Overview of Insomnia
If you’ve had insomnia or are dealing with it right now, then you know how frustrating it is and how challenging it can make living a normal, happy life. In short, it can make life extremely miserable. It can make you feel and act like a different version of yourself. It can make you less productive in all areas of life. It shortens your life span and lowers quality of life. So yes, taking steps to avoid it is well worth the effort.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, forty million Americans have a chronic sleep disorder. Similarly, more than sixty percent of adults experience some type of sleep disturbances several times per week. According to sleepfoundation.org, insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so.
Overall, it’s good to consider the consequences of poor sleep, which over time can include:
- Abnormal irritability
- Worse memory
- Reduced physical performance
- Reduced cognitive performance
- Chronic brain fog
- Getting sick more often
- Worse pain management
- Safety issues
- Short temper
What is CBD?
There is a lot of misinformation and confusion out there regarding cannabis in general, and it is not difficult to see where the confusion comes from for CBD oils. In reality, CBD is a non-psychoactive, natural compound, which mimics a naturally occuring neurotransmitter in the brain which helps to regulate bodily functions appropriately.
CBD is short-hand for “cannibidiol”, a naturally occurring chemical compound found in the cannibas plant. It is distinctly different from THC (short-hand for tetrahydrocannibinol), because CBD is non-psychoactive. This means that while THC has associated psychological changes from ingestion, CBD does not have psychological changes from ingestion. Let’s just repeat that one again: CBD IS NOT PSYCHOACTIVE. This means it can be used without the same concerns required for using THC safely.
How CBD Affects Sleep
CBD interacts with the endo-cannibanoid system (ECS), in the brain; specifically, the regulating portions of the mid-brain, like the hypothalamus. Our brains have naturally occurring cannibanoid compounds in the brain, which are used as neuro-transmitters in this endo-cannibanoid system. Neurotransmitters are used in the brain to communicate between cells called neurons, and the amount or quality of these neurotransmitters can be different from person to person, but overall humans tend to operate similarly in this regard.
At the risk of getting too technical, endo-cannibanoids are endogenous lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors within the brain and nervous system. Said in another way, our brains already have a system which runs on chemical compounds very similar to that of CBD. Endogenous is a fancy way of saying that the body produces them. Or said another way, the brain needs cannibinoids to function properly, and if the system is out of whack, introducing cannibinoids in the form of CBD can help regulate these functions.
CBD specifically mimics one neurotransmitter in the brain, called 2-arachidonoylglycerol (AG-2), which is involved in the regulation of apetite, immune system functions, and pain management.
In plain English, CBD helps regulate internal brain-processes that are important for the body regulating it’s internal behavior.
Using CBD Oil for Insomnia
For specific purposes, CBD can be used in conjuncture with THC to effectively produce impacts in the body and in the mind. For insomnia, it is common to use a 1:6 ratio of CBD:THC. CBD can be taken in many ways, including:
- oils, topically and orally
- CBD oil-infused foods
- infused teas
Depending on the specifics of your insomnia, body, sensitivity, etc. the right dose may be different. It’s important to speak to a qualified health-care provider if you have any concerns, or to address any questions that come up prior to using CBD. As far as medicines go, CBD has very small side effects, which makes it an easy method to try when first beginning to deal with insomnia.
Other medications for insomnia
There are many medications that can be used to treat insomnia, including:
- many more
Something to keep in mind with these medications is the potential side-effects. Unlike CBD, or other naturally occuring compounds, these medications tend to be synthetic and can have many significant side-effects. This is one reason why CBD has gained popularity as a treatment for insomnia in recent history, because of the small side-effects and low risk associated with its use. As stated prior, speaking with a qualified health-care provider can provide guidance regarding medication choices if it is deemed necessary.