CBD and Dreaming: Does CBD Make Your Dreams More Vivid?
Unfortunately for us cannabidiol (CBD) enthusiasts, we’re still in the earliest stages of figuring out exactly how CBD works, or even what it works for: for example, the scientific literature is still very mixed on whether or not CBD works as a sleep aid or what it’s effect on sleep is, so it should come as no surprise that the published scientific literature has very little to say about CBD and dreaming.
As with so much about CBD, we’re forced to rely mostly on anecdote. Let’s be honest though: anecdotes are more fun. But when it comes to CBD’s effect on dreaming, anecdotes are mixed: a lot of people say it gives them more vivid dreams, some say it gives them nightmares, and yet others insist that it allows them to lucid dream.
What’s our take on this? Well, one of our Remedy Journey team members happens to be a skilled and experienced lucid dreamer who cultivated this skill over many years, and who also happens to be an avid CBD user.
Though she normally uses CBD during the day, she was willing to serve as a guinea pig and take increasingly large doses of CBD before bed and see the effect it had on her lucid dreaming skills.
In this article, we touch briefly on the existing evidence about CBD’s effect on dreams, and then let her tell her story.
What does the science say about CBD’s effect on dreaming?
While the scientific literature on CBD’s effect on dreaming is pretty scant, there is some preliminary data, but the results have been mixed.
In one 2013 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology , CBD was found to reduce symptoms of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder in Parkinson’s patients; in particular, REM sleep latency (the amount of time it takes for REM sleep to onset) was increased in the subjects. Why is this significant? Because shortened REM sleep latency is a sleep disorder associated with depressive symptoms.
REM sleep is the stage before deep sleep in which dreams occur, so a reduction in REM sleep behavior disorder would indirectly hint at a positive effect on dreaming.
However, another more recent study published in 2018 in the Frontiers of Pharmacology Journal found that CBD did NOT have any effect on sleep-wake cycles in healthy young men.
What to make of these different results?
The authors of the 2018 study note that “ the therapeutic effects of CBD might depend on the presence of specific clinical conditions.” Translation: what effect CBD has on sleep likely depends on the specific circumstances of the user. In the 2013 study, the subjects had a sleep disorder, and CBD was found to have a positive effect on that disorder (the 2013 study was also significantly longer and involved higher dosage of CBD). In the 2018 study, the patients were healthy young men with no sleep disorders, and no effect was observed. The authors also note that, in the scientific literature, CBD has been found to have relatively few side effects and no psychoactive effects, which makes it a small-downside treatment.
This variable effect of CBD — providing positive benefits for some but no effect for others — aligns with the anecdotes you can read online of how CBD has affected people’s dreams: some say it’s had a positive effect, some say it gave them nightmares, and some say it had no effect at all. It appears to all come down to context.
It’s also worth noting that THC is known to suppress REM sleep (and therefore dreams), and that in many cases CBD serves to reverse the effects of THC. This may imply that CBD (or perhaps even other cannabinoids) can reverse the REM-suppressing capacity of THC.
So, now comes the question: what effect does CBD have on the dreams of someone who is a skilled lucid dreamer? We tried to answer this with our experiment below.
CBD dreaming experiment: how CBD tripped out my already-trippy dreams
First, a little background: I’m now 22, and learned how to lucid dream over the course of several years when I was in high school. Let’s just say my life wasn’t amazing at the time, and the idea of galavanting about however I wished in my dreams sounded amazing. So, I started a dream journal, writing down every detail I could remember of every dream right after I woke up and “reality checking” during the day, a process where you make yourself meticulously aware of your surroundings at random points in the day, so that you can eventually do the same when you’re sleeping at night to tell if you are dreaming.
After years of practicing I was able to conjure whatever adventure I wanted in my sleep, but I’d found that ability diminished over the last couple of years. I’d heard that CBD gave some people trippy dreams, so I decided to give it a shot to see if it could help me regain my lucid dreaming thunder.
I carried out this experiment in three different sections over the course of three consecutive nights, increasing the dosage each night, all administered within one hour of going to bed. Immediately after waking up, I wrote down everything I could remember from my dreams to get the clearest sense of the effect CBD had. I used NuLeaf Naturals Full-Spectrum CBD Oil.
Experiment 1: small dose
On the first night I took 5 drops of oil, which came out to about 12mg of CBD. At this dosage, I didn’t notice any significant changes in my ability to control my dreams. I felt that my dreams were more a recorded movie that I was being forced to watch, like a movie comprised of incoherent scenes put in an incorrect order that didn’t have a flow or make sense, kind of like the scenes in the movie “Memento.”
12mg is small potatoes, though, so I didn’t necessarily expect a huge effect at this dosage. Let’s step it up a bit.
Experiment 2: moderate dose
On the second night I had a full dropper, which is about 25mg of CBD. That night I experienced a slight increase in my ability to control my dreaming environment, meaning I was able to control some of my actions. It was as if I were watching a movie, but could periodically will my consciousness to move myself within that specific moment.
Perhaps a better way to explain this is that in my dream I felt like a marionette being moved not of my own will, and at spontaneous moments I was able to make my own movements, and only briefly. Simply put, I could control a small fraction of what I was doing.
Experiment 3: high dose
The third night I took two full droppers, about 50mg of CBD, I experienced a couple of interesting differences I have never experienced before. Not only did I have free control to do whatever I wanted in my environment, but I also felt like everything in my dream was happening in real time.
Things didn’t occur in scenes, it was more like a continuous storyline. My environment didn’t suddenly change in 0.002 seconds, and neither did what I was doing. It was as if I was walking in a different world going about my day like it were normal.
So, I noticed that CBD did improve my ability to lucid dream, and that there was a dose-response relationship to this effect: the more CBD I consumed, the more lucid my dreams seemed to be. As someone who genuinely loves lucid dreaming, this is an exciting result, and one I plan to test in the future, perhaps with other CBD products like a different tincture to see what kind of wild dreams I have.
As for what people can take away from this experiment, it’s that for certain people CBD may be a helpful tool in developing the skill of lucid dreaming. But again, the anecdotes and the available evidence indicates that this won’t be the case for everyone.
FAQ about CBD and dreams
Does CBD affect dreaming?
Yes, the science and anecdotes both show that CBD can affect dreaming, but it also appears to only affect dreaming for certain people. Whether or not CBD influences your dreams may depend on whether or not you have any sleep disorders.
Does CBD help nightmares?
No, there is no evidence (and very few anecdotes) which suggest that CBD can help diminish nightmares in any way. In fact, the few stories you find indicate it’s more likely to do the opposite and make your dreams wilder and more vivid.
Does CBD suppress REM sleep?
Few studies have been conducted on this topic, but the evidence suggests that CBD does NOT suppress REM sleep like THC does, and that it may in fact help improve REM sleep disorders.
CBD and Dreaming: Does CBD Make Your Dreams More Vivid? Unfortunately for us cannabidiol (CBD) enthusiasts, we’re still in the earliest stages of figuring out exactly how CBD works, or even what
Dreaming On CBD: Will CBD Oil Cause Weird Dreams?
by Frank Harris | Last updated Apr 25, 2020 | Blog
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Table of Contents
There are a lot of concerns about the effects CBD may have on dreams. Nightmares can be an awful thing to experience and they’re certainly not something you want to actively seek out.
Some people believe that our dreams have complex hidden messages about our inner psyche. The classic example of an unnerving dream is losing your teeth. We’re pretty confident that everyone has experienced this team at least once and it’s definitely a disturbing thing to go through.
Dream Interpretations Can Vary
The interpretations of this dream can vary a lot depending on who you ask. Some people will claim that losing your teeth in a dream, and seeing them fall out of your mouth, represents issues or changes in your work life that is clearly causing you some stress. Others, like Carl Jung, will claim that losing your teeth in dreamland represents feeling powerless or like you have a lack of control over your life.
Either way, it’s a weird and uncomfortable dream to have and is not something you actively want to experience. Sometimes our dreams can be upsetting, frightening and even distressing. In almost all of these cases, these kinds of dreams are unwanted.
Due to its association with cannabis, many newbies to CBD and other hemp-based products like koi CBD gummies are concerned about its effects on their brain. A lot of people believe that CBD may have mind-altering effects like cannabis and are reluctant to try it. They worry that using CBD will make them have weird or disturbing dreams.
Hemp And Our Dreams: The Effects of CBD vs. THC
The majority of these concerns come from the range of misconceptions that are still present in our society regarding hemp and its components, like CBD oil.
check out where to buy CBD oil near you: CBD oil near me for sale.
These concerns are echoed through all aspects of hemp-based products and have constructed a confusion around the difference between the compounds CBD and THC, both of which are extracted from hemp but have very different effects on the mind and body.
The main difference between these compounds is whether or not they will get you high. CBD, unlike THC, will not get users high and does not have any known mind-altering effects. In fact, CBD has been found to promote a better, more restful sleep and is very unlikely to cause any kind of issues regarding nightmares.
Due to its prolonged prohibition in the United States, many people still have the wrong idea about cannabis or cannabinoids. At even the mere mention of cannabis, many people instantly back away and assume that it will get them high and make them experience disturbing dreams or hallucinations.
However, CBD is a separate compound to the one found in psychoactive cannabis or marijuana that causes the high. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the compound found in hemp that is used in cannabis and has mind-altering features. It is this compound that can cause weird or unusual dreams.
Experienced users of THC understand the consequences and strains that prolonged use can have on the brain and are aware of how it may affect their dreams for the worse.
In reputable and secure CBD products, THC will not be present meaning there should be no mind-altering effects from using the substance. Due to its medicinal benefits, CBD is often mistakenly known as medical cannabis in the media causing the spread of misconceptions throughout the United States.
Can CBD Effect My Dreams?
This question cannot really be answered simply, due to the amount of research that is required.
A good place to start is learning more about what actually happens to our brains when we fall asleep. Our sleep has a range of different, distinct stages. The most well-known stage of sleep is Rapid Eye Movement or REM, which is the stage where we normally dream or are able to remember our dreams upon waking.
The other most significant stage is deep sleep, which is beneficial for the recovery of our body and the restoration of cells overnight. This is the type of sleep that helps us recharge and wake up feeling refreshed.
Weird Dreams: Testimony of Some
Although there have been reports from some CBD users claiming that they have experienced weird dreams, this effect may not be a direct result of this compound. Specific research into THC’s effects on users sleep patterns revealed that this compound decreased REM sleep and actually increased the deep sleep stage.
Some subjects to this test reported rebound effects once they stopped taking THC substances. This is also reported by CBD users who stopped using this compound before bed.
Other people have reported that they can recall more of their dreams after sleep when they use CBD products, like CBD oil (check out here the best CBD oil reviews). Even if we naturally fall into REM stage sleep and dream, there is no guarantee that we will remember anything from them when we wake up.
There is no specific evidence, either clinical or anecdotal, that proves that CBD can contribute to the worsening of our dreams, including nightmares or night terrors.
CBD Can Reduce Anxiety and Promote A Better Sleep
Despite this lack of evidence towards the effects, CBD has on our dreams, there is solid research to suggest its benefits.
Studies suggest that CBD can be greatly effective in lowering anxiety and its effects on the body, including promoting a better sleep. Many CBD users have reported that they are able to fall asleep quicker when using the compound. Find out what is the best form of CBD oil for anxiety.
There are a lot of concerns about the effects CBD may have on dreams. Nightmares can be an awful thing to experience and…