There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning at night, mentally going over your to-do list (again), and feeling your anxiety mounting at the thought of waking up exhausted from another night of poor rest.
According to Statistics Canada, over 2.8 million Canadians struggle with anxiety [*], which is one of the leading causes of insomnia [*]. Not only can poor sleep cause fatigue, decreased productivity, and poor concentration, it can also impact mental health, making it a major concern for our overall well being [*].
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is defined as “dissatisfaction with sleep and difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep, along with substantial distress and impairments of daytime functioning” [*]. According to the Sleep Foundation, insomnia can create mood changes, hormonal shifts, and even psychiatric issues [*]. With stress and anxiety as a leading factor of poor sleep, there can be many other causes, including chronic pain, gastrointestinal issues, arthritis, asthma, neurological conditions, endocrine problems, and depression [*].
Luckily, research supports the use of CBD to help to mitigate sleep issues and support better rest [*]. In a test using animal models, researchers determined that there was an increase in sleep quality once they’ve taken a mid to high dose of CBD [*]. It may help those suffering from sleep problems in two ways: by helping to regulate the nervous system and by helping to maintain homeostasis.
What is CBD?
Here’s how CBD may help relieve insomnia and help to improve your sleep quality:
CBD can help to relax the nervous system
When people experience anxiety, they are in the sympathetic state of the autonomic nervous system [*]. In other words, they’re experiencing a ‘fight or flight’ response where the body is preparing for emergency and either notices a need for defence or a need to provide energy [*]. Research shows that CBD may have a calming effect on the central nervous system [*], which includes nerves in the brain and spinal cord [*]. According to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing, “CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep” [*]. This may be because it can activate serotonin receptors, which are neurotransmitters that increase feelings of happiness and wellbeing [*], or it may be because CBD binds to cannabinoid receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system which helps to address imbalances that may be attributed to a heightened nervous system [*].
CBD can help to maintain homeostasis
CBD aids the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) in maintaining homeostasis, meaning it helps to regulate balanced physiological responses [*]. The endocannabinoid system is particularly involved in the regulation of the circadian sleep-wake cycle, as well as in the promotion of quality sleep. Researchers have even gone as far as hypothesizing that the ECS “serves as the link between circadian regulation systems and the behavioral and physiological processes that are affected, including sleep” [*]. However, it’s important that medical cannabis patients start low and go slow to encourage the body to find balance [*]. A recent study stated that cannabis users “may find themselves in a vicious cycle of using cannabis to manage sleep, habituating to the effects, and using more cannabis in order to obtain the desired impact, resulting in problematic patterns of use. Second, sleep disturbances are the hallmark of cannabis withdrawal and may serve to maintain use and predict relapse” [*].
How to consume CBD
You can consume CBD in a number of ways. With dried flower, you can smoke or vaporize it. With CBD tinctures, you can add it to your favourite recipes or ingest it sublingually, meaning under your tongue. Some of our products that contain a high dose of CBD include Sweet Dreams dried flower, pre-rolls, and glass taster, as well as Treasure Island CBD Tincture and High CBD Tincture.
Additionally, sleep quality may improve with the consumption of cannabis products that offer a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC [*]. Research shows that taking products that combine CBD and THC in even amounts may help to promote calmness, thus helping to potentially alleviate insomnia [*]. It’s important to remember to start low and go slow when consuming cannabis products, and know that effects will vary between patients depending on each person’s physiology [*].