CBD For Sleep: How It Works, Benefits And Risks

If you find yourself yearning for a restful night’s sleep, you’re in good company. Approximately 70 million adults in the United States grapple with persistent sleep issues, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[1].

Amidst the myriad options aimed at enhancing sleep quality, ranging from supplements and medications to the guidance of sleep coaches and cutting-edge gadgets, researchers are exploring cannabidiol (CBD) as a potential alternative.

Continue reading to delve into the scientific insights regarding CBD and to understand the possible advantages and drawbacks associated with using diamond cbd oil to promote better sleep.

The Endocannabinoid System and its Influence on Sleep

To comprehend the potential impact of CBD on sleep, it’s crucial to grasp the intricacies of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The term “cannabinoid” within the ECS refers to the active components of the cannabis sativa plant that interact with this physiological system.

Dr. Chantel Strachan, a board-certified internal medicine physician and headache specialist at Columbia Doctors and Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York, emphasizes the ECS’s role as a complex neurochemical network that regulates various bodily functions, including emotions, pain, and sleep. While the body naturally produces endocannabinoid molecules, external sources like CBD can influence the ECS, according to Dr. Strachan.

Dr. Daniel Whitelocke, owner and CEO of Ozark MMJ Cards, highlights the significance of the hypothalamus in the ECS, particularly its impact on sleep regulation. The hypothalamus, enriched with cannabinoid receptors, governs the circadian rhythm of the sleep-wake cycle. Circadian rhythms, crucial for falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning, are influenced by the ECS, as suggested by research.

CBD’s Potential Benefits for Sleep

CBD, the second most abundant compound in the cannabis sativa plant, shows promise in indirectly benefiting sleep. Unlike delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not induce a psychoactive “high.” Research indicates that CBD may aid individuals with various sleep disorders, including insomnia and restless leg syndrome, as well as conditions that negatively impact sleep.

Dr. Strachan notes that CBD’s ability to alleviate anxiety and pain could help people relax, addressing factors that hinder falling or staying asleep. In the case of insomnia, CBD may work with the hypothalamus to regulate stress, suppressing an overactive stress reaction responsible for disrupting the sleep-wake rhythm.

Insomnia and Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Studies examining the effects of cannabis on insomnia have found that CBD is more effective than delta-9 THC in reducing insomnia symptoms. For circadian rhythm disorders, CBD’s action on cannabinoid receptors may promote a more natural timing of sleep relative to the day-night rhythm. This could be particularly beneficial for individuals, such as nurses with shift work, whose sleep patterns are affected by changes in work schedules.

Anxiety and Sleep

CBD’s potential as a treatment for anxiety disorders has been explored in various studies. While more research is needed, the existing evidence suggests a link between CBD use and improved sleep due to its anxiety-reducing effects. Dr. Whitelocke highlights CBD’s role in calming intrusive thoughts before bedtime, acting on endocannabinoid receptors in the limbic system to help restore emotional equilibrium and facilitate better sleep. Overall, by restoring hormone balance, CBD acts as a regulator, offering potential benefits for those seeking improved sleep quality.

Restless Leg Syndrome

CBD has shown promise in treating restless leg syndrome (RLS), a neurological condition that disrupts sleep quality and quantity by inducing an unpleasant and uncontrollable urge to move the legs. Early research indicates that CBD may decrease the frequency of abnormal nerve firings responsible for involuntary muscle twitching—the hallmark symptom of RLS, according to Dr. Whitelocke. He notes that this could be particularly beneficial for individuals prone to waking due to limb movements during sleep.

While many preliminary findings linking CBD use to improved RLS symptoms rely on self-reported experiences from patients, further research is essential to confirm CBD’s effectiveness as a treatment for RLS.

Chronic Pain

Studies suggest that CBD holds potential for pain relief. Applying products containing CBD oil to painful areas reportedly leads to reduced pain and swelling often associated with inflammation among study participants.

For individuals who cannot tolerate the intoxicating effects of THC, Dr. Whitelocke recommends CBD, whether ingested or applied topically, as an alternative for analgesia. Adequate pain control is crucial for promoting relaxation of both the body and mind, without the concerns of addiction or toxicity associated with other analgesic alternatives, especially concerning sleep.

Potential Risks of Using CBD for Sleep

While both Dr. Whitelocke and Dr. Strachen assert that CBD is a low-risk intervention and interactions with CBD products are rare, consulting with a doctor before starting a CBD regimen is crucial. It’s worth noting that CBD may increase liver enzymes in individuals taking medications metabolized by the liver, such as statins, anti-inflammatories (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen), certain anti-hypertensive medications, and blood thinners.

Additionally, THC, found in some CBD products, even at low levels, may potentially cause sleep disturbances. Therefore, it is essential to discuss this with your doctor.


The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. However, accessibility to CBD varies by location, with some states having easier access to purchase and possess CBD than others.

Dr. Strachan emphasizes that while CBD-containing products are increasingly available without a prescription, they are not FDA-regulated for sleep. The lack of FDA approval highlights the importance of conducting a thorough background check on the source of the CBD product, checking the label for CBD content, and ensuring independent third-party laboratory testing for quality and purity.

Lack of Regulation

Dr. Whitelocke recommends thoroughly researching the source when purchasing a new CBD product. Checking the label for CBD content and confirming third-party laboratory testing for quality and purity are essential steps. Many CBD products come with a certificate of analysis (COA) from a third-party laboratory, ensuring accurate potency and freedom from harmful contaminants like pesticides, molds, and heavy metals.

If a product’s COA is not readily available, it can often be obtained by scanning a QR code on the label or by contacting the manufacturer directly.

Should You Use CBD for Sleep?

The decision to use CBD for sleep should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider. Dr. Strachan suggests considering CBD for sleep if you are interested in a plant-based option or seeking an alternative to conventional treatments that have proven ineffective. Dr. Whitelocke emphasizes that CBD is a safe alternative to prescription sleep medications, given the relatively low toxicity of CBD products. Using CBD for sleep is a wise choice for individuals looking to enhance the quality and quantity of restorative rest.

CBD is available in various forms, including capsules, edibles, tinctures, and topical products like patches, sprays, creams, and more.

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