CBD OIL FOR INSOMNIAby Dan Overgage
CBD Oil can be found on shelves in health food stores across the UK, and much of the world, too. The cannabis plant has been studied for decades, with many medicinal benefits being discovered in that time.
The nature of CBD means that it can be used in an ‘inside-out’ approach to wellbeing - CBD is still found in topical creams and ointments to be applied to the skin, which may be appropriate for some conditions, but it can be ingested to give many benefits to the user.
WHAT IS INSOMNIA?
Insomnia is a condition where you regularly have problems sleeping. There are quite a few indicators that you may have insomnia and they include:
- Waking up regularly in the night
- It takes a long time to get to sleep
- Still tired after waking up
- Find it hard to nap during the day even though you’re tired
The symptoms don’t really stop there, and can include the kind of behaviours you would expect to see in someone who hasn’t slept well - fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating.
If you find that you consistently have interrupted sleep that doesn’t refresh you, and experience changes in mood, then it could be that you are experiencing insomnia.
Acute insomnia is the short term form of sleeping issues that normally passes in a few weeks. Chronic insomnia is normally defined as impacted sleep for three or more days every week for a period of three months or longer.
A few clear divisions can be made for insomnia - ‘onset’ insomnia is when you have trouble getting to sleep, and ‘maintenance insomnia’ is when you have problems staying asleep.
Another divide is the difference between ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ insomnia, where primary insomnia doesn’t arise from a clear cause, where secondary insomnia implies underlying issues that led to it, like chronic pain, mental health conditions, and some medications.
CAN INSOMNIA BE TREATED?
There are a few options for treating insomnia; a number of forms of therapy are used, as well as specific medications and supplements. Cognitive behavioural therapy is normally the first ‘port of call’ for anyone dealing with insomnia.
What has captured everyone’s interest is the nature of cannabidiol CBD and how it has shown potential health benefits by helping nervous system issues. Many users report having an easier time falling asleep when they use CBD products.
WHAT IS CBD OIL?
CBD Oil is an extract from hemp plants - which are actually cannabis plants with less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol THC (that’s the psychoactive stuff that gets you high)! CBD or ‘cannabidiol’ is the part of the plant that actually works as an antipsychotic, and doesn’t provide any form of inebriation.
SMOKO CBD products use cannabidiol extracted from cannabis sativa L plants that are responsibly grown in Oregon, USA. The CBD is extracted using a cryogenic extraction process, and used to make our CBD products here in the UK.
Benefits of CBD oil
The way CBD helps people with their sleep isn’t exactly clear, but many people that use CBD for chronic pain report improved sleep - it’s just not known whether it’s the effects of CBD on the pain that is helping, or whether CBD is directly acting on sleep mechanisms.
It is understood that CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system - that’s a system in the human body that deals with how our body communicates with itself. These molecules are very similar in structure to the compounds found in the cannabis plants - hence ‘endoCANNABInoid’ system.
The action of CBD on the endocannabinoid system seems to be to regulate the release of neurotransmitters, so in the case of too many neurotransmitters causing a muscle spasm, for example, CBD helps to reduce the amount of neurotransmitters released, thereby reducing the occurrence of muscle spasms.
The relaxing effects of CBD oil
The way CBD works on our body is by acting on a cell receptor known as the CB2 receptor. This receptor is not directly involved in tackling pain, but is involved in the process of inflammation.
This is significant because mental illnesses can cause inflammation, and inflammation can lead to mental illness, so tackling inflammation here could prevent the onset of any number of mental health issues.
The presence of CBD also has another effect - it reduces the breaking down of a chemical called ‘anandamide’, which was the first discovered cannabinoid. The word ‘ananda’ in Sanskrit means ‘bliss’ which is why anandamide is nicknamed ‘the bliss chemical’ as it binds to the other known cannabinoid receptor, the CB1 receptor. The presence of this chemical promotes feelings of happiness.
The CB1 receptor helps to regulate the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, both of which are involved in our reward system and mood regulation, with serotonin potentially helping to produce healthy sleep patterns as it is a precursor to melatonin, the main hormone involved in sleep.
CBD oil for pain relief
As previously mentioned, by helping to regulate our body’s communication, CBD can reduce issues caused by too many neurotransmitters being released. This could be muscle spasms, but it could also include inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s response to foreign substances and damage done to our cells. Inflammatory white blood cells are released to make the area inhospitable to the foreign object, and to try to dispose of it.
Inflammation can be a source of pain as the area swells, restricting blood flow. While this is natural, continued inflammation - or chronic inflammation - can be a cause for many diseases. CBD’s ability to reduce the inflammatory response can help prevent chronic inflammation from occurring, and reduce pain in this way.
IS CBD OIL SAFE TO CONSUME?
There’s a good reason that CBD products have been made available in health food stores across the UK, and paramount of those is CBD’s safety. The only FDA approved CBD based medicine is Epidiolex which is used to treat rare forms of epilepsy, even in children of one year or older.
The dosage for Epidiolex starts at 5mg of CBD per kilo of bodyweight per day in adults. This means a person weighing 60kg would start off on a dosage of 300mg of CBD per day, indicating this to be a safe dose for tackling seizures.
Dosage and Potency
When it comes to using CBD to aid poor sleep, or any other ailment that you plan to use CBD to treat, start off on a low dose and increase it as necessary. We are all a little different from one another, so some people may find a low dose works well, others may need to up the dose for a tangible effect.
The key is to choose an ingestible form of CBD as topical creams and ointments are great for targeting specific areas of muscular discomfort or pain, but the CBD doesn’t make it to the bloodstream in this medium. Unless, of course, it’s specific muscular discomfort that is preventing you from getting to sleep!
When starting to use CBD, we would recommend starting off on the lowest strength oral drops, applying 3 drops per dose, to be done twice a day. This would be a dose of 7.5mg CBD to be taken twice daily, giving a total dose of 15mg CBD. The user can then use higher doses as necessary, just remember to make small increases and to see if this has a positive effect before upping the dose further.
Types of CBD oil
Using CBD to treat sleep disorders should be done using ingestible CBD. This way, the CBD gets into the bloodstream, and can get pretty much anywhere it needs to! By all means, use a CBD cream to aid in particular muscle issues which should help aid the sleep process, but ingested CBD should aid in muscle problems, too.
The SMOKO CBD range offers ingestible CBD in oral drop and gummy form! These are great for keeping an eye on your daily dosage, with 25mg of CBD per gummy, and the option of 500mg, 1000mg, and 2000mg CBD drops that deliver 2.5mg, 5mg and 10mg per drop, respectively.
CBD does have a number of potential side effects, despite the fact it is very well tolerated in most individuals. A meta-analysis of studies involving 550 patients with a rare form of epilepsy found that drowsiness, decreased appetite and diarrhoea were side effects associated with administration of Epidiolex. Other known uncommon side effects from studies on CBD used to treat rare forms of epilepsy include vomiting, fever and fatigue.
The thing to remember here is that the doses for Epidiolex are much larger than the doses advised for self-administering CBD. By keeping the dose low, the likelihood of side effects remains incredibly low, and if side effects are experienced, the low dose should reduce the impact of these side effects.
Is CBD oil legal in the UK?
It would be very presumptuous of the retail market to start selling CBD in the UK if it wasn’t legal here!
CBD is legal here in the UK, however products containing CBD and THC where THC levels are above 1mg are not legal. A certain health food store chain had to remove a brand of CBD products from their shelves in 2020 because they actually contained four times the legal limit for allowed THC levels!
These regulations are in place to protect the consumer, to make sure the product contains what the label says it does, so customers can buy with confidence. With THC levels above the legal limit, and the fact this means inaccurate labelling, customers can’t trust the product. This is vital as CBD is being used in children and dogs, levels of THC that high could result in intoxication which we do not want.
CBD oil for Insomnia vs Evidence and Research
Among many positive anecdotes from our CBD customers, there are plenty of studies investigating how effective CBD is for many ailments, not just sleep problems.
One study published in 2019 examined the effect of CBD on anxiety and sleep, with 79.2% of patients reporting reduced anxiety, and sleep scores improving in 66.7% of patients, though the sleep scores fluctuated over time.
CBD OIL FOR INSOMNIA: CONCLUSION
The future of many health disorders looks more promising than it ever has, and CBD looks like it could play a vitally important role for many of us. The fact there is promise for CBD’s use in sleep disorders says it all - sleep is important enough for us human beings to be totally incapacitated for hours at a time, something that can’t be evolutionarily beneficial… unless it is absolutely necessary!
Acknowledging the necessity of sleep and how damaging it can be if we go without, any means of improving sleep could improve the quality of life of many individuals, as well as prolong their quality of life as they get older. Just don’t rely on CBD to solve your problems, give it as much help as you can by practising good sleep hygiene to put yourself in the best position to benefit!
Being well tolerated in most individuals, and being non addictive, means that CBD can be used long term at low doses - so if you think that CBD could help your insomnia, or another ailment, check out the SMOKO CBD range to try CBD and find out if it helps you!
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