CBD for Sleep
CBD for Sleep

CBD for Sleep. How And Why Does It Work?

While there is still much research to be done regarding CBD for sleep, initial data suggests it can help.

Consequently, it is no surprise to learn that CBD and sleep UK are popular conversations on websites and forums.

This has led to significant growth in the UK CBD market which is now only second in the world behind the US. As demand continues to grow, there are high hopes for the UK CBD market.

First, however, it is essential to understand precisely what you are ingesting and the impact this has on your body.

How will CBD help me sleep?

There is a general misconception that the cannabis plant is purely recreational. If you dig a little deeper, you will find several medical conditions, such as insomnia, which some aspects of the cannabis plant can help.

The first thing is to recognise that compounds in the cannabis plant, known as cannabinoids, affect brain function.

The two main compounds are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). However, how they will impact your brain function is very different and often where misunderstandings occur.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is the element of the cannabis plant which causes the highs that many people associate with cannabis. The psychoactive effect can vary between individuals and has been associated with several mental health conditions.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

While CBD also impacts brain function, it is not psychoactive. Therefore, it does not induce the same reaction as THC. Research has shown that CBD can effectively treat a range of medical conditions such as insomnia.

Extracting cannabinoids from cannabis plants

As you might have guessed, CBD is the main ingredient used in an array of new items on the market.

This tends to be extracted from the marijuana plant, part of the cannabis plant family, as an oily substance.

In oil form, it can be added to food products, skincare treatment and assist with treatment for some medical conditions. This type of CBD is produced in a manner which removes all of the THC and the potentially dangerous side effects.

The hemp plant is also part of the cannabis plant family and another common source of CBD.

While hemp plants tend to have an element of THC, this is at such low levels as to be deemed non-toxic and not dangerous. Consequently, you may also come across various products, such as coffee and teas, based around the hemp plant and focus on CBD.

In its oily format, the most common forms of CBD include:-

  • FDA approved drugs
  • Oral sprays
  • Droplets
  • Vapes
  • Coffees and teas
  • Pills
  • Lotions and gels

While these are the most common forms of CBD, as it is usually presented as an oily substance, it can be added to numerous edible products.

Many people are now starting to use sprays and droplets to assist with sleeping disorders.

CBD and sleep. Why does it work?

Over the last few years, we have seen a significant amount of research produced concerning CBD and how it helps with sleep disorders.

While scientists are only now waking up to the potential for CBD and sleep in the UK, there is more information about how it works.

Endocannabinoid system

The endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating a number of bodily functions, which include:-

  • Appetite
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Circadian rhythms (body clock)

This system consists of an array of cannabinoid receptors, including CB1 and CB2, situated in the brain and central nervous system. Cannabinoids such as CBD latch onto these receptors, specifically targeting those involved in the sleep/wake cycle. The impact on this cycle is further enhanced when you realise that CBD also has a beneficial effect on:-

  • Anxiety
  • Pain

We know that anxiety and pain harm your sleeping pattern.

Therefore if CBD does, as research seems to suggest, reduce anxiety and pain while also assisting your sleep and wake cycle, the potential long-term benefits could be significant.

Those who suffer from any type of sleep disorder will tell you of its impact on their daily life, mental health, and overall well-being.

CBD, cortisol and sleep deprivation

A report in the US has shown there to be a direct link between the use of CBD and reduced cortisol levels and improvements in sleeping patterns. Cortisol is a stress hormone which generally peaks in the morning in relatively healthy individuals.

However, we know that those who have insomnia will also have abnormally high cortisone levels in the evening.

Consequently, not only do many people struggle to get to sleep, but they also experience increased night-time awakenings.

In a trial, those who struggled with insomnia were given CBD in the evening and contacted monthly over a three month study period. The results were as follows:-

  • One month, 66.7% reported an improvement in their sleep, while 25% said their sleeping patterns had worsened.
  • After two months, 56.1% reported an improvement in their sleep, and 26.8% said their sleeping patterns had worsened

The trial used a varied range of CBD dosages, concluding that this type of product can be helpful for short-term sleep disorders.

It may be that different dosages could assist with sleeping disorders in the longer term, but more research is required.

However, this is just one of a number of trials of CBD and sleep indicating only short-term assistance to those with sleeping disorders.

For reference, many people may not know, but there are three different types of insomnia, which include:-

  • Sleep on-set insomnia, difficulty getting to sleep
  • Sleep maintenance insomnia, difficulty staying asleep
  • Mixed insomnia, a mix of the two

While various issues may impact your sleep, we know from research that stress and anxiety are two of the main factors.

If these can be controlled/reduced by using CBD oils, there are potentially several positive knock-on effects.

Sleeping disorders in the UK

A recent report by CyberCrew has cast a fascinating light on the sleeping patterns of the UK population. Carried out amid the Covid pandemic, which prompted a significant increase in CBD sales, the research shows that:-

  • 35% of people in the UK reported that sleep deprivation increased anxiety levels
  • 40% of those questioned admitted that poor sleep made them more stressed
  • One in three people are now sleeping less than they did before the pandemic
  • 36% of those surveyed said they struggled to fall asleep at least once a week
  • 43% of those who responded to the research said poor sleep made them irritable/angry

Sleeping disorders impact different people to varying degrees. Therefore, it may take a period of trial and error to find the correct dosage levels.

However, if the initial research into CBD and insomnia UK is repeated in large scale trials, we can only imagine the potentially huge benefits to mental health.

CBD oil and insomnia

In order to recognise the potential benefits of CBD oil for those who have insomnia, it is essential to note the leading causes of this sleeping disorder. These include:-

  • Stress
  • Irregular sleeping patterns
  • Mental health issues
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Neurological problems
  • Specific sleeping disorders
  • Poor sleeping habits

There is already growing evidence to suggest that CBD oil can positively impact:-

  • Stress levels
  • Anxiety levels
  • Pain and suffering

It is not difficult to see how a reduction in the impact of these three conditions will help reduce pressure on mental health and depression.

In addition, the cumulative effect will positively impact sleeping patterns and have the opportunity to change a person’s life.

When to take CBD oil for sleep

Even though CBD oil can be added to an array of products, those in the UK who use it to improve their sleeping patterns tend to use drops.

Typically, a couple of CBD oil drops placed under the tongue will be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.

While everyone is different, you will start to feel the impact between 20 minutes and one hour after using the drops. Therefore, it should not be too difficult to find your optimum timing to give you the best chance of a better night’s sleep.

More CBD research required

There is growing interest in CBD and sleep disorders in the UK, with many suffering due to the pandemic and worsening cost of living crisis.

Several prominent reports have been issued highlighting the positive impact of CBD when treating insomnia.

More in-depth trials are planned, which should help identify the range of dosages for particular scenarios and the optimum timing.

The regulators have also taken an increased interest in CBD products which should prompt even more research and give confidence to consumers.

Insomnia, be gone!

There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding the use of CBD in liquid or hemp form.

While CBD in hemp form will also include an element of THC, this must be minimal (less than 0.2%) to be legal in the UK.

Interestingly, there is growing evidence to suggest that CBD in oil/droplet form could be helpful in the fight against insomnia and related physical and mental health issues.

Even though there is still some confusion about the makeup of some CBD products, slowly but surely, the regulations are becoming more transparent and labelling much more informative.