Sleep is hard. Just ask the 50–70 million American adults struggling with insomnia. And for those millions of Americans, there’s a $28 billion sleep market producing a massive list of products to help us sleep—from over-the-counter and prescription drugs to smartphone apps intended to guide you into a restful night of sleep to specialty bed pillows.
But for many, these solutions simply don’t work or they carry serious side effects—like physical addiction or personality changes—that aren’t worth the insomnia relief. Luckily, there’s hope for treating sleep disorders like insomnia with a natural plant compound: cannabidiol (CBD).
In one of the largest studies ever conducted on CBD usage, HelloMD and Brightfield Group found that 60% of the 2,400 CBD participants used CBD to successfully treat insomnia or other sleep problems.
The willingness to try a natural alternative for easing insomnia is apparent. It seems that the lack of resources on how to dose and take CBD could be keeping even more people from trying it. The Mayo Clinic suggests 50–160 mg of CBD orally for sleep disorders. But with so many CBD products on the market these days, it can be overwhelming to decide which is best for you. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of four different ways to beat insomnia with CBD.
CBD concentrates are highly potent extracts derived from hemp or cannabis plants and refined until they’re at their most potent. You can purchase CBD concentrates in many forms, but the most convenient come in cartridges that can be plugged into vaporizers for easy inhalation.
These concentrates are able to deliver immediate results, something that other oral CBD options can’t offer (more on that later). On the other hand, the effects fade much faster than say, CBD edibles.
CBD vaporizers are a good option for people who have a hard time falling asleep, but can usually stay asleep once they do. Vaporizing CBD while reading a book before bedtime can immediately relax your body and mind, helping you fall asleep easier.
There are also anecdotal stories of success inhaling a small amount of CBD concentrate through the day to help with sleep later that night. Research shows that in small doses, CBD can actually promote wakefulness rather than sedation. This can help a person with insomnia stay awake during the day, making them more tired at night and keeping a normal sleep cycle intact.
CBD tinctures are one of the most popular ways to consume this plant compound. Like concentrates, tinctures—or oils—are very potent, but they’re extremely easy to use. They’re designed to be taken sublingually—under the tongue.
There are two things about CBD tinctures that people find convenient, accessible and effective:
It’s important to note that tinctures are most effective when they’re held under the tongue for at least 60 seconds before swallowing. This allows the blood vessels under the tongue to absorb the oil and bypass first-pass metabolism. That’s when a medication is first metabolized by the liver, making it less potent.
Edibles are another easy way to ingest CBD before bed. CBD edibles are good for those who may not be into the flavor of tinctures or don’t want to inhale a concentrate and would prefer the CBD to be baked into a delicious treat. Edibles are made with CBD extract, so they’re potent with lasting effects.
Taking a CBD-rich edible before bed can provide you with prolonged effects as you sleep. But because of how they work, you’ll need to ingest an edible at least 40 minutes to an hour before bed. You can start adding a cannabis edible to your bedtime routine, ensuring you don’t wait until it’s too late.
Take the CBD edible, brew yourself a cup of sleepy-time tea, put the kids to bed and do your bathroom routine. By the time you’re sinking into bed with a good book, the edible should start kicking in.
CBD capsules are exactly what they sound like: CBD extract inside of a pill-like capsule, just like any other gel capsule you find at the pharmacy.
CBD capsules have many advantages that make them a perfect consumption method for CBD newbies, such as:
Like edibles, capsules can take a long time to kick in, because you have to digest them. But on the other hand, they also have long-lasting effects. So, for those suffering from extreme insomnia, waking up multiple times throughout the night after successfully falling asleep, CBD capsules may be the best option for relief throughout the entire night.
If you want to try CBD capsules, set a daily reminder at least two hours before your normal bedtime to prompt you to take your capsules.
Not everyone feels the benefits of CBD immediately, but only begin to really feel its effects with daily doses of the cannabinoid after some time. So, if you’re thinking about trying CBD, be sure you can commit to at least one full month of daily doses before forming an opinion on its effectiveness.
It’s also vitally important to buy CBD products from companies you trust. This is especially true for hemp-derived CBD products, because the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate them very closely.
So, make sure that your CBD comes from a company that only sources its hemp from the U.S. or Europe, uses safe extraction techniques and lab tests all of its products.
Photo credit: Ruby Schmank