“CBD is not an intoxicating substance, whereas THC is a psychoactive that can get you high,” explains Dr. Jas Matharu-Daley, a physician and consultant for a brand that specializes in CBD production.
CBD—the abbreviation for cannabidiol, a substance that’s generally derived from the hemp plant—has skyrocketed in popularity over the last five years. In fact, according to some research, “CBD” as a Google search term remained stable from 2004 to 2014 but has since ballooned by up to 605%.
It’s important to point out that CBD is not regulated by the FDA and therefore dosages might not be accurate. It’s also difficult to know what an appropriate dose is the first time you try a new product.
Ultimately, the primary reasons why people use CBD is because it tends to have calming, relaxing, pain-reducing effects. It has been used to alleviate joint pain and nerve pain, reduce anxiety and stress, treat insomnia, improve migraines, and address nausea.
“If the CBD is from a reputable source and one that has been inspected by a third-party independent lab, the content of CBD is more reliable,” notes Dr. Matharu-Daley. “The CBD should be organically grown, free of pesticides and heavy metals, and not sourced in food which can affect absorption. Generally, CBD is safe and side effects are few at low doses.”
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
There are several reasons why someone might want to use CBD. The substance can be found in a multitude of products ranging from pain-relieving creams to edible tinctures to skincare. Research is still underway, but over the last few decades scientists have become more aware of how CBD might ibeneficial when applied either topically or ingested.
When it comes to how CBD products will make you feel, the answer will depend largely on individual-specific factors.
Cannabinoids may improve sleep quality, decrease sleep disturbances, or reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How does CBD make you feel?
THC isn’t necessarily more effective than CBD as a sleep aid. An individual’s body chemistry affects how he or she responds to THC, and for some, it may be counterproductive if they’re looking for deep slumber. Ford explained that while the “psychoactivity of THC” can lead to drowsiness, it can also cause the mind to race, ultimately concluding that “it really depends on what symptoms you are trying to overcome and what works best for your own body.”
“CBD is an anxiolytic, which means that it reduces anxiety and is calming,” explains Dr. Elaine Burns, a naturopathic doctor who is CEO and founder of Dr. Burns’ ReLeaf. “In addition, it helps to relax the muscles. These two properties both contribute to a feeling of relaxation in the mind and body.”
THC, the cannabis plant’s most abundant and intoxicating cannabinoid, is reputed to induce sleepiness. Ford believes any feelings of drowsiness associated with CBD oil can most likely be attributed to THC. “If CBD oil is making you feel drowsy, it’s probably due to a fraction of THC being left in the product,” he said.
In order to answer the question “Does CBD make you sleepy?” you need to understand how CBD works within the body and the factors which affect how you will respond to it.
CBD works by interacting with receptors in the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to help enhance its responses to factors such as stress, pain, inflammation, and fatigue. A few potential benefits of CBD include:
In addition to supporting better sleep in general, CBD has shown to be a great option for many people with sleep disorders. Because CBD interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system (responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or balance, within the body), it can help regulate sleep patterns and support the body’s natural circadian rhythms.
The Bottom Line
By now you already know that high-quality sleep is critical for physical and mental recovery. Yet, many of us struggle to get enough rest. Finding natural products to help can be confusing, as it can be hard to know where to start. With more supplements becoming available, the task becomes even more difficult. For those seeking a safe and natural solution to help them sleep, finding natural products can be time consuming and confusing.
For many, trouble sleeping goes beyond difficulties letting go of the day and relaxing or getting sustained deep and restful sleep. Many suffer from more severe sleep disorders like insomnia, which can have a significant impact on their quality of life. In many cases people struggling with sleep disorders don’t want to resort to medication or intoxicants, leaving them to wonder: can CBD help with sleeping disorders and other serious sleep issues?
As to whether CBD oil can make you sleepy, it’s still open for discussion. Although more research is needed to definitely answer whether or not there is a direct link between CBD and feeling sleepy, research has shown that CBD can support better sleep.
THC can also have other negative effects on sleep cycles as well. According to a 2008 study (Schierenbeck et al, 2008) ingesting marijuana strains with higher levels of THC typically reduces the amount of REM sleep you get. This is key because REM sleep is extremely important for healthy cognitive and immune functioning, and ultimately using THC as a sleep aid could impair your sleep quality over the long term.