Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is the second most abundant component found in the plant, Cannabis sativa. It is used for many therapeutic purposes due to its medicinal benefits. It makes up 40% of the plant resin extract.
The plant is mostly known for its most abundant component, THC or marijuana. It has been shown that CBD and THC have properties contrary to each other.
CBD oil is known to possess properties like anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antipsychotic and anti-arthritic. In this article, however, we will discuss on how it helps in giving good sleep and treating sleep disorders. Before going into the details, let us look into why we need to discuss sleep.
Why is Sleep Important?
Having a good sleep is as important as having a balanced diet for a healthy lifestyle. It improves the overall quality of life by maintaining a mental and physical balance in our body.
When we sleep, our brain prepares for the next day by forming new pathways and making space for new information.
So, lack of sleep causes a lot of problems like hindering our learning, decreasing concentration and inability to control our emotions. Sleep deficiency has even caused aviation accidents.
Sleep disorders can be caused due to any health problem like allergies, pain, etc or also due to stress-related problems. It is reported that more than 75% of Americans experience difficulties to sleep, on a regular basis.
Let us see how CBD oil helps in providing a good sleep.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Sleep
CBD can be used to reduce symptoms of several sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, parasomnia and narcolepsy. It also helps in reducing anxiety and chronic pain that usually hinders a good sleep.
1. CBD is beneficial for patients suffering from insomnia
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep at night and can be caused due to anxiety, pain or jet lags.
It can lead to depression, lack of concentration, irritation and mood swings. It can also be a symptom of a bigger disease.
Almost half of the American adults suffer from insomnia of which most of them are women. If untreated, it can interfere with a person’s daily life and cause bigger problems.
CBD caused a reduction in the symptoms of insomnia in a patient, who suffered from bipolar disorder and was addicted to marijuana.
The 27-year-old male was given decreasing doses of CBD and he reported that he had a reduction in anxiety and was able to sleep peacefully.
In another animal study, CBD was given in specific doses for 4 days. It was found that CBD increased total sleep time and reduced insomnia.
CBD has the unique property of affecting a person’s sleep-wake cycle by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors and thus helps in reducing insomnia.
2. CBD helps in reducing Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is the urge to move the legs. This urge can be caused due to a tingling sensation in the legs.
It occurs in the morning but is most common at night and can be associated to motor neuron diseases like Parkinson’s disease. The exact cause of RLS is still unknown.
There are limited numbers of studies for how CBD helps in RLS.
A recent study on 6 patients with symptoms of RLS showed that consuming CBD fully relieved the symptoms.
CBD also helps in managing pain and improving sleep, which are the 2 main symptoms of RLS.
CBD interacts with the receptors that regulate sleep and thus, helps in improving the symptoms of RLS, providing good sleep.
3. CBD helps in reducing the symptoms of narcolepsy
Narcolepsy refers to sudden bouts of sleep, during the day. It is a neurological disorder that affects the normal sleep-wake cycle.
It can cause sleep paralysis, where a person is unable to move after waking up.
It can also cause cataplexy, which is a term that refers to the sudden loss of feeling in the muscles causing the person to collapse.
So, from these symptoms, it can be inferred that if left untreated, narcolepsy can interfere in a person’s life.
It is found that small doses of CBD can induce wakefulness or alertness. In a study performed on rats, very small doses of CBD (10micrograms) were shown to induce wakefulness.
This is due to its property of affecting the brain directly in the region called hypothalamus, which causes alertness and modulation of sleep.
Further human studies are needed in order to verify the results on the effect of CBD on narcolepsy.
CBD causes wakefulness, when taken in very small doses as it affects the hypothalamus in the brain that causes alertness and is an integral part in the sleep-wake cycle.
Thus, it can be of therapeutic value in disorders like narcolepsy and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).
4. CBD helps in REM Behavior Disorder (RBD)
REM stands for rapid eye movement and it refers to a stage of sleep, where a person starts dreaming.
The muscles go limp in this stage so that the person doesn’t act out during his dream. This ‘temporary paralysis’ is called REM atonia.
A person suffering from RBD does not experience this paralysis and become free to move, disrupting his own sleep as well as his partner’s.
A study was conducted on four patients with Parkinson’s disease, where they experienced symptoms of RBD.
It was found that CBD reduced the frequency of RBD related events promptly and gave the result of better sleep.
Another study on twenty-two patients with PD showed that consuming CBD improved their sleeping pattern.
The above studies suggest that CBD is effective in alleviating the symptoms of REM sleep disorder and caused muscle rigidity, helping patients to sleep better, without any movement. It also did not have any side effects.
5. CBD reduces anxiety, thus providing good sleep
A study was conducted on a girl who had PTSD that developed due to childhood sexual abuse. She was given CBD supplements every day for 5 months and it was seen that her anxiety level decreased drastically and she was able to sleep peacefully.
CBD works on stress hormones, blocking them, causing a reduction in anxiety, thus providing good and peaceful sleep.
The Dosage of CBD for Sleep
One of the main advantages of CBD is that it does not cause any feeling of ‘high’, like its psychoactive counterpart THC. It is usually taken orally but differs from person to person.
Since every person’s body is different, a right dosage can be determined only through trial and error method.
Since each sleep disorder has different characteristics, the right dosage of CBD also varies according to the disorder.
According to the studies conducted, the dose of CBD ranges from 10 micrograms to 25mg. The optimum dosage can be determined only by using a small dose at first and increasing it gradually until it produces an effect.
It is always better and advisable to consult a health physician before using this oil.
Pregnant women and children under 18 years are advised not to take CBD oil for any reason, to avoid risks.
CBD oil is usually free from any side effects. Sometimes though it can cause the following problems in some patients:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Mood changes
- Dry mouth
The main precaution that needs to be taken is that it is not legal everywhere and is not approved by the FDA yet.
Since this is the case, it is advised to consult a medical professional before taking the oil.
CBD oil, obtained from Cannabis sativa has many therapeutic uses. It can be used to reduce symptoms of various sleep disorders like insomnia, narcolepsy, RBD and RLS.
It has fewer side effects and can be used orally, starting with a small dosage. However, since it is not approved by the FDA yet.
Since different sleep disorders require different dosages of CBD and have contradictory effects (it produces wakefulness in narcolepsy and also helps insomniacs to sleep), it is strongly recommended to thoroughly research on CBD and consult a health physician before consuming the oil.