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With CBD expressing potent relaxing and sedating properties, many are turning to the non-psychoactive cannabis component to help with sleeping problems and insomnia. The cannabinoid is one of over 110 found in cannabis and occasionally other plants. The interactions CBD makes with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is not conducive to bringing about a “high” – in fact, the anti-psychotic properties of the compound would mitigate any psychoactive effects.

Understanding CBD

Several studies have looked at CBD’s effectiveness as a neuroprotectant, and CBD oil is already being used to treat intractable epilepsy. Chemotherapy patients, meanwhile, often take CBD for pain management purposes and to suppress nauseous symptoms.

Cannabis researchers agree that CBD extracted naturally from cannabis and hemp plants is preferable to synthetically-manufactured cannabinoids by pharmaceutical companies. As a non-psychoactive substance, CBD is not banned by the federal government like THC is, with the 2014 Farm Bill making a crucial exception for hemp-derived extracts with low concentrations of THC.

With cannabinoid receptors from the ECS located in some of the body’s most important regions – the brain, central nervous system and skin to name three – CBD has emerged as a treatment for an array of ailments. The industry has come up with a diverse range of CBD products to promote efficient targeting of cannabinoid receptors. For example, vaping CBD e-liquid is a good way to get CBD to the brain rapidly to calm anxiety, while CBD topicals are an effective treatment for inflammation of the skin.

CBD for insomnia

There is a difference between having a restless night now and again and suffering from a full-blown sleep disorder like insomnia – unfortunately, there are few effective and harmless treatments for such conditions.

A clear divide exists among insomnia patients between pharmaceutical and plant-based option. Sleeping tablets are popular but can cause side effects and addiction. The scientific evidence on natural solutions is sketchier but are typically less addictive – the power of placebo shouldn’t be underestimated, either.

However, CBD may offer the best of both: genuine relief from chronic insomnia without the benefits. Let’s consider the main advantages of CBD for sleep.

Manage sleep-preventing anxiety

Insomnia rarely just emerges on its own – there is usually an underlying cause. Anxiety and stress can make it hard to switch off at night, as unhelpful thoughts swamp the brain. This usually happens because the brain doesn’t have time to think so much during the day for those living busy lifestyles, but when the chance comes to rest, the mind is unable to shut down. Then, a negative cycle of stressful thinking begins.

But as a potent anxiolytic and stress-relieving cannabinoid, CBD allows the brain to relax naturally. A calmer and more restful mind makes it easier to drift off to sleep. Furthermore, unlike with sleeping pills, there’s no additional mental baggage of becoming dependent on them.

Treat sleep apnea with CBD

For some, it’s not falling asleep that’s the issue, but staying asleep. Sleep apnea is a very frustrating disorder that causes a person to awaken due to erratic and interrupted breathing, due to a blockage in the airways from softening tissue. Apnea can strike every few minutes, and those with the condition tend to find themselves fatigued the following day even if they’ve had a comparatively good night’s sleep.

Research on CBD and sleep apnea is scant, however the studies that are available show the cannabis derivative effect. The higher the dose the more effective the treatment, according to a 2013 study.

CBD relieves pain, making sleeping easier

Anyone who’s had a painful injury will know that getting to sleep can be incredibly difficult. The nervous system is constantly in communication with the brain, and these pain signals make sleeping all but impossible.  Not being able to fall asleep stops the body from healing each night in deep sleep, the most important phase of sleep – this has a compounding effect, causing fatigues and even increasing the risk of neurodegeneration.

However, the ECS is known to regulate pain sensitivity through a variety of mechanisms and administering CBD can help the ECS to deal with excess levels of pain. Less pain means more sleep. While vaping is usually recommended for chronic pain, CBD edibles may be preferable in this scenario, as the relief needs to last all night.

Manage depression with CBD

A person under severe emotional stress may also be experiencing depression, from which sleeping problems may arise. Moreover, the fatigue caused by a lack of sleep can affect quality of life and increase irritability and agitation. This only worsens when despite all this, sleeping still doesn’t become any easier.

Scientists’ understanding of depression is steadily improving, and we now know that chemical imbalance and brain inflammation is at the root of the mood disorder. CBD may treat this imbalance by redirecting anandamide – an antidepressant endocannabinoid – to the brain, and by interacting with the 5-HT1A receptor in the serotonin system, which influences mood.

Even if the depression relief is just for a few hours, this can make all the difference when it comes to sleep. And by enhancing the quality and duration of sleep, fatigue slowly starts to ebb away.

Combat restless leg syndrome with CBD

The mind is calm, the body is relaxed – all except for the legs. Unfortunately, restless leg syndrome (RLS) is common and debilitating, with researchers yet to come up with a cause or cure. The inability to keep the legs still brings about significant discomfort, with a knock-on effect of agitation as the minutes and hours tick by.

Those studying RLS mostly believe that the condition is related to the central nervous system, and if so, this explains why CBD could be beneficial. No studies have focussed specifically on CBD and RLS, although there are anecdotes of people managing their symptoms with the non-intoxicating treatment.

If the central nervous system does hold the key, it’s likely that the stifling of pain receptors and prostaglandin biosynthesis is what eases the restlessness. Less discomfort means the desire to move the legs diminishes.