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Does CBD Make You Sleepy & Tired?

Cannabidiol (CBD), derived from hemp plants, a close cousin of marijuana, can help correct your sleep patterns, relieve anxiety, and difficult-to-treat pain. It can even aid in cancer treatment and control seizures associated with epilepsy.

Scientists across the world are still studying the many ways CBD can help us to establish its therapeutic profile.

This cannabinoid gained much popularity when the US Government passed the Farm Bill (2018), legalizing its production. This was followed by scores of firms trying to vie for space in the market that had remained illegal for decades.

Now we have a vast range of products, like edibles, oils, tinctures, e-liquids, capsules, teas, coffee, gummies, balms, shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, and even water, all infused with CBD!

Nevertheless, CBD itself remains a grey area in several states, restricting its availability and studies.

While this plant extract has exhibited immense potential in easing or helping treat a host of medical conditions, with almost no side effects, its interaction with the human body is yet to be fully understood.

That’s why many people often ask: ‘Can CBD make you sleepy or tired?’

Well, CBD is quite safe and effective, when used in proper doses, with very mild side-effects exhibited rarely.

Smoking Marijuana Makes You Drowsy.

Does CBD Oil Have The Same Effect as Marijuana?

Although derived from a close cousin of marijuana, hemp-derived CBD doesn’t give you a ‘high’! Researchers have stumbled upon some rather interesting findings that prove its benefits far outweigh any side effects that it may have!

When one uses marijuana or weed, the psychotropic compound ∆-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) enters your bloodstream and its effects kick in within minutes.

This psychedelic natural compound alters a person’s mental state by rewiring the way the nervous system works. It can make a person feel ecstatic or morose depending on the person’s surroundings.

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Some believe that these mind-altering effects can induce creativity. However, studies show that THC, in low doses, has little impact on creativity, while in large doses, it could “impair divergent thinking”.

Both CBD and THC are cannabinoids found in cannabis that interact – directly or indirectly – with certain cannabinoid receptors in the brain as well as different parts of the nervous system. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system that runs alongside the nervous system.

Even though the two cannabinoids have similar molecular structures and enter the body in the same way – how they interact with the body are quite different – inversely for most parts! While THC is psychoactive, CBD is not. In fact, CBD can counter many of THC’s effects, including some of THC’s side-effects, like drowsiness, fatigue, etc.

That’s why extracts that have higher CBD content are safer, with lower psychoactive effects than those that are high on THC. Marijuana contains higher proportions of THC (compared to CBD). That’s why marijuana extracts, although quite effective in helping treat some difficult-to-treat medical conditions, have psychoactive properties.

So, to answer the question ‘if CBD makes you sleepy or tired’ – NOT REALLY!

That’s because CBD oils purchased from reputed brands aren’t derived from marijuana, but are instead derived from industrial or agricultural hemp. The latter only contains traces of THC (0.3% by dry weight), making it both legal and non-psychoactive.

CBD & its Effects on Sleep & Wakefulness

Cannabinoids are also produced by the human body. They are called endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoids receptors of the endocannabinoids system (ECS) interact with these endogenous cannabinoids to regulate functions, like sleep, mood, appetite, pain, memory, stress, metabolism, immune system, among others.

Although its interaction with the body isn’t fully understood, CBD doesn’t seem to bind with the endocannabinoid receptors. Instead, it augments the effects of our body’s endocannabinoids by arresting their breakdown and enhancing their effects.

Studies, however, indicate that it interacts rather positively with a certain receptor – 5-HT1A – a subtype of the serotonin receptor. This receptor, in turn, interacts with serotonin, the body’s happy chemical, and helps maintain health and happiness.

CBD does not make you drowsy or sleepy. Instead, it helps regulate a uniform and well-balanced sleep pattern, frequency, duration, and quality, along with calming the nerves, dispelling anxiety.

Some studies also indicate that CBD can be beneficial with sleep disorders, like insomnia and sleep apnea. In contrast, THC can induce a quicker onset of sleep, but could also impair its quality in the long term.

An interesting thing about CBD is that it is biphasic in nature.

  • According to a 2017 review, published in the Current Psychiatry Reports, CBD’s biphasic nature applies to some of its effects, including sleep. CBD creates a stimulating effect at low doses, whereas it has exhibited a sedative-like effect at high doses. This is what
  • Another study, published in the Neuropharmacology in 2o12, CBD blocks REM sleep disruptions caused by anxiety, without affecting non-REM sleep.
  • According to yet another research, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2013, CBD seems to increase sleep density in rats.
  • In a 2014 study, published in Current Neuropharmacology, researchers proved that CBD is promising “wake-inducing drug”.

CBD Helps Address Sleep Disorders

Insomnia may be caused by stress, anxiety, unhealthy work schedule, poor sleep habits, or even eating too much later in the evening. Medical or health conditions, like pain or certain drugs, could affect sleep.

Instead of making you sleepy – which it DOES NOT – as proven in the earlier-mentioned studies, let’s look at some of the studies that suggest that CBD addresses the underlying causes for sleep disorders.

  • Researchers of a 2019 study, published in the journal Pain, established that CBD modulates the working of serotonin neurotransmitter, thus influencing pain sensation and anxiety in neuropathic rats. The study also indicated that repeated use of low-dose CBD can act as a painkiller by influencing the functioning of TRPV1 receptors, which are responsible for pain. Alongside that, it reduces anxiety by activating the 5-HT1A
  • Published in The Permanente Journal in 2019, a study that was carried out on 72 subjects concluded that almost two-thirds of the subjects reported better sleep patterns by reducing anxiety with the help of CBD.
  • Another 2018 study, published in the Journal of Pharmacology, indicated that CBD may significantly soothe pain, allowing a patient to sleep better.
  • In 2017, in a paper on ‘Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature’, researchers, led by Kimberly A. Babson, mentioned that CBD may hold promise for certain sleep behavior disorders and excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • In a 2014 study, led by MHN Chagas and published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, CBD can help Parkinson’s patients with complex sleep disorders associated with REM-sleep behavior disorder (RBD), also known as parasomnia. This includes nightmares as well as active behavior during dreaming, like certain physical movements as if the person is playing a role in the dream/nightmare. CBD curbs such behavior in patients.

Does CBD Cause Fatigue?

Yes and no! Yes, because overdosing yourself with CBD can create some toxic reactions that include tiredness as a side-effect. However, with optimum CBD dosage, you would feel energized when you need to and get proper sleep when you need it.

Wrong or untimely dosage can also create fatigue. For instance, if you take a heavy dose in the morning or light dose at night, your sleep patterns may go for a toss, leaving you feeling tired.

But these effects are obviously expected of substances and drugs that have some kind of effect on the sleep process.

  • A study, published in the Cannabis & Cannabinoid Research in 2017, indicated that the common side-effects of using high doses of CBD include tiredness. The study concludes that although “CBD safety profile is already established”, some gaps in knowledge remain owing to the dearth of adequate clinical trials.

The best solution for this is to ensure taking the correct dose of CBD and keeping oneself well hydrated.

Parting Thoughts: Does CBD Make You Sleepy?

While CBD’s therapeutic effects on sleep disorders and other problems associated with sleep issues are well understood by now, you should remember that CBD’s effects are dose-dependent.

CBD doesn’t make you sleepy or tired if taken in the right doses at the right time. It rather regulates your sleep patterns and density, offering both better sleep quality and energy levels – exactly when you need them the most.

The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s 2018 Critical Review Report on CBD states: “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…CBD is generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects maybe (the) result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.”

Nonetheless, one must be careful while buying CBD from the market or online. Order only from genuine and reputed brands to protect yourself and your family from falling prey to fake, adulterated, or contaminated products.

Besides, a stricter regimen of CBD regulations is also required to ensure no lives are endangered by nefarious activities by illegal CBD sellers.

Lastly, always consult a medical practitioner, preferably one who is experienced in cannabis medicine, before trying out CBD for the first time.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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