Are you someone like me who finds it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night? Are you suffering from fatigue and depression due to chronic sleeplessness and looking to try out alternative treatments? Well, let me apprise you of my sleeping predicament. I, like many Americans, have suffered from sleeplessness for years. Then, one fine day, I read some scientific literature on CBD that looked promising for the treatment of insomnia. While keeping my treating physician in the loop, I took CBD for 13 days straight, and voila! CBD improved my sleep.
Before delving into how CBD or cannabidiol helped me sleep well, let me enlighten you about CBD and how it works.
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)
Cannabidiol is one of the multiple chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD are the most researched cannabinoids. However, unlike THC, which is associated with a typical “high” after consuming marijuana, CBD is not associated with any high and is non-impairing. CBD has antipsychotic, calming, and anti-anxiety properties that are helpful for restful sleep. CBD can be sourced naturally from the cannabis plant. This compound can also be made synthetically. Both naturally occurring and synthetic CBD can be consumed as supplements to gain from its therapeutic abilities. Though CBD supplements are available as oil, tinctures, sprays, inhalers, etc., I preferred to have them as gummies. I consumed Sunday Scaries CBD to make me feel relaxed.
How Does CBD work?
There is a body of research that delves into calming, anti-inflammatory and pain-alleviating properties of CBD. Our body has its endocannabinoid system that produces cannabinoids. These cannabinoids support physiological processes such as mood, cognitive functions, sleep-wake cycles, pain perception, emotional regulation, etc. CBD mimics our bodily endocannabinoids and interacts with its receptors.
Research studies, particularly delving into the therapeutic effects of cannabis in treating sleep and other mental health problems, have been carried out in the recent past. We all know that increased stress affects our quality of sleep. CBD might help regulate cortisol levels, a stress hormone that leads to wakefulness and prevents restful sleep.
As per a 2019 study, people who consumed 300 to 600 mg of CBD oil had lower cortisol levels. This suggests that CBD might act as a sedative that lowered cortisol levels.
Another 2019 study reiterated the positive role of CBD in reducing anxiety and poor sleep. In this study, researchers studied the effects of CBD when combined with other conventional medications. As per the findings, a dose of 25 mg CBD was found good enough to treat anxiety, while sleeplessness needed higher CBD doses.
Ways in which CBD Improved my sleep
My lack of sleep also led to increased stress and anxiety, which again did not let me sleep peacefully. This, over the years, had become a vicious cycle that I desperately wanted to break. Then, after a consultation with my doctor, I started consuming CBD. I felt calm and at ease with myself after a few doses. After about two weeks, I could gauge that CBD helped improve my sleep in the following ways:
Helped in reducing my stress levels
My stressful lifestyle might have caused my sleeplessness. Long working hours and lack of sleep increased my stress levels to such an extent that I could not sleep peacefully at night. As explained in the above section, stress increases cortisol levels that increase wakefulness and night awakenings. Apparently, CBD helps lower cortisol levels and reduces stress. When I consumed CBD, it had a sedating effect on me and helped me sleep through the night. It also helped my frequent awakenings at night.
Improved My Mood
It is common knowledge that anxiety and depression can trigger insomnia and vice versa. My chronic insomnia made me feel depressed and anxious. I was on antidepressants to treat these conditions. My treating physician told me that CBD imitates anti-depressant qualities. When I scoured through the scientific literature, I found a study that said that any reduction in the endocannabinoid levels is related to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. As explained earlier, CBD can mimic these endocannabinoids. It interacts with the brain’s serotonin receptors. So, it is natural to infer that CBD can reduce anxiety and other mood disorders and treat insomnia. After taking CBD for about thirteen days, I started feeling less anxious and depressed, which also helped me sleep well.
Reduced My Headaches
Lack of sleep caused me frequent headaches, which were now progressing towards migraines. These aches and pains were also interfering with my sleep.
CBD is used to treat chronic and difficult to treat pain such as that of migraines. After taking CBD for about two weeks, I experienced a considerable reduction in the frequency and intensity of my headaches that also helped me sleep better.
I took CBD for 13 straight days, and it helped profoundly improve my sleep. However, folks, I took CBD dosing under the supervision and guidance of my treating physician, who combined CBD with behavioral therapy as part of a holistic treatment program. I would advise people to consume CBD for insomnia only after consulting a qualified healthcare professional.