Imagine waking up in the morning feeling rested and awake – no more residual grogginess or impairment. In order to understand how CBD helps modulate sleep, we turn to a series of medical studies that have been conducted over the past ten years. These studies evaluated CBD’s medical efficacy in treating those who suffer from various types of sleep disorders. We will address the results below.
For the study, researchers recruited 8 volunteers and administered the following: THC (0.5 mg/kg), CBD (1 mg/kg), CBD/THC mix OR Valium (10 mg) or placebo (serving as controls). The volunteers each received the combinations in an order different from the others. Researchers were able to verify that CBD inhibited anxiety as induced by THC, but physiological data revealed it was not a result of direct THC inhibition.
“One of the intricacies of CBD is that effective dosing can be much different between two people,” Lopez says. “There’s no way to know what dose is right for you until you try it, but in general, if you’re someone who is sensitive to most medications, start at the lower end of typical doses.” By that he means a daily dose of 5 to 15 milligrams—a few drops of a tincture, depending on a product’s strength. “If you’re feeling no effects, adverse or beneficial, after three to five days, add another serving of the same amount.”
Dan Frey, a physical therapist in Portland, Maine, says that his patients report the most success using CBD to treat long-term trouble spots rather than acute injury sites. Frey, who doesn’t prescribe medication or supplements, says his conversations about CBD are initiated by patients. Many also tell Frey they find it helps with pain management, especially when used in conjunction with other treatments such as massage and a targeted strengthening and mobility program.
From this study we can conclude that the acute effects of THC (e.g. increased anxiety) are unfavorable. Evidence suggests that CBD appears well-tolerated and safe, with no adverse physiological reactions compared to a placebo. However, since the physiological effects of CBD (600 mg) were of no statistically significant difference from the placebo, it is unclear if CBD elicits any therapeutic effect – even at a seemingly reasonable dose.
A study conducted by Todd and Arnold (2016) elucidated the neural correlates associated with CBD and THC interactions in mice. The researchers administered CBD, THC, or a combination of CBD/THC to mice and examined anxiety-related behaviors – as well as other neurophysiological markers. Results indicated that THC suppressed locomotor activity and was anxiogenic in that it increased anxiety.
“The brain has these receptors that respond to endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that are naturally produced in the body and brain,” says Jerald Simmons, a neurologist at Houston’s Comprehensive Sleep Medicine Associates. “Some of the cannabinoids in the marijuana plant are very similar to the endocannabinoids in the brain, and they act on the same receptors.”
During the study, 50 participants with PTSD coexisting with alcohol use disorder will be given either 400 milligrams of CBD daily, or a placebo. The goal is to see if the participants who take CBD end up drinking less and whether this leads to an improvement in PTSD symptoms. The participants will be given a pharmaceutical-grade CBD, which is more reliable in strength and purity than the supplements that are currently available for sale to the public.
Landis expects prices to come down 10 to 20 percent over the next few years. The biggest reason is that hemp cultivation is likely to dramatically increase. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is among the farm-state legislators who are pushing for hemp to be legalized at the federal level. McConnell’s state, Kentucky, is already one of the leading hemp producers. CBD manufacturers’ raw material expenses will drop significantly once enough farmers figure out how to profitably grow hemp, says PurePower CEO McLaughlin.
“The week before we tried it, we had 64 seizures,” Penny told me, noting those were only the visible seizures, while unseen neurological events would likely push the number into the hundreds. “We administered hemp oil, and the next week we logged in 28 seizures. ... The very next week, her second week on the hemp oil, we logged none.” Penny paused and repeated herself, as though she could still only half believe the miracle: “None.”
The ratio of THC to CBD in a product is also important. Lee said products made with CBD oil extracted from resin-rich marijuana plants rather than industrial hemp, which may have no THC at all, are more therapeutic because the two ingredients work synergistically. These oils are also purer, since fewer plants are used and less refining is necessary. However, these products are available only in states with legal weed.
Certain individuals may be more prone to anxiety than others as a result of mu-opioid receptor expression and/or activation. Research indicates that mu-opioid receptors participate in the modulation of anxiety based on the specific region of the brain in which they are stimulated. What’s more, a report published in 2015 indicated that the neural circuitry associated with the DOR (delta opioid receptor) can induce OR inhibit anxiety.
The cannabinoids found in both CBD and THC oil mimic the endocannabinoids that our bodies naturally produce. Endocannabinoids are compounds that regulate vital functions such as internal stability, homeostasis, pain regulation, and immune system functioning. Whether they’re produced by the body or obtained from the cannabis plant, cannabinoids facilitate communication on a cellular level between cells to trigger various bodily processes. Therefore, a deficiency of cannabinoids can result in a system thrown out of balance, manifesting in unwanted symptoms and other health complications.
Out of the 17 states that have passed CBD-only laws, five— Missouri, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas—would also establish licensed cultivation centers to grow high-CBD strains of cannabis, which could be turned into oils and other CBD products. This would cut down on the demand for CBD oil from unregulated manufacturers abroad. Even then, though, impediments remain. In Missouri, for example, two neurologists recently refused to prescribe CBD oil for an eight- year-old boy suffering from seizures, citing concerns over federal law and the safety of non-FDA approved products.
Additionally, CBD is also thought to inhibit reconsolidation of traumatic memories, which may have therapeutic implications for those with PTSD. What’s more, CBD appears to effectively reduce anxiety among healthy individuals without preexisting anxiety disorders. Though the mechanisms by which CBD attenuates anxiety aren’t fully deciphered, 5-HT1A partial agonism and modulation of limbic/paralimbic function likely plays a role.
Over the years, cannabis oil has been used as an effective treatment for anxiety and depression. Furthermore, it is constantly being researched by scientists. In fact, CBD effects on anxiety is currently considered to be one of the most intriguing and well-funded areas of modern cannabis research; if progress continues in the way that it has over the last several years, then it is very possible that we will develop highly effective ways in which oils for anxiety (and depression) can be used as an effective therapy.
Hippocampal neurogenesis: One hypothesized mechanism by which pharmaceutical anxiolytics may decrease anxiety is via hippocampal neurogenesis – or growth of new neurons within the hippocampus. It appears as though cannabidiol administration induces hippocampal neurogenesis in animal models, and for this reason, similar outcomes may occur in humans. A rat study involving the chronic administration of 5-HT1A partial agonist (tandospirone) increases the biomarker of doublecortin – indicating emergence of new neurons in the hippocampus.
Although some studies have demonstrated the potential effect of CBD on sleep behavior, research about the effects of CBD on the slow wave sleep (SWS) of humans with regular sleep is still lacking. The impact of CBD on sleep, possible side-effects or the advantages of lack of them, including objective measures through polysomnography, has not yet been investigated. Thus, the objective of the present study was to assess the effect of the acute administration of an anxiolytic dose (300 mg, Zuardi et al., 1993, 2017) of CBD on sleep in healthy volunteers by means of cognitive and subjective measures and polysomnography exams.
Support for legalization has steadily grown over the last several years. Today, medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. And even federal officials have begun to soften their stances. Last fall, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder signaled his support for removing marijuana from the list of Schedule I narcotics. “I think it’s certainly a question we need to ask ourselves, whether or not marijuana is as serious of a drug as heroin,” Holder said. This summer, Chuck Rosenberg, the acting administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, acknowledged that marijuana is not as dangerous as other Schedule I drugs and announced his agents would not be prioritizing marijuana enforcement. Still, as long as marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the haphazard system in which it is studied, produced, and distributed will remain, and Americans will not be able to take full advantage of its medicinal properties.
Increased anxiety: Rodents administered cannabidiol daily for 14 days exhibited anxiogenic behaviors. In other words, the cannabidiol may increase anxiety when used too regularly. Although this effect cannot be confirmed in humans, it is logical to assume that a person’s neurophysiology will adapt to the effects of CBD when used regularly, possibly blunting its efficacy.
In addition to positively affecting the endocannabinoid system, CBD has been the focus of more than 23,000 published studies about cannabinoids in relation to various medical indications including anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, cancer and chronic pain to name few. For a more comprehensive look at these and other studies, visit our medical research and education page.
Though unflavored and priced higher than competitors, Green Roads CBD oils are made by a trusted manufacturer and use organically grown hemp. Following the CO2 supercritical fluid extraction process, board-certified pharmacists formulate the tincture by hand. Green Roads only sells CBD isolates, so if you’re looking for broad-spectrum products look to some of our other recommendations.
Bonn-Miller also explained that it's imperative to exhaust the traditional and established front-line treatments that are available before seeking out these products. "CBD is not really a first-line treatment for anything," he said. "You don’t want situations where somebody says, 'I have cancer I'm going to forgo chemotherapy because I read something about CBD or THC helping with cancer.'" That's not a good idea, Bonn-Miller said. "Not only is the science not there, but you may end up worse off."
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