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CBD For Sleep: How To Use Cannabidiol to Benefit Sleep

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Is Cannabidiol (CBD) good for sleep? We know that CBD can help sleep in some individuals, but may disturb it in others. We also know that in general, CBD is less effective than THC….

Both animal and human scientific research indicate that THC is an excellent sleep aid in patients with pain, PTSD, and obstructive sleep apnea, but that’s not the case for CBD.

However, if you have not experienced how CBDA is different from CBD (and most people haven’t because CBDA is not included in most products that are manufactured with heat), this guide will explain what we are now learning about this powerful acidic cannabinoid and how it can work together with CBD or in place of CBD to address and prevent symptoms.

Does CBD help with sleep?

Many people are surprised to find out that CBD itself is not sedating. In fact, it is usually the opposite – alerting. However, other phytoconstituents found in CBD products, such as the terpene myrcene, can be sedating. Furthermore, CBD can relieve symptoms that often interfere with sleep, like anxiety and pain. This may be why many people successfully use CBD and CBDA before bed and even in the middle of the night.

In his clinical practice, Dr. Dustin Sulak has known patients who find that taking an evening dose of CBD makes them feel awake, but when they lie down and close their eyes, they sleep deeper and longer than they do without the CBD. Other patients simply report that their CBD use in the morning or early afternoon helps them to relax and sleep more at night.

CBD may disturb sleep in a small number of people when it’s taken in the evening before bed. Dr. Sulak has not heard this report from people using CBDA.

Based on patient and customer feedback, CBDA may be even more helpful for promoting restorative sleep than CBD. Few CBD products contain significant levels of CBDA, CBD’s precursor, and hemp-derived terpenes – both will likely improve the effectiveness of the product. CBDA acts similarly to CBD at many of its targets in our body but has been shown to be better absorbed and more potent in several experiments.


How To Use CBD For Sleep

“My clinical findings are quite mixed – CBD helps sleep in some, disturbs sleep in others, and doesn’t improve or disturb sleep in the rest,” Dr. Sulak says.

“When CBD helps with sleep, it usually does so in higher doses, in products containing naturally-occurring terpenes, and in individuals with other symptoms that are disturbing sleep.”

The key to achieving successful results with CBD is using an appropriate amount, tailored to your individual needs. Furthermore, using a formulation that includes significant amounts of CBDA and/or the legal amounts of THC makes the CBD more powerful, so you’ll need less.

CBD oil for sleep

For treating and preventing sleep symptoms, CBD oil (placed under the tongue) is typically the best method of delivery. Some of the medicine can be absorbed directly through the capillaries in your mouth, and the rest that’s swallowed can be absorbed in the digestive tract. Importantly, the medicine that reaches the gut can be absorbed 4 to 5x more if it’s taken around the time of a fat-containing meal, though Dr. Sulak does not recommend eating in the hour before going to sleep.

CBD drops allow users to fine-tune their treatment to discover one’s ideal, personalized usage amount. This is particularly evident with Healer Whole Plant Hemp CBD drops which include a 6:1 ratio of CBD: CBDA. Healer brand drops are formulated so that 1 drop is equal to about 1 mg of cannabinoids, and for that reason, drops are by far the easiest to use to find your optimal dose and are also the most cost-effective method.

While CBDA tinctures or oil drops are much harder to find because few manufacturers have been able to capture and maintain CBDA, Healer’s patented extraction technology was developed expressly to do that. Healer Whole Plant Hemp CBDA is non-intoxicating and has a very high terpene and antioxidant content. Currently, CBDA in this formulated concentration can only be found in the plant itself.

CBD cream for sleep

CBD and CBDA-containing creams, lotions, salves, balms, and gel preparations can be an effective way to deliver the hemp compounds directly to specific areas of the body such as joints, muscles, and skin, to alleviate pain from muscle spasms, inflammation, and various skin conditions that prevent or disrupt sleep.

Healer Whole Plant Hemp CBD Topical (1:1 CBD: CBDA) is water-based hydrogel cream that feels less oily, dries more quickly, and is formulated with menthol and Copaiba oil for increased skin penetration and effectiveness.

Most people don’t know that CBD drops can also be applied directly to the skin as a topical or mixed with your own lotion for coverage over a greater area.

If you have localized pain that interferes with sleep, CBD cream can be a simple, effective solution.

CBD capsules or for sleep

Capsules are an ideal delivery method when used for staying asleep because their effects usually last longer than other methods. If your CBD capsules work well for staying asleep but take too long to start working and you need help falling asleep, try combining with drops, which often start working faster, or simply take the capsule earlier in the evening. If you find that capsules are not working well even in moderate to high doses, this may indicate you aren’t absorbing it well, as is sometimes the case for people with poor gut motility or other GI disorders; in that case, try switching to drops.

Both Healer Whole Plant Hemp CBD Capsules and Healer Whole Plant Hemp CBDA Capsules contain the same formulated oil as Healer CBD and CBDA Drops in vegetarian capsules, stabilized for increased absorption and to prevent leaking.

Dosing CBD Products to Help with Sleep

First, try CBD or CBDA during the morning and middle of the day for 3–5 days before trying it right before bedtime. If you find CBD or CBDA energizing and want to try it at bedtime, you may find that increasing your usage amount by 2x–4x may help with relaxation and sleep.

Be sure to check in with your body and mind before and 1 hour after taking the product so you can track its effectiveness.

How to take CBD Oil:

Administering CBD or CBDA oil sublingually ensures faster, more efficient absorption. CBD and CBDA oils are even better absorbed — resulting in a stronger effect– when taken after a meal containing some healthy fat or oil.

If you’re a beginner (have never used CBD, CBDA or have used it occasionally):

  1. Shake the bottle to make sure the cannabinoids and other beneficial plant compounds are well distributed for an even and consistent dose.
  2. Start with 5 mg placed under your tongue. Looking in a mirror can help you count the drops or administer by first placing drops on a spoon or in an oral syringe.
  3. Hold the drops in your mouth for as long as you can (1-5 minutes) before swallowing to allow maximum absorption.
  4. Increase your daily usage by 5 mg every 2 days. When you start feeling results, stop increasing and keep the same number of drops peruse.
  5. If you notice that the effects wear off too early in the day after taking an amount that works well for you, it’s beneficial to add more uses per day. Many people do well taking CBD for pain 2-3 times daily.

How to take CBD capsules for sleep:

To get started using CBD or CBDA capsules is simple:

  • Day 1 & 2:
    • Take 1  capsule by mouth 1-3 hours before bedtime
  • After Day 2:
    • Increase by 1 capsule each night until you experience satisfactory benefits.
    • If you notice unwanted effects or fewer benefits, reduce the amount by 1 capsule each night until you find your optimal response.
    • If 1 capsule is too strong or if you experience inconsistent results, switch to CBD or CBDA oil taken sublingually.


How to Choose the best CBD for sleep

CBD and CBDA products vary widely in their potency, purity, and safety. Unfortunately, several scientific studies and investigative reports have found inaccurate labeling and contamination with pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins in ~50% of the products tested. Furthermore, even many of the good quality products have confusing labels that make it hard to know how much CBD and CBDA are in each serving.

Based on patient and customer feedback, CBDA may be even more helpful for promoting restorative sleep than CBD. Few CBD products contain significant levels of CBDA, CBD’s precursor, and hemp-derived terpenes – both will likely improve the effectiveness of the product. CBDA acts similarly to CBD at many of its targets in our body but has been shown to be better absorbed and more potent in several experiments.

Before purchasing a CBD product you intend to use for sleep, be sure to look at the certificate of analysis (COA), a test result from a third party laboratory that details the content of CBD and other cannabinoids (like CBDA), and terpenes, and freedom from contamination with heavy metals and pesticides. Be sure the COA has a date and batch number that matches the product for sale. Look at the label of the product and make sure it’s easy to understand the number of mg of CBD per drop or capsule and be wary of labels that only describe the amount of “hemp oil” or “hemp extract” – the CBD content could vary widely.


CBD and CBDA products that include legally allowed trace amounts of THC are likely best for evening use, as are those with higher levels of myrcene and other sedating terpenes. However, one can’t always tell if a product will be more or less sedating based on the terpene profile. Some trial and error may be needed to find the right CBD products for nighttime use.

Always insist on viewing a product’s third-party Certificate of Analysis (COA). Many products advertise themselves as “broad spectrum” or “full-spectrum” (often meaning they include a range of plant compounds and up to the legally allowed trace amount of .3% THC). But, if you can find their analytic results you’ll note that most contain just CBD and THC, with little or no acidic and minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other valuable phytonutrients.

It’s also common for hemp plants, even those organically grown, to contain various contaminants like mold, yeast, bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals from the growing, harvesting, and drying process. Most extraction processes either concentrate these contaminants or remove them while also stripping the plant’s other valuable compounds. Truly ‘clean’ products report verified elimination of contaminants.


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