Research into the use of CBD for sleeping disorders is ongoing, with several papers published in the past decade or so. In some of older research, the results of CBD’s effects on sleep vary with the experimental conditions and whether the cannabinoid is used separately or with medical marijuana containing THC.
In 2007 long-term clinical research of cannabis-based medicine Sativex found that 40-50% of the participants were able to improve their quality of sleep. Sativex contains CBD and THC in equal ratios. Researchers also noted that CBD had a mild activating effect.
A 2006 study, involving rats as the subjects, found that when given with lights turned on, CBD increases wakefulness, and when given in the dark, the cannabinoid does not affect sleep. Another older study shows that CBD presumably activates neurons in the wake-inducing brain areas of lateral hypothalamus (LH) and dorsal raphe nuclei (DRN).
These studies seem to suggest that CBD oil could be useful in treating people who have excessive somnolence (daytime sleepiness) without inducing any psychoactive effects.
Recent Research on CBD’s Effects on Sleep
A 2018 study found that CBD does not have any acute effects on the sleep-wake cycle of healthy people. The study participants were given 300 milrams of oral CBD or a placebo. Researchers also measured the subjective and cognitive abilities of the participants during each visit. There wasn’t any significant difference between sleep cycles of patients when they used CBD or the placebo. Similarly, the cognitive and subjective results were also about the same in both cases.
But another study published last year involving 409 insomnia patients concluded that the use of medical cannabis flower improved perceived insomnia. Researchers found that CBD provided significant symptom relief as opposed to THC. They also noted that hybrid and C. indica strains appear to have fewer side effects when compared to sativa strains.
There are many accounts of people using CBD to successfully help them fall asleep. This may be because of how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system. Proponents of CBD products frequently remark on the remarkable health benefits it offers. Its use as a treatment for chronic pain and as an anti-anxiety remedy may account for why users say it gives them a better night’s sleep.