5 Ways CBD Can Improve Sleep
CBD has been shown to help improve sleep and reduce sleep disturbances. While more clinical research is needed, preliminary findings and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD can be a powerful sleep aid. Here are five ways CBD can improve sleep:
1. Cannabinoids interact with GABA receptors + regulate circadian rhythms
Researchers have learned that the body's Endocannabinoid System (ECS) regulates many physical functions including circadian rhythms. Cannabinoids such as CBD attach to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS, affecting functions governed by these receptors, such as mood, appetite and sleep. According to Gretchen Lidicker, author of CBD Oil: Everyday Secrets, “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.”
2. Studies show that CBD can improve sleep quality
In a study published in the Permanente Journal, adults with poor sleep were given 25 mg of CBD in capsule form in the evening. Sleep scores improved in 66 percent of the participants, which indicated less trouble sleeping, though sleep scores fluctuated over time.
3. CBD improves REM sleep at high doses
A study on patients with Parkinson's disorder found that CBD improved REM sleep. During REM (Rapid Eye Movement sleep), the body is mostly paralyzed to prevent it acting out things that occur in dreams, which is important for the safety of the sleeper. REM sleep may be linked to the ability to learn new things and solve problems during waking hours.
According to Leafly, "Low-dose CBD formulations seem to keep people awake and not alter the sleep cycle. However, this may one day prove beneficial for circadian rhythm disorders like excessive daytime sleepiness and narcolepsy because they may help people stay awake during daylight hours."
4. CBD can reduce anxiety + pain that interfere with sleep
CBD is well-known to reduce anxiety and pain, which can interfere significantly with sleep. Because CBD interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain, it can decrease both mental and physical symptoms of anxiety. CBD is currently being researched for its potential benefits in the treatment of bipolar disorder, social anxiety and schizophrenia. In addition, the Endocannabinoid System plays a role in regulating pain perception, and is used in the treatment of a wide variety of difficult-to-treat conditions including migraine headaches, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
5. High-CBD hemp contains the terpene myrcene, which supports relaxation
Nearly all strains of hemp that contain high levels of CBD also contain high levels of the terpene myrcene. Commonly found in mangoes, thyme and hops, myrcene is believed to have have a sedative, relaxing effect (while there is abundant anecdotal evidence, more research is needed into the effects of myrcene. Rodent studies indicate it is an effective muscle relaxant at high doses.) Terpenes like myrcene work synergistically with other compounds in hemp, such as CBD, resulting in the Entourage Effect. This means that the compounds work together, amplifying the effects more than if you were to take either compound in isolation.
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