% THC.
- Broad-Spectrum CBD – broad-spectrum CBD contains high levels of CBD and lower levels of terpenes, flavonoids and additional cannabinoids, but no THC.
Effects of Taking CBD
CBD-based products are enjoyed for a variety of reasons. These include:
- Lowered stress and anxiety
- Improved mood
- Chronic pain relief
- Reduced inflammation
- Better sleep
- Elevated energy levels and wakefulness
The Endocannabinoid System and Sleep
The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a fundamental role in regulating certain biological functions, including sleep, mood, appetite and metabolism. The ECS is a complex system that primarily consists of cannabinoid receptors, enzymes and endocannabinoids (naturally produced cannabinoids of the human body).
Cannabinoids work by interacting with the ECS in the human body, essentially mimicking the function of the body’s endocannabinoids. Some describe the impact of cannabinoids such as CBD as a ‘boost’ to the ECS. CBD and other cannabinoids interact with two primary receptors known as CB1 and CB2 and subsequently, can influence mood, stress levels, pain perception, inflammation and the sleep-wake cycle.
How Much CBD for Sleep
There’s no rule of thumb when It comes to CBD dosage for sleep. Tolerance will very much depend on the individual, and users starting with CBD for sleep are advised to begin with a low dose such as 25 milligrams and increase slowly and gradually as needed. The preferred delivery method of cannabidiol for sleep is CBD oil, such as Mission C's fast-acting Night + CBD Oil, which can enters your bloodstream quickly when held under the tongue for sixty seconds.
When to Take CBD for Sleep
The time it takes to feel the effects of CBD varies from individual to individual and can be dependent on factors such as metabolism, for instance. Generally, it is advised to take CBD oil approximately one hour before you go to sleep, but if this doesn’t work for you, it may be worth experimenting with different timings in the evening.
Risks of Using CBD
Any risks associated with taking CBD are mild. The most common side effect reported by CBD users is drowsiness. Other side effects are usually a result of CBD interaction with prescription medicines.
Does CBD Interact with Medication?
Since research into the effects of CBD is in the preliminary stages, there is no robust evidence to show that CBD does not interact with prescription medication. Cannabidiol may interfere with the effects of your medicine and we strongly advise consulting with your GP before starting CBD if you take prescription medication.
We know that sleep is crucial for optimal health, but the struggle to achieve high-quality, plentiful sleep is real for many people. Some people self-medicate with CBD – a safe, natural and non-intoxicating substance that can promote relaxation, anxiety relief and better sleep. Further research is required to fully understand the benefits of CBD but research to date is promising. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to dosage and timing of taking CBD before sleep as effects can vary from person to person. A general rule of thumb is to start on a low dose (25mg) an hour before bedtime and gradually increase the dose if necessary. Side effects are rare and very mild, but CBD may interact with prescription medication so always consult your doctor first.