When is the Best Time to Take CBD?
Here, on the frontlines of the CBD movement, we get asked this question all the time. Since CBD affects everyone differently, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Instead, let’s look at the main factors to consider when determining what time of day is best for you.
3 key factors that help determine when to take CBD
- Reasons for taking CBD
- Type of CBD product
Listen to Your Body
Before we explore these main factors, the recurring theme here is to listen to your body. What gets one person to sleep may help another maintain energy throughout the day. Why are there such massive discrepancies with the effects of CBD? Well, it’s complicated .
The Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) regulates many physical processes including pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immune function, and reproductive function. CBD acts upon the ECS on a molecular level. Given the complexity of this regulatory system, the potential effect that CBD can have on these processes is totally unique. When beginning your journey with CBD, choose a time of day when you can safely experiment.
For example, if you decide to try CBD for improving sleep, logic would dictate that taking it before bedtime would be most effective. However, some people may feel stimulated when they are trying to catch some z’s . To complicate matters even more, it is possible that when taking CBD in the morning it has a different effect than in the evening. All this leads back to the idea that you want to create enough space to safely experiment. For most of us, that often means the early evening when we are done with the demands of the workplace, and still hours before bedtime. Doing so should safeguard against any potential disruptions to your daily/nightly rhythms. After sufficient time, you will gain more insight into how CBD interacts with your body, and this will ultimately lead to an intake schedule that works best for you.
1. Reasons for taking CBD
People are using CBD for a variety of reasons. Stories range from treating specific symptoms like seizures and acne, to regulating moods, appetite, and more. What time of day you take CBD should largely be based on the reasons you are taking it in the first place. Back to our sleep example. Some of our customers simply take their daily dose before bed, while others take it during the day and find that having it in their system throughout the day helps improve their sleep behavior at night.
Food for thought: my acupuncturist prescribed Chinese herbs for me (they taste gross!) and said, “the best way to take these herbs is to take them.” Meaning, that despite their rancid taste and elaborate boiling protocol, I needed to take them. Similarly, despite our tincture’s great flavor, all the nuances we are discussing here are secondary to the main point: keep taking CBD!
CBD products often include a serving size or daily dose suggestion. However, here too it is important to experiment and find what works best for you. For instance, we recommend starting with 1ml of our regular strength tincture per day, and for some of our customers, this feels right.
Get Creative / mix it up:
- Split the recommended dosage: taking .5ml in the morning and .5ml in the evening allows the effects to be more evenly spread out through the day.
- Double the dose: for some, taking 1ml in the morning and another in the evening provides relief beyond the recommended dose.
For whom the bell curves?
For thee, of course! CBD has been shown to have a bell curve in regards to its effectiveness. This means that as you take more, its effectiveness will ramp up to a maximum efficiency rate before beginning to fall off as you reach saturation levels, resulting in wasted product. Think about your ECS as a gas tank. When you are pumping gas, eventually the pump will click off once the tank is full. You can try to keep squeezing the handle to put more in, but no more will fit. Once your tank is full, you need to put some miles in before it’s necessary to refuel.
Once you know how you react to CBD, play with dosage amounts and times. Think about when you need relief, and plan timing around that.
3. Product Choice
The type of product you are using is a strong consideration when deciding what time you should use CBD. Products like CBD Capsules will have more of a slow, gradual effect since they must be processed through your digestive system. Conversely, a CBD vape will have more immediate effects as vaporizing is one of the most bioavailable ways to consume CBD. Let’s look at the different ingestion methods and how to think ahead for timing your dose.
Think about what you are up against, and how a slow fuse product will interact with it. Do you have anxiety during daytime hours? You will probably want to take CBD capsules in the morning so they can slowly begin working as you go about your day. Do you have trouble sleeping through the night? You will want to take CBD Capsules before dinner, so your body has time to process them before bed.
Full Spectrum Hemp Softgels
Original CBD Tincture
Often called CBD Oil, tincture is taken sublingually and absorbed into glands under your tongue. This will yield a faster result since the tincture will enter your bloodstream more directly than swallowing. Because tincture takes time to work its way through your system, it is much easier to dial in for timing. We recommend 1ml of tincture per day to start with. Most consumers choose to take their daily dose of tincture in the morning so they have CBD pumping through their veins throughout the day. If you find that any results you are experiencing wear off quickly, you may want to double up and take a dose in the evening as well.
What time of day to take CBD varies from person to person, but keep these factors in mind if you’re just getting started with CBD.
Can CBD Really Help You Sleep Better?
Nothing makes me more jealous than hearing people talk about sleep. I’ve struggled with sleep for as long as I can remember, and I’ve tried just about everything to get more of it: Regular exercise, meditation, solid sleep hygiene, melatonin and magnesium, to name a few.
Some of it has certainly helped, but only for certain periods of time when I didn’t have much on my mind. As soon as I found something to worry about, all hope was lost. That no-tech-before-bedtime rule plus a melatonin tablet didn’t get me anywhere fast.
Perplexed doctors eventually gave me a prescription for Klonopin, a medication many clinicians assign to patients for anxiety. While it helped me fall asleep, I spent the entire next day feeling like a slightly nauseous zombie. I felt equally as terrible as I did after a night of poor sleep, so I decided it wasn’t worth it.
That’s precisely why I was intrigued when I started hearing about CBD, or cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive compound found in the cannabis or hemp plant that apparently helps with sleep and anxiety. I didn’t exactly get my hopes up ― after all, tons of natural remedies that worked for other people hadn’t worked for me ― but I figured it was worth a shot.
Putting CBD To The Test
CBD can be taken in a few ways. Oil is probably the most popular, but it can also be taken in capsule form, or even as a chocolate or gummy. After a week of taking CBD in oil form every night, it was clear I’d stumbled across something kind of remarkable. I often slept well the first few nights of trying something new before it stopped working its magic, which I partially attribute to the placebo effect. With CBD, however, the good nights of sleep kept on coming.
My racing thoughts seemed to come to a screeching halt within an hour of taking it, and when I got into bed I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Even better, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. And this isn’t unusual: As Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and board-certified sleep specialist, explained in a 2017 HuffPost article, there’s a good chunk of research to suggest that CBD can be beneficial for rest. Research shows CBD may increase overall sleep amounts and reduce insomnia. CBD has also been shown to improve sleep in people who suffer from chronic pain.
Gretchen Lidicker, author of CBD Oil: Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide To Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness, said that while studying CBD is extremely difficult because of the legal issues still surrounding cannabis and marijuana, there has been research that indicates CBD can be a helpful antidote to anxiety and insomnia.
“These studies mainly point to CBD’s ability to interact with . serotonin receptors and GABA receptors in the brain,” she explained. “Serotonin plays an important role in mood and anxiety, and GABA is known as the main ‘inhibitory’ neurotransmitter, meaning it calms excess activity in the brain and promotes relaxation. GABA receptors are the target of benzodiazepines, which are a class of anti-anxiety drugs.”
Lidicker noted that one study on humans, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, showed that CBD was able to help with public speaking-induced anxiety. She also pointed to a clinical trial that started in August at a hospital in Massachusetts, in which researchers are administering 10 mg of CBD three times a day for a month to test its effects on patients with anxiety.
“Hopefully we’ll know more and more as clinical trials like this are conducted,” Lidicker said.
And how does CBD compare to other sleep supplements like melatonin? Lidicker explained that while she thinks melatonin is great, it has a different impact on the brain and body.
“CBD appears to help with sleep because of its anti-anxiety properties and ability to promote relaxation,” she said, noting that melatonin directly signals to the body that it’s evening and time to go to sleep by raising the naturally occurring levels of melatonin already in the body.
That explained why melatonin made me sleepy and helped with jet lag, but didn’t to help with the underlying anxiety that was causing my insomnia in the first place.
Can You Use Too Much CBD?
Everyone’s body is different, and Lidicker said that for some people, CBD might actually energize them.
“In that case, it could keep them up at night,” she said. “This interpersonal variation is a common theme with cannabis-derived therapies, because the way you react to cannabis is highly individualized.”
Lidicker added that people’s responses have a lot to do with how they personally process the product, and how cannabinoid receptors are distributed throughout the body. This is why it’s also difficult to standardize dosing recommendations for CBD. I was administering 0.5 ml of CBD oil under the tongue about half an hour before bed every night (that was the amount recommended on the bottle), but it’s worth noting that the concentration of cannabidiol may vary by product and that some people require more or less to feel the effects.
And what happens if you use it regularly? Lidicker said that while there’s still not enough published research available on CBD, there’s very little reason to believe people develop a resistance to CBD over time, which was my main fear.
That being said, it isn’t perfect: Some people do experience negative side effects like irritability, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Experts say that caution is key when it comes to using CBD until more definitive studies are able to be conducted.
So, is CBD the miracle sleep supplement it appears to be? There may not be enough scientific data yet to say for sure, and it obviously depends on the person. But I certainly hope so ― because I’m not willing to give up these blissful eight-hour nights and energy-filled days I’m experiencing anytime soon.
Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify the amount of CBD oil the author was taking per dose.
Breaking down what the product does for insomnia.