Medical cannabis and its ability to reduce stress & anxiety
It’s no secret that insomnia is widespread, affecting an estimated 40 million Americans. Many of them continue to seek new ways to overcome the condition and enjoy a good night’s sleep again. The latest option is CBD oil, a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Many states have updated their laws to allow legal sales of medical cannabis to improve health.
For those who struggle with the fatigue, irritability and lethargy that comes with insomnia, CBD oil represents a new solution for a frustrating (and sometimes debilitating) condition. Though sleeping pills (both prescription and over the counter) are widely available, they have potentially negative side effects, from addiction to daytime drowsiness. For many people, the risks of sleeping pills outweigh the benefits and a non-narcotic option is an attractive alternative.
How does CBD oil for sleep work?
CBD oil itself does not cause sleepiness. Its claim to fame is its ability to reduce anxiety and create sense of calm. Those are important factors that help prepare your body for sleep.
“The root cause of insomnia is often stress and not a disease or genetic disorder,” says Mike Robinson, founder, Global Cannabinoid Research Center and in Santa Barbara, Calif. “For this reason, CBD is very useful to many people to combat sleeplessness by attacking what’s causing it – stress. Cannabidiol’s ability to reduce anxiety is well noted among multitudes of studies which is why many find they have a good night’s sleep when using it.”
On a biological level, CBD oil works to calm, reduce pain and inflammation by interacting with many different brain receptors, proteins and chemicals. Those biological interactions alter how neurotransmitters, hormones, and other cells throughout the brain and body behave.How do you use CBD oil for sleep?
There are three main ways CBD oil can be used to help you sleep better – orally, topical application or as an inhalant. Some people don’t mind the taste of the oil, which has been described as grassy, earthy and nutty. If that’s the case for you, put a few drops under your tongue to allow the compound to be absorbed by the capillaries in the mucous membranes before reaching the blood stream. The flavor can be masked in a glass of water or juice or a teaspoon of olive oil or butter. CBD-infused flavored edibles are also available.
If you’re using CBD oil to address aches and pain, then applying it in cream form may be your preferred choice. There are even products like CBD soap and shampoo if you prefer a relaxing shower or bath before sleep.
It can also be inhaled using a special vaporizer, but as this method allows the effects of the oil to be felt more quickly, it’s not suggested for new users.
For first-timers, the oral method is a convenient and effective option. As Robinson points out: “When using CBD oil for sleep, it’s best if smaller doses are taken twice. One right after dinner and the other approximately 45 minutes before bed. Splitting the CBD dose in half in that manner generally will allow the user to gain the most from that single cannabinoid. The cardinal rule when medicating or using cannabis and its extracts is a simple one: You can always add to a dose, but you can never take away.”
For dosage recommendations, talk to a healthcare provider or a dispensary professional.
What the future holds for medical CBD oil
With more resources and money being invested in cannabis research, researchers are finding that CBD can also help with the growth of new brain cells, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In the future, there’s potential for CBD to be used to tackle a number of conditions, such as depression, seizures and autoimmune diseases.
But we need to know more. “Studies that specifically looked at the effects of CBD on sleep in healthy patients are rare,” says Winston Peki, a cannabis and CBD expert, and founder of Herbonaut.com, a site that offers science-based research and reviews. He notes that most research to date, studied the effects of CBD on sleep either patients with pre-existing conditions like PTSD or Parkinson’s Disease, or looked at the effects of formulations with both CBD and THC.
True or false? Test your knowledge of CBD oil
There is plenty of information available about medical cannabis and CBD oil, but confusion persists among consumers. How well do you know the facts about CBD oil?
- Using CBD oil will cause a psychoactive or mind-altering response. FALSE. CBD oil does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical compound that creates a “high.”
- To use CBD, it’s not necessary to smoke it. TRUE. It comes in a number of forms, including sprays, tinctures, sprays or pills. Drops of the oil can be added to water and taken orally to take advantage of its sleep-friendly benefits.
- CBD is effective for pain relief. TRUE. That property may help some people feel more comfortable and more able to fall asleep.
- The effectiveness of CBD oil on sleep is well documented with a wealth of scientific data. FALSE. Studies on healthy patients have been scarce, but likely this will change given the changes in the law and wider availability.
To find out whether CBD oil is right for your sleep needs, consult your healthcare provider.