“Many things — such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly — are done worst when we try hardest to do them.” — C.S. Lewis
Sleep problems usually affect each of us at some point in our lives for different periods of time. The Sleep Association of the United States 2 reports that 50-70 million adults in the United States suffer from sleep disorders. (1)
Those who struggle with insomnia know how much it affects their productivity as they try to get through the day. Just knowing that they can barely sleep can prevent them from falling asleep. Overthinking the events of the day or future events that have not yet occurred, can keep you up as you toss and turn. This can cause your heart to beat fast, the body to become tense, the hand or jaw to clench, and digestive problems to occur. You could say that most of us have forgotten to relax and breathe, not only at bedtime, but also during the day. Stress has become a normal way to respond to all kinds of daily activities, from looking after the children to dealing with a stressful job. Disabling the persistent "monkey mind" is difficult if you don't even recognize the loop you're in or have the proper tools to establish new routines.
CBD: The New Natural Sleep Aid Solution
Cannabidiol CBD is one of the substances found in Cannabis sativa. For those who are concerned about the "high" effect associated with THC, it is good news that CBD does not alter your consciousness or give you a "high" feeling.
CBD as a treatment for a wide range of disorders has aroused the interest of the scientific community and triggered a wave of case studies. Indeed, it has been suspected and well documented for decades that its cousin THC has sleep-promoting effects (2). Recently, there is also strong evidence of the calming effect of CBD on the nervous system, which is one of the reasons why CBD is becoming increasingly popular as a natural sleep aid.
This can be explained by understanding our innate endocannabinoid system, which has its own mechanism for calming the response of our nervous system and is found throughout the body, brain and central nervous system.
Our built-in cannabinoid system consists of two main endocannabinoids:
Anandamide is a molecule associated with memory, appetite and pregnancy. It also appears to play a role in addictive behaviour and can alleviate withdrawal symptoms of opioids when found at higher levels in the body (3). Extra note: the name anandamide comes from the Sanskrit word ananda, or "bliss, joy, delight”."
2-ArachidonoylGlycerol (2-AG) (4) is one of the most widely studied molecules with a wide range of physical effects in the body, including emotions, cognition, energy balance, pain sensation, anxiety and neuroinflammation. A recent study has closely linked this amazing molecule to our emotional states (5).
These two endocannabinoids interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors:
CB1 receptors are found in high concentrations in the brain, in peripheral nerve terminals and in some extraneuronal areas. This means that they affect mood, memory, motor function and pain perception. CB1 also binds the main component of Cannabis sativa marijuana, allowing our body to feel the "high" associated with marijuana. (6)
CB2 receptors are mainly found in the cells of the immune system, but also have a more specific expression pattern in the brain than the CB1 receptor. This receptor in the brain is associated with inflammation and is mainly located on microglia, which means that it plays a significant role in Alzheimer's and drug withdrawal.
You can now begin to see how involved and absolutely incredible our endocannabinoid system is. Although our body was created to produce its own cannabinoids, this system can suffer from depletion. Therefore, supplementing with CBD products can be a lifesaver for those who are at the end of their tether.
So...What About that CBD?
Give it a whirl. You might be surprised. I always tell beginners not to give up on taking CBD after only a few weeks. It is important to know that natural things, such as herbal remedies, can take a while to take effect in the body, because plants operate at a deep level that cannot always be immediately perceived by the conscious mind.
With so many CBD products on the market, it has never been more important to look for quality in a company that you truly believe in. With false labeling and marketing, look carefully at the COA (Certificate of Analysis) to ensure that the product you are buying is free of pesticides, solvents and harmful chemicals. Make sure the potency is as indicated on the bottle by checking potency testing. And most of all, follow your intuition and your heart.
This varies person to person. It's always best to start on the low end and slowly increase to find your sweet spot. I recommend starting with around 10mg before bed, increasing up to 50mg depending on your needs. Once you find your perfect dose, stick to that.
Happy journey! I look forward to hear about your personal CBD journey!