CBD Oil and Insomnia – Dr. Monali Y. Desai

Today I’m talking about CBD oil and insomnia. Personally, I’ve had trouble sleeping for several years, since I became an attending and started working more hours. Surprisingly to me, my attending hours and call turned out to be more than my hours and call in training, leading to trouble sleeping. So I’m always interested in hearing what other people’s sleep solutions are.

In the last year or so I’ve heard a lot of bloggers talk about CBD oil for insomnia, so I wanted to know what medical studies there were to support this. CBD oil that comes from hemp is meant to have little to no THC, less than 0.3-0.5% depending on your state’s regulations. CBD oil can also come from marijuana, that has more THC in it. THC is the part that gives people the feeling of being high. So you’re not supposed to get the high effects you’d get from marijuana, but you’re still supposed to get the calming effects. CBD oil made from hemp is legal in all 50 states.

Looking at the research, there’s not a lot of research on CBD oil yet. Some of the research shows it can actually make you more alert. Some research shows it could help you sleep, so it’s mixed data on whether or not it could help you sleep. Although people do say that it helps them sleep. Potentially the difference is because of dosing, at higher doses it could be more likely to help you sleep. Some studies theorize potentially it helps with anxiety, so if you have trouble sleeping because of anxiety, then it could help calm your anxiety and then help you sleep better or better regulate your sleep cycle.

I recommend if you want to try CBD oil, because there’s so much variation from study to study, even on dosing, and a lot of variation from brand to brand that you try it with a doctor who specializes in CBD or marijuana. They should have experience with the dosing from working with patients, and that likely is the best way to try it and also have more experience with different brands and manufacturers. Because anytime you’re trying supplements, even if they’re natural, there’s always a risk of side effects, so that’s something to watch out for. Common ones with CBD oil are mood changes, nausea, and diarrhea. Also, it could make you more awake, it could make you more sleepy, it’s hard to say because it also depends on your body’s absorption and metabolism. So I recommend you work with a doctor who specializes in this, that would be the best way to try it.

Personally, I’m not going to try it myself because I don’t like taking things if I don’t have to, I’m always concerned about potential side effects. So far I’ve found meditation has helped me the most, so I definitely recommend you try that first. Also, I recommend you try the traditional things like exercising more, cutting caffeine, light therapy, and even the nontraditional things like weighted blankets, etc. before you try something that you have to put in your body, then you have the potential for side effects.

Although if you’re taking a prescription sleep agent, like Ambien, CBD oil is supposed to have fewer side effects than prescription sleep medications. So that would be a reason to consider switching. But again I recommend you do this with a doctor who specializes in marijuana or CBD to help you with the dose adjustments, which brands are reliable, etc.

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