The Science of Sleep
“Sleep,” Shakespeare wrote, “knits up the raveled sleeve of care.” His language may sound semi-archaic, but the metaphor is still apt: Without sleep, our minds become frayed and fuzzy, like a well-worn sweater that needs mending.
That insight is as true today as it was four hundred years ago, but, unfortunately, 70 million people in the US may suffer from sleep disorders—and they’re shelling out $70 billion a year on sleep aids. Even though sleep experts recommend that adults get 7–9 hours of sleep a night, one-third of US workers are reportedly sleeping for less than six hours per night.
Who can blame them? Between kids, bills, deadlines, and the extra layer of holiday stress, a deep winter slumber is hard to come by these days. Many other people struggle with insomnia and anxiety, or their circadian rhythms are disrupted because of their nighttime intake of blue light. So if you’re finding that dozing off is difficult and nothing’s making a difference—not bamboo bedding, not a weighted blanket, not melatonin supplements—consider giving CBD and CBN a try. Read on for an overview of those two cannabinoids and a few reasons why they may help you knit your mind back into a cohesive pattern.
What Are CBD and CBN?
CBD is shorthand for “cannabidiol,” one of the most prevalent active ingredients in cannabis. Since it’s non-intoxicating and tends to produce a calming effect on users, it’s often identified as a supplement that may treat insomnia and other forms of sleeplessness. The FDA has not approved any CBD drug products except Epidiolex, and CBD may cause liver damage and unexpected side effects, so consult your primary physician before taking CBD products.
“Cannabinol” is the full name of CBN, a minor cannabinoid that is, effectively, decomposed THC. Some research has determined that CBN is psychoactive; other studies have found that CBN is mildly psychoactive. Cannabis researchers mostly agree, however, that CBN produces strong sedative effects—and users are being quoted as saying that CBN has given them “the best night of sleep [they’ve] ever had.”
How Can CBD and CBN Help You Sleep?
So far, most of the preliminary research on how CBD and CBN can help you sleep has been conducted on CBD. Many results are not conclusive, but here are a few relevant studies on the topic:
- In a large case series published in 2019, 72 adults who suffered from anxiety and sleep disorders took 25 mg. of CBD in capsule form. After a month, the anxiety scores decreased in 79% of the participants and the sleep scores improved in 66% of the participants. The decrease in anxiety symptoms remained stable over three months, while the sleep scores varied over time.
- In a 2016 case report, a 10-year-old girl experiencing PTSD who also had trouble sleeping took 25 mg. of CBD at bedtime. She was also treated with an additional 6–12 mg. of CBD during the day to assuage her anxiety. Her sleep improved over a period of five months.
CBD may also be able to help treat insomnia, REM sleep behavior disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness disorder. Not everyone who uses CBD will experience the same sleep benefits, however. Studies suggest that high doses of CBD are sedating, while lower doses tend to act as stimulants.
The research into how CBN affects our sleep lags behind the research on CBD, but studies on mice indicate that CBN may promote sleep-inducing effects. Research also suggests that CBN may help treat glaucoma and reverse bone loss, and it can be an effective antibiotic, anticonvulsant, and pain reliever.
Other Health Conditions that CBD and CBN Can Help With
CBD could help in treating epilepsy, schizophrenia, and substance abuse disorders—as well as anxiety-related disorders. Some research has determined that it’s safe to take 300-mg. oral doses of CBD each day for up to six months. One review validated that using 1,500 mg. of CBD every day for up to four weeks showed no negative effects on users. (Cannabinoids alter people’s moods differently, so don’t take those dosing parameters as one-size-fits-all guidelines.)
With that said, other analyses have shown that the CBD content listed on a label may not be accurate—which can lead people to take more CBD than they intended to take. One examination found that about 25% of 84 CBD products sold online contained less CBD than their labels claimed, while 43% contained more CBD than their labels specified.
Here’s to a Good Night’s Sleep
We won’t lie—the cannabis industry is often under-regulated, which is one reason we got into it in the first place: Sick of seeing the misinformation out there, we wanted to clear up the facts about cannabinoids. So if you’re having trouble sleeping and you want to try CBD and CBN as a sleep aid, talk to your doctor first. Let her know about any herbs, medications, or supplements that you may be taking so that you can gauge whether a cannabinoid product will interact negatively with your medical regimen.
Do your research on healthy living with CBD and CBN. Read up on stories of our customers who have enjoyed better sleep after using cannabinoids and adaptogens. And reach out to the experts with questions about how a blend of CBD and CBN can help you fall into deep sleep and wake up revitalized.