The Benefits of CBD for Better Sleep and More
CBD, Insomnia, and Other Sleep Disturbances
Insomnia affects nearly every human being on the planet, at one time in their lives or another. Sleep disturbances are the most common health problem in America. According to a recent report at the health consumer website, The Good Body, close to 1 in 4 Americans will develop some form of insomnia each year, with 30% of US adults experiencing symptoms of occasional insomnia. Another unfortunate 10% of the population suffers from chronic (ongoing) insomnia. As a nation, insomnia costs us about $63 billion per year in lost productivity and is currently on the rise to near epidemic proportions.
On a personal level, insomnia is a major contributor to fatal motor vehicle accidents. The link between insomnia and depression has also been well established. 83% of those suffering from depression also have insomnia. The good news for that dually afflicted 83% is that CBD can help alleviate the symptoms of both disorders, as well as for those of us who suffer from occasional disruptions to the natural wake-sleep cycle as well.
In this post, the experts at Modern Nature will take a look at how CBD can provide safe, natural relief from insomnia as well as other common sleep disturbances such as restless leg syndrome, circadian rhythm (internal clock) disorders, and excessive daytime drowsiness. But before we delve into the specific benefits of CBD for better sleep, let's get you up to speed on some important CBD fundamentals.
What is CBD?
"CBD" is the popular shorthand term for "cannabidiol", the prime healing cannabinoid found predominantly in hemp and also in significantly lower amounts in marijuana. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD is a cousin of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the other very psychoactive cannabinoid known for its somewhat notorious high-inducing action in marijuana. The fact that THC and CBD are both cannabinoids is about the only thing they have in common. Other than that they are complete opposites. This is why CBD supplements are now legal in all 50 states while THC is still strictly regulated as a controlled substance and remains illegal in many states.
Hemp Vs Marijuana
Hemp and marijuana plants are both members of the Sativa L cannabis plant species but after years of manipulative breeding for completely different purposes the two can only be considered as very distant cousins today. While hemp has been bred from antiquity for its useful fibers and oils, marijuana has been cultivated and manipulated over the past century to produce copious amounts of THC for spiritual and recreational purposes. Queen Victoria used hemp to treat menstrual cramps, and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both prolific hemp growers along with most colonial Americans. The hemp plant was so useful to colonial society that it was often used to pay taxes.
While hemp oil has been well known for its healing effects throughout history, the therapeutic actions of hemp's CBD component is a recent 20th-century discovery. Israeli researcher Raphael Mechoulam discovered the two active CBD and THC cannabinoids in preclinical studies with rats in the 1960s. The intrepid researcher went on to discover the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by the mid-1990s and continues his 50-year journey of exciting cannabinoid research to this day.
CBD vs THC
Ongoing life science research is revealing that both the CBD and THC cannabinoids have a wide range of therapeutic benefits, but only CBD has the significant advantage of providing its many healing properties without getting the user high. In fact, the latest research has disclosed that CBD content in marijuana has a restricting action on the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD is, literally, the "buzzkill" ingredient when it occurs in high content ratios with THC in strains of marijuana.
This is an important consideration for CBD users who work in drug-free business environments and those who need to remain mentally sharp and focused. CBD oil products derived from hemp have no significant level of THC with just trace levels below .03%. Informed cannabis users who self-administer a pure CBD supplement as an essential part of their daily health regimen don't need to worry about balancing tricky ratios of CBD to THC by trial and error to achieve the desired results they seek, as they would with the various strains and highly differing THC potencies of medical marijuana.
As we'll see, CBD is known to provide an enduring overall sense of well-being which is much healthier than the unpredictable short-term euphoria induced by THC. For sleep disorders, THC use can actually exacerbate anxiety and alertness making CBD a much better choice, not only for enhancing healthy sleep patterns but for enhancing overall health.
Consumers around the globe purchase CBD to alleviate symptoms in an amazing range of physical and mental disorders, to take advantage of CBD's many therapeutic characteristics including:
- Analgesic- Painkilling characteristics of CBD have made it popular as a safe and effective alternative to dangerously addictive opioids and opiates for treating chronic pain. Many professional athletes in the organization Athletes For Care have made it their mission to raise CBD awareness in an effort to avoid the tragedy of lifelong addiction faced by so many career athletes after enduring years of physical trauma.
- Anti-cancer- CBD research is ongoing and some of the most exciting results are in the use of CBD for the fight against cancer. Singer Olivia Newton-John has been at the forefront of raising awareness about CBD's effectiveness in her three-decades-long battle with breast cancer. The singer is now in her third round of fighting the disease using CBD along with traditional strong radiation and chemotherapies. She founded the Olivia Newton-John Health and Wellness Center to fund ongoing research concerning CBD to support cancer patients in mind, body, and spirit.
- Neuroprotective- CBD has been shown to protect nerve cells and help regeneration to prevent stroke and help with recovery after a stroke. Its neuroprotective property also shows promising potential to treat neurodegenerative ailments such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
- Anti-seizure- CBD's anti-seizure action has been especially effective in treating certain forms of epilepsy, often achieving results when traditional medications have been ineffective.
Why do modern health consumers prefer CBD for sleep, pain, and anxiety disorders?
Many individuals suffering from sleep disorders are reluctant to use over-the-counter or prescription sleep medications after considering the long lists of debilitating, and even fatal side effects that accompany chemically synthesized sleep aids. These potent sleep-inducing drugs may work in the short term, but most carry inherent risks of physical dependence, tolerance, and addiction, all of which increase the risk for fatal overdose. The enormous volume of pharmaceutical drugs available today frequently trigger acute side effects which detract from the quality of life more than the maladies they are intended to cure.
For better sleep, anxiety, depression, and pain management, today's informed health consumers prefer natural holistic remedies, and CBD has proven itself as one of the most effective. CBD derived organically from hemp offers a natural holistic solution for sleep enhancement, not to mention relief from an astounding array of other common ailments and disorders, all without negative side-effects, addiction, or the risk of fatal overdose. Consumers turn to CBD to manage many health conditions and disorders including:
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Injury and muscle recovery after trauma or surgery
- Pain management
- Nausea and Vomiting - Especially important for managing side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer patients
CBD, Sleep, and the Incredible Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Obviously, all of the disorders listed above can disrupt the wake-sleep cycle and cause insomnia. CBD can play an important role in alleviating the symptoms of insomnia indirectly by enabling the body to maintain a steady state of healthy homeostasis. Homeostasis is the state of overall well-being which many scientists refer to as "the Goldilocks Zone", one where all the biological systems of the mind and body are "just right". CBD can keep us in the Goldilocks Zone by working quite effectively through the recently discovered endocannabinoid system.
CBD can also have a direct effect on consistent sleep generation through its action in the paralimbic region of the brain. Most surprisingly of all, your body is already manufacturing and using CBD (as well as THC) cannabinoids even if you've never used a CBD supplement or medical marijuana before! Hence the term "endo" meaning, "internal" or "within". The latest research points to endocannabinoid deficiency as the underlying cause of many common disorders. When the body can't produce enough of its own endocannabinoids, supplemental CBD can help restore the natural balance of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors the body needs to maintain homeostasis.
One of the most common FAQs about CBD is "Why does CBD work so well for managing so many different disorders and symptoms?" The key to answering that question is to understand how the incredible endocannabinoid system maintains homeostasis in humans and in fact all mammals. The endocannabinoid system runs the biochemical feedback processes which allow us to function optimally in our environment. CBD works so well for so many disorders because we are already, in a sense, "prewired" to benefit from CBD.
Our bodies are already equipped with numerous CBD cannabinoid receptors centered in the limbic and paralimbic regions of the brain as well as throughout the various biological systems of the body. The limbic and paralimbic regions of the brain just happen to regulate important processes such as:
- Sleep cycles- REM sleep and sleep generation
- Pain and inflammation response
- Immune response
- Stress response
- Emotions and memory
- Motor control
Dr. David Allen, a retired cardiac surgeon and now a leading scientist at the International Endocannabinoid Research society, sums up the importance of the human endocannabinoid system in his informative video at YouTube. Dr. Allen firmly believes that the discovery of the human endocannabinoid system is likely to save more lives than the discovery of sterile surgery techniques. That's quite an impressive endorsement coming from a retired heart surgeon.
Scientists refer to "manipulating the endocannabinoid system" or "raising the CBD baseline" when they are researching new ways to use CBD supplements to overcome endocannabinoid deficiencies or to optimize the endocannabinoid system to target and relieve specific symptoms. When the ECS is stressed by hazardous environments, disease, injury, poor nutrition, surgery, or even a rigorous physical training regimen, supplemental external CBD can restore balance and the natural healing functions. Which leads to our next FAQ.
How Much CBD is Best For a Good Night's Sleep?
CBD is paradoxical in effect as it pertains to the wake-sleep cycle. What we mean by this is that the end result of taking CBD depends highly on the dose. CBD can help us fall asleep as well as enhancing alertness to keep us awake. According to a very informative article at Project CBD, a recent study concluded that consumers can take up to 160mg dose of CBD to decrease nighttime sleep interruptions and increased quality and duration of sleep.
CBD was also shown to decrease episodes of RBD (REM Behavior Disorder), a condition which causes the acting out of intensely vivid or disturbing dreams during the Rapid Eye Movement, or dreaming stage of sleep. This is good news for those who those experiencing symptoms of restless leg syndrome as well. We know now that the ECS is the primary regulator of human physiology and as such, it plays a major role in maintaining circadian rhythms including the wake-sleep cycle. While taking up to 160mg dose of supplemental CBD can cause a sedative effect to enhance sleep, low doses (less than 20mg) of CBD in the morning can increase alertness to reduce daytime sleepiness and symptoms of narcolepsy, a severely disruptive sleep disorder which causes the sufferer to fall asleep without warning.
Conclusion- CBD is a Safe and Effective Sleep Aid
The connection between insomnia, disease, and disorder can be a tricky one to discern when it comes to cause and effect. Poor sleep can cause disorders and disorders can disrupt sleep in a vicious feedback loop. Such is the case with chronic pain. Is the pain causing sleep loss or is lack of proper sleep causing the pain? One study revealed that 40% of insomniacs also suffer from anxiety, depression, or another psychiatric disorder. Traditional medications such as barbiturates, opiates, and synthetic opioids, even over-the-counter acetaminophine all carry risks of fatal drug interaction or dangerous side effects such as addiction, and liver damage when used over the long term. Dr. Daniel Kripke of the University of California San Diego highlights the alarming dangers of pharmaceutical sleep-aid drugs in his research paper published in 2016 titled "Hypnotic drug risks of mortality, infection, depression, and cancer: but lack of benefit."
CBD provides a holistic solution by bringing its wide range of known therapeutic actions to treat the underlying causes of insomnia by enhancing the functions of the human endocannabinoid system naturally. Since the ECS already manufactures a natural supply of CBD our bodies are already prepared to make the best use of supplemental CBD without the risks of building up a tolerance or accidental overdose. CBD is a safe and effective way for those who want to self-administer a cannabis-based therapeutic regimen without getting high to treat sleep disorders and enhance overall well-being by ensuring that the incredible endocannabinoid system has the essential CBD it needs to keep us squarely in the middle of the Goldilocks Zone where mind, body, and spirit are all just right.