Best CBD Oils for Sleep
Cannabis, commonly referred to as marijuana and many other nicknames, has a longstanding role in popular culture with well-known references in music, movies, and more. But in recent years, its role is growing in the field of health. One reason for this is a greater understanding and use of cannabidiol (CBD), one of the active ingredients in the Cannabis plant.
Cannabis has over 100 active compounds including 100 known as cannabinoids. CBD is one of these, and so is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gives Cannabis its famous “high.” But CBD and THC have very different effects when ingested, and early studies indicates that many properties unique to CBD make it potentially useful for a range of medical issues, including perhaps insomnia.
CBD can be extracted from the Cannabis plant, including hemp, which does not contain THC, and then processed into an oil. This allows for the CBD to be concentrated and easily ingested. While much more research is needed to really understand the role of CBD in managing health conditions, there has been a dramatic increase in interest in and use of CBD.
In this guide, we’ll review what is known about CBD including what it is, its legal status, how it is used, some of its potential benefits and risks, and more. We’ll also give you our top picks for the best CBD oils for sleep.
Before we jump into the guide, though, it is important to be clear about two things. First, this is not medical advice. With the amount still unknown about CBD, it’s necessary to talk with a doctor before starting to use it. Second, this is not legal advice. CBD that comes from hemp plants tends to be easier to find and is the focus of this guide, but remember that there is still a lot of legal uncertainty.
Our Top CBD Oils for Sleep
NuLeaf Naturals, a Colorado-based company founded in 2014, is one of the biggest CBD producers in the United States. NuLeaf is one of the handful of producers to use organic hemp in their products, resulting in one of the only organic CBD oils commercially available today.
Why We Like It
- Lab-certified to contain no additives or preservatives
- Derived from organic hemp
- Lab test results are publicly posted online
- Extracted using the greener and more effective CO2 method
NuLeaf specializes in full-spectrum CBD oil. This means that their oil is an extract of whole cannabis flowers, and contains terpenes, CBD, and other cannabinoids like CBG and CBDA. Some customers find the effects of full-spectrum oil to be more beneficial than oils that isolate only CBD.
The company uses CO2 extraction, a cleaner method than some chemical extraction processes that can leave behind chemicals or degrade the quality of the final product. Additionally, all NuLeaf products are certified by third-party laboratory testing to be completely free of additives and preservatives, and test results are publicly posted online for all to see.
The concentration of NuLeaf’s oil is 50 mg/mL, so one drop of oil contains around 2.4 mg of CBD. This concentration is verified by laboratory testing after extraction and again by a third-party laboratory before being sold. NuLeaf CBD oil is sold in bottles of many different sizes, allowing you to choose based on your own needs and budget.
Online ordering comes with free shipping in the U.S., and most orders arrive within 3 business days. Shipping is available to over 40 countries for an additional charge.
NuLeaf Naturals has a return policy that provides a refund, minus return shipping costs, for unopened bottles of oil. Once a bottle has been opened, it cannot be returned.
What is CBD Oil and How Can It Help With Sleep?
What is CBD?
Within the Cannabis plant are hundreds of different types of individual chemical compounds. Over 100 of these have been identified and classified as cannabinoids including CBD. Not all cannabinoids have the same effects when ingested, which is why CBD is discussed separately from the more famous cannabinoid THC.
CBD and some other cannabinoids, known as endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids, are also naturally produced by the body as part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Receptors in the body for cannabinoids appear to be most related to the neurological and immune systems.
In the body, there are two key receptors for cannabinoids: CB1 and CB2. Cannabinoids can activate these receptors, which is what happens when someone experience a high from THC -- it’s the CB1 receptor being activated by that cannabinoid. CBD does not activate these receptors to the same extent, which is why it can have signaling effects in the body but does not produce a “high” or level of intoxication.
How is CBD Extracted from Cannabis?
CBD exists in both hemp and marijuana plants. Hemp plants are distinct from the plant strains that produce intoxicating plants.
CBD can be extracted from plant material using either a solvent that is then evaporated away or by using carbon dioxide. After the initial extraction, other compounds besides CBD may be present, including THC. This oil is referred to as full-spectrum oil. However, if that extract can be cooled and further purified to remove non-CBD components, it can become crystalline isolate, which is in a powder form.
How is Extracted CBD Used?
Once it has been extracted, there are several different ways that CBD oil may be ingested.
- Edible: the oil may be added to and ingested with food or drink. Cooking it at high temperatures may affect the availability or amount of CBD in the food.
- Capsule: the oil can be put into capsules to be easily ingested.
- Tincture: tinctures are liquids that can be consumed in individual drops that are generally placed on or under the tongue.
- Topical: lotions or salves with CBD can be applied directly to the skin where the cannabinoid is absorbed.
- Vapor: vaporizing pens, which are similar to those used for e-cigarettes, can create an inhalable vapor from heated CBD oil.
When ingesting CBD, the dosage is measured in milligrams (mg). The higher the mg, the higher the strength. The proper dosage depends on your weight and intended goals of using CBD. Because of the lack of detailed study of CBD, there are not clear guidelines for what amounts to an exact amount that should be taken. Consult with the manufacturer and a health professional for guidance about what amount of CBD is appropriate given your situation.
What is CBD Oil Used For?
For many years, research into medicinal uses of CBD was limited because of the connection with marijuana, an illegal drug. As a result, there is a significant lack of detailed studies that have been repeated and verified, so there is still much that is unknown about whether and how much CBD can help when it comes to a number of medical conditions.
As it relates to sleep, the National Institutes of Health, some early-stage research showed that taking 160 mg of CBD before bed helped reduce insomnia. More research is necessary, but there are many anecdotal reports of CBD helping people who struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep. CBD has also shown some indications that it may help with relief of pain and anxiety, both of which can contribute to sleeping problems.
For other conditions, a Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) testified to Congress that studies in cells and animals indicated that CBD may have “anti-seizure, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-tumor, anti-psychotic, and anti-anxiety properties.” However, the medical community is awaiting the results of additional research before conclusions can be made about CBD’s effectiveness in these contexts and its optimal dosing and usage.
What Are the Side Effects of CBD Oil?
CBD is generally considered to be safe, but there are some known potential side effects. In addition, there may be further side effects that become more well-known as research about CBD advances. Some of the known possible effects include:
- Altered liver function: CBD may change the speed at which the liver breaks down other compounds, especially other medications. This may mean that the way that the effects and side effects of other drugs, including a person’s regular prescriptions, can be changed. These changes may not always be predictable especially for people taking multiple different medications.
- Decreased blood pressure: in some people, CBD can induce a temporary drop in blood pressure. This can cause a person to feel lightheaded or weak.
- Drowsiness: some people find that CBD can have a sedative effect. Some patients may want to be cautious especially if taking it alongside any other sedatives (such as alcohol, narcotic pain medications, or other herbal sleep aids). Because of this effect, it is also wise to avoid driving or operating machinery when using CBD.
- Dry mouth: users of marijuana have long referred to “cottonmouth,” or the feeling of dry mouth that occurs after using it. Use of CBD can also cause this sensation because it can reduce saliva production.
Because of these side effects, especially those relating to the interaction with other medications, it is crucial for people who want to use CBD oil to first talk with a health professional. In addition, pregnant women and people with Parkinson’s Disease should be sure to talk with their doctor before using CBD because of unknown potential side effects.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
CBD is currently federally illegal in the United States. This means that it is not legal to sell or possess CBD oil except for academic research. As a result, though rarely enforced, possessing CBD oil is illegal under federal law. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, being labeled as a “dietary supplement” does not change this legal status.
State laws vary when it comes to CBD. Many states have legalized Cannabis products or have made special exceptions for CBD-based products. To know the specifics of your state’s laws, check with your state attorney general or an attorney licensed to practice in your state.
Where Can You Buy CBD Oil?
CBD oil can be purchased through several avenues, although again, it is important to keep its dynamic legal status in mind when shopping for CBD oil. Some of the places where you can buy CBD oil include:
- Online: there are many sellers who operate online and offer different types of CBD oil through their own websites or third-party resellers.
- Physical stores in some states: in states that have legalized Cannabis and/or CBD products, you can buy CBD from physical stores or Cannabis shops. In states with medical marijuana dispensaries, patients with a certification or “green card” can likely buy CBD oil in those dispensaries.
Be sure to check the reputation of anyone that you are considering buying CBD oil from in order to make sure that they have a track record of producing quality oils and providing solid customer service.
What are the Key Considerations When Buying CBD Oil?
When purchasing CBD oil, there are a few factors to take into account to help find the best product for you:
- Extraction: if you have a preferred method by which the CBD was extracted, make sure to look for that in the product description.
- Independent testing: it’s important to make sure that the CBD is of high quality and that is usually done through third-party testing for purity and concentration. Look for this information to be easily available, for example, published directly on the product page on a website selling CBD oil.
- Cost: obviously, your budget matters, so cost is an important consideration when shopping for CBD oil. Calculate the cost per milligram by dividing the price by the concentration - this lets you compare product costs more directly.
- Your weight: the dosage of CBD that you will take depends on your body weight, so keep in mind that if you are heavier, you will likely need to take more CBD than someone who weighs less.
- Flavors: some CBD oils have added flavors to make them more palatable such as vanilla, mint, or cinnamon.
- Seller reputation: you want to make sure that your CBD oil comes from a reputable seller, so do your research about the reputation of any company you are considering buying from.