Table of contents
CBD oil and insomnia (insomnia) go hand in hand, for most CBD benefit users take CBD oil just in the evenings to calm down, relax, and get a better deep sleep. In this article, we examine the factors that affect sleep and what kind of effect endocannabinoid system and CBD has insomnia.
One third of life is a dream
We sleep an average of a third of our lives. So it is quite clear that what happens during that time has a big impact on how we can stay active. Sleep is a vital function during which the brain rests, the mind calms down and the body is cleansed. (1).
Sleep quality is affected by many different factors such as wakefulness, stress, health, bedding, and bedding. The endocannabinoid system, which maintains the balance of the whole body, also plays a role in the background.
A restful restful sleep should be obtained 6-9 hours a night and during it the body has a huge number of small and large tasks with which it prepares us for the new day. During the night you learn and rest, cleanse and balance. According to the population survey, about a third of Finnish adults suffer from various sleep problems and the same amount worldwide. Sleep problems are either short-lived or chronic and range from long-term insomnia through night sweats to nightmares (1). There are already good therapies for the treatment and symptoms of insomnia and other various sleep problems, both in Western medicine and in complementary therapies, but the interesting and well-proven CBD with therapeutic effects is still a potentially unknown potential sleep aid.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a therapeutic compound that is not intoxicating. Its relaxing properties are well known and it is already widely used to treat anxiety, pain and depression. Studies have shown that it is also helpful in promoting alertness and reducing drowsiness during the day. So CBD oil can help with sleep problems.
Endocannabinoids are part of the circadian rhythm
Endocannabinoid system is, as it were, a backbone that is not actually responsible for anything, but affects everywhere. There is hardly a single physiological activity in which it would not be involved. Thus, it also plays a very important role in sleep quality and sleep cycle regulation. Not necessarily directly but through the various functions of the body. The endocannabinoid system affects sleep e.g. by regulating the sleep-wake rhythm. (2)
It appears to be responsible for the stability of the sleep-wake cycle, rather than a single function (3). Daily variations of anandamide could play a significant role in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle. Studies in rats have shown endocannabinoids in biological samples taken e.g. spinal cord, hippocampus, and hypothalamus. In spinal fluid samples, anandamide concentrations increased during the light period and correspondingly decreased during the dark period. It has been suggested that anandamide would accumulate as a nitrogen cell in the dark and then be released when light enters the spinal cord at those sites that regulate sleep (4). The endocannabinoid system also indirectly affects sleep through knowledge of other bodily functions such as stress levels, metabolism, and pain (5).
Endocannabinoids are a lipid-based network of mediators that act by activating cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. There are receptors almost everywhere in the body. The two most potent cannabinoids, Anandamide and 2-AG, are able to be produced by almost all cells themselves, so there are a huge number of places in the body and brain where the endocannabinoid system can affect sleep (5). The location of cannabinoid receptors in the brain in areas of sleep regulation potentially activates cholinergic neurons. Anandamide – an activated cholinergic neuron expressing the CB1 receptor is known to promote the release of the mediator acetylcholine. Acetylcholine affects e.g. learning and remembering and is released most during deep sleep. This activation could trigger thalamic neuronal activity, which in turn enhances cortical desynchronization. Studies have shown that the function of the brainstem as well as the basal brain in relation to the thalamus is an important element in the regulation of sleep (4).
Fatty acids acting on cannabinoid receptors are known to show diurnal variations in nervous tissues and appear to follow a circadian rhythm (3). It has also been observed that they could act as zeitges, i.e. affect our internal clock (5). When these findings are combined with the knowledge that the endocannabinoid system maintains the body’s general equilibrium and regulates various bodily functions in the direction of equilibrium, it is clear that transient or chronic cannabinoid deficiency or endocannabinoid imbalance is inevitably reflected in sleep quality.
CBD oil to support sleep
Our body produces the necessary cannabinoids on its own, but we can help balance the cannabinoid system by utilizing plants such as hemp, which are naturally rich in cannabinoids. Hemp is known to have more than 100 different cannabinoids and the best known and most studied of these are THC and CBD . Different hemp varieties produce different amounts of different cannabinoids that respond to the cannabinoid receptors in our body. (6)
Psychoactive THC mainly responds to the CB1 receptor. The topic has been extensively studied in cannabis and sleep research since the 1970s, although it was not yet a direct study of the cannabinoid receptor (5). It has been observed that long-term cannabis (THC) users experience sleep problems, especially during weaning, and that THC use easily becomes a twist specifically related to sleep (6).
Non-intoxicating CBD responds to the CB2 receptor. It has been said that CBD has many positive effects on us. It lowers the inflammatory state of the body and, if necessary, also acts like pharmacological drugs, e.g. as an anti-acceleration and antiemetic drug. In the absence of solid evidence for the role of CBD in sleep regulation, the following hypothesis has been put forward; CBD enhances c-Fos gene expression in the hypothalamus as well as in the Raphe nucleus, both of which play a significant role in sleep production (7). Dosage appears to play a very important role in the success of treatment of sleep problems. A low dose accelerated subjects and made sleep more difficult, whereas at a higher dose, sleep problems were significantly alleviated (8). CBD is non-intoxicating, so it has a calming and stress-reducing effect on us.
Studies on how CBD helps with insomnia
There has been relatively little research on cannabinoids and sleep alone. Research on the CBD’s help with insomnia has only begun to attract researchers in recent years. Cannabis and sleep have been studied again since the 1970s, but cannabinoids and sleep only after 1990. Cannabis-related research has provided an excellent basis for more sophisticated research into the endocannabinoid system today (5). The results of research on cannabinoids and sleep have been obtained mainly in connection with other studies, but the relationship between cannabinoids and sleep itself has also been studied to some extent.
Research has been done in both humans and English bulldogs (6), but the results obtained with rats and other rodents help us better understand the effect of cannabinoids on sleep. The sleep of rodents is very similar to that of humans and samples and information can be collected from them at all stages of the sleep cycle (6). A study of sleep apnea in rats found that cannabinoids play an important role in achieving autonomic balance during sleep. Rats were given two cannabinoids (THC and Oleamide) and serotonin, all simultaneously and separately. These cannabinoids were also found to have an effect on the development and treatment of sleep apnea (5).
It is possible that studies with both different CBD products and THC preparations will give a placebo effect on the results due to the awareness of the medicinal effects of cannabis. Nevertheless, several studies have shown that CBD products in particular, when found in the right dose size, are highly effective, well tolerated, and safe. Studies have not shown any bad side effects and as a general rule, those treated have found CBD products pleasant and favorite to use!
Summary and concluding remarks
There has been so little research on the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids and sleep that it is not yet possible to say for sure how it will affect the treatment and symptoms of insomnia, but what is certain is that it is of great importance. The results are contradicted by the fact that there are more than 100 different cannabinoids and that the individual effect of all of these is not yet known. Most studies focus mainly on THC and CBD cannabinoids and the effect of these on us is very different. However, it is undeniable that the endocannabinoid system plays a very important role in sleep and sleep quality through many different functions. A more holistic understanding of it would make a significant contribution to the treatment of many diseases and open up more to the subtle functioning of the human body. Experiences in human use and research findings on the positive effects of CBD on sleep are a gratifying perspective on the ever-increasing variety of insomnia symptoms.
- Current care recommendation. Published 6/26/2020 https://www.kaypahoito.fi/hoi50067 Referred to 31.3.2021
- Russo, E. 2015. Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System. PHYTECS. https://www.phytecs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Russo-Introduction-to-the-Endocannabinoid-System-corr-January-2015.pdf Referenced on March 31, 2021
- Kesner AJ & Lovinger DM 2020. Cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and sleep https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnmol.2020.00125/full Referenced on March 31, 2021
- Murillo-Rodriguez E. 2008. The role of the CB1 receptor in the regulation of sleep https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18514375/ Referenced 5.4.2021
- Babson KA & Sottile J. & Morabito D. 2017. Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature https://www.med.upenn.edu/cbti/assets/user-content/documents/s11920-017-0775-9.pdf Referenced 5.4.2021
- Carley DW & Paviovic S. & others. 2002. Functional role for cannabinoids in respiratory stability during sleep https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12071539/ Referenced 31.3.2021
- Murillo-Rodriguez & others. 2014. Potential effects of cannabidiol as a wake-promoting agent https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4023456/ Referenced 31.3.2021
- Shannon S. & others. 2019. Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: a large case series https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30624194/ Referenced 31.3.2021