CBD for Sleep: What the Science Says | Shake Organics

CBD for Sleep: What the Science Says

One of the most cited uses for CBD is Insomnia - struggling to fall and stay asleep. There's plenty of anecdotes online heralding the positive effect CBD has had on consumers sleep quality, but is there any science to back it up? We compiled a meta-analysis of 3 large studies:
Cannabis, Cannabinoids and Sleep: A Review of the Literature
This study assessed research on CBD and THC for sleep from 2014 - 2017. They concluded that synthetic cannabinoids had shown promise in alleviating the symptoms of sleep apnea, but that studies on CBD are in their infancy. They noted: "CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness".
Promising, but not convincing enough. Let's move on to the next paper.

Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series

This more recent study (2019) assessed 103 patients who were administered a precise dose (25, 50 or 175mg of CBD daily) over 3 months. The study concluded that "Anxiety scores decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79.2%) and remained decreased during the study duration. Sleep scores improved within the first month in 48 patients (66.7%) but fluctuated over time."
I've checked out those 'fluctuations', and the data set still seems to be trending towards lower overall anxiety and greater sleep scores over time. This paper provides some more clarity as to the efficacy of CBD for sleep disorders.

Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems

The most recent study we assessed was this one by Julie Moltka in The Journal of Cannabis Research (2021). This differs slightly to the other two studies in that it depends on voluntary responses to a survey. If there's one thing I've learned from surveys it's that what people say they do, and what people actually do is very different.
A survey was sent to 387 past or present CBD users, who were all asked 20 questions about their usage and reasons for it, as well as the perceived effect. The researchers noted: "The most significant findings were that many CBD users reported that CBD could improve sleep problems, stress, and anxiety and be used for general health and wellbeing", with improving sleep quality as the 4th most predominant objective for the trialists.
Specifically, trialists overwhelmingly stated that taking CBD made them feel more calm. Calmness is key to reducing overall cortisol levels, which would subsequently improve sleep quality. Even if indirectly, CBD is clearly massively influential in improving the sleep of users.
Conclusion
I feel the lack of large-scale double blind trials on CBD is harming the industry as a whole. In a science-focused society, we weight the legitimacy of medicine according to the number of peer-reviewed studies concerning it. Scientists claim that anecdotal data is not data at all, but I couldn't disagree more. Without anecdotes, studies are not commissioned. I feel CBD as an industry isn't too far away from being fully legitimised as a medical substance in the future given the overwhelming level of support from consumers.

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