A big market for non-psychoactive cannabis has emerged with the recent new wave of interest in medical marijuana, based around the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD). The non-intoxicating and a non-psychotropic compound is a potent sedative and relaxant, which can be used to tackle sleeping issues, including insomnia. CBD functions in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates the sleep-wake cycle, and does not create the mental “high” cannabis is renowned for. Rather, CBD soothes the body, bringing about a body buzz that is conducive for sleep.
All about CBD
CBD has been noted for having neuroprotective properties for quite a while, with the Department of Health and Human Services being granted a patent in 2003 for the use of cannabinoids as neuroprotectants. Now that CBD is being embraced as a medicine, the spotlight is on qualities such as these.
While pharmaceutical companies are developing cannabinoid-like treatments using synthetic chemicals, the consensus among most cannabis scientists is that natural extracts are preferable. Naturally-derived CBD products can be purchased all over America, with hemp-based CBD oils, vape juices and edibles permitted, providing THC levels do not exceed 0.3 percent.
The ECS operates throughout the body, including in the brain, where CB1 receptors are expressed in high volumes – these receptors regulate mood, appetite and other variables. Cannabinoid receptors in the brain are perhaps best accessed by vaping CBD, as this ensures cannabinoids become active in the body, pass through the blood-brain barrier and start regulating the ECS, all in just minutes.
Using CBD to treat insomnia
Insomnia is a debilitating sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Incomparable to the occasional bad night, effective remedies for the condition have been hard to come by, with sleeping pills typically causing side effects. The body requires deep sleep to heal body tissue and cleanse the brain from proteins and beta-amyloid plaques which accelerate neurodegeneration.
While many insomnia patients have persisted with pharmaceutical drugs, others are looking to the alternative health scene and the potential of medical cannabis to find natural relief and escape the side effects. Studies have found that natural treatments are not as addictive, but the science is less conclusive on their benefits. It’s possible that the placebo effect may enhance their perceived therapeutic value.
Ultimately, there are few risks to trying CBD for insomnia, especially if other treatments have failed. The World Health Organization considers CBD to be non-addictive, with no abuse potential.
Increase sleep by reducing anxiety
There is often a root cause of insomnia, and many who suffer from the sleep-preventing condition also experience increased levels of stress and anxiety. These make it hard to calm the mind down at night, as thoughts churn for hours. For those who have a lot on their mind but a hectic life, bedtime is one of the few occasions where the brain has a chance to think. Unfortunately, this is the period where sleep is needed, and the inability to sleep tends to exacerbate stress.
However, by promoting the soothing neurotransmitter GABA and reducing cortisol levels, CBD naturally combats both stress and anxiety, putting the mind in a good place to sleep. And since there is no risk of addiction when using CBD for sleep, there are no lingering worries about getting dependent.
Physical pain can make it hard to get to sleep and to stay asleep, with the pain signals never switching off. Missing out on sleep each night just contributes to increased fatigue, making daytime functioning tough. The chain reaction of adverse effects that come from a lack of sleep means it’s even more important to get on top with.
As the ECS regulates pain perception and the sleep-wake cycle, it’s ideal for patients who cannot sleep due to chronic pain. If it’s falling asleep that’s the biggest issue, then a potent dose of CBD vape oil should suffice. However, for those who find themselves waking up during the night, CBD gummy bears or CBD capsules provide longer lasting relief.
Combat sleep apnea
The inability to stay asleep is something that sleep-apnea patients are all too aware of. The condition causes unregulated and interrupted breathing – this can occur hundreds of times a night. Sleep apnea happens due to softening tissue which blocks the airways. The disorder poses a serious health risk as it reduces the amount of oxygen received by the brain and the rest of the body. Sleep apnea causes severe fatigue, the effects of which are still apparent even on nights where the condition is less problematic.
Many more studies on CBD and sleep apnea are required, however, research does suggest that large doses of the cannabinoid are effective against the illness.
Treat depression, and improve sleep
High stress and anxiety can culminate with depression, which is also a burden for sleep. And as the reduced sleep from all of these issues leads to fatigue, the effect that has on quality of life can amplify these mental problems. It’s a vicious cycle that’s incredibly hard to snap out of.
In recent years, researchers have found that brain inflammation is behind depression to some extent, which causes the hippocampus to shrink. Medical experts have identified the CB1 receptor in the ECS and the 5-HT1A receptor in the serotonin system as targets for future anxiety and depression drugs. CBD is known to elevate levels of anandamide, an endogenous antidepressant.
By alleviating the worst of depression and giving the mind brief respite from negative thought patterns, the brain and body can shut down and get much-needed rest. Over time, this reduces fatigue and improves quality of life, turning the vicious cycle into a more pleasant one.
Give CBD for sleep a try
If you are having trouble sleeping, then it’s definitely worth experimenting with CBD vape oil and e-liquid, and the other CBD products now available. You may find that regulating the endocannabinoid system, a network hidden to scientists until the 1990s is key to solving the problems – be they psychological or physical – that are affecting your sleep.