Roughly 30% of people in the United States have trouble falling and staying asleep at night. Among older people, this problem is even worse. A total of 39% of seniors say they wake up frequently during the night. If you struggle with insomnia, you may want to learn more about cannabidiol (CBD). Many people have started researching CBD and sleep in recent years because this compound may alleviate insomnia, anxiety and stress.

What Is CBD or Cannabidiol?

If you are like many people in the U.S. who don’t always get restful sleep, you may be looking for ways to combat this problem. CBD could be a potential solution. It is one of many cannabinoids that come from cannabis and hemp plants.

Many people believe that all CBD products will make them feel “high,” but this isn’t necessarily the case. All CBD products are limited to contain less than 0.3% THC, which is a fairly small amount. There are also CBD products that do not contain any THC, the psychoactive element in cannabis/hemp: broad-spectrum CBD products contain CBD, and various other cannabinoids, but no THC, and CBD Isolate products contain only CBD. Since THC is responsible for causing psychoactive effects, CBD products with little to no THC should not cause you to feel high.

CBD might not get you high, but it can still cause an effect on your mind and body. Researchers are looking into all the ways CBD can impact your overall well-being. Currently, scientists believe that CBD can alleviate conditions like anxiety, depression, insomnia and rare forms of epilepsy. It can also reduce stress levels and help with pain management.

Is CBD Legal in the U.S.?

In the last few years, the United States government passed new legislation regarding hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production as long as the hemp contained a THC level that was lower than 0.3%. As long as your CBD products have a low THC level, you can legally buy and use them.

Currently, there is only one CBD-based medication that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Epidiolex was designed to treat 2 rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Thanks to the FDA's research trials on Epidiolex, scientists have gained a better understanding of the positive effects and side effects of CBD. Since this field of study is still fairly new, scientists still need to do more work to understand all the ways CBD can impact your mental and physical well-being.

Can CBD Really Help You Sleep?

Cannabinoids in the cannabis plant work with the endocannabinoid system in your body. This system is responsible for the way your body handles important functions like your sleep, appetite and mood. It is also in charge of regulating your circadian rhythms.

When you use cannabis, it impacts the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your endocannabinoid system. These receptors are located in your brain and your body. When CBD influences these receptors, it helps to reduce pain and anxiety. This may indirectly improve the quality of your sleep. CBD may directly impact your sleep by influencing your sleep and wake cycles.

In one research study, scientists found 409 people who had insomnia. These participants were told to rate the severity of their symptoms on a scale of 1 to 10. On average, people began the study with a rating of 6.6.

During the study, participants used cannabis flowers with a pipe, joint or vaping device. The THC level ranged between 20% and 30%. Meanwhile, the CBD potency was an average of 5.7%. Researchers limited the maximum amount of CBD to 30%.

After sleeping each night, participants rated the quality of their sleep an average of 2.2 on the scale. This was a significant improvement over the previous rating. Because of this study, researchers believe that the cannabinoids found in cannabis could reduce the symptoms of insomnia.

In a different research study, scientists found that CBD capsules could reduce anxiety and alleviate sleep problems. The participants took 25 milligrams of CBD. If the participant had anxiety, they took their capsule in the morning. Participants who had insomnia took their dose at night.

In just a month, the participants saw a 66% improvement in their sleep scores. Their anxiety scores dropped by 79%. Because of these studies of CBD and sleep, more people may turn to CBD to solve their insomnia-related problems.

What Are the Side Effects of CBD?

Thankfully, there are very few side effects associated with CBD. This supplement is generally recognized as safe. Because the FDA does not regulate CBD products, it is important to buy your products from a reputable seller. You should look for a company that tests its products at a third-party laboratory. Otherwise, your product may have significantly more or less CBD than it is supposed to.

While CBD causes very few side effects, there are rare cases of unwanted symptoms. These side effects will generally go away as soon as you discontinue your CBD use. On occasion, people have been known to experience diarrhea, weight changes and fatigue. Some people may also experience changes in their appetite. CBD does not generally cause any side effects, and serious side effects are especially rare.

How Do You Use CBD?

If you are researching CBD and sleep, then you probably want to know the different ways you can take CBD. Luckily, there are a variety of administration methods available. You can use edibles like gummies or vape concentrates. CBD is available as a pill, capsule, oil and tincture.

Sublingual CBD consumption is one of the fastest acting methods, entering the bloodstream almost immediately after being placed under your tongue. Finding your preferred method is just as important as finding a quality product. Knowing you are using a CBD product that is tested for quality, potency and purity is the best way to ensure effectiveness and sleep improvement. Turn to companies like Real Tested CBD, who take care of the vetting process for you. Compare their list of effective CBD gummies for sleep and pain here.