CBD has more than 100 compounds in cannabis that create drug-like effects in the body, including the nervous and immune systems. Called cannabinoids, these compounds mimic naturally produced compounds in our bodies called endocannabinoids that help maintain overall balance.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) forms a major signaling network that regulates memory, mood, pain, and hunger. CBD and other cannabinoids act as keys, locking and unlocking receptors – much like how dopamine and serotonin act as messengers in the nervous system. Though most cannabinoids bind to nerve receptors, CBD does not directly trigger receptors. Instead, it binds in a different spot, freeing the normal spot. By doing this, it makes it harder for receptors to activate. While this may seem undesirable, too much nerve activity can be a bad thing. If you are experiencing loss of sleep or heightened stress, it may be from overstimulation of cannabinoid receptors.

Unlike THC, CBD will not get you high, or arrested. It is easy to take and compares very favorably to pharmaceuticals, especially opioids: you cannot overdose or get addicted, and its side effects are rare and mild.

Emotional well-being is closely linked to peaceful sleep. People with even mild anxiety or depression can suffer physical symptoms that further compromise rest, like pain, headaches, cramps, or digestive issues. In fact, sleep issues are an explicit symptom of depression – sleeping too little or too much, not being able to fall asleep, or getting plenty of sleep but still feeling tired the next day.

CBD appears to have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors, and CBD appears to help depressed people take better advantage of serotonin. And better moods do lead to better sleep.

Research has been scattered but positive. A study in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 1981 found that subjects slept significantly longer after a 160mg dose of CBD, and a report from the University of Paris indicated CBD positively impacted circadian rhythms. A more recent study at Colorado mental health clinics suggested that CBD may bring about a parallel reduction in anxiety and insomnia. A 2018 report in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews surveyed 16 previous studies testing CBD’s effectiveness for neuropathic pain, concluding that CBD reduces the intensity and eases difficulties with sleeping and psychological distress.

Prescription drugs for sleep can be habit-forming and lead to dependence. They may also cause headaches, gastrointestinal problems, prolonged drowsiness, allergic reactions, and daytime memory and performance problems. CBD, on the other hand, is not known to be addictive or result in harsh side effects.

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