BY MARIE LODI
Sleep, one of the most basic—and necessary—functions of the human body, is something that continues to elude many of us. There are a lot of mysteries surrounding sleep that scientists still have not been able to fully figure out, but we do know that we feel like crap when we don’t get enough of it. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 50 to 70 million people in the United States suffer from chronic sleep disorders such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and night terrors. A solid night of rest allows the body to boost and repair many of its functions with muscle and tissue growth, energy restoration, hormone release, and memory consolidation. If gone untreated, sleep issues can lead to various health disorders like heart disease, diabetes, depression, and more.
What can you do if you are one of the millions of people with sleep woes? It’s been established that THC can help someone slumber, but can solely CBD achieve the same restful effects? There’s still more research to be done, but preliminary studies show that it all could depend on the dose. “Some reports find that low doses of CBD are actually stimulating while higher doses are sedating,” explains neuroscientist and cannabis expert Dr. Josh Kaplan. “The cutoff between CBD's stimulating and sedating effect is uncertain, and likely depends on the individual. However, many people report that CBD across many doses helps them sleep because it improves the symptoms that normally hinder sleep.” Dr. Kaplan explains that if you’re suffering from pain or anxiety, this could affect your sleep habits. “By treating some of these symptoms that prohibit a good night's rest, CBD may indeed help you sleep,” he said.
Dr. Bryant Esquejo, a Silver Lake-based Naturopathic doctor, agrees, noting that CBD has been proven to induce relaxation in people with sleep and anxiety disorders due to PTSD. “Studies show that CBD can induce a state of relaxation, and possibly support sleep, by binding onto GABA-A receptors,” says Dr. Esquejo. “It can take up to 600 mg of CBD to produce sedative effects in healthy volunteers with regular sleep cycles; in those with insomnia, studies show that 160 mg of CBD per day can improve sleep by increasing total sleep time and reducing middle-of-the-night waking.”
Of course, it’s also key to take care of your body via good diet and exercise habits, as both play important roles in quality slumbering. If you do want to try CBD for sleep, Dr. Esquejo advises going low and slow to see how your body interacts. “Some people can be sensitive, and I recommend that they start with microdosing methods before they go to bed.” Dr. Esquejo also points out that not all CBD products are equal, specifically due to varying CBD-THC combinations, which can increase the effectiveness of CBD, as well as characteristics of different terpenes found in various strains. “One terpene found in cannabis that can induce relaxation by calming the autonomic nervous system is called linalool, which happens to also be found in lavender.” A good way to test the REM cycle-improving abilities of CBD? Shop MedMen and try out a sublingual like Care By Design’s 1:1 CBD Rich Drops, or consider a controlled vape like Dosist’s Sleep Pen, which has a THC-to-CBD ratio of 8:1. Sweet dreams.