The answer to the question, “Does CBD oil make you sleep?” is a two-fold one. Some people worry about CBD making them overly sleepy. In contrast, others worry about not feeling tired and counting solely on the placebo effect to reach an optimal sleep-friendly relaxation level.
The way the body interacts with CBD is through the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS has two different receptors strategically located throughout the body. Each receptor may have a role to play in various functions of the body, depending on where their location.
In general, CBD and cannabinoids have taken off as a consumer item in the past decade because they are in the body. This popularity opens up the question: If we use cannabinoids to modify the way these receptors work, do we subsequently change the other function that said receptors play a role?
The ECS plays a role in multiple bodily functions. Because of how the ECS interacts with body functions, CBD can regulate and affect adenosine accumulating in the brain during the day. Adenosine is a substance that can deactivate a portion of the neurons that keep the body awake . If CBD can modify their behavior, then the amount of adenosine could also be changed, reflected in a shift in the sleep cycle.
That said, CBD oil can make you sleepy, but it’s not a one-way street. Other things can play an essential role in the effects that CBD has on the body.
Two Schools of Thought
One school of thought is that CBD can help with sleep deprivation because of its anxiolytic and analgesic effects. A theory still has not been clinically proven but has an extensive amount of anecdotal evidence behind it to support it. The theory states that CBD can help push the body into a state where sleep is more easily attained and maintained by directly affecting pain and anxiety receptors. How CBD interacts with pain and anxiety receptors is still being investigated, and further research is required to confirm its utility correctly.
The other theory is that the ECS receptors interact directly with the sleep and wake cycle of the body. By extension, if CBD can interact with the right receptors, it can also potentially affect and manage the body's sleep and wake cycle directly. Again, this is a non-clinically proven theory, and human studies are still needed to confirm it.
Can CBD Oil make you Sleepy?
The fact is that for CBD to induce sleep, you’ll have to consider a couple of different factors. Mainly the amount of CBD you are consuming at a time and on your specific physiological condition (this includes your tolerance to CBD, weight, size, gender, pre-existing medical conditions, etc.).
In other words, CBD oil can make you sleepy, but it won’t necessarily. There is no clinical evidence to support CBD as a sleep aid, but anecdotal evidence tells us that it can do one of two things; inhibit sleep or help the body reach a sleep-friendly physical state.
Which effect you get will entirely depend on you. By planning out your doses and understanding your body, you’ll be able to play with the results to satisfy your specific needs.
How to use CBD properly
Using CBD properly is defined by two main rules:
The application method you are using
The reality is that there is an endless number of CBD application methods; Edibles, sublingual drops, topicals, vaping, smoking, and a few others. Defining the application method you use will not necessarily represent the type of effect CBD has on your body, but it will determine the dose's accuracy and the onset's quickness
For instance, vaping and smoking CBD is the quickest way to feel its effects. But dosing with dry-herb can be quite tricky to do accurately. If you're trying to treat localized physical pain, then vaping and smoking could help, but they will not be as good an option as CBD topicals that you can apply directly to the problem area where the pain is present.
In terms of regulating sleep, the best methods are probably capsules or sublingual drops. Both ways do not provide a quick onset as vaping, but pills come with incredibly accurate doses and sublingual drops with greater bioavailability.
The goal you are looking to achieve by consuming CBD
Because application methods play a role in how effective CBD is for certain conditions, it's up to you to define that condition first. In this case, we are talking about regulating sleep patterns, but your goal could be to sleep better or perhaps feel less sleepy and access a stronger sense of focus.
Here is where the amount of CBD comes into place. CBD can enhance energy levels or help achieve better sleep, depending on how much of it you take. This is commonly referred to as the Biphasic Effect of CBD.
The biphasic effect is just a fancy technical name to describe how a substance can produce opposite results depending on the amount consumed. In the case of CBD, the biphasic effect behaves like so:
- High Dose Amount:
High doses of CBD will usually result in physical and mental relaxation. This effect is often interpreted as sleepiness.
- Low Dose Amount:
Low doses of CBD usually result in a focused relaxation that does not make the body feel sluggish and heavy. Low doses of CBD are for people with trouble concentrating but still live a hectic lifestyle.
The amount of CBD dose will depend on the person's condition. For instance, a high dose for a person that weighs 130lbs is probably not a high dose for a person that weighs 250lbs. Likewise, people with conditions like anxiety and depression might also react differently to different amounts. But the above is a standard rule of thumb that we can use to understand CBD's overall behavior in the body.
Tips and tricks to enhance the effects of CBD on your body
Assuming that your goal is to achieve a better sleep pattern, here are a couple of tips and tricks we’ve picked up on how to use CBD to make you sleepy:
- Look for products that contain additional active components that can help with sleep. Some of the most popular CBD sleep products combine CBD with melatonin.
- Take CBD 30 minutes before going to bed.
- Use application methods with higher bioavailability rates like vaping and sublingual drops.
- Understand what a ‘high CBD dose’ looks like for your particular situation. An amount that allows you to modify your sleeping pattern but doesn’t end with you wasting half of your coveted CBD stash.
It still hasn’t been decided if CBD has a direct effect on sleep patterns. However, tons of anecdotal evidence points to some impact of CBD on the sleep and wake cycle. Whether that effect is direct or indirect is yet to be confirmed.
Regardless of how CBD behaves in sleep activity, it has been discovered that it acts in a biphasic manner. Depending on how high the dose is, it may provide the opposite effects. Higher doses usually indicate a better sleep, while lower doses are commonly associated with a sense of calm focus and attention.
 Maroon, J., & Bost, J. (2018). Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids. Surgical Neurology International, 9(1), 91. https://doi.org/10.4103/sni.sni_45_18