Sleep disorders and anxiety are often the result of chronic or acute stress, and frequently leads to an impaired ability to cope with additional stress, resulting in a vicious cycle. We often try to remedy this by adding caffeine and sugar to our diet, which makes things worse. Here’s how CBD helps with sleep issues and anxiety.
Chronic stress frequently results in health challenges, especially to our sleep, focus and anxiety. Our current human physiology is based on millennia of experience with acute and chronic stressors. When we become startled, the body produces adrenaline, to help us “fight or flee”. Historically, acute stressors we experience are over relatively quickly. In a modern society, stress can be prolonged due to relationships, occupation, poor diet, or any myriad of events associated with modern life. The problem here is that our brain accepts chronic stress as the new normal. Our brain tries to maintain a high adrenaline level, causing our fight or flight mechanisms to dominate, not only in the moment but also when we’re trying to sleep or relax.
Chronic stress leads to overburdened stress adaptation mechanisms, reducing our ability to function normally. Sometimes, we refer to this state as being “burned out”. It is during the state of being burned out that we can become chronically anxious, develop poor sleep habits and lose our ability to focus.
CBD versus Medication For Sleep Issues and Anxiety
How CBD helps with sleep issues and anxiety is through its potentially ability to modulate receptors in the brain that improve response to serotonin (1). What this means to you, is that using CBD for sleep issues and anxiety seems to up-regulate that part of the nervous system that helps control sleep, anxiety, digestion and healing. Unlike drugs which alter body chemistry, CBD seems to balance the nerve system, allowing normal function to dominate. So, that may explain why drugs have adverse effects and CBD does not.
Additionally, drugs designed to help reduce anxiety and increase sleep, actually do not solve the physiological reasons for these maladies, rather they change the brain and nerve system’s chemistry. This is why adverse effects are associated with drugs. CBD by comparison, does not appear to cover up symptoms, rather, it modulates the nervous system, resulting in a ‘balancing’ effect.
CBD and THC Have Different Effects
It is important to understand the difference between CBD and THC, another component of cannabis, which can actually increase anxiety in some people. Therefore, studies on CBD effectiveness for anxiety, do not usually include a component of THC. If you have anxiety disorder, it would be wise to avoid THC in any product you try. THC’s effect on sleep disorders are not well studied, so discuss with your health care practitioner whether to use CBD with THC for sleep improvement.
CBD Dosage for Sleep and Anxiety
The best way CBD helps with sleep issues and anxiety is starting with an effective starting point of 25 mg CBD sublingual spray at bedtime, and 6 mg to 12 mg of CBD during the day, as needed for sleep and/or anxiety. A gradual increase in sleep quality and quantity and a decrease in anxiety may eventually require less dosage. Some find they need a higher dose at first, and will decrease as they find improvement.
CBD Oils versus Tinctures
Some research finds that CBD oils are not well absorbed when ingested. The best results are from CBD oral spray tinctures and ‘Vape’ products. Please note, always seek advice from a knowledgeable health care professional when using CBD for sleep issues and anxiety, or any other ailment. The goal should be to use CBD as a low risk temporary solution, while working to reduce life stresses, through lifestyle and diet changes.
- Perm J. 2016 Fall; 20(4): 108–111. Published online 2016 Oct 12. doi: 10.7812/TPP/16-005 PMCID: PMC5101100
- PMID: 27768570
Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case ReportScott Shannon, MD, ABIHM