C*B*D for sleep – does it work?
Winter is coming and with it, the days are getting shorter and the nights are drawing in. This can impact our energy levels and with the clocks changing in just a few days, our sleep patterns are often disrupted. So what can we do to help regulate our body clocks and enjoy good sleep and energy through the winter months? As a clinical neuroscientist, I recommend several things to help; using lightboxes to regulate sleep hormones; switching your phone off an hour before bed, and stop drinking caffeinated drinks after midday.
There’s also a lot of buzz around the hemp product C*B*D helping sleep but does the hype really stack up?
Sleep: Getting it right
A good night’s sleep is as important for our health as nutrition and exercise. But it’s not just the quantity of sleep we get on a nightly basis that’s important; it’s also the quality. If you wake feeling refreshed and ready to go within 10-15 minutes (without the use of caffeine) then this is a good indication you’ve had the right quality (and quantity) of sleep. However, for many people, this isn’t the case and studies are now showing that too little, even for just a few nights, can disrupt blood sugar levels and mood, increase appetite (poor sleep is linked to obesity) and reduce immune system function.
When we sleep brain activity moves through different stages; stage 1 is the drowsy just falling asleep state then we move through stage 2 into stages 3-4 non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) deep sleep, which is critical for cells to renew and repair including muscles and tissues, as well as boosting immune system function. We then should alternate between deep and several phases of REM sleep, which is important for memory consolidation.
If you’ve woken up feeling groggy then that’s an indication that you haven’t hit those deeper and REM phases. Alcohol, sleeping medications, pain and stress are some of the factors that affect our REM and deeper phases and can be a reason for leaving us feeling sleepy and heavy-headed when we wake.
Phytocannabinoids and sleep
So how can C*B*D help? This plant-derived cannabinoid works within the endocannabinoid system, which is spread throughout the body. CB1 receptors are particularly concentrated in the brain, including the centres responsible for sleep regulation, mood and pain perception. C*B*D naturally raises levels of our body’s own endocannabinoids (mainly anandamide) and this helps to regulate sleep patterns, reduce anxiety, as well as reduce inflammation and associated pain; all factors that can keep us awake and disrupt our sleep.
But what does the science say?
A 2019 study showed that 67% of patients taking 25mg product after dinner improved their sleep within the first month. Another small-scale study showed that sleep was improved in people with Parkinson’s disease, where deep sleep phases are often disrupted.
There is also an increasing number of anecdotal clinical reports of this plant-based food supplement improving sleep and mood in people who regularly take this product.
But how exactly does it work to make us sleep better? Well, the exact mechanisms are still being investigated but importantly it does not act as a sedative and does not alter healthy sleep patterns, which is the problem with alcohol and medications and why C*B*D does not leave you feeling heavy headed and “hungover” the following day.
So what now?
As we all know, there is no magic bullet for all of our sleep problems, but the research is beginning to suggest that C*B*D and other phytocannabinoids and nutrients in the hemp plant, in general, have a lot to offer us in getting a better quality of sleep, as well as reducing inflammation and improving mood. Yes, large-scale trials are needed to better understand the exact mechanisms and benefits but adding a hemp-based product such as oil into your bedtime routine may well help to improve your sleep quality and energy throughout the day.
https://nutrigold.co.uk/hemp-oil.html – 100% raw Canabidol™ oil containing 500mg C*B*D (5%), as well as terpenes, phytocannabinoids and essential oils from Cannabis Sativa L. plant buds grown legally in the UK.
Dr Elisabeth Philipps PhD BSc (Hons) BSc Nutr Med
Dr Elisabeth Philipps is a clinical neuroscientist and runs a health consultancy specialising in nutritional neurology, the endocannabinoid system and phytocannabinoids including C*B*D. She regularly presents at conferences and events and provides expert opinion for the national press, specialist healthcare publications and health companies. You can follow Elisabeth via social media:
Instagram – @drelisabethphilipps
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 Shannon et al (2019) Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 23: 18-041
 Chagas et al (2014) Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviours associated with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder in Parkinson’s disease patients: a case series. J Clin Pharm Ther 39:564-566
 Linares er al (2018) No Acute Effects of Cannabidiol on the Sleep-Wake Cycle of Healthy Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study. Front Pharmacol 9:315