While most of the studies have only been conducted on lab rats, (which, by the way, we have the government to thank for listing cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning virtually no human studies are permitted), the information that has been presented thus far has in large part been promising, although it is still inconclusive as to whether or not CBD really does act as a “miracle” sleeping pill.
You only have to read the reviews under a CBD product on the Holland & Barrett website to see the extent to which anecdotal reports cannot be trusted. More than 100 customers gave Jacob Hooy CBD+ Oil five stars, with a few saying they always noticed if they missed a dose (presumably this made them less relaxed, although they did not reveal what they were taking it for), while 93 people gave it one star, saying it did nothing, or was too weak. One couple even said it gave them palpitations and a sleepless night. All these people had different conditions, expectations and situations. “And,” says McGuire, “you have to remember that anything can have a placebo effect.” While it looks unlikely that the recommended doses of these products will do any harm, McGuire’s guess is that doses are so small “that it’s like homeopathy – it’s not going to do anything at all”.
That's why it's being increasingly used as a sleep aid, she says. "The major reason why most people don't sleep is because they're stressed out, they're anxious, they can't shut their brain off," she explains. "What CBD does is calm down your body's stress response and bring those cortisol and adrenaline levels back to baseline." Science is scant, but what studies we do have back that up: CBD may increase the amount of time you sleep, according to an animal study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, and improve insomnia, research in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports found.
To compare the efficacy of the aforestated agents in reducing anxiety associated with the simulated public speaking task, researchers collected measures using the VAMS (Visual Analogue Mood Scale) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Comparatively, ipsapirone (5mg) reduced anxiety induced by the simulated public speaking task, whereas CBD (400 mg) only decreased anxiety after the task. Valium (10 mg) reduced anxiety before and after the simulated public speaking task, but didn’t decrease anxiety during the speaking.
Phillip Hague, the chief horticulturist at a Denver cannabis company called Mindful, sniffs the roots of a plant to check on their health. He’s grown cannabis most of his life and has traveled the world researching its many varieties. He’s interested in developing new strains with higher concentrations of marijuana’s lesser known compounds that appear to have medical uses. “Cannabis speaks to me,” he says.
The interesting thing about CBD and sleep is that in small to medium doses, CBD is mildly alerting – stimulating the same receptors as caffeine. However, several patients with insomnia report that consuming CBD oil (in tincture or extract form) a few hours before bed leads to a great night’s sleep. So why do the anecdotal results contradict the reported medical studies?
CBD likewise communicates with a neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric corrosive). GABA transfers messages from one brain cell, or neuron, to another; that message usually is “Back off” or “stop pushing.” GABA advises the body when it’s a great opportunity to shut down, and since a huge number of neurons in the cerebrum react to GABA, the impacts include lessening anxiety, quieting the sensory system, assisting with rest, unwinding the muscles.
But Hague has something else he wants to show me. He leads me into a moist propagation room, where a young crop is taking root in near darkness. These babies, tagged with yellow labels, are being grown strictly for medical purposes. They’re all clones, cuttings from a mother plant. Hague is proud of this variety, which contains almost no THC but is rich in CBD and other compounds that have shown at least anecdotal promise in treating such diseases and disorders as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, osteoporosis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Dr. Ethan Russo, medical director at Phytecs, a biotechnology company spearheading research into plant- based medicines and the endocannabinoid system, took issue with Titus’s claim, however. “Bioaccumulators can recruit heavy metals from the soil,” Russo said, “but breaking them down would be alchemy.” Government regulation of the pharmaceutical industry is designed to protect consumers from unfounded scientific claims.
Long-term outcomes: There are zero long-term studies investigating the safety, efficacy, and long-term effects of CBD as a treatment for anxiety. Data from animal model studies suggests that chronic CBD usage could yield deleterious epigenetic and/or neuropsychiatric effects. However, it is unclear as to whether administration of CBD at a normative (non-chronic) frequency would maintain therapeutic efficacy over a long-term.
“I just felt good,” he adds. “But I wasn’t high at all.” Joliat’s anecdotal experience with CBD is a common one. Some informal polling suggests a lot of people today are at least vaguely familiar with cannabidiol, and have either used it themselves or know someone who has. But even some people who use it don’t seem to know exactly what it is or whether there’s any hard science out there to back up its benefits.
CBD Oil for Sleep
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