I. CBD Oil for Insomnia Treatment

Insomnia can be a difficult disorder to live with. According to Mayo Clinic, the condition is marked by difficulty falling or staying asleep, tiredness during the day, distraction, increased errors and mistakes at work, and potentially serious lapses while driving or operating heavy machinery. Causes of insomnia vary, but likely factors can include:

  • Caffeine and other substances, including some prescription medications
  • Physical conditions, including chronic pain and back disorders
  • Mental health issues, such as anxiety, PTSD, and depression
  • Difficult-to-control environmental factors, such as loud noises and uncomfortable bedding

The clinical research on CBD oil’s effects is still in its infancy. Definitive double-blind studies on CBD oil’s effect on most medical issues have yet to be done, but strong anecdotal and theoretical research points toward some success in treatment for chronic insomnia patients. Though most studies currently in the literature are either pilot studies or single-blind trials, most of the published work on CBD oil for insomnia and related issues have found some statistically significant positive effects.

In addition to treatment for insomnia itself, CBD oil has been studied for its effects on conditions that can lead to insomnia or that can be a result of insomnia.

  • In 2010, one study found CBD oil produced a positive effect on people who suffer from anxiety in social settings.
  • Another study from 2018 found enough of an effect to declare CBD oil a potential treatment for PTSD.
  • A remarkable 2019 study dealt specifically with anxiety and sleep disorders, especially insomnia, among 47 adults. The study found a “calming effect,” as the authors called it, of CBD oil on the central nervous system that they believe may reduce insomnia and its related conditions.

II. CBD Oil Side Effects & Drug Interactions

Any substance has the potential to produce negative side effects, and CBD oil is no different. Reported side effects of using CBD oil to treat insomnia are generally mild, and most users seem to tolerate the treatments well. Some of the most commonly reported side effects among CBD oil consumers are:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, sometimes including vomiting
  • Diarrhea and/or loose or bloody stools
  • Increased or diminished appetite
  • Noticeable changes in weight

CBD oil, like any other treatment, must be taken carefully and with attention paid toward possible side effects. Always consult with a doctor before starting a course of CBD oil, and immediately stop taking it and report to a doctor if serious side effects occur.

CBD oil is legal in most parts of the United States. Unlike marijuana, which remains a Schedule I controlled substance at the federal level, CBD oil is generally available for consumers to buy and even have shipped to their homes. State and local laws vary, and it’s the responsibility of the buyer to check the legal status of CBD oil and other cannabis derivatives.

As of 2020, the FDA has approved only one CBD product for medical use. Epidiolex is a CBD derivative that has been approved for treating some varieties of epilepsy. Other CBD products are considered off-label, which means the FDA does not recognize their safety or effectiveness for treating any medical condition.

CBD oil consumers who are looking into treating insomnia should remember to conduct thorough research before buying supplies from an online retailer. Ideally, purchases should only be made from a supplier that conducts third-party testing to ensure quality and production standards. Because of the stigma associated with recreational marijuana, and as a result of some local laws, not all retailers are willing to ship to all areas of the country.

Because CBD is a cannabinoid substance, it may contain trace quantities of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Amounts included are never enough to produce the euphoric effects of the drug, but some drug tests can register a false positive for marijuana among users of CBD oil and related substances.

IV. How to Use CBD for Insomnia

As a rule, most people who consume CBD oil for therapeutic reasons start with a low dose and gradually increase the amount they take until the desired effects kick in. For many of the adults who have participated in research trials, this starts at around 50 mg and rises to around 250 mg. A 2017 study found a relatively low risk of harm from up to 1,500 mg a day of CBD oil. Consult with a doctor about how frequently a dose should be taken and about how dose levels vary depending on the method chosen for taking the CBD oil.

There are several ways to consume CBD oil. These four are among the most widely used.

  • Tinctures: CBD oil is sometimes mixed with olive oil or other food-grade substances to make a tincture that can be sprayed in the nose or administered as drops under the tongue. This method tends to act fast because the CBD oil quickly passes into the bloodstream.
  • Edibles: CBD oil-infused candies are available from many retailers. Most often, the CBD oil is included in gummies, lollipops, mints, and other edibles. This method is relatively slow to act because the candies or pills must be absorbed through the lining of the stomach and intestine like any nutrient. Edibles are the preferred path for time-delayed CBD oil treatments.
  • Vape products: Many different vape oils are available with CBD oil as the active ingredient. Flavored vapes are popular, as are products intended for use in nebulizers and other vapor-related kits. Vaping is the fastest method for getting CBD oil into the bloodstream, but caution must be used when monitoring dosages and frequency of use.
  • Topical applications: Topical applications of CBD oil, such as lotion, salves, ointments, and even transdermal patches, are increasingly popular choices for consumers treating their insomnia. Topical products take some time to have an effect, but they can be long-lasting and continue administering CBD oil throughout the night.

The Bottom Line

While it is true that only one CBD oil product has so far been approved by the FDA for treating a medical condition, many of the early studies on using preparations of CBD oil for insomnia show promise. Because CBD oil products are generally tolerated well and have few side effects, many people choose to try them at home for treating chronic sleeplessness. Always ask a doctor before starting to use CBD oil or other treatments for insomnia, and check local laws to make sure it is legal in your state. It is important to thoroughly investigate retailers offering CBD oil before you buy, so set aside time for research before making a purchase.

V. Additional Resources