Millions of people across the world struggle with sleep issues. Whether it’s having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or full-blown insomnia, sleep issues are one of the biggest health concerns in the modern day. CBD may have the potential of helping those who struggle with sleep disorders. A 2014 study found that CBD significantly increased the overall quantity of sleep among participants as compared to the placebo. The amount of time it took participants to fall asleep improved, too.
Due to this potential benefit, you may be wondering, “If CBD may help you fall asleep, does it make you sleepy?” This is an understandable concern, especially for those familiar with the sedative effects that some people can experience with marijuana and THC. However, CBD does not make the user sleepy and won’t interfere with your daily activities. Here’s how it works.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to help restore balance and homeostasis within the body. It actually targets receptors in the endocannabinoid system responsible for appetite, digestion, metabolism, pain, inflammation, and more. THC is another cannabinoid that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. It’s also the psychoactive substance which causes the “high” associated with marijuana use. It binds directly with the receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which for some people can lead to stronger effects such as feelings of being “high” and even a little drowsy.
The effect of CBD on the body is different than that of THC. CBD doesn’t directly bind to the body’s endocannabinoid receptors. Instead, it signals the chemicals your body already produces to activate these receptors. It also prevents those chemicals from breaking down, thereby enhancing their balancing effect. Thus, the effect of CBD on the body is less intense than that of THC. Many users of CBD report feelings of relaxation and well-being.
Does CBD Make You Sleepy?
CBD doesn’t pose any risk of making you feel sleepy or tired. In fact, the World Health Organization reported that even high doses of CBD do not cause psychoactive effects, such as impairment, dizziness, or sleepiness. Sleepiness can be a side effect of THC, but isn’t one commonly associated with CBD. Due to the way CBD interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system, the effect CBD produces is very different from the effects of THC. CBD may help to relax the body and can contribute to a state of calmness. Additionally, researchers have found CBD to be “anxiolytic,” which means it may reduce anxiety and stress. For example, a 2014 review found that CBD had an anti-anxiolytic and antidepressant effect among study participants. This effect is different than the feeling of “sleepiness,” however. Instead of feeling sleepy or drowsy, you may just feel more relaxed, less anxious, and feel fewer symptoms of stress. Additionally, a 2009 study found that CBD may actually induce greater alertness. Researchers concluded that CBD may be useful for helping to treat excessive daytime sleepiness.
It must be noted that every individual’s body has a different reaction to CBD. The effects that you feel from CBD vary according to the dose you take, the mode of consumption, your age, weight, and body chemistry, and your overall metabolism. The length of time it takes for you to feel the effects of CBD also varies among users.
CBD and Sleep Benefits
CBD might not make you feel sleepy during the day, but it may be able help you sleep at night. A review conducted in early 2019 found that CBD may help a person to fall asleep quickly, improve sleep quality, and reduce sleep disturbances. It appears that as CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system, it may help to restore balance to many of the essential functions of our body, including sleep. It also has been found to help insomnia. A case study in 2016 found that CBD helped to decrease anxiety and improve the sleep of a young girl who struggled with insomnia. Both the quantity and quality of sleep improved for the subject after taking the CBD.
This effect of CBD relates back to its potential anxiolytic effects. Insomnia and other sleep disorders are often caused by anxiety and stress. If you reduce anxiety, you’ll also often improve sleep. This doesn’t mean that CBD causes sleepiness or sedation. That’s why many users report using it as a natural sleep aid. Often, prescription sleeping pills can cause drowsiness even during the day. Because sleeping pills take a while to wear off, you may even wake up feeling groggy and disoriented. Instead, CBD may help bring back restoration and balance to the body, so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.