Cannabidiol — also known as hemp extract oil — is one of the main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids interact with your endocannabinoid system, which helps your body maintain a state of balance and stability, or homeostasis.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol isn’t psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you “high.” Instead, it has a range of health applications, like reducing seizures in people with epilepsy and pain relief from various conditions.
Some research and anecdotal evidence suggest that hemp extract oil can also help you get a good night’s sleep. Here’s what you need to know about using hemp extract oil for sleep.
What the research says about hemp extract oil and sleep
To understand whether hemp extract oil can improve sleep, we first have to understand what causes poor sleep.
Many things can cause you to sleep badly. According to the Mayo Clinic, insomnia can be caused by:
- mental health disorders,such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression
- medication, which can disturb your sleep-wake cycle
- physical conditions, such as chronic painandrestless leg syndrome
- caffeine, especially when consumed late in the day
- environmental factors, such as loud noises or an uncomfortable bed
If your insomnia is caused by external factors or related conditions, hemp extract oil may help by treating the causes of sleeplessness.
While research on cannabidiol is still in its infancy, some research suggests that hemp extract oil can treat anxiety.
Research Trusted Source published in 2019 looked at whether hemp extract oil could improve sleep and or reduce anxiety. The study involved 72 subjects, with 47 experiencing anxiety and 25 experiencing poor sleep. The subjects were each given 25 milligrams (mg) of hemp extract oil in capsule form each day. In the first month, 79.2 percent of the patients reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7 percent reported better sleep.
Pain, which may also cause sleep problems, can be helped by hemp extract oil as well. A 2018 review Trusted Source in Frontiers in Pharmacology noted that there’s a fair amount of evidence to support the claim that hemp extract oil soothes pain. The authors note that by reducing chronic pain, hemp extract oil can improve sleep.
Other research tells us that cannabidiol affects the sleep cycle. Research from 2014Trusted Source looked at four patients with Parkinson’s disease. It found that cannabidiol improved the symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a disorder in which a person acts out their dreams. RBD is associated with poor sleep and nightmares.
A 2017 review also noted that hemp extract oil may be helpful in treating RBD, and that it shows potential for treating excessive daytime sleepiness.
Grogginess, another symptom of insomnia, might also be affected by hemp extract oil. A 2014 review Trusted Source found that hemp extract oil could have the potential to promote wakefulness, based on both human and animal research. The authors noted they weren’t sure exactly how or why hemp extract oil promoted wakefulness in some instances.
How Hemp Extract Oil works to improve sleep
Even studies that conclude that hemp extract oil can improve sleep aren’t always able to say why this is the case. Most of the above-mentioned studies emphasize that we need more research on hemp extract oil before we fully understand how it affects our sleep.
However, as mentioned above, many researchers say that hemp extract oil improves sleep because it tackles the root causes of insomnia.
As more research is done on cannabidiol, we’ll learn more about why and how it can help us sleep.
How to use Hemp Extract Oil for sleep
There are a number of ways to take hemp extract oil. It comes in a few different forms, including:
The dosage of hemp extract oil you use, and the time you take it, will depend on a number of factors. Your weight, personal body chemistry, and the nature of your sleeping troubles will affect how the hemp extract oil works. What works for some people might not work for others.
Most clinical trials on hemp extract oil and sleep have involved giving the subjects anywhere between 25 mg to 1,500 mg of hemp extract oil per day. It’s best to start with a low dosage and gradually increase it until you find something that works for you.
Much of the research on cannabidiol, anxiety, and sleep has noted that many patients don’t notice an immediate difference. The 2019 study mentioned above noted that it took about a month for the subjects to notice a difference. Be patient and remember that you’re unlikely to get immediate results.
Side effects and safety concerns of Hemp Extract Oil
A 2017 review Trusted Source looked at multiple studies on the safety of hemp extract oil and concluded that it’s a relatively safe treatment.
Side effects are relatively uncommon. However, you may experience some minor side effects.
Possible side effects
- changes in appetite
- changes in weight
Though hemp extract oil is generally regarded as safe, a 2019 study done on mice did raise concerns about hemp extract oil’s potential for liver damage. Hemp extract oil may also interact with other medications you’re taking, so speak to your doctor before using it.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or quality of over-the-counter (OTC) hemp extract oil products. However, in order to protect public health, they can take action against hemp extract oilcompanies that make unfounded health claims.
Since the FDA doesn’t regulate hemp extract oil products in the same way they regulate drugs or dietary supplements, companies sometimes mislabel or misrepresent their products. That means it’s especially important to do your own research and find a quality product.
Before you buy hemp extract oil from a company, research their history. Avoid companies with a history of mislabeling hemp extract oil products and opt for hemp extract oil that has been tested by a third party.
According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors seldom recommend using sleep medication for longer than a few weeks. While hemp extract oil and other medication can be helpful, it’s important to get to the root cause of your sleep problems.
You may need a physical examination, to change your sleep habits, or to change your medication. Talk to your doctor if you have trouble sleeping.