October 28, 2020
People are in hot pursuit of a good night’s rest as demonstrated by the growth in global market share for sleep aids, which is expected to reach $84.9 billion by 2021, according to studies conducted by Business Communications Company (BCC) Research Inc. Quality daily sleep is critical to maintaining optimal health and immune function, not to mention fueling our fast-pace life in the digital age. Experts recommend adults get between seven and nine hours of peaceful rest per night, but that can be difficult when you lay down at the end of a long day with a tense body and racing mind. With the recent boom in medicinal cannabis, many wonder whether it, too, could have an impact on calming the body into a deep state of rest.
The cannabis plant contains an intricate assortment of chemical compounds that create unique effects experienced when consumed—the most prominent compounds being cannabinoids and terpenes. While terpenes are the naturally occurring essential oils that control smell and flavor, cannabinoids (specifically THC and CBD) drive most of the mental and physical effects of cannabis consumption.
A few studies to date have investigated the possible effects CBD can have on the sleep-wake cycle. However, because legal research into the effects of cannabis is relatively new, results vary greatly. Several studies, like one published in The Permanente Journal, demonstrated both the calming effect of CBD with some sleep support benefits like anxiety-reducing effects sustained through the duration of the study.
Many industry leaders suggest that cannabis offers enhanced benefits when using CBD combined with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds from the plant. This interplay between compounds comes from using full spectrum products, which is the inclusion of multiple cannabinoids as well as terpenes and other plant material to increase a cannabis product’s ability to have a desired reaction within the body.
Preliminary results from another clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of a medicinal cannabis formulation that contained both THC and CBD (ZTL-101 by Zelira Therapeutics Ltd, Perth, Australia) for treating chronic sleep issues showed the therapy was effective and safe, according to Practical Neurology. “Participants treated with medicinal cannabis went to sleep faster, slept significantly longer, and went back to sleep sooner after waking,” as stated in the study. Yet, it is of note that these results were “self-reported” and therefore seen as unreliable in regard to making medical recommendations.
A study published in J Clin Psychopharmacol found that the combination of THC and CBD to provide better short term sleep benefits when compared to taking THC by itself. Other more recent clinical studies support these findings.
While some research has been positive, other studies suggest contrary results. The aim of a study published in the Front Pharmacol medical Journal was to evaluate the effect of CBD on the sleep-wake cycle of healthy subjects. While not a greenlight to recommend cannabis as a sleep aid, this particular study does suggest that CBD may not interrupt sleep when used to address other matters like anxiety or chronic pain. This could have a significant impact for people who choose to use cannabis for various coping reasons.
Many clinical studies have found positive results using cannabinoids on various metrics of sleep. Yet, rest for rest’s sake is rarely the primary objective of research. That is why scientists need to continue pushing for dedicated sleep studies involving cannabis. Future studies must address the effects of THC and CBD on the sleep-wake cycle with larger sample sizes and frequent use in varying doses.
You can do your own research using ABX Sleepy Time soft gels, vape cartridges, and sublingual drops. As we know, a good night’s rest is critical for maintaining peak performance and overall wellness. ABX Sleepy Time is formulated with potent THC and a supporting blend of terpenes designed to support rest.
As mentioned briefly at the beginning of this article, terpenes provide the flavor and aroma of cannabis. Sleepy Time contains a rest supporting blend that includes myrcene, linalool, and terpineol.