How Cannabinoids Affect Sleep Quality
The importance of getting a good night’s rest cannot be overstated. Preliminary research published by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders suggests that while we sleep, the brain actively removes toxins that build up while we’re awake. Further, prolonged lack of sleep can lead to a variety of issues including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.
You’re likely reading this article because you’ve heard that CBD, THC or CBN can assist in helping you fall asleep or stay asleep longer.
Let’s dive into what’s true, what’s false, and what still needs more research (alot!).
Because cannabis has been illegal since 1970, the U.S Federal Government had effectively stalled research into the chemicals produced by the plant. However, we now know that over ten dozen “cannabinoids” are biologically synthesized in its flowers and that each of these substances has a slightly different effect on the body.
Most famous of these substances is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol Delta-9) which is what gives users a sense of inebriation (or a “high”). In recent years, CBD (Cannabidiol) has become much more widely known for its anti-seizure and anti-anxiety effects. A lesser known cannabinoid, CBN (Cannabinol) is now starting to be more widely recognized for its effects on the human body.
All of these compounds work by binding to receptor sites on the Endocannabinoid System. This network is part of the central nervous system and may work to directly modulate the immune system, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. Your body naturally produces a cannabinoid called “Anandamide” which activates this network. But, some studies suggest that anandamide levels (in mice) diminish as they age. This is part of the theory as to why using cannabinoids from plants may work to alleviate issues in humans. The idea is that you’re replacing what is no longer being produced.
But the truth is that everyone’s body is unique. Your metabolism, age, level of physical activity, gender, and stomach biology all play vital roles in how you might respond to using cannabinoids. For this reason, its important to consult with your physician before experimenting with consuming cannabis products. If you’re pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding you should look to other supplements as sleep aids.
So, how exactly do THC, CBD, and CBN affect sleep?
Some studies suggest that while THC may help people fall asleep, prolonged use can be detrimental to overall sleep quality. Another study published at UPenn, suggests that the ratio between the cannabinoids may have a significant effect on sleep since “each consists of varying levels of cannabinoids, particularly the ratio of THC to CBD, which may contribute to differences in sleep-related outcomes”. They also noted that edibles often contain higher CBD ratios, while natural cannabis is very low in CBD.
CBN has had less published research, but anecdotal evidence from our customers suggests we’ve dialed in our recipes perfectly. CBN is the substance that results from THC oxidizing – in layman’s terms “oxygen removes parts of the THC molecule leaving just the C”. As part of this process, CBN is non-psychoactive unlike its parent molecule but appears to convey the sleep benefits without the downsides. In fact, research from Steep Hill Labs suggests that “The consumption of 2.5mg to 5mg of CBN has the same level of sedation as a mild pharmaceutical sedative.”
But unlike pharmaceuticals Small Axe products are made from completely natural & organic sources. They’re also manufactured in a cGMP certified facility and tested by third parties to ensure purity and reliability of ingredients.
- National Institute for Health : Brain may flush out toxins during sleep
- National Library of Medicine : Age-related changes of anandamide metabolism in CB1 cannabinoid receptor
- University of Pennsylvania : The effects of cannabinoid administration on sleep: a systematic review of human studies
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke : Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep