CBD for insomnia: can it help?

So many of us aren't getting the 8 hours of sleep that is recommended by Doctors. Sleep patterns in developed nations have become so bad that the World Health Organisation has declared a sleep epidemic, with a lack of sleep linked to many major diseases and health issues.

How does CBD help improve sleep quality?

CBD works on our brain's 5HT1a receptor. This receptor triggers the release and uptake of the neurotransmitter Serotonin, which is responsible for our mental wellbeing and often referred to as the 'master neurotransmitter' because it balances out the levels of other neurotransmitters. CBD, therefore, allows us to reutilise Serotonin molecules that remain, similar to SSRI's, the antidepressants that inhibit the reuptake of Serotonin.

Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, acting as a filter for messages in our brain, allowing only critical words to come through, and lowering the level of 'noise' in mind. Serotonin helps us maintain a calmer state throughout the day, which can contribute to a better night's sleep.

Additionally and more significantly, Serotonin is also the precursor to melatonin neurotransmitter that modulates the sleep/wake cycle. The more Serotonin we use effectively, the more Melatonin we synthesise effectively as well. More efficient utilisation of Melatonin is what causes individuals who take CBD to wake up feeling more refreshed.

One study in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology looked at the effects of CBD and benzodiazepines on healthy subjects, insomniacs, and Epileptics. The study found that CBD elicited a better response to anxiety and sleep. Participants found they had less dream recall, which is a sign of a good night's sleep as it means they were in a deeper sleep for longer.

CBD also has an impact on our Adenosine receptors. These are the receptors that are so profoundly influenced by caffeine. Caffeine will block our brains Adenosine receptors making you more 'excited.' A CBD increases the activity of Adenosine receptors, which provides you with a subtle calming effect.