Everyone needs a good night’s sleep. Without that, we cannot function.
A sleep-deprived person first undergoes physical exhaustion that soon graduates to mental fatigue. It can even lead to hallucinations and loss of consciousness.
In some extreme cases, the heart may stop beating, unable to keep up with the extreme exhaustion and exceptional demand for oxygen from the brain.
In milder cases, an individual may face difficulty concentrating on work, affecting his cognitive functions.
So, what does a person suffering from insomnia do?
We all know how bad dependence on medications or alcohol to treat insomnia can turn out to be.
However, cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical component naturally found in cannabis, is seen by many, including researchers, as a potential agent to treat sleep disorders.
With CBD being legalized in many countries, especially in the US, where the prevalence of insomnia is high due to strained family relationships and tough workplace environment, many people turn to CBD to not only overcome their anxiety, depression, pain, and inflammation; but also to develop a healthy sleep cycle. But make sure that you have good CBD products and not the synthetic fake ones.
But, does CBD really promote sleep? If so, what is the right dosage for it?
Dual Effects of CBD
Scientific researchers have, time and again, established that CBD is effective in attaining and maintaining homeostasis.
However, CBD is one of those substances that exhibits distinctly different effects as per their dosage, i.e. one effect on a low dose and an entirely different (sometimes opposite) effect on a higher dose.
While this property is exhibited in its interaction with different kinds of conditions, this is especially true for CBD’s effect on wakefulness and sleep:
- On lower doses, CBD promotes wakefulness and an alert mind. It helps in clearing your mind of stress, even while helping you heightening your attention span and quality.
- At higher doses, CBD acts as a sedative, makes you drowsy, and promotes sleep. So much so, it is even dangerous to drive or handle heavy machinery while on a high dose of CBD.
Plenty more experiments have been carried out to exhibit such varying effects of different doses of CBD on an individual.
Now, how do we differentiate a low dose from a high one? And, how do we know how much is right for sleep?
To answer these questions, we must first understand a bit about microdosing.
Microdosing is a term that was originally associated with psychoactive substances like THC.
However, it is a good idea for any substance that interacts with our nervous system, especially all cannabinoids, including CBD.
Like we often tell our readers: Start low and go slow until you find your sweet spot!
The reason for it, as well as why CBD is a better option than pharmaceutical drugs, is that cannabinoids don’t react with the human body in the same way as those medications.
Unlike other medications, CBD mimics the behavior of some of our body’s naturally produced substances, like anandamide – a neurotransmitter and an endocannabinoid – that interacts with our endocannabinoid system and, in turn, with our nervous system, to bring about some specific, intended effects.
There are several factors that we need to keep in mind while considering our dosage:
- CBD’s effects on our health depend on the existing condition of our body. While it would have one effect on a balanced endocannabinoid system, it could have an entirely different effect on a person having some kind of imbalance in this system.
- Not everyone’s endocannabinoid system is built in the same way. Some are born with an imbalance, while others may develop it later on in their life. These imbalances are unique to every individual and cannot be treated in the same manner or with the same dosage.
- There is no point in overdosing on CBD. While no serious adverse effects have been reported so far as a result of CBD overdose, some undesirable effects may occur, like:
- Dryness of mouth, or
- Stomach cramps, accompanied by diarrhea.
CBD is generally known to fight these above health issues. You may then wonder why we’ve still added these issues to our list of side effects.
The reason is simple- The key to controlling all these and several other physiological processes is “dosing”. In the right dose, CBD can help combat nausea, while in the wrong dose it can cause it.
To attain that right dosage, you need to start low and go slow, until you find the level that helps you achieve the intended effect – whether that is to cure insomnia or fight pain and inflammation or overcome depression and anxiety.
As we mentioned earlier, a high dose for an individual may seem to be low for another person.
For instance, some may find 1-3 mg of CBD per day effective enough, while others may need at least 20 – 30 mg taken twice a day to manage their symptoms. There is no specific dosage for one and all in the case of CBD.
So, how will you gauge which is a low dose for you?
Tips for Finding the Right Dosage
People react to CBD differently, depending on several factors. Here’s a list of the different variables that influence CBD’s effect on human physiology:
- The Kind of Condition or Disease,
- The Extent and Intensity of the Problem,
- Past or Current Cannabinoid Use,
- Overall Physical Condition, like body weight, etc.
- Tolerance to CBD,
- CBD Concentration, and
- Route of Administration.
Here are a few tips to finding that right dosage…
- Find the right concentration to ensure potency:
Different brands make CBD products with varying strengths of CBD and other cannabinoids. Concentrations of both CBD and the other cannabis components, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids, play a part in determining a product’s potency. So choose your brand and product according to your need.
- The Kind, Extent & Intensity of Issue, and the Intended Effect:
For instance, a light headache may need much less dosage (in mg) than a chronic back pain experienced by the same person. The more severe the problem, the stronger the dose needed.
- First-time vs. long-time user:
Substance tolerance differs depending on the period for which it is used. While for most substances, the tolerance level increases, i.e. the effectiveness of the substance decreases, in the case of CBD it has the opposite effect. With time, users don’t get immune to its effects. Instead, the effectiveness increases owing to its continued presence in the system.
- Site/Route of Administration & Dosage:
Different forms of CBD (which also means different routes of administration, such as injection, topical, vaping, oral consumption or sublingual administration) have different bioavailability, i.e. potency. They also decide how quickly its effects kick in, how long they prevail and at times even the side effects. For instance, inhaled or vaped CBD takes less than a minute or two to take effect, while ingestible CBD takes around 30 to 90 minutes. Meanwhile, inhaled CBD’s perceivable effects last for around 2 hours, while consumed CBD remains active in your system for around 4 – 6 hours. The reasons for this difference are the time taken for CBD to reach the bloodstream, the route it takes, and the obstructions it faces. Hence, a small dose of CBD tincture (applied sublingually) is more effective than a higher dose of CBD in a gummy.
- Calculate minimum CBD strength as per body weight: Now that you understand the basic prerequisites of ensuring the right dosage, calculate your required CBD intake as per your body weight. Someone with a higher body mass would require more CBD (in mg) to take effect, whereas someone with lower body weight can benefit from much less.
The Right Dose for Sleep
So, what about patients with sleep disorder or insomnia?
Remember what we discussed about the duality of CBD’s effects? A low dose of CBD promotes wakefulness and attentiveness. However, a higher dose can induce drowsiness and sleep.
You can calculate a large dose of CBD required by you, as per your body weight and condition (i.e. sleep issues) and start taking it. Titrate as per your need as you go along.
For instance, a person weighing 130 – 230 lbs may need around 24 – 27mg/dose to get a good night’s sleep.
Another way of going about it (though a longer yet more self-reliant procedure) is to start with a small dose and move up until you feel you are feeling sleepy – enough to put you into a deep sleep. These titrations cannot be done overnight but over a few nights.
Until more studies can be carried out on the endocannabinoid system and the effects of different cannabinoids on it, it is safer for you to begin with smaller doses and then work your way up, instead of taking a large dose on the very first go.
Additionally, it would also be wise to consult a naturopathic practitioner, experienced in treatment with CBD, before starting on a CBD treatment. He may be the right person to help you put your sleep disorder to rest!
CPAP Therapy is one of the best, most effective treatments for sleep apnea.
At Alaska Sleep Clinic, a knowledgeable professional will introduce you to CPAP and make sure you are comfortable with this form of treatment.
Because we specialize in sleep related DME, Alaska Sleep Clinic provides the best education available for your sleep apnea and its treatment. As professionals in the field of sleep medicine we are able to ensure that you are familiar with any form of treatment your physician determines is best.
We carry an extensive inventory of machines, masks, and other sleep related products to meet every patient’s unique needs and lifestyle.
We continually strive to ensure that your CPAP experience is positive and you receive the sleep you need. We desire to help you improve your sleep… and therefore improve your life!
We hope you will consider choosing Alaska Sleep Clinic as your DME provider.