CBD and Insomnia

Defining Sleep

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, “sleep is actually a very complex neurological phenomenon.  Although your conscious mind is “turned off”, there are still many thousands of processes that are occurring in your brain, from modulation of your heartbeat and respiratory rate, to the consolidation of memories and skills learned.  In addition, there are different phases of healthy sleep, each of which produces distinct and unique brainwave patterns.

The two basic categories are REM and NREM sleep: REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement.  REM is the phase of sleep in which dreams occur, and is characterized by, you guessed it, rapid movement of the eyes.  NREM simply means non-REM and therefore encompasses every other phase of sleep. During REM sleep, a typical brain scan will reveal brain waves and patterns that look extremely similar to those of an individual who is awake; this is because your subconscious mind is very busy processing all of the information that it absorbed during the day and recreating certain themes or emotions as dreams.”

What does CBD have to do with it?

In a recent study of CBD and sleep from Palo Alto University, they observed that CBD for Sleep works by stopping the activity of “green light” neurons which stimulate the mind and body and boosted the activity of “red light” neurons which calm the mind and body. CBD triggers the release of “red light” chemicals in “green light” cells, and the release of “green light” chemicals in “red light” cells. Interestingly, it does the same exact thing to both types of cell, but they simply respond in different ways to the presence of CBD.  Your brain’s circadian rhythms regulate this process on a 24 hour basis, and CBD can be thought of as a lubricant for this complex circadian rhythm, allowing it to work best.

How does this pertain to sleep?

As mentioned earlier, sleep is a very complicated brain function.  We are evolutionarily equipped to have circadian rhythms which regulate our sleep and wakefulness, and, among other things, are tied to daylight and deating patterns . When there is over-excitation in the brain, the wakeful period of the circadian rhythm becomes prolonged, therefore cutting into the sleep period.  Regular stress throughout the day can cause this in addition to stimulants like caffeine or ADHD medication. CBD’s balancing effect on the excitatory and inhibitory neurons in this part of the brain helps to stabilize and fortify your body’s natural circadian rhythms helping you sleep longer and better at night. When coupled with other cannabinoids, it can also cause drowsiness by inhibiting the reuptake of melatonin in the same part of the brain, and by stimulating the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin. In addition to the science, thousands of people worldwide have commented on the positive effect that CBD has had on their sleep patterns!