Leaf411 and SWEET JANE are teaming up to bring answers to your cannabis health questions
Question: I have heard that cannabis and CBD can help you sleep better. Is this true? How does it work and where should I start?
Answer: Yes it is true! Determining the best way to use cannabis and CBD – which can be derived from hemp or cannabis – for sleep depends on whether you have a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. It is also important to determine the root cause of the sleep disturbances. CBD works in your body by creating homeostasis, which simply means creating balance. Say, for example, your body is in an excitatory state (think anxiety), it can help calm your system and bring it back into a more balanced state. CBD has shown to have many different medicinal properties, and one of its benefits that can help with encouraging a good night’s sleep is treating inflammation. For example, if you tend to wake up during the night due to a pain condition, research shows CBD can help reduce some of the inflammation that may be contributing to your pain. Higher levels of THC can be found in cannabis and research suggests that it can be helpful for falling and staying asleep as well.
THC and CBD can be used for those who have trouble falling asleep and those that have trouble staying asleep. If someone has trouble falling asleep but once they’re down they stay asleep, we have seen success with fast-acting products. This may include an inhaled flower via vaporization or one of the many edible, tincture or capsule products that boast a quick onset. For those who are able to fall asleep quickly but wake up too soon, we have seen success with a long-lasting edible product. This includes gummies, capsules, oils, etc. These type products typically can take 1 to 2 hours to take effect and will stay in your system for about 5-6 hours.
It is important to note that CBD at low doses (typically less than 20mg) can actually be stimulating for some people, meaning, it can keep you awake rather than help you sleep. When you read of someone getting great sleep due to their CBD and they are taking lower doses (around 30mg or less), a reason their sleep has improved is typically because they’ve just treated a symptom that was keeping them awake, like pain or anxiety. CBD on its own can be very sedating when you take higher doses (typically around 50mg or more) so this is why we educate callers that timing is super important as most people want to ensure they aren’t groggy or feeling sedated in the morning. THC can also have biphasic effects just like CBD. In higher doses, THC is more likely to keep someone awake. It can be stimulating at higher doses and may prevent a good night’s rest. Determining the dosage is one of the bigger challenges of CBD and THC and, in some cases, people find a combination of THC and CBD works best for them.
Timing of the product is important to ensure success. If you are having a hard time falling asleep, consider taking the product one or more hours before going to bed. In the case that you are having a hard time staying asleep, consider taking the product right at bedtime to help keep you asleep longer.
At Leaf411, our team of nurses guide our callers to always start their first dose of a cannabis or CBD product as low as possible. This is typically about a quarter of the suggested serving size of an edible product (includes tinctures, oils, gummies, chocolate, etc), or one shallow inhalation. We explain that this very low dose most likely will not be the final dose nor will they feel any significant changes, but what this does is test your system to see how this plant works with your body’s chemistry
Timing of the product is important to ensure success. If you are having a hard time falling asleep, consider taking the product one or more hours before going to bed. In the case that you are having a hard time staying asleep, consider taking the product right at bedtime to help keep you asleep longer. If you have a hard time both falling and staying asleep, you can stack your doses to help with each.. It is also recommended to take a nice healthy fat either before or even at the same time you are taking that product. Cannabis is a fat soluble molecule so that means it loves fat. It will have a better chance of absorbing and hanging around your system if you eat some peanut butter, yogurt, cheese, avocado, etc.
Without large clinical trials to determine the right dose and route of administration, many people will still need to explore CBD products for sleep. Working with knowledgeable cannabis nurses can help reduce the amount of guesswork and time it takes to find the right regimen. If you are new to cannabis or CBD and have a medical condition that requires the use of medications, it is best to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before beginning any cannabis or CBD treatment.
Leaf411 is the first cannabis nurse hotline and guidance service. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Leaf411 was founded in 2019 with a mission to provide education and directional support to the general public about the safe and effective use of cannabis (marijuana and CBD hemp). With a combined total of over 45 years experience in nursing and 14 years in cannabis nursing, Leaf411's leadership team has assembled the knowledge and data to move the mission of tackling healthcare inequality forward. Together both Katherine Golden, RN/CEO/Executive Director and Founder of Leaf411 and Eloise Theisen, AGPCNP-BC, and Chief Nursing Officer of Leaf411, successfully guides the team of cannabis nurses who passionate about helping the community access balanced education about their cannabis use while also improving public perception of the cannabis industry. For more information visit leaf411.org or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.