Many people claim CBD improves their sleep and reduces anxiety. Learn what CBD is, how CBD might help you, and what research needs to be done on CBD. Some people feel tired after taking CBD. Does CBD oil make you feel sleepy? Here’s what you need to know about the biphasic nature of CBD.
CBD as a Sleep Aid
We regularly assess how the content in this article aligns with current scientific literature and expert recommendations in order to provide the most up-to-date research.
A good night’s sleep is essential to your overall health and wellbeing. Experts recommend adults sleep seven to nine hours each night. Proper sleep ensures you feel well-rested and have energy for the next day. A good night’s rest also contributes to memory formation, helps grow and repair muscle and tissue, and prevents sickness.
Unfortunately, falling asleep or staying asleep can be difficult for certain types of sleepers. As many as 70% of Americans report not sleeping the recommended hours, and nearly one-third of American workers sleep less than six hours per night. Solutions for better sleep and avoiding sleep debt vary. Possible approaches include improved sleep hygiene, prescription sleep aids, and natural sleep aids.
One increasingly popular strategy for sleeping better is taking cannabidiol (CBD), a derivative of cannabis. CBD is commonly used to improve sleep and decrease anxiety. However, the regulation of CBD in the United States is limited, and much more research must be done to determine the exact effects CBD has on sleep and other physical and mental health concerns.
About Cannabis and Cannabinoids
While there are many different slang terms for the green, narrow-leafed plant you may recognize, the plant is scientifically called Cannabis sativa. The word “cannabis” can be used to describe any products made from the plant. Cannabis plants contain multiple chemical compounds, including a group referred to as “cannabinoids.” Out of more than 100 cannabinoids, researchers have primarily studied two that appear to have the greatest impact on humans: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD.
What Is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)?
Most commonly known effects of cannabis, such as “getting high,” are caused by the cannabinoid, THC. The term “marijuana” specifically refers to parts of the Cannabis sativa plant that contain THC.
Cannabis plants and derivatives that contain less than 0.3% THC are classified as “hemp.” As of 2018, hemp is no longer defined as a controlled substance by the U.S. federal government. As a result, there has been an influx of hemp-related products in the American market. These products are generally marketed as CBD products.
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
CBD, the other commonly known cannabinoid, can be legally sold in the U.S. when extracted from hemp and marketed according to relevant regulations. CBD does not have psychoactive properties and does not bring about the same effects as THC. Also, CBD does not have effects that would lead to potential dependency or risk of abuse.
CBD is an increasingly popular substance in the U.S. While many health benefits have been attributed to CBD, in most cases, scientific validity of its effectiveness is still unclear.
Is CBD FDA-Approved?
Only a few cannabis-derived or cannabis-related drug products are FDA-approved in the U.S.:
- Epidiolex. This oral CBD solution was the first drug containing a purified cannabis-derived substance approved by the FDA. The drug is approved for seizure treatment in rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex for patients ages two and up. Although Epidiolex has been shown to reduce other types of seizures, it has not yet been FDA-approved for treating those seizures.
- Marinol and Syndros. These two drugs contain dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC. They come in capsules or oral solutions. Dronabinol affects the part of the brain that controls appetite, nausea, and vomiting, so the drugs have several therapeutic uses. These uses include the treatment of nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients and treatment of weight loss in patients with HIV.
- Cesamet. Cesamet contains nabilone, a synthetic compound with a chemical structure similar to THC. Like dronabinol, this capsule also affects the part of the brain that controls vomiting and nausea. The drug is prescribed to patients receiving chemotherapy who have not responded to other nausea and vomiting treatments.
The FDA has not approved any other CBD drug products. The agency has not determined the safety and effectiveness of cannabis or CBD in the treatment of any particular conditions or disease.
What Forms Does CBD Come In?
There are several common forms of CBD:
- Oral solutions, such as the FDA-approved drug Epidiolex
- Oral sprays that are applied under the tongue
- Oils and tinctures, sometimes described as drops or droplets
- Vapes and vape juices to use in a vaping pen
- Edible items, such as gummies, chocolates, or cookies, and beverages, such as coffees and teas
- Pills and capsules
- Topical solutions, including lotions, creams, patches, gels, and ointments
What Are Common Doses of CBD?
Outside of Epidiolex, the FDA doesn’t regulate dosing of non-drug CBD products. As a result, the amount of CBD in products varies widely among forms.
Research shows 300-mg oral doses of CBD can be taken safely on a daily basis for up to six months. One scientific review showed that taking up to 1,500 mg daily was well-tolerated by participants. A subsequent review confirmed that use of 1,500 mg daily for four weeks showed no negative effects.
Unfortunately, the indicated CBD content on a product label is not necessarily the amount that the product actually contains, which may lead people to take more or less CBD than intended. One analysis of 84 CBD products sold online showed that 26% of the products contained less CBD than the label said. The same analysis showed nearly 43% of the products were underlabled, meaning they contained substantially more CBD than the label said.
While CBD at higher doses does not appear to have serious negative consequences, these products may also contain higher levels of THC than reported on the label. Other CBD products may contain THC that is not reported on the label at all. The THC in these products can produce intoxicating effects, which may or may not be desired.
What Are the Effects of Taking CBD?
Research shows that CBD has a calming effect on the nervous system. CBD can also alter mood because it affects the serotonin system. Outcomes vary among people and depend on the product type and dose.
Unlike THC, CBD does not induce a feeling of being “high.” Even large doses of CBD do not produce THC-like effects. Additionally, a few studies have demonstrated that CBD reduces the psychoactive effects of THC.
Studies of short-term CBD use show that patients do not experience withdrawal.
What Health Conditions Can CBD Help With?
So far, CBD’s effectiveness in the treatment of epilepsy is well-supported by research. Other early research suggests that CBD may also help treat schizophrenia and substance use disorders.
Currently, there is insufficient research to determine the effectiveness of CBD in treating other health conditions. However, preliminary research suggests CBD can help with a number of sleep disorders, including insomnia REM sleep behavior disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness disorder. Additional preliminary research suggests CBD can also help patients improve sleep and reduce anxiety.
What Are the Risks of CBD?
Most negative effects of CBD medications and products are mild. For example, patients who use Epidiolex may experience diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues. Some people may experience drowsiness when they take CBD. Other negative effects experienced with CBD may be due to an interaction between the CBD and other medications the patient is taking.
How Can CBD Help With Sleep Disorders?
Research on the effects CBD has on sleep disorders is still preliminary. Some people who use CBD for chronic pain report sleeping better. Currently, it is unclear whether these patients sleep better because of the pain relief or because CBD directly affects their sleep.
Other initial studies of CBD and sleep disorders suggest positive outcomes. However, not everyone experiences the same sleep benefits with CBD use, and different doses might lead to different effects. Research suggests that low doses of CBD are stimulating, while high doses of CBD are sedating. Discrepancies in experience can also be attributed to the method of CBD administration and dose. Additional research is needed to deepen our understanding of CBD as an intervention for sleep disorders.
Anxiety and CBD
While not a sleep disorder itself, anxiety can contribute to poor quality sleep, insufficient sleep, and sleep disorders. Because CBD calms the nervous system, early research indicates that CBD can be used to treat anxiety-related disorders. One study showed that nearly 80% of participants who used CBD to treat their anxiety reported lower anxiety levels within a month. Sleep initially improved in more than 65% percent of participants, followed by fluctuating results.
Insomnia and CBD
People who suffer from insomnia experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night. This disorder affects daytime wakefulness, ability to concentrate, and mood. Because of their history of poor sleep, people with insomnia may suffer from anxiety about getting inadequate sleep, which can then increase sleeplessness at night.
Given the potential positive outcomes of CBD treating anxiety, it is speculated that CBD may also help reduce the anxiety associated with insomnia. Additionally, a new pilot study of CBD and THC use in humans with physician-diagnosed insomnia is underway. The results of the study will offer more insight into the effects CBD has on insomnia.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder and CBD
In REM sleep behavior disorder, patients verbalize and make aggressive movements during their rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. The disorder is most common in older patients with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
In a limited study of four patients with Parkinson’s disease, CBD helped manage the REM sleep behavior disorder symptoms. Before taking CBD, the patients experienced disorder symptoms 2–7 times per week. After taking CBD, the symptoms occurred 0–1 times in a week. Further studies are necessary, but these initial results suggest CBD as a possible treatment for REM sleep behavior disorder.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Disorder and CBD
Those who have excessive daytime sleepiness disorder struggle to stay awake during typical daytime hours. One solution for waking up on time and staying wake may be CBD. Initial research on animals shows that CBD functions as a wake-inducing drug. However, other studies suggest CBD functions as a sedating drug. Further research is needed to determine what doses and methods of CBD use affect wakefulness and sleepiness.
Does CBD Interact With Other Prescriptions?
CBD can interact with other prescriptions a person takes. In particular, CBD can slow the liver’s ability to break down certain medications. Additionally, using CBD as well as herbs or supplements can make the patient too sleepy.
Before using any CBD product, consult your doctor. Let your doctor know of any medications, herbs, or supplements you are taking, so they can assess if CBD might cause a negative interaction. Your doctor will be able to inform you if CBD is a viable option to meet your health goals.
Does CBD Make You Sleepy?
Some people feel sleepy after taking CBD. Does it mean that CBD oil makes you tired regardless of the conditions?
CBD has a biphasic nature, meaning it may produce different effects depending on the dose.
For example, low doses of CBD can increase alertness, focus, and boost productivity. On the other hand, high doses lower blood pressure and can make you feel a little bit tired.
In this article, we explain how CBD affects your circadian rhythm, whether or not it makes you tired, and how to optimize your day with CBD products.
Does CBD Make You Tired?
CBD may produce a sense of relief and a pleasant jolt of positive energy. As a result, you may feel more relaxed, serene, and calm.
This, in turn, can make you feel a bit tired — especially when you take a large dose.
Some users report, “CBD makes me tired” and reach for CBD oil to improve sleep quality. Meanwhile, many other users use CBD for focus and energy because it reduces anxiety and helps them feel in the zone.
So, what’s the effect of CBD on your energy levels? Does it make you tired or not?
Scientists are still trying to understand how CBD affects our inner clock through the plethora of pharmacological pathways, but its effect on the sleep-wake cycle depends on several factors, such as:
- The type of CBD oil you’re taking
How Does CBD Make You Tired?
When you reach a certain dose, CBD oil may increase the levels of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) in the brain.
GABA is a neurotransmitter that has an inhibitory effect on the nervous system. GABA prevents it from overexcitement, taking care of the proper stress response and resistance to stimuli.
You’re less likely to experience the fight-or-flight response and find it easier to achieve a calm state of mind with optimal GABA activity.
Another reason why CBD can make you tired is its effect on blood pressure. Studies have shown that CBD can reduce blood pressure in healthy individuals — both the resting pressure and under a stressful situation.
A drop in blood pressure slows down your breathing, making it easier to fall asleep. The higher the dose, the stronger the effect, so you may feel tired if you take it in the morning or afternoon.
Does CBD Make You Sleepy?
Although CBD can modulate your circadian rhythm, it’s not a potent sleep aid on its own. You can use it throughout the day to regulate the biological processes such as energy metabolism, focus, and stress response, but it doesn’t reduce sleep latency as much as THC.
Can You Use CBD for Sleep?
Although CBD isn’t a sedative, it may reduce the roadblocks on your way to achieving deep, restorative sleep — including pain and anxiety.
When you’re free from discomfort and no anxious thoughts are bothering you, it’s easier to fall asleep and get through the night without waking up.
Full-spectrum CBD oils contain a natural range of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant. These compounds evoke the entourage effect — a unique synergy that amplifies the therapeutic effects of the major cannabinoids (CBD and THC).
You can improve your sleep hygiene by including the following practices in your schedule:
- Set a regular sleep and wake time
- Lower your room temperature
- Exercise regularly in the morning
- Avoid working out before bed
- No caffeine in the afternoon
- Reduce the amount of time spent in front of the screen in the evenings
Can You Use CBD for Energy and Focus?
Yes, low to medium doses have been shown to support mental clarity and focus. It’s not an energy boost like caffeine, but it’s more of a subtle effect that sets the right gears into motion to support your productivity.
CBD affects a key neurotransmitter that makes you feel tired, adenosine. Its levels in the brain increase in the evening, so we begin to feel tired and ready to go to bed. Caffeine also works on adenosine, but its effects are more direct, resulting in mental stimulation.
Rather than blocking adenosine receptors, CBD’s interaction through this network is more complex. Studies suggest that CBD helps to improve the efficiency of adenosine by acting on the CB2 receptors in the ECS.
Another mechanism through which CBD may help increase your energy is through the 5-TH1A serotonin receptor. CBD may enhance this receptor site’s activation, leading to elevated mood and improved focus.
What Doses of CBD Make You Tired?
Finding your ideal CBD dosage can take some trial and error as people have different responses to CBD.
If you’re planning to buy CBD for an underlying health condition, we recommend consulting your doctor so that they can advise you on the dosage and schedule for both CBD and your medications. Doing so will help you avoid negative interactions between CBD and your meds.
The exact effects of CBD on your energy depend on your weight, metabolism, and age, but it’s believed that upwards of 50 mg can make a person feel deeply relaxed — on the verge of being tired.
If you take a large dose too quickly — before trying lower doses first — taking CBD may give you slight discomfort.
The good news is that you can’t lethally overdose on CBD because cannabinoids don’t interact with brain stem areas that control respiratory functions.
How Long Does it Take for CBD to Make You Sleepy?
If you take CBD oil, a high dose of CBD can make you feel tired in 15–30 minutes.
Oral products, such as gummies and capsules, come with a delayed onset, so they can kick in even after 40 minutes to 2 hours.
Vapes offer the fastest-acting effects; when you inhale CBD, it starts to work within 2–5 minutes.
How to Choose CBD Oil for Sleep
- Type of CBD – there are three main types of CBD oil: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Full-spectrum is the most effective for sleep because it evokes the entourage effect thanks to the presence of other cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp. If you want to benefit from this synergy but are afraid of taking any THC, opt for broad-spectrum extracts. Isolates are a good alternative if you’re allergic to certain compounds from hemp. However, it doesn’t leverage the entourage effect.
- Potency – high-potency CBD oils deliver a stronger dose per serving. They’re not only more likely to make you tired, but they’re also more cost-effective in the long run.
- Additional Ingredients – as mentioned earlier, CBD isn’t a potent sleep aid alone. However, you can use certain terpenes and other natural remedies to enhance its sedating effects. Most CBD sleep formulas include melatonin (a natural sleep hormone) and lavender, which are known to reduce anxiety and improve sleep through aromatherapy.
- Lab Results – the CBD market lacks regulation and standardization in terms of manufacturing quality and purity requirements. If you’re looking for a safe and effective product, choose brands that provide up-to-date certificates of analysis from a third-party laboratory. Those lab reports list the potency of CBD and show results for common contaminants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, mycotoxins, and solvents.
Do CBD Gummies Make You Sleepy Too?
Yes, if you take enough CBD gummies for sleep, you may feel sleepy and tired. Since the CBD from gummies needs to pass through the digestive system first, it comes with delayed effects. You may start to feel tired after about 40 minutes of taking your dose. CBD is gradually released from the liver into the bloodstream, so the effects are extended in time — lasting up to 10 hours. Of course, you won’t feel tired for the entire duration; the peak effects of CBD gummies have been observed after 2–3 hours.
Does CBD Cause Drowsiness?
Some users may feel drowsy after taking a strong dose of CBD oil, especially for the first time. If your body isn’t used to the effects of CBD, you may experience discomforts, such as sleepiness and drowsiness. If you feel lightheaded after using CBD, drink some black tea or coffee to level your blood pressure and reduce tiredness through adenosine receptors.
Is CBD Psychoactive?
Unlike the other major cannabinoid, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD isn’t intoxicating.
While these two compounds share similar molecular makeup, the THC molecule is built in a way that enables it to bind to the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These receptors are found in the brain, and among many functions, they’re responsible for regulating the brain’s pleasure-reward circuit. Upon activation, CB1 signals an increased concentration of anandamide (our “bliss” molecule), producing a high feeling.
CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t directly bind to the CB1 receptor. Instead, it slows down the breakdown of our two endocannabinoids — anandamide and 2-AG. Anandamide is almost identical to THC, and its name “ananda” means “bliss” in the ancient Hindu language.
Rather than activating the same receptor as THC, CBD may help in forming a positive response by improving the concentrations of endocannabinoids in the body and improving their ability to bind to receptors.
Although full-spectrum CBD oils contain 0.3% THC (or less), this isn’t enough to produce even the slightest feeling of being high.
Psychoactive vs. Intoxicating
There’s a major difference between the terms’ psychoactive’ and ‘intoxicating’. Although CBD won’t get you high, it is, by all means, psychoactive.
After all, CBD affects your mood and stress response, so it acts on the mind and behavior — fitting the definition of ‘psychoactive’ like a glove.
This isn’t anything to be afraid of. Even your laundry machine can be psychoactive (does it make you nervous when it stops working? Well, it’s a psychoactive experience). And so can be your friends, family, and all other things that affect your mind.
The Side Effects of CBD
CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated — even in doses as high as 1,500 mg daily for several weeks. But as with any health supplement, there are some side effects involved if you take too much CBD oil at once.
The most common reactions to high doses of CBD oil include:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
Wrapping It Up: Does CBD Make You Tired?
Whether CBD makes you feel tired or more focused depends on the dosage. Some people use low doses in the morning to boost productivity, while others turn to higher doses for their tranquilizing effects.
The main conclusion is that CBD’s diverse profile may produce different results for individuals. On top of consuming larger doses of CBD, we suggest that you look for a product with additional sleep aids in the formula, such as melatonin or lavender.
Full-spectrum products are usually more effective for sleep because they contain other supportive compounds, such as cannabinoids and terpenes.
Try different doses of CBD and see how they affect you. From there, you can adjust the dosage to reach the optimal amount of CBD for the day — so that it doesn’t make you tired — and before bed.
Always talk to your doctor before buying CBD if you have an underlying health condition. This will help reduce the risk of side effects from CBD-drug interactions.
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Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.