What to know about CBD and sleep
People have long used the cannabis plant for medicinal and recreational purposes. Compounds called cannabinoids in the plant are responsible for the effects on the brain, and the two most abundant of these are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC and CBD are both psychoactive, but they affect the brain differently. Unlike THC, CBD is nonimpairing.
People use CBD for a variety of reasons , including reducing seizures, anxiety, and pain.
Some studies have demonstrated that CBD may also be a sleep aid. In this article, we look at whether it works and any associated risks.
Share on Pinterest Some people may benefit from taking CBD as a sleep aid.
In the last decade, growing public interest in the benefits of marijuana, and CBD in particular, has encouraged researchers to study its effects.
Early studies indicate that high dosages of CBD may support sleep.
One investigation found that, compared with a placebo, a CBD dosage of 160 milligrams (mg) increased sleep duration. The researchers also concluded that the placebo, 5 mg of the insomnia drug nitrazepam, and 40, 80, and 160 mg of CBD helped the participants fall asleep.
Levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, typically peak in the morning, but people with insomnia may have high cortisol levels at night. Independent of insomnia, having high cortisol levels at night is associated with an increased number of nighttime awakenings.
In one study on the effects of CBD, researchers found that cortisol levels decreased more significantly when participants took 300 or 600 mg of CBD oil. These results suggest that CBD affects the release of cortisol, possibly acting as a sedative.
A more recent analysis of CBD and sleep recruited 103 participants who had anxiety or poor sleep. The researchers studied the effects of CBD combined with those of other prescribed medications.
The CBD dosages ranged from 25–175 mg. The researchers found that 25 mg was the most effective dosage for anxiety and that addressing troubled sleep required higher dosages.
During the 3-month study, the investigators followed up with the participants monthly. At the first follow-up, 66.7% reported an improvement in sleep, but 25% had worsened sleep. At the second, 56.1% of the participants reported improved sleep, but 26.8% had worsened sleep.
The researchers conclude that although CBD might help people sleep in the short term, the effects may not be sustained.
For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.
Overall, the available evidence suggests that CBD is well-tolerated.
Some people report fatigue and mental sedation with CBD use, but researchers believe that this may be related to the dosage.
Taking 10–400 mg of CBD per day for a long period and by different routes did not have a toxic effect on participants in a large retrospective study. Even dosages of up to 1,500 mg per day were well-tolerated, other researchers report.
However, determining whether there are long-term risks of CBD use will require further studies.
So far, no reports of lethal CBD overdoses exist. Some researchers may be concerned about CBD abuse, but information on significant complications is limited.
One study indicates that dosages of 400–700 mg of CBD, which are considered high, can aggravate cognitive deficits in people with schizophrenia. Combining CBD and THC may, however, improve cognition.
Researchers do report that CBD may cause other adverse effects , including:
- alterations of cell viability, in studies conducted in cell cultures
- decreased fertilization capacity
- inhibition of drug metabolism in the liver
- decreased activity of P-glycoprotein and other drug transporters
If these effects on drug metabolism and transportation are confirmed, it would indicate that CBD interferes with other medications. Overall, more research is necessary.
Still, it is a good idea for anyone who wants to use CBD to speak with a healthcare provider first.
Research into the risks and therapeutic potential of CBD is limited. Some people take it to improve sleep, and some research supports this. Learn more here.
7 of the Best CBD Oils for Blissful Sleep
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Had a few restless nights? Turns out about one-third of American adults have insomnia and according to a 2020 poll, 84 percent feel daytime sleepiness due to lack of sleep or low quality sleep.
CBD (aka cannabidiol) might help. Though cannabis research is still in its early days, recent studies have found that CBD has promise for treating insomnia and one of its common causes, anxiety.
Even though it won’t get you high, CBD tends to have an overall calming and soothing effect for many people that’s good for winding down at the end of the day. Plus, its potential pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory effects might just be what you need to help get to sleep and stay asleep.
- hemp. A cannabis variety that’s naturally low in THC (.3 percent or less) and from which most CBD extracts are made.
- tincture. A liquid CBD product that comes in an alcohol or oil-based solution and is taken orally with a dropper.
- full-spectrum CBD. A CBD extract that includes other cannabis plant compounds like potentially beneficial terpenes, flavonoids, and a small amount of THC.
- broad-spectrum CBD. A CBD extract that includes other cannabis plant compounds, minus the THC.
- CBD isolate. A “single-molecule” product that’s free of all other cannabis compounds and contains zero THC.
Because the FDA doesn’t lay out testing and labeling requirements for CBD products, quality can be all over the map. With so much variability in potency, ingredients, and price point, it can be hard to wade through the options. So we did the work for you and selected products that are:
- sourced from U.S.-grown hemp
- tested by a 3rd party lab to ensure that the CBD content is as advertised, the THC level is at or below .3 percent, and the product is free of undesirable stuff like molds and pesticides
- made with clean ingredients (organic, in many cases) and without fillers
- loved by customers
Prices are per 25 milligrams (mg)
$ = under $1
$$ = $1–$2
$$$ = over $2
1. Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies – Sleep
|CBD per container||600 mg|
|CBD strength||10 mg/gummy|
Charlotte’s Web is one of the most respected CBD brands around and is known for developing a CBD cannabis strain nicknamed “Hippie’s Disappointment” for its rich CBD profile and low THC content.
These nice-tasting raspberry gummies deliver 10 milligrams of CBD each along with 1.5 milligrams of the natural sleep aid melatonin. They’re made with Colorado-grown hemp, and are free of gluten, dyes, and fillers.
However, as with most gummies, there’s a bit of added sugar for taste. Also worth noting: full-spectrum CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, so it’s possible (though unlikely) that they could trigger what’s known as a “false positive” on sensitive drug tests.
2. Brown Girl Jane REST 1500 mg CBD Sleep Daily Drops
|CBD per container||1500 mg|
|CBD strength||50 mg/dropper|
This vegan, peppermint-flavored tincture features simple, clean ingredients with a broad-spectrum (THC-free) formulation that retains some of the plant’s naturally-occurring terpenes.
Online, you’ll find tons of happy customer reviews for Brown Girl Jane’s sleep tincture. Plus, the company’s social activism (including an upcoming $20,000 small business grant open to entrepreneurs from marginalized communities) is worth supporting.
3. Joy Organics Lavender CBD Bath Bombs
|CBD form||bath bomb|
|CBD per container||100 mg|
|CBD strength||25 mg/bath bomb|
Move over Epsom salts. If baths are part of your routine — or an occasional pre-bedtime treat — you may want to pick up a package of lavender-scented CBD bath bombs from Joy Organics.
The founder of this family-run, Colorado company experienced her first good night’s sleep in years with the help of CBD, and plenty of happy customers report that these bath bombs leave them with the kind of whole-body relaxation that’s a perfect segue to sleep.
Plus, the coconut oil and cocoa seed butter leave skin feeling nourished and moisturized.
4. Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture
|CBD per container||500 mg|
|CBD strength||17 mg/dropper|
This sleep tincture by Wellness is made from organic, U.S.-grown hemp and plant extracts such as chamomile, lemongrass, and hops — which are all known for their soothing and relaxing effects.
Per serving, this CBD sleep oil is on the pricey side, but customers rave online about the synergistic effects of CBD alongside the botanical ingredients. The formula also doesn’t contain melatonin, which — for some people — is associated with morning grogginess and bad dreams.
5. LiftMode Hemp Extract Calm
|CBD per container||1500 mg|
|CBD strength||50 mg/dropper|
|Flavor||hempy with hints of mint, lavender, cardamom, and chamomile|
LiftMode makes the most economical CBD sleep oil on our list with a massive quantity (1500 milligrams) of the good stuff per bottle.
This formulation comes with a low dose of melatonin, which may help promote healthy sleep patterns, in addition to the cannabis terpenes (kind of like essential oils) myrcene, pinene, caryophyllene, and linalool.
Research on how terpenes influence the cannabis experience is still scant, but a theory called the entourage effect supposes that cannabinoids like CBD may work better alongside other cannabis plant compounds.
In addition to the accessible price, LiftMode’s formula is all-natural and contains no fillers or sugar.
6. Zatural CBD Softgels with Melatonin
|CBD per container||750 mg|
|CBD strength||25 mg/softgel|
If you’re not in love with the taste of tinctures (or you’ve already brushed your teeth), a CBD softgel for sleep could be the way to go.
These 25mg CBD softgels made by Zatural are sourced from organic, Colorado-grown hemp and feature an array of naturally-occurring cannabis terpenes — and no THC.
Price-wise, they’re in the middle of the field, though it’s worth noting that they aren’t vegan and contain a few added ingredients like glycerin and emulsifiers.
7. MedTerra Sleep Tight CBD Gummies
|CBD per container||750 mg|
|CBD strength||25 mg/gummy|
These vegan, strawberry-flavored gummies are made from CBD isolate, so they’re the safest bet if you need to avoid all THC. That means that the entourage effect isn’t in play for this particular formula, but MedTerra combines Kentucky-grown hemp with sleep aids like L-theanine, 5-HTP, lemon balm, and chamomile for an all-in-one deal.
Take a CBD sleep tincture 30 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime. Instead of just tossing it back, try holding the liquid under your tongue for a minute or 2 so that it starts absorbing through the soft tissues of your mouth.
You can jump in the tub with a CBD bath bomb during any part of your pre-bedtime ritual — and if you’re going the route of CBD gummies or softgels, 1 hour before bed should do the trick.
For best results, pair your CBD dose with good sleep hygiene like turning off electronics and keeping your bedroom a drama-free zone.
Everyone responds to CBD a little differently, so it may take some experimentation to find your ideal dose for sleep. Generally speaking, 10 milligrams of CBD is a good starting place for many adults — from there, you can slowly up your dose, if needed, until you get the desired results.
If you’re feeling groggy the day after taking a CBD product for sleep, you probably want to dial your dose back a bit.
It’s possible for CBD to interfere with the absorption of certain pharmaceuticals, like blood thinners, heart meds, and seizure drugs, among others. Check with your doctor before adding CBD to your routine.
Had a few restless nights? Turns out about one-third of American adults have insomnia and, according to a 2020 poll, 84 percent feel daytime sleepiness due to lack of sleep or low quality sleep. We recommend one of these seven CBD oils to get some quality sleep.