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Benefits of CBD for insomnia: Improves the quality of sleep

CBD Oil Drops for Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the most common conditions affecting adults today. Cannabidiol or CBD, one of the non-psychoactive compounds in the cannabis plant, appears to be an alternative to this problem as research suggests that CBD can help improve sleep quality.

In today’s Cannactiva post, we will see how CBD can alleviate insomnia according to current studies, and in what form and at what dosage it is effective.

We remind you that this is an informative article that is not intended to prevent, diagnose or treat any disease. Its content can complement, but never replace, the diagnosis or treatment of any disease or symptom. We recommend that you consult with your physician before using CBD.

Sleep disorders and endocannabinoid system

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder characterized by difficulty staying asleep, falling asleep or sleeping without a sense of well-being the next morning.

Insomnia can be acute, intermittent or chronic (1) and is the result of one or more factors, such as anxiety, depression, pain, stress, chronic illness and other conditions.

The consequences of insomnia are daytime fatigue, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, poor memory and irritability. In the long term, it can trigger problems such as anxiety and depression, which perpetuate the sleep disorder cycle, making insomnia a never-ending story.

Endocannabinoid system and sleep

The endocannabinoid system in our body is responsible for maintaining internal balance and plays an important role in regulating processes such as sleep. This system has the ability to modulate the activity of certain neurotransmitters and hormones that are responsible for the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle, through the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, which are widely distributed in the nervous system.

CBD influences the release of dopamine, serotonin and GABA, neurotransmitters involved in sleep regulation.

There are many factors that impact our mental and physical health. Overwork, constant exposure to screens, emotional stress, diet, not following the sun’s schedule, etc., can influence the way we rest. Insomnia treatment is an opportunity to reconsider our lifestyle and thoughts.

Mechanism of sleep regulation through the endocannabinoid system.

When phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids from cannabis) or endocannabinoids (those produced inside the body) bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, they can modulate the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and GABA, which are involved in sleep regulation (2).

CBD and insomnia treatment

Ideally, it is recommended that insomnia treatment be performed by a specialist. It is important to consider that some organic conditions may manifest themselves with symptoms of insomnia, so a visit to the doctor will help to rule out that the sleep problems do not derive from other diagnoses, and to approach the treatment from the most appropriate and effective scope.

CBD or cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid known for its multiple therapeutic properties. It is extracted from hemp plants, which are a variety of cannabis plants with low or no levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike THC, CBD does not get high.

Some research has suggested that CBD may help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia symptoms by reducing anxiety, producing relaxation and relieving pain (3-6).

Because CBD interacts with serotonin receptors, it has the ability to produce that feeling of well-being that is characteristic of serotonin (7, 8), promoting the decrease of any discomfort that could also interfere with sleep.

In preclinical models, CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety-related insomnia (9), and acute administration of CBD appears to increase total sleep time (10). Interestingly in humans, although there have been good results with the use of CBD for sleep, these are largely dependent on the dose of CBD used.

How to use CBD for insomnia?

In general, CBD can be used orally in the form of oils, tinctures, capsules or edibles. It should be noted that, depending on the regulations of each country, there may be restrictions on the oral use of cannabidiol: get informed.

CBD dosage for insomnia according to studies.

The dose that has proven effective in published clinical studies, although highly variable, appears to be linked to the amount of CBD used. Some publications have suggested that high doses of CBD are more effective in inducing sleep and reducing the frequency of nighttime awakenings (11, 12). Conversely, low doses seem to be more related to increased wakefulness (13, 14).

One study used a daily dose of 25 mg CBD, taken in the evening after dinner, to induce and maintain sleep (6), but they had to gradually raise the dose to 50, 75 and 175 mg CBD to induce the same effect successfully in some patients. Here it is important to note that the highest dose of 175 mg was for a patient with a traumatic history and schizoaffective disorder.

Likewise, another study successfully used 75 mg of CBD per day to treat sleep disorder (15). Although this supports the theory that high doses of CBD to treat insomnia are more effective than low doses, studies are still underway at this time. One of them is evaluating the use of doses of 200 mg per day of CBD (16), and surely there are some others to which we do not have access and will give us more precise results on CBD dosing for insomnia in the future.

Choice and use of CBD products for insomnia.

  • First make sure you find CBD products that are derived from high quality hemp plants. Note that CBD oils come in various strengths and concentrations.
  • Using a low dose and gradually increasing until the optimal dose is found is ideal.
  • CBD can be found in forms such as oils, tinctures, capsules, edibles and topical creams. The choice of the form of administration depends entirely on the individual’s preference and/or convenience. Don’t forget to check the legal status of CBD in your country to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

Possible side effects and precautions

The possible side effects of taking CBD have been observed in studies at very high doses in fully experimental settings. In reality, CBD has a wide range of safety, except if it is administered when already taking a specific treatment. As a result of possible interactions of CBD with other drugs, alterations in liver chemistry (which is only visible in blood studies), vomiting and diarrhea may occur (17).

CBD interactions are mostly seen with drugs that are metabolized in the liver, as both CBD and the drug compete for the enzymes that both use for their metabolism. To learn more about this topic, visit our post on CBD-drug interactions.

In conclusion…

Overall, research suggests that CBD may help in the treatment of insomnia. When CBD is taken at night it can be beneficial in promoting sleep and improving sleep quality. A good sleep hygiene routine can also be helpful in reducing the symptoms of insomnia.

Insomnia can affect your quality of life and may be a symptom of an organic disease. If you are concerned about your insomnia, it is advisable to consult your doctor. It is important to consult your doctor before using CBD, especially if you are taking any treatment.

Note: This is an informational article and is not intended to prevent, diagnose or treat any disease. Its contents may complement, but should never replace, any diagnosis or treatment of any disease or symptom. Cannactiva products are not medicines and are intended for external use. Cannactiva is not responsible for the misuse of this information. Please note that new scientific evidence may become available since the date of publication. Therefore, consult your doctor before using CBD.

  1. Sutton E. L. (2021). Insomnia. Annals of internal medicine, 174(3), ITC33-ITC48.
  2. Monti, J. M., & Jantos, H. (2008). The roles of dopamine and serotonin, and of their receptors, in regulating sleep and waking. Progress in brain research, 172, 625-646.
  3. Kesner, A. J., & Lovinger, D. M. (2020). Cannabinoids, Endocannabinoids and Sleep. Frontiers in molecular neuroscience, 13, 125.
  4. de Mello Schier, A. R., de Oliveira Ribeiro, N. P., Coutinho, D. S., Machado, S., Arias-Carrión, O., Crippa, J. A., Zuardi, A. W., Nardi, A. E., & Silva, A. C. (2014). Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS & neurological disorders drug targets, 13(6), 953-960.
  5. Bergamaschi, M. M. M., Queiroz, R. H., Chagas, M. H., de Oliveira, D. C., De Martinis, B. S., Kapczinski, F., Quevedo, J., Roesler, R., Schröder, N., Nardi, A. E., Martín-Santos, R., Hallak, J. E., Zuardi, A. W., & Crippa, J. A. (2011). Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(6), 1219-1226.
  6. Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal, 23, 18-041.
  7. De Gregorio, D., McLaughlin, R. J., Posa, L., Ochoa-Sanchez, R., Enns, J., Lopez-Canul, M., Aboud, M., Maione, S., Comai, S., & Gobbi, G. (2019). Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain. Pain, 160(1), 136-150.
  8. Campos, A. C., de Paula Soares, V., Carvalho, M. C., Ferreira, F. R., Vicente, M. A., Brandão, M. L., Zuardi, A. W., Zangrossi, H., Jr, & Guimarães, F. S. (2013). Involvement of serotonin-mediated neurotransmission in the dorsal periaqueductal gray matter on cannabidiol chronic effects in panic-like responses in rats. Psychopharmacology, 226(1), 13-24.
  9. Hsiao, Y. T., Yi, P. L., Li, C. L., & Chang, F. C. (2012). Effect of cannabidiol on sleep disruption induced by the repeated combination tests consisting of open field and elevated plus-maze in rats. Neuropharmacology, 62(1), 373-384.
  10. Chagas, M. H., Crippa, J. A., Zuardi, A. W., Hallak, J. E., Machado-de-Sousa, J. P., Hirotsu, C., Maia, L., Tufik, S., & Andersen, M. L. (2013). Effects of acute systemic administration of cannabidiol on sleep-wake cycle in rats. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 27(3), 312-316.
  11. Gutierrez Higueras, T., Calera Cortés, F., Servin López, E. D., Montes Arjona, L., Sainz De La Cuesta Alonso, S., & Vicent Forés, S. (2022). Cannabidiol (CBD) and Insomnia : Literature review. European Psychiatry, 65(Suppl 1), S809.
  12. Carlini, E. A., & Cunha, J. M. (1981). Hypnotic and antiepileptic effects of cannabidiol. Journal of clinical pharmacology, 21(S1), 417S-427S.
  13. Nicholson, A. N., Turner, C., Stone, B. M., & Robson, P. J. (2004). Effect of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on nocturnal sleep and early-morning behavior in young adults. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology, 24(3), 305-313.
  14. Zuardi A. W. (2008). Cannabidiol: from an inactive cannabinoid to a drug with wide spectrum of action. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria (Sao Paulo, Brazil : 1999), 30(3), 271-280.
  15. Chagas, M. H., Eckeli, A. L., Zuardi, A. W., Pena-Pereira, M. A., Sobreira-Neto, M. A., Sobreira, E. T., Camilo, M. R., Bergamaschi, M. M., Schenck, C. H., Hallak, J. E., Tumas, V., & Crippa, J. A. (2014). Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviours associated with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder in Parkinson’s disease patients: a case series. Journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics, 39(5), 564-566.
  16. Suraev A, Grunstein RR, Marshall NS, et al. Cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for chronic insomnia disorder (‘CANSLEEP’ trial): protocol for a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, proof-ofconcept trial. BMJ Open 2020;10:e034421.
  17. Huestis, M. A., Solimini, R., Pichini, S., Pacifici, R., Carlier, J., & Busardò, F. P. (2019). Cannabidiol Adverse Effects and Toxicity. Current neuropharmacology, 17(10), 974-989.

Masha Burelo
Investigadora en cannabinoides | Doctoranda en Neurociencia

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