CBD for Insomnia: Benefits, Side Effects, and Treatment
Cannabidiol — also known as CBD — is one of the main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids interact with your endocannabinoid system, which helps your body maintain a state of balance and stability, or homeostasis.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD isn’t psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you “high.” Instead, it has a range of health applications, like reducing seizures in people with epilepsy and pain relief from various conditions.
Some research and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD can also help you get a good night’s sleep. Here’s what you need to know about using CBD for sleep.
To understand whether CBD can improve sleep, we first have to understand what causes poor sleep.
Many things can cause you to sleep badly. According to the Mayo Clinic, insomnia can be caused by:
- mental health disorders, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression
- medication, which can disturb your sleep-wake cycle
- physical conditions, such as chronic pain and restless leg syndrome
- caffeine, especially when consumed late in the day
- environmental factors, such as loud noises or an uncomfortable bed
If your insomnia is caused by external factors or related conditions, CBD may help by treating the causes of sleeplessness.
While research on CBD is still in its infancy, some research suggests that CBD can treat anxiety.
Research published in 2019 looked at whether CBD could improve sleep and or reduce anxiety. The study involved 72 subjects, with 47 experiencing anxiety and 25 experiencing poor sleep. The subjects were each given 25 milligrams (mg) of CBD in capsule form each day. In the first month, 79.2 percent of the patients reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7 percent reported better sleep.
Pain, which may also cause sleep problems, can be helped by CBD as well. A 2018 review in Frontiers in Pharmacology noted that there’s a fair amount of evidence to support the claim that CBD soothes pain. The authors note that by reducing chronic pain, CBD can improve sleep.
Other research tells us that CBD affects the sleep cycle. Research from 2014 looked at four patients with Parkinson’s disease. It found that CBD improved the symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a disorder in which a person acts out their dreams. RBD is associated with poor sleep and nightmares.
A 2017 review also noted that CBD may be helpful in treating RBD, and that it shows potential for treating excessive daytime sleepiness.
Grogginess, another symptom of insomnia, might also be affected by CBD. A 2014 review found that CBD could have the potential to promote wakefulness, based on both human and animal research. The authors noted they weren’t sure exactly how or why CBD promoted wakefulness in some instances.
CBD may help you get some sleep at night. Read on to learn about current research and how to use CBD for insomnia.
6 Best CBD Brands for Sleep
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We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound that’s derived from cannabis plants. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it won’t get you “high.”
Research into CBD is ongoing, but studies show that it may have beneficial health effects. Early results are promising for anxiety, pain, and even sleep.
But shopping for CBD can be difficult. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate CBD products in the same way they regulate drugs or dietary supplements, companies sometimes mislabel or misrepresent their products. That means it’s especially important to do your own research.
Read on to find out about six quality brands and what you need to know about using CBD to help you get some sleep.
We chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:
- is made by a company that provides certificates of analysis (COA) as proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- is made with U.S.-grown hemp
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the COA
As a part of our selection process, we also considered:
- certifications and manufacturing processes
- product potency
- overall ingredients and whether the product contains other ingredients that may support sleep
- signs of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
- customer reviews
- whether the company has been subject to an FDA warning letter
- whether the company makes any unsupported health claims
Why these products?
No one type of CBD is better than another for sleep. But certain features indicate the quality of a CBD product. Added ingredients known to help with sleep, and the way you use them (for example, taking a bath with a CBD bath bomb before bed), can make these products more helpful for getting some shut-eye.
Most of the products available from this list are under $50.
Our price point guide is based on the value of CBD per container, in dollars per milligram (mg).
- $ = under $0.10 per mg of CBD
- $$ = $0.10–$0.20 per mg
- $$$ = over $0.20 per mg
To get a full picture of the price of a product, it’s important to read labels for serving sizes, amounts, strengths, and other ingredients.
- CBD isolate: A pure CBD product that’s free of other cannabinoids.
- Full-spectrum CBD: Has high amounts of CBD and smaller amounts of other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. None of these are removed from the product.
- Broad-spectrum CBD: Contains a high amount of CBD and smaller amounts of other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. Some cannabinoids, like THC, are removed.
- Flavonoids: The chemicals that give something its flavor. In cannabis and hemp, different flavonoids make different strains vary in taste.
- Terpenes: The chemicals that give certain plants their fragrance and each strain its own aroma. Terpenes might also offer some health benefits.
Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies, Sleep
Use code “HEALTH15” for 15% off
- CBD type : Full-spectrum
- CBD potency : 5 mg per gummy
- Count : 60 gummies per container
Charlotte’s Web is a well-known CBD brand that garnered international attention back in 2013. Charlotte’s Web is a strain of high-CBD, low-THC hemp created by the Stanley Brothers and shared with Charlotte Figi, who was a young girl living with a rare seizure disorder.
Charlotte’s Web now offers a range of CBD products, including their gummies for sleep. Their raspberry-flavored gummies contain 10 mg per serving and 60 gummies per pack. Their sleep formula also includes melatonin as an ingredient.
Use code “HEALTHLINE” for 20% off your first purchase
- Serving size : 1/2 dropper
- Servings per container : 60
- Price : $–$$
Known for being great in quality while providing excellent value for money, FABCBD has a range of full-spectrum CBD oils in different strengths, such as 300 milligrams (mg), 600 mg, 1,200 mg, and 2,400 mg. It also comes in various flavors, such as mint, vanilla, citrus, berry, and natural. Made from organic Colorado-grown hemp, these oils are all THC-free and third-party tested.
Calm by Wellness Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture
Use discount code “HEALTHLINE10”
- Serving size : 1 milliliter (mL)
- Servings per container : 30
- Price : $$
Calm by Wellness is a well-known brand with a range of different CBD products. Their Hemp CBD Sleep Oil Tincture is specially created to induce sleep. The broad-spectrum CBD contains no THC at all, so it’s non-impairing, meaning it won’t get you high. But it does contain a range of cannabinoids and terpenes. It contains 17 mg of CBD per serving and 500 mg per bottle.
Along with one-time purchases, Calm by Wellness offers a subscription in which you can save money by ordering products monthly, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Joy Organics Lavender CBD Bath Bombs
Use code “healthcbd” for 15% off.
- CBD type : Broad-spectrum
- CBD potency : 25 mg per bath bomb
- Count : 4 per box
- COA : Available on product page
If a warm bath is a soothing part of your bedtime routine, using a CBD-infused bath bomb might be a calming treat. These bath bombs come in packs of four, with 25 mg of CBD in each bomb. They also contain lavender oil, which is known to be a relaxing and soothing fragrance, as well as moisturizing coconut oil and cocoa seed butter.
PLUS CBD Infused Gummies
- Gummies per container : 14
- Price : $–$$
PLUS CBD offers three different types of CBD-infused gummies to meet your needs. The Balance and Uplift tins both contain 700 mg of CBD, while the Sleep tin boasts 350 mg of CBD and melatonin, if that’s more your speed. Each tin contains 14 gummies. With 25 mg of CBD and 1 mg of melatonin per gummy, the Sleep gummies can pack quite a punch — and they’re pretty good in terms of value for money. The Plus sleep gummies come in blackberry and chamomile flavors.
Social CBD Rest Body Lotion
- CBD type : CBD isolate
- CBD potency : 300 mg of CBD extract per 355-mL bottle
- COA :Available online
This body lotion can be massaged into your skin before bed. It contains additional ingredients like lavender and chamomile, which may help promote relaxation and better sleep. It also contains the popular sleep aid magnesium, although there’s mixed research on whether or not magnesium is effective as a topical application.
Many people use CBD for insomnia and other sleep disorders. According to the Mayo Clinic, insomnia can be caused by a number of things, including physical pain and anxiety. Since CBD shows promise in treating pain and anxiety, it makes sense that it might help people sleep better.
For pain management
Numerous studies suggest that CBD could treat pain effectively. For example, a 2018 review looked at numerous studies on CBD and pain, dating between 1975 and March 2018. The review concluded that CBD shows a lot of potential as a pain treatment, especially for cancer-related pain, neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia.
For stress levels
CBD also might be able to reduce anxiety, although further studies are needed. Two studies — one from 2010 and one from 2019 — indicated that CBD might be able to reduce anxiety in stressful social situations. A 2018 review suggested that CBD could reduce your overall stress levels — so if stress is keeping you up at night, CBD might be worth a try.
Some research from 2019 looked at the effects of CBD on anxiety and sleep. They administered 25 mg of CBD per day to 72 women. After 1 month, 79.2 percent of the patients reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7 percent reported better sleep.
What’s more is that a 2014 review , which looked at both human and animal studies, found that CBD could have the potential to promote wakefulness during the daytime. In other words, it might be able to help you feel more awake during the day.
More research needs to be conducted on CBD and sleep, but the current research is promising.
How to read CBD product labels
It’s important to read CBD product labels in order to ensure that what you’re getting is high quality.
A CBD label might specify:
- Oils. CBD oils usually contain olive oil, hempseed oil, MCT oil, or another type of oil. The label should specify which type of oil it contains.
- Flavorings. Some CBD products contain ingredients to give it a specific flavor.
- Other ingredients. If the product is, say, a CBD-infused tea, then the rest of the ingredients should be specified.
- Other factors. Some labels specify whether it’s organic or not, or locally grown. It’s up to you to determine whether this is important to you.
- Dosage. Not all CBD labels tell you how much to take, especially since this varies from person to person. But they should tell you how much CBD is in the bottle, and how much is in each drop, gummy, capsule, or teabag.
What to look for from a third-party test
The CBD product you buy must be third-party tested and have a COA available to customers. This is where an independent lab tests to ensure that the product contains what it says.
Unfortunately, some companies market their wares as CBD products, but they don’t contain any CBD. Reading the lab report could help you avoid these scams.
How to read a lab report
On the lab report, look for:
- CBD content. The report should confirm how much CBD is in the bottle or in a milliliter of the product.
- Other cannabinoids. If it’s a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD product, the lab report should confirm the presence of other cannabinoids.
- Flavonoids and terpenes. Some lab reports specify whether flavonoids and/or terpenes are present. (For more on common cannabis terms, see the terminology sections in this article.)
- Residual solvent analysis. Extraction processes can create by-products called residual solvents. And some companies that offer products without THC use heavy chemicals to produce CBD isolate.
- Presence of heavy metals, molds, and pesticides. Not all lab reports test for this, but high-quality CBD products should be free of these harmful toxins.
- Dispensaries. If you have a dispensary or cannabis shop in your area, it’s a good idea to buy CBD there. The employees are more likely to be knowledgeable about the ingredients and benefits of the products.
- Health shops. Alternatively, many health shops sell CBD nowadays, as do some retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens. Keep in mind that products found in dispensaries are more likely to have been third-party tested than those sold in other stores.
- Online for delivery. You can also buy CBD online, but don’t shop for CBD on Amazon. At the moment, Amazon prohibits sales of CBD — and if you search for CBD, what pops up are hempseed products that don’t contain CBD.
If in doubt, get to know the manufacturer of the CBD product you’re interested in. Use cues outlined above and here to distinguish red flags from responsibly made products. And follow the manufacturer’s lead on where you can shop for their items.
leave it on the shelf
Although cannabis products are becoming more accessible in some places, it’s best to avoid buying them from certain storefronts. It may seem convenient, but avoid picking up products from the gas station or your local salon.
Taking CBD can be a little confusing if you’re new to it, and it can get more complicated when you’re ingesting CBD.
Firstly, you need to figure out the right CBD dosage. Start off with a small amount, such as 20 to 40 mg in a day. If, after a week, you notice no difference, increase this amount by 5 mg. Continue this process until you feel a difference.
In order to work out how many drops to take, look at the packaging. It might state how much CBD is in 1 mL. If not, find out how much is in the entire bottle and work it out from there.
Usually, one drop — that’s one single drop from the dropper, not a dropper full of CBD — is 0.25 or 0.5 mL. Drop as many drops as you need in order to reach your desired dosage.
CBD tinctures or oils are dropped underneath the tongue. Once you drop it there, hold it for about 30 seconds before swallowing. The CBD absorbs into the capillaries under the tongue and can enter your bloodstream in that way. This will affect you faster than if you swallow it.
Generally, CBD is well tolerated by many people. However, it’s important to be aware that there are some side effects. According to some research , the side effects of CBD include:
- changes in appetite
- changes in weight
CBD can also interact with some medications. Drugs that come with a grapefruit warning tend to be unsafe to use with CBD. Much like grapefruit, CBD can affect the way your body processes certain medications. To be safe, you should always talk to your doctor before trying CBD.
If you can, work with a knowledgeable cannabis clinician.
CBD is one of the dozens of cannabinoids in cannabis and hemp plants. Cannabinoids are chemicals inside these plants that affect our bodies in various ways. CBD has been linked to multiple health benefits. On its own, CBD is non-impairing, meaning it won’t get you “high.”
THC is another well-known cannabinoid. It can get you high or create a sense of euphoria. It’s also been linked to a range of health benefits, including appetite stimulation and insomnia relief.
Hemp plants are a type of plant in the Cannabis genus. The legal definition of hemp is that it contains less than 0.3 percent THC, meaning that it’s not likely to get you high. Hemp could contain high amounts of CBD and other cannabinoids.
Marijuana, cannabis, or weed
What we refer to as marijuana, cannabis, or weed is actually not a separate species to hemp plants — it’s a plant in the Cannabis genus that contains more than 0.3 percent THC.
During the process of creating cannabis products, some manufacturers isolate CBD, creating a pure CBD product that’s free of other cannabinoids.
Broad-spectrum CBD products contain a high amount of CBD and smaller amounts of other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. They might also have some cannabinoids removed. For example, the manufacturers may remove THC to create a non-impairing product.
Full-spectrum CBD products contain high amounts of CBD, as well as smaller amounts of all other cannabinoids found in the plant. No cannabinoids, flavonoids, or terpenes are removed from the product.
Full-spectrum CBD is often referred to as whole-plant CBD, as the chemical makeup reflects that of the whole plant.
Flavonoids give food their taste. They’re the chemicals that give something its flavor. Flavonoids are also found in cannabis and hemp plants, and they vary from strain to strain. This is why some cannabis tastes different from others. Research suggests flavonoids might have medical benefits.
Terpenes are chemicals that give cannabis their fragrance. As with flavonoids, terpenes vary from strain to strain. This is why some cannabis smells more like lemons and other strains smell more like blueberries, for example. Terpenes might also offer some health benefits.
If you have insomnia, or if pain and anxiety are preventing you from getting a good night’s rest, you may want to consider trying CBD. Remember to speak to your doctor before trying any new medications or supplements, and be sure to research CBD products before choosing one for sleep.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Here’s what to know about using CBD to help you get some shut-eye, as well as recommendations on the best CBD oils and products for sleep.