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How Effective is CBD for Sleep and Anxiety?

It’s the little things that add up, causing us anxiety, stress, and sleepless nights. We’ve implemented many different fixes to these issues, all with one fundamental flaw. We treat the symptoms, not the initial cause.

Preventative healing has become increasingly popular, especially for phycological issues like anxiety and stress. Besides changing what substances enter your body, it is essential to acknowledge the emotional source of stress. Many people are hopeful that natural remedies will help them begin healing and find relief.

There have been countless testimonies that CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabinoid from hemp, can help with anxiety and insomnia. But just how effective is it?

CBD for Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common reasons why people take CBD. Both animal studies and preliminary human trials support testimonies about CBD’s anxiolytic, or anti-anxiety tendencies.

In 2019, 72 adults with clinical diagnoses of an anxiety or sleep disorder received CBD every day for three months. In addition to their existing treatment, the patients took 25mg of CBD isolate in capsule form. Anxious individuals were given it after breakfast, while those with sleeping issues took it after dinner. After the first month, anxious tendencies declined and remained steady. Only two of the 72 patients reported fatigue, and three saw initial, mild sedation that subsided as the trial continued. The average result was ‘sustained improvement over time,’ though it was more effective for anxiety than sleep. 

It’s worth noting that 25mg is lower than what is usually used in studies. The researchers explained they wanted to provide the patients with a dose that would be financially reasonable to maintain, as quality CBD is rarely cheap.

CBD for Sleep

In 2007, a review found a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC significantly improved sleep quality from ‘poor’ to ‘good.’ GW Pharmaceutics conducted the study using their patented, synthetic cannabis, called Sativex. Sleep quality, determined by depth, duration, and disruption, as measured by a series of questions on a scale from 0-10. Fewer than 20% of the participants were dissatisfied, and complaints of poor sleep and residual fatigue declined after regular use.

While the medication did not benefit all the participants, those it did help maintained favorable outcomes consistently without evidence of tolerance. Of course, polysomnography tests that record brain waves, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and breathing must confirm these results.

However, a polysomnography study from 2018 found no acute effects on CBD for sleep. Brazilian researchers gave 27 eligible people with healthy sleep cycles 300mg of CBD isolate and placebo. Though CBD evoked no significant impact, they concluded it to be safe and tolerable. It also had no impact on sleep architecture, which is common among sleep medications like benzodiazepines or serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Overall, studies on CBD for sleep lack consistency and conclusiveness, according to a 2014 review on existing literature. Typically, both CBD and cannabis with higher THC concentrations had only benefited sleep when pain caused the disruptions.

Explaining Sleep Testimonies

People worldwide applaud CBD for helping them fall asleep faster, stay asleep during the night, and wake up feeling rejuvenated. But if CBD doesn’t have an impact on sleep, how do we explain all this anecdotal evidence?

CBD likely works indirectly. Its anti-anxiety and pain-relieving traits are likely the reason why it has a sleepy outcome in some. Sleeplessness, anxiety, and pain are all comorbid, meaning they cause and affect each other. If you can reduce physical pain and ease tense thoughts, your sleep will benefit. 

The Entourage Effect

GW Pharmaceutics suggested that cannabis-based medications may be specific to their formula and delivery system. There are over a hundred cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis and several different ways to consume it. That’s a lot of variations to test. Their 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD was successful for sleep and suggested two cannabinoids are better than one. This suggestion is precisely what the Entourage Effect says.

With hundreds of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, the odds are that it’s more than just one of them responsible for how it interacts with our bodies. That’s why choosing a full-spectrum product like pollen will increase your chances of finding success with natural remedies.

Mindset and Lifestyle

The study on CBD for sleep and anxiety in 2019 noted how social notorieties on cannabis could exaggerate placebos, as stigmas around cannabis give people heightened expectations or hesitations. Placebos reveal the power of influence and the power of the mind to deceive itself against chemistry. If our complex brains are the masters over our health, skeptics who try CBD are more likely to see less success than an optimist.

The 2019 study on both insomnia and anxiety found the patients appreciated the opportunity to try something natural. As more people wish to move away from pharmaceuticals, it’s critical to recognize that what you eat, think, and do, will determine how effective plant substitutes are.

Plants don’t function the same. Instead of delivering an instant fix, they make you work for your health. Healthy exercise, time in nature, and surrounding yourself with supportive relationships will have a direct impact on your wellbeing. 

Can CBD Help You?

Stress is burdensome, hard to carry, and damaging both physically and mentally. Confronting the source of stress is always challenging and might bring up things you don’t want to face. It is, however, necessary. Standard measures like pills almost always come with long-term side effects and don’t fix the problem. Aspiring to tackle your anxiety holistically is admirable. You probably won’t see results overnight, but the improvements will be sustainable if you put in the effort.

Hemp represents a step towards taking back control of your thoughts and feelings using simple tools and techniques. Just make sure to talk to your doctor about it if you are on any prescriptions, as CBD does interfere with some. Remember to keep an optimistic attitude and be proactive in creating healthy habits in your daily life to optimize its effects. Just as it’s the little things that compound over time into anxiety and unrest, it’s the little things that will help loosen the stress, layer by layer.

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