Can CBD Oil Cause Insomnia?

man lying on his bed eyes open facing a digital clock

Table of contents

  1. Can CBD Oil Cause Insomnia?
  2. Why CBD Oil Could Potentially Cause Insomnia
  3. How to Use CBD Oil for Sleep
  4. The Bottom Line
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

While cannabidiol (CBD) oil does not often cause insomnia, there are a few circumstances in which CBD may negatively affect sleep.

However, it is more likely that CBD oil will promote better, more restful sleep. CBD’s effects are dose-dependent, having stimulating effects in lower doses and sedative effects in higher doses.

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Can CBD Oil Cause Insomnia?

CBD is a cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis plants. The main difference between CBD and the other most common cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is that CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not cause the “high” feeling associated with cannabis. CBD oil does not contain THC.

Insomnia is when a person struggles to fall asleep, experiences sleep disturbances such as night awakenings, or wakes up too early and cannot fall back to sleep. Common causes of insomnia include stress, anxiety, depression, pain, alcohol, and recreational drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy.

CBD is not thought to cause insomnia and is believed to have the opposite effect in most cases. The most common therapeutic effects of CBD are relief from anxiety, pain, depression, and stress. These effects can help improve sleep onset and duration, resulting in more restful sleep.

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Why CBD Oil Could Potentially Cause Insomnia

Wake Promoting

CBD may cause difficulty falling asleep or insomnia because it may be wake-promoting in low doses. Research shows that in low doses (around 15 milligrams or less), CBD may provide an energy boost, directly negating feelings of tiredness.

It is thought that low doses of CBD may increase protein synthesis in specific parts of the brain that are involved in wakefulness. This increased activity in the brain may wake you up rather than help you sleep. However, this wake-promoting effect of CBD is only observed when taken in low doses. Therefore, if you experience an energy boost at night when using CBD oil, you may find that this effect does not occur when taking a larger dose.

Habitual Use 

Sleep assistance is a byproduct of many of the therapeutic effects of CBD oil. If CBD oil helps you fall asleep by relieving symptoms inhibiting sleep, you might find you are using it every night to fall asleep.

This alone is not bad; some people can use CBD every night without adverse effects. However, some people may develop a tolerance for it. This means your body becomes used to CBD levels, so you no longer experience the desired effects. To combat this, you would increase the dosage to continue feeling the effects, creating an ongoing cycle. You may start to rely on CBD during this cycle to fall asleep. This creates problematic use patterns and may result in insomnia if you happen to be without CBD oil at night.

How to Use CBD Oil for Sleep

How Does CBD Help Sleep?

CBD may provide relief from anxiety, stress, depression, and pain. By relieving the symptoms of these conditions, CBD may help you fall asleep or maintain sleep, reducing insomnia. Additionally, high doses of CBD have been shown to sedate healthy adults (adults who do not suffer from conditions that negatively affect their sleep). However, it is unclear whether this sedative effect is a direct result of CBD use or if it is due to a significant drop in the amount of cortisol in the bloodstream following CBD administration.

Dosing for Sleep 

The general guideline for using CBD for therapeutic benefits is to start low and slowly increase the dose until you experience the desired effect. If you experience conditions that affect your sleep, such as anxiety or pain, you may require a lower amount than healthy adults to aid in sleep.

Research has shown that 160 mg per day of CBD can increase total sleep time and decrease the frequency of awakenings in the night in patients with insomnia. However, healthy adults require 300-600 mg of CBD daily for sedative effects.

When to Take CBD for Sleep? 

If you require help falling asleep, taking CBD 30 to 60 minutes before bed is best. This is because CBD must be absorbed into your body and enter your bloodstream before it can take effect. The time it takes for you to notice an impact will vary based on the following factors:

  • Method of ingestion
  • Dosage
  • Weight
  • Personal metabolism rate

When CBD oil drops are placed under the tongue, effects tend to take place within 15-30-60 minutes. This occurs much quicker than the CBD molecules absorbed directly into the bloodstream, where they can start working. If CBD oil is used in beverages or edibles, the effects take longer, closer to 60-90 minutes. This is because the CBD must pass through the liver and undergo metabolism before entering the bloodstream.

The Bottom Line

CBD oil is unlikely to cause insomnia. Some people may experience an energy boost with small doses, but taking larger doses can help you avoid this issue.

Common therapeutic uses of CBD oil include relief from pain, anxiety, stress, and depression, all common causes of insomnia. Easing these conditions’ symptoms may help you fall asleep more quickly and have better quality sleep, reducing insomnia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will taking CBD oil late at night keep me awake?

CBD oil may keep you awake at night if you take low doses. However, many people experience the opposite effect when they take CBD for sleep. Often, insomnia is caused by anxiety, pain, or stress. CBD oil can reduce symptoms of these conditions and help you feel more relaxed, improving the ability to fall asleep.

Why is CBD keeping me up at night?

CBD may keep you awake at night if you’re taking low doses. CBD has an energizing effect, increasing protein synthesis in certain parts of the brain that keep you awake.

Cannabinoids like CBG and terpenes like limonene can also combine with CBD and have stimulating effects. If CBD keeps you awake at night, try increasing the amount of CBD oil you take. Higher doses of CBD oil have sedative effects in healthy adults. Keep an eye out for products that test higher for terpenes like myrcene and linalool, which have more relaxing, sedative effects.

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