CBD is related to anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, and neuroprotective activities in the body, amongst others. The latter means it can protect your brain and nervous system from damage that could lead to diseases like Alzheimer’s.
But what about its effects, if any, on sleep?
Can CBD encourage good sleepor interfere with this? The answer, unfortunately, is rather complicated.
The other is THC.
Contrary to THC, that is responsible for lots of the psychoactive effects of marijuana, CBD does not seem to elicit feelings of euphoria or other effects typically associated with marijuana use. Rather, CBD was demonstrated to provide a lot of benefits.
As mentioned above, CBD can help reduce anxiety, fight depression, suppress or prevent inappropriate electrical activity in the brain (epilepsy), quell inflammation, and perhaps help prevent the development of certain neuropsychiatric disorders.
In short, CBD might account for lots of the many documented and purported beneficial properties of cannabis.
As mentioned in a 2012 issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, "CBD is a safe compound with a wide range of therapeutic uses, including the treatment of psychiatric disorders. "
But what about CBD’s effects on sleep and wakefulness? The answer is more difficult to pin down than you might imagine.
In animal research, varying doses of CBD are administered, often directly into particular areas of the brain. A fairly well-documented pattern appears: CBD’s effects on the sleep-wake cycle are biphasic.
In other words, CBD appears to have opposite effects on sleep, depending on the dosage administered.
Doses in the minimal range typically have an activating effect on lab rats.
The "total percentage of sleep" increased appreciably among rats given the higher doses, based on some 2013 study printed in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
However, in a 2006 study, rats which were awarded microdoses of CBD spent time more time awake during the evaluation period.
Little studies between healthy human volunteers seem to mirror these findings.
Even relatively lower doses (160 mg/day) were connected to more time spent sleeping among volunteers that complained of an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep.
From the analysis, those who obtained CBD reported sleeping longer, with fewer periods of wakefulness or restlessness.
CBD use also seemed to impact dream recall, but subjects reported no feelings of "hangover" the following day.
The decrease in dream recall appears to reflect a potential decrease in time spent in REM sleep; the period of sleep associated with dreaming.
It’s perhaps for this reason that CBD has been related to relief from migraines among people suffering from PTSD.
In essence, these studies suggest that humans react to CBD much as with other mammals doAt low doses CBD is stimulating; at high doses it’s sedating.
This paradoxical effect of CBD helps clarify some of the facts regarding the perceived differences between the two types of cannabis: indica and sativa.
Some people have indicated that indica breeds are more inclined to have a sedating effect.
But the relative concentrations of CBD and THC in any certain strain likely have to do with selective breeding for specific characteristics, regardless of strain, instead of an inherent gap in production of those compounds.
In other words, some breeds may simply be bred or cultivated to favor higher concentrations of a specific compound.
"The sedation of these so-called indica breeds is falsely attributed to CBD content," explains Ethan Russo, M.D. in a recent interview,” "when, in actuality, CBD is arousing in moderate and low doses! "
If anything, based on a 2004 study conducted using human volunteers, THC causes feelings of drowsiness, not CBD.
In contrast, 15 mg of CBD seemed to possess "alerting properties". When given together, CBD seemed to counteract some of those "residual sedative activities" of THC.
Furthermore, a detailed chemical analysis of different samples of cannabis from the species, conducted at Indiana University’s Department of Biology, revealed that indica breeds are more likely to have a higher THC/CBD ratio compared to native breeds.
Really, according to the outcome of a 2014 poll of medical marijuana users, a majority of users preferred indica breeds for help falling asleep.
This suggests that insomnia victims are much better off picking breeds with higher, potentially more sedating, amounts of THC.
The poll was relatively limited in scope, but so further research is required to confirm those findings.
Since early times, cannabis was used to deal with different maladies, including sleeplessness.
But some data still persists. Brazilian researchers, by way of example, have been conducting small human studies on the effects of cannabis–as well as its active components, THC and CBD–for decades.
Among other findings, these researchers confirmed there is no "subjective or physical symptom" which could indicate any toxic effects from either acute or chronic doses of CBD.
Similarly, in 2015, the influential Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released a meta-analysis–a report on multiple applicable studies–to arrive at several fascinating conclusions about the potential merits of cannabinoids for medicinal use.
After evaluating evidence from 79 trials, involving over 6,000 subjects, the authors reasoned: "There was. . "
When this sounds equivocal, at best, it reflects the requirement for additional research and indicates that medical marijuana may indeed be useful for the treatment of insomnia, in some instances.
At low dosages, CBD appears to act as a stimulant. Test subjects given small doses of CBD spent more time awake and were less likely to fall asleep in research.
THC, on the other hand, seems to induce drowsiness and assist with sleep. The blend of both of these cannabinoids, usually found in many cannabis strains, can prevent either result from dominating.
Regarding the sleep-inducing effect of CBD?
It likely only occurs at exceptionally high doses (160-600 mg/day).