If you struggle with insomnia and have problems sleeping at night, you might have considered turning to CBD oil for help. Cannabidoil (more commonly known as CBD) has a number of known health benefits, including easing symptoms of anxiety, pain and stress. But is CBD oil an effective treatment for insomnia or will it keep you awake?
We speak to Healthspan Medical Director Dr Sarah Brewer about using CBD oil as a natural sleep remedy:
Can CBD oil help you sleep?
While there’s still more scientific research to be done, preliminary studies have been in favour of CBD oil as an effective natural remedy for insomnia sufferers, thanks to the way it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
‘Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular treatment for insomnia, and promotes refreshing REM sleep to reduced excessive daytime sleepiness,’ says Dr Brewer. ‘CBD is proven to be particularly helpful for sleep disorders in people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.’
‘A recent review of preliminary research found that cannabidiol (CBD) may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of insomnia and may hold promise for REM sleep behaviour disorder,’ Dr Brewer adds.
How does CBD oil work?
While you might associate cannabis with feeling relaxed and sleepy, using CBD oil to treat sleep disorders is slightly more complex than simply making you feel drowsy. Ironically, CBD oil can make you feel more alert. So how does it work as a treatment for sleep disorders?
‘It is particularly helpful for people whose sleep problems are due to anxiety,’ explains Dr Brewer. ‘A recent review of 72 adults with anxiety or poor sleep found that anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 79.2 per cent and remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores also improved within the first month in 66.7 per cent and it was well tolerated.’
Similarly, one of the other major factors associated with insomnia is stress, but research has shown that CBD oil can improve your stress response, which can in turn help you to relax.
‘Anecdotally, ever since I started taking CBD at night I have enjoyed really deep sleep and also feel more relaxed,’ says Dr Brewer.
Does CBD oil have any health risks?
A World Health Organization report issued in 2017 concluded that cannabidiol does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm, but always proceed with caution.
‘CBD interacts with liver enzymes involved in breaking down many prescribed medicines,’ explains Dr Brewer. ‘This can slow the way some drugs are metabolised, so their blood levels rise, which may lead to side-effects. If you are taking any prescribed medicines, it’s important to check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking CBD.’
While the majority of CBD oil users don’t experience any negative effects, there are possible side effects. These can include dry mouth or drowsiness.
If you’re taking other medication for anxiety or any other condition, CBD oil could interact with common prescription medications, so it is important that you consult with your GP before you try it.