Some common side effects when using CBD include drowsiness and sedation. This is also considered a benefit, but Dr. Jas Matharu-Daley, a physician and chief medical officer for a CBD brand, notes that the effects might be too strong if you’re also taking CBD with other sedating medications.
There are several reasons why someone might want to use CBD. The substance can be found in a multitude of products ranging from pain-relieving creams to edible tinctures to skincare. Research is still underway, but over the last few decades scientists have become more aware of how CBD might prove beneficial when applied either topically or ingested.
Ultimately, the primary reasons why people use CBD is because it tends to have calming, relaxing, pain-reducing effects. It has been used to alleviate joint pain and nerve pain, reduce anxiety and stress, treat insomnia, improve migraines, and address nausea.
“If the CBD is from a reputable source and one that has been inspected by a third-party independent lab, the content of CBD is more reliable,” notes Dr. Matharu-Daley. “The CBD should be organically grown, free of pesticides and heavy metals, and not sourced in food which can affect absorption. Generally, CBD is safe and side effects are few at low doses.”
Also known as “cotton mouth,” CBD can potentially cause your mouth and eyes to feel very dry, notes Dr. Brent A. Bauer via Mayo Clinic. Though this side effect is more likely to occur with THC, it can happen with CBD, as well.
Cousens K, DiMascio A. (−) Delta 9 THC as an hypnotic. An experimental study of three dose levels. Psychopharmacologia. 1973;33(4):355–64.
Vaughn LK, Denning G, Stuhr KL, de Wit H, Hill MN, Hillard CJ. Endocannabinoid signalling: has it got rhythm? Br J Pharmacol. 2010;160(3):530–43
In a 2012 study examining the effect of medium and high dose CBD in rats, Hsiao and colleagues found that CBD blocked anxiety-induced REM sleep suppression and increased the percentage of total sleep time. Similarly, in 2013, Chagas and colleagues published a study that found an increase in the total percentage of sleep in rats after the administration of mid-range and high-dose CBD injections as compared to placebo. The following year, Chagas and colleagues published another study on four adults with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) and Parkinson’s disease. RBD is characterized by the loss of muscle rigidity during REM sleep accompanying nightmares and can involve individuals acting out behaviors associated with dreams. Their study found that CBD was tolerated well by all patients and efficacious in suppressing behaviors associated with RBD.
How to Use Hemp Oil as a Sleep Aid
These early studies found that cannabis had an effect on sleep, but perhaps because they mainly looked at THC rich marijuana, their findings were mixed. For instance, one THC study showed a decrease in sleep onset latency, or the time it takes individuals to transition from full wakefulness to sleep (Cousens & DiMascio, 1973), while different studies did not replicate these findings.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, the most prominent cannabinoid in hemp oil has been found to lead to wakefulness in low doses, and sedation or sleepiness in higher doses.
Chagas MH, Eckeli AL, Zuardi AW, Pena-Pereira MA, SobreiraNeto MA, Sobreira ET, et al. Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviours associated with rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder in Parkinson’s disease patients: a case series. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2014;39(5):564–6.
CBD, THC and other cannabinoids like CBN interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system. Every human, dog, cat, mammal, amphibian, and even the ancient sea squirt possesses an internal cannabinoid system. Implicated in a wide variety of biological functions, the endocannabinoid system has been shown to play an important role in the regulation of the circadian rhythm sleep-wake cycle. Available data supports a relationship between endocannabinoid signaling and circadian processes (Vaugn, et al 2010) and indicates that the endocannabinoid system has the capability to modulate circadian rhythms (Sanford, 2008).
Have you ever noticed when consuming an alcoholic drink with friends that most people will be stimulated initially but eventually they become sedated? This is because of the biphasic effect. Alcohol is classed as a depressant, but only when it reaches a certain threshold amount within the body. Before it reaches this amount, alcohol is a stimulant.
In reality, most substances have different dose-response relationships, resulting in different physical outcomes. However, the sedation-stimulant effect for alcohol itself a biphasic relationship because both sedation and stimulation are seemingly opposite to each other. Another biphasic effect would be when a substance has been reported to both improve and regress memory, such as THC.
What is the biphasic effect?
Everyone is comprised of a unique biological system and consequently has a different threshold point where this sedative effect kicks in. Hence, some people can be classed as ‘lightweights’, feeling sedated and drunk after only one or two drinks whereas others can seemingly drink endlessly. Cannabidiol (CBD) joins the myriad of substances that fall into the category of being biphasic, and this affects the way in which your body responds to certain doses. Therefore, you should consider the biphasic effects of CBD before consuming.
The threshold point for alcohol’s stimulant effects is at a much lower blood alcohol concentration than for the sedative response. Hence, why it becomes apparent people are lifted before an inevitable crash if they continue to drink because the threshold for sedation will be reached later on.
There are over 110 cannabinoids that can affect the human body’s endocannabinoid system (a biological network consisting of millions of receptors) in such a large amount of different ways. When taken in different dosages, the potential for conflicting pathways and a resulting different set of effects are apparent. Some of these effects appear to have contradictory properties (i.e. stimulant-sedative), which prove CBD is biphasic with respect to these properties and the dosage. The biphasic effect of CBD most studied relates to anxiety, as well as its relationship with THC, which has been shown to exacerbate anxiety within certain people.