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How CBD Products May Be Able to Promote Healthy Sleep

By Ellie Porter
Published: Feb 27, 2019   
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More and more, people are turning to medical marijuana and CBD products to help make sure they get enough sleep. But how does it work?

There are two cannabinoids - naturally occurring compounds in your central nervous system that help you to regulate homeostasis - in medical marijuana that are found to help with sleep, CBD and THC.

Medical marijuana is not right for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that CBD products can’t be helpful for you. To help you make the right choices, we’ve collected some information from researchers. 

Areas it’s been found to help with

Many of the studies that have been done focus on medical marijuana. Since CBD and THC are the main active ingredients in the drug, you could see some similar effects to what has been researched. 

Reduce Pain

Approximately 65 percent of people who have prescriptions for medical marijuana have it to help deal with chronic pain, which also happens to be one of the main reasons that people do not sleep well. This was the fifth highest reason for medical marijuana prescriptions in the United States, even though most states do not permit medical marijuana. 

Reduce Feelings of Anxiety

The sedative effect also helps with reducing the feelings and physical effects of anxiety. 

Decreases reliance on prescription medicine 

Prescription medications often cause sleep and digestion problems for the people who take them. 

More than 75 percent of participants in a 2017 opioid study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that they use significantly less of their opioid painkillers once they started using medical marijuana.

“Using data on all prescriptions filled by Medicare Part D enrollees from 2010 to 2013, we found that the use of prescription drugs for which marijuana could serve as a clinical alternative fell significantly, once a medical marijuana law was implemented,” a 2016 Health Affairs study stated.

Reduce number of sleep disturbances

CBD has a mild sedative effect that helps the brain to produce more melatonin throughout the night. This allows the user to sleep more heavily and wake up feeling rested the next day. 

Areas to watch for

Employer policies

While medical marijuana is becoming more accepted all over the world legally, that doesn’t mean that your employer is going to be on board with it. This is especially true if you work with heavy machinery or important technology. If you want to try CBD products, maybe talk to your HR rep first to make sure that there won’t be an issue. 

Medical interactions

Like anything you put into your body, CBD products have the possibility of interacting with any other medicines you are taking as well as exacerbating any health conditions you have. If you think that CBD products could be right for you, talk to your doctor before using them. This can help you to be aware of any ways that the product you want to use might affect your health in the long term. 

Building tolerance

If you take CBD products over a long period of time, you will eventually build up a tolerance to the product and need to take more to get the same effect that you were getting before. If you use a product with THC in it, you will need to be careful of the side effects that come along with it. 

Issues with recreational use

If you also use marijuana recreationally, it can cause issues with the effects you’re trying to get for your sleep. Try to avoid recreational use if you want to make sure your body reacts the way that you need it to.

How to choose the right product for you

Find the right combination of CBD & THC

Depending on what you’re using CBD products for, you might want to look at the different levels of CBD and THC in the products that are available. Different products will have different levels of both chemicals.

You should also make sure that you aren't taking much more of these cannabinoids than you need to. Starting with a very low dose and building up your dosage over time until you see the effects that you're looking for can be helpful.

What is CBD?

CBD is a natural cannabidiol that is often extracted from hemp. It is the chemical that helps to reduce anxiety by working with the cannabinoid receptors in your central nervous system as a mild sedative.

What is THC?

THC is an acronym that stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as delta 9. This cannabinoid is what induces the psychotropic effects of marijuana - hallucinations, anxiety, and heart palpitations on occasion It’s also what shows up on a drug test. So, if you want to use CBD products but can’t have it show on a drug test, avoid those with high levels of THC. This is not usually found on its own. 

In states that allow high levels of THC, CBD products often contain up to 30 percent THC. Make sure that you read your labels carefully so that you know what you are getting.

THC also has a wakeful effect fairly often, so if that’s what you want to take, take a few hours before you plan to go to bed and try and use the energy it gives you to build some great sleep hygiene habits. Find the right style of CBD product for you.

CBD comes in a lot of different packages but not all of them will work well for everyone. You can get it as an oil, as an insert for a vape pen, or included in something edible. If you don’t like the taste of CBD oil, you can use its externally or hide it in something. This will help you to get the effects of CBD oil without grossing yourself out.

Ellie Porter is the manager editor of the Sleep Help Institute. 


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