CBD And THC For Sleep – What You Need To Know

CBD and THC for Sleep

CBD and THC For Help With Insomnia

According to a recent report by the American Sleep Apnea Association, at least 50-70 million people of all ages and classes in the United States are suffering from sleep disorders.

But how do CBD and THC for sleep work?

The CDC has declared sleep deprivation a public health crisis in the U.S.

Insufficient sleep puts victims at the risk of serious medical conditions like diabetes, depression, obesity, and coronary heart diseases and even lowers their sex drive!

Medical experts warn that sleep deprivation also shortens your life expectancy. 

The CDC has declared sleep deprivation a public health crisis in the U.S. And people who have trouble sleeping are starting to consider medical cannabis a more potent and safer alternative to conventional sleeping pills that are often associated with adverse effects

Cannabis and its derivatives are increasingly being advertised as potent products to help with insomnia and other sleep problems. 

Let’s go over all the information that will help you understand the relationship between CBD and THC for Sleep.

Understanding Cannabis And Cannabinoids For Sleep

Cannabis, also referred to as ganja, pot, or grass, comes from the Cannabis sativa plants (hemp and marijuana).

Cannabis plants naturally produce more than 300 chemical compounds. Of these, there are more than 80 different cannabinoids

The most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.

Researchers have primarily focused on these two active ingredients as they have been found to have the most significant impact on human health.  

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, often abbreviated as CBD, is the second most prevalent cannabinoid produced by cannabis plants. CBD is non-intoxicating, and it won’t give you the euphoric high associated with marijuana. 

CBD is well-tolerated by the body, and it has exhibited potential health benefits, including improving sleep quality. It exerts its effects by interacting with specific receptors in our endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

Anecdotal reports and clinical trials continue to back up CBDs potency to help with numerous health conditions, without side effects or potential for developing dependency. 

But note that CBD can be extracted from both marijuana and hemp plants.

Hemp-derived CBD contains less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana-derived CBD may contain higher THC amounts.

The most popular CBD formulation is CBD oil, but there are many other CBD products like gummy bears, topicals, vape juices, CBD capsules, and more.

What Is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most prevalent cannabinoid in cannabis plants. THC is intoxicating, and it provides psychoactive effects.

It is the chemical responsible for getting you euphorically high when you smoke marijuana. 

THC binds directly with the receptors in our brain, activating them to release dopamine, the chemical in our bodies responsible for pleasurable sensations, euphoria, memory, time perception, and more. 

While this psychoactive compound is especially popular for recreational use, it has also been found to help with certain health conditions.

But because marijuana is illegal in the U.S under federal law, studies into THC are significantly limited. 

What You Need To Know About Cannabis And Sleep

Cannabis has now been used as a sleep aid for decades.

Today medical cannabis is being used to treat insomnia and other sleep problems at a high rate.

The use of cannabis as a natural sleep aid is particularly common among patients with PTSD and chronic pain. 

It is a globally acknowledged truth that cannabis puts you in a sleepy and relaxed mode.

However, consumers worldwide have long sought to understand precisely how CBD and THC for sleep achieve these effects. 

We know from contemporary scientific studies that cannabis particularly makes falling asleep easier and faster.

In a recent study, researchers noted that cannabis shortened the time taken to fall asleep for both insomnia patients and nonpatients.

Among people with difficulties falling asleep, cannabis consumption reduced the time it took to fall asleep by approximately 30 minutes.

People who had no sleeping difficulties fell asleep faster by 15 minutes. 

Among people with difficulties falling asleep, cannabis consumption reduced the time it took to fall asleep by approximately 30 minutes.

Clinical trials have backed up CBDs potency to reduce the amount of time taken to fall asleep and increase the time you spend in deep, slow-wave sleep. 

A study investigating cannabis strains with higher THC levels found that they reduce the amount of REM sleep. This may especially be beneficial for those battling PTSD, as you’ll read more about it below. 

Cannabis produces numerous chemical compounds that influence our sleep and sleep cycle.

Below, we’ll focus on terpenes, CBN, CBD and THC for sleep as they are the main cannabis compounds that have a major impact on our sleep: 

Cannabidiol (CBD) and Its Impact On Sleep

As noted earlier, CBD is non-intoxicating, and it does not alter your state of mind or cause a high. Instead, it appears to produce calming, relaxing, and sedative effects. 

Overall, CBD and THC function in a similar way in our bodies.

They work by influencing the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and the nervous system.

This interaction assists in the restoration and balance of our endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

The ECS is a complex, biological cell signaling system in our bodies that regulates our physiological, emotional, and cognitive activities like mood, appetite, memory, pain sensation, sleep, and more.

5 Ways That CBD Helps Sleep Disorders

1. CBD and Mental Health Disorders

One of the most common causes of insomnia and poor quality sleep is mental health disorders like stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Recent clinical trials and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD may be a powerful tool in alleviating stress, anxiety, and depression. 

People who use CBD to manage mental health symptoms have reported sleeping longer and better.

2. CBD and Serotonin

CBD promotes feelings of relaxation by influencing serotonin.

Serotonin is the chemical in our bodies that stabilizes mood, promotes happiness, and enhances our feelings of well-being. Serotonin is said to promote a healthy sleeping pattern. 

It’s important to note that CBD does not necessarily boost our serotonin levels. Instead, it affects how the receptors in our brain respond to the serotonin that’s available in our system. 

3. CBD and Pain

People who suffer chronic pain often report more awakenings during the night, insufficient sleep, and less deep sleep.

These unrefreshing and non-restorative sleep pattern results in a depressed mood, fatigue, and lack of energy. 

CBD has been found to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies suggest these effects of CBD can offer chronic pain relief, promoting a good night’s sleep

In addition, there is substantial evidence that CBD may increase the levels of anandamide in our bodies.

Anandamide is a compound responsible for regulating pain, and it may reduce pain perception.

4. CBD and REM Sleep disorder

REM sleep behavior is an unhealthy disorder associated with verbalizing and making aggressive movements during the REM stage of sleep.

REM cycle sleep is mainly common among people with PTSD and patients with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease.

In a recent study involving 4 Parkinson’s disease patients, CBD was found to help manage REM sleep disorder symptoms.

In the weeks leading to the study, patients experienced REM disorder symptoms at least 2-7 times every week.

After consuming CBD, the symptoms reduced to occurring only 0-1 times per week. 

Studies have shown that CBD increased the quality of sleep in those with Parkinsons disease. Image: American Sleep Association

5. CBD and Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Disorder

People who experience excessive and uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime often have a hard time staying awake during typical daytime hours. CBD may be helpful in the control of sleep and wakefulness. 

Early research concludes that CBD may work as a wake-inducing agent.

But note that other studies have found that, unlike lower doses that are stimulating, higher doses of CBD are sedating. 

Additionally, the effects of CBD may vary significantly from one person to another depending on the consumption method and different doses

Therefore, additional research and more evidence are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of CBD and THC for sleep and the best consumption method that will promote better sleep

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Its Impact On Sleep

THC is the cannabis compound that’s well known for delivering a high and feelings of euphoria.

THC possesses a chemical structure that’s strikingly similar to our brain’s chemical anandamide (which regulates our feeding behavior, motivation, memory, time perception, concentration, pleasure, etc.). 

Because of this similarity, THC can bind directly to the CB1 receptors in our ECS.

This interaction results in both positive and negative effects like dry mouth and cognitive impairment.

Current research suggests that THCs sedative effects may help people fall asleep easily. 

Evidence also points to THCs ability to improve breathing during sleep, which would be helpful for patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a condition associated with frequent breathing lapses during sleep. 

REM is the stage of sleep where people experience their most active dreaming.

Earlier research has proven THC potency to reduce the amount of time spent in REM sleep and increase the duration of slow-wave, deep sleep.  

Reducing the amount of REM means reducing dreams. And for people with PTSD, it could mean reducing nightmares and disturbing dreams, essentially improving sleep quality and quality of life.

Please note that while you may experience fewer dreams when using cannabis, it’s common to experience a burst of dreams (REM rebound) once you stop usage.  

In addition, all sleep cycles are vital for healthy rest and normal functioning. Therefore, you want to consider if and the amount of time you’ll use cannabis.

That’s because altering your nightly sleep cycle, especially over an extended period, may deprive you of the optimum restorative effects a whole night’s sleep is biologically designed to offer.

Cannabinol (CBN) and Its Impact on Sleep

CBN is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that occurs in trace amounts in cannabis plants. More specifically, CBN is found in aged cannabis. It is a degraded form of THC,  meaning that when you store THC for a long time, it breaks down into CBN. 

Early research suggests that CBN may be a powerful natural sleep aid. That’s because it offers highly relaxing and sedating effects that may promote more restful sleep. The effects of CBN on our quality of sleep are even more pronounced when combined with THC. 

It has also been found to deliver pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory benefits. Further research is still needed to explore CBN’s sleep-enhancing benefits.

Terpenes and Their Impact On Sleep

Cannabinoids have gained wild popularity due to their incredible health benefits like boosting mood, promoting restful sleep, and more.

However, terpenes have also been found to play an important role in the effects delivered by cannabis, including CBD and THC for sleep.

Terpenes are the naturally occurring and aromatic compounds that give different strains their unique flavors and aromas.

A cannabis plant produces more than 100 different terpenes.

While research into terpenes and their different effects on our mind and body are still ongoing, scientists believe that they mainly work by enhancing the effects of different cannabinoids.

Current studies show that terpenes affect our mood, energy, alertness, and sleep.

A good example is a myrcene which has been shown to deliver sedative effects, and limonene, which research suggests may relieve anxiety and stress thanks to its mood-enhancing and calming effects.

Limonene is also said to act as a sleep-promoter and may reduce symptoms of chronic insomnia.

CBD And THC For Sleep - The Bottom Line

CBD and THC for sleep have proven their ability to promote a good night’s rest.

Note that state laws regarding recreational and medicinal marijuana are regularly changing.

Therefore, you want to familiarize yourself with the laws in your area if you’re looking to try the sleep-promoting benefits of cannabis. 

Keep in mind that you can use specific cannabis compounds for sleep independently.

For instance, some may prefer using CBN, while others may opt for full-spectrum CBD.

The most important thing is to find the ideal mg of CBD or CBN that offers your most desired effect. 

Finally, there is a wide variety of cannabis products like smokeables, vapes, edibles, tinctures, and more.

But experts recommend using tinctures and vapes as they offer potent effects without the risks inherent to smoking.