If you suffer from insomnia, PTSD, or other rest-inhibiting disorders, it’s likely that someone you know has recommended you try CBD oil to help you sleep. But not all CBD products are alike. Before you grab the first one you see off the shelves, read our guide to learn which ones are the best fit for you.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main chemical components (or cannabinoids) found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike THC (another cannabinoid), CBD is not psychoactive. Meaning, it won’t get you high or alter your perception and it can be harvested for agricultural purposes via the hemp plant.
How does CBD help you sleep?
Its effects, according to the British Pharmacological Society Journals, can help relieve a wide range of symptoms including those associated with mood disorders, chronic pain, anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. However, since most CBD products are listed as supplements or all-natural sleep aids (versus medications), both the products themselves and their effects have not been regulated or substantiated by the FDA.
But how does CBD help you sleep? I’m getting to that.
Remember how I mentioned CBD belongs to a group of cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana plants? This is important because it makes CBD one of many chemical compounds that interact with our endocannabinoid systems, triggering one of two receptors: CB1 or CB2. Since our focus is on CBD (and not CBG, CBA, CBN, etc.), I’m only going to focus on the affected antenna–our Cannabinoid Type 1 (CB1) receptor.
CB1 receptors are found all over the body, more importantly, they’re a prominent subtype of the central nervous system (AKA our brain and spinal cord). Because of where the majority of these receptors are located, it’s safe for you to assume that they play some sort of role in regulating mood, thought pattern, and other synaptic transmissions (or information sharing processes).
Usually, assumptions are the wrong move but in this case, it’s alright because studies have actually linked the activation of CB1 receptors to both “short-term and long-term changes in the efficacy of synaptic transmission.” In plain English, this means that trials have shown triggering CB1 receptors proves to be an effective treatment for both short-term and long-term changes in behavioral patterns caused by internal factors (psychological disorders, metabolism issues, you get the idea).
Now, you’re probably wondering how this connects to your poor sleep cycle. Well, The National Sleep Foundation reports that among the many factors that can contribute to restlessness and insomnia, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain are among the most common causes. I could let you connect the dots, but for accuracy’s sake, I’ll just tell you that these are great examples of “internal behavioral patterns” that have the potential to be corrected by consistent CBD use (researchers suggest taking CBD at least one hour before bed so it has time to take effect). User trials have also suggested that unlike other sleep aids and pain medication, taking the correct dosage of CBD won’t leave you in a haze the next morning.
(Disclaimer: it’s important for you to speak with your doctor before consuming any CBD products, as CBD is known to interfere with certain medications and if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding the FDA advises against the use of any hemp or marijuana products).
What’s the correct CBD oil dosage for sleep?
Like most things in life, this can vary person-to-person depending on a variety of factors (weight, tolerance level, how you’re consuming the CBD, the specific benefits are you seeking, etc.). However, most reputable CBD companies will provide you with a recommended dosage. And like weed edibles, the effects of consuming CBD aren’t immediate so it’s suggested that you wait at least six hours before re-dosing (or upping your dose). Otherwise, you may feel the effects of both doses at once or feel groggy upon waking up.
Best CBD for sleep and where to buy it
If you’ve left your house or turned on your TV in the last few weeks, you may have noticed that everyone from vape and smoke shops to hairdressers and boutique retailers are pushing CBD products. This doesn’t mean you should buy it from them, no matter how “great” they say the products are. Because at the end of the day, this isn’t a regulated industry. And there actually have been instances where companies have falsified how much CBD is actually in the products, attempting to get away with using synthetics and even going as far as adding obscene amounts of melatonin to CBD edibles so consumers “feel” something. All of this is gross and potentially dangerous, so I’m going to tell you how to avoid it: READ THE LAB REPORTS AND INGREDIENT LABELS. I cannot stress this enough, and any reputable company will provide third-party lab results for all its CBD products. Why third-party? Because outside, unrelated labs have nothing to gain from their conclusions. This ensures that the accuracy of the data they provide is never compromised.
So to help you stay out of harm’s way, listed below are a few of my top picks that adhere to strict ethical and safety standards. You can find most of these products online, but if for some reason they’re unavailable or you want to shop local, I suggest stopping at the CBD dispensary near you (yes, those exist) and see what the person behind the counter there would recommend.
1. Medterra CBD
Available online and at participating retailers, Medterra CBD is one of the most well-known and trusted brands in the space. All Medterra products are third-party lab tested and so high in quality, Medterra actually works in partnership with the Hemp Pilot Research Program.
Medterra offers all sorts of CBD products, including broad-spectrum and CBD products for pets. For those looking to order online, the site offers free shipping on orders $99+ and 15% off for those who choose the subscription option.
JustCBD is another great online CBD retailer. JustCBD offers more of a variety than Medterra, so if you want to try CBD in all of its forms this is definitely the place to go. The company also does third-party lab tests for all its products, blogs recipe ideas, and regularly runs sales. Online customers can take advantage of free shipping and score 20% off their first order!
3. Extract Labs
The madmen behind Extract Labs’ are actually a key reason this stuff works so well. Instead of formulating with heat (like traditional processes call for), the developers whip all their simple and natural ingredients together. By doing so, Extract Labs’ products are able to retain more of the helpful and highly sought-after compounds the hemp plant is known for.
4. Select CBD
Select CBD is my go-to for CBD tincture because it’s one of the few brands that not only nailed the flavor but the consistency of the drops, too! Which is a big deal for anyone who’s tried tincture before, as you probably know just how hard it can be to find a product that won’t make you gag.
Select CBD is not for sale online and can only be purchased at participating retailers, so yeah, you’ll have to leave your house to get your hands on it, but it’s well worth the extra effort!