This takes right back to when we met our partners at Indigo Naturals.
We met for lunch up in the city (San Francisco) to show them the eventual CBD oil we had vetted across four or five different suppliers.
We had already used CBD isolate for some time by that point and knew what to expect.
It had helped me get through a brutal perimenopause spiral (that story is here).
They, on the other hand, were brand new to the world of CBD.
As they took the dropper to their mouth, you could see them hesitate and coil up in apprehension.
It was funny for us to watch knowing what we know about how CBD makes you feel.
They took the CBD and magically, their head did not immediately pop off.
Many people have questions about how CBD make will make you feel.
There's a slight version of this…
Can you take CBD in the middle of the day?
Will it make you drowsy?
Should you avoid heavy machinery?
We love that warning on many sedating meds. How many of us are working heavy machinery?
Driving definitely applies though so let's get into the question.
We'll cover these topics:
- Can you take CBD in the middle of the day
- How will CBD make you feel
- Does CBD make you feel drowsy
- Does CBD make you feel alert
- Does CBD get you high
Stay alert...we're going to cover all of this!
Can you take CBD in the middle of the day
If you dig a little deeper, these questions usually really mean the following.
Will CBD make you drowsy.
We understand the confusion.
The top three reasons people take CBD are:
#2 speaks to the question at hand.
Most people expect a sedative effect from taking CBD.
It's guilt by association.
All the other things we take for sleep and anxiety have this effect.
- Sleep aids
- Anti-histamines even
CBD is a different animal.
First, understand that most of the sleep aids work by boosting GABA, our brain's brake.
If you keep increasing GABA levels, you go through these steps sequentially:
That's right...you can slow down pathways so much to where they stop. That's the overdose risk.
There's clear research on CBD and sleep so how does it avoid this trap. Or does it?
CBD also interacts with the GABA system but not in a direct "boost" way like with sedatives.
Researchers looked at CBD and GABA interaction specifically:
CBD and 2-AG were positive allosteric modulators at α1-6βγ2 receptors, with low micromolar potencies.
Our favorite words in the English language….positive allosteric modulators.
Before your eyes glaze over, let's explain.
CBD works in a system called the endocannabinoid system.
This system is tasked with balancing other key systems when pushed by stress:
- Endocrine system - hormones, some of which govern sleep and alert states
- Immune system - inflammatory agents such as histamine
- Nervous system - neurotransmitters like...GABA! And its counterweight, Glutamate.
Did you catch the last one?
So, back to positive allosteric modulator.
That basically means that CBD will boost the request or function of GABA when needed.
It doesn't directly drive GABA levels or we would feel a sedative effect in the middle of the day!
In fact, at very high levels, it would knock us out or even cause overdoses.
We don't see that in research with levels up to 1.5 grams (a dose for sleep might be 160 mg...10 times lower).
Here's the important piece:
The potency of CBD increased and efficacy preserved in binary α1/α2β2 receptors indicating that their effects do not involve the classic benzodiazepine site.
We've covered CBD versus benzos like Ativan, Xanax, and Valium here.
There are real downsides to benzos and they're not intended to be a long term solution. See how I used CBD to wean off of benzos.
The "modulation" of CBD with GABA pathways is key.
This gets to the question of can we take it in the middle of the day.
Yes! We'll go through all the various questions tied to this one to explain why.
How will CBD make you feel
This depends on the state of your system.
Yes, that sounds very non-committal but it reflects the research.
We have complicated wake-sleep cycles under the control of many chemicals and systems.
We've covered a great deal of this in our how will CBD make me feel article but let's focus on the middle of the day question.
- If your system is under stress (GABA is eaten up), CBD will likely have a calming effect
- If your system is under fatigue, you may feel more alert.
We get it...this sounds like salesy nonsense but let's look at research shall we.
Does CBD make you feel alert during the middle of the day
If sleep is one of the top 3 reason people take CBD, what about in the middle of the day?
We don't necessarily want that effect!
Here's a study that looked at the effects of CBD during light periods (day):
Fifteen milligrams THC would appear to be sedative, while 15 mg CBD appears to have alerting properties as it increased awake activity during sleep and counteracted the residual sedative activity of 15 mg THC.
THC always has a sedative-like effect (unless anxiety or panic are triggered - see CBD versus THC for anxiety).
CBD actually is shown to be a wake-promoting agent and even offsets the sedative "hangover" from THC.
This might be a good use of CBD after using other sedatives like benzos that have known grogginess the following morning.
They even looked at effects on performance, mood, and other attributes of being "alert".
Another study looked at actual brain waves tied to alert and sleep states during the middle of the day:
CBD enhanced wakefulness and decreased slow-wave sleep and REM sleep. Furthermore, CBD increased alpha and theta power spectra but diminished delta power spectra.
They especially looked at areas of the brain tied to alertness and wake states:
Additionally, CBD increased c-Fos expression in LH or DRN.
The performance piece is important.
Look at how CBD offset the negatives of THC there:
However, ∆9-THC-alone attenuated immediate word recall and delayed word recall, whereas the CBD/∆9-THC combination did not.
This was all done during wake cycles...lights on. Middle of the day if you will.
We definitely don't want that at nighttime.
What about then?
Does CBD make you feel drowsy during the day
First, a double-blind large study looked at CBD's effect on anxiety and sleep (which can intimately be connected of course):
79.2% (57/72) and 66.7% (48/72) of all patients experienced an improvement in anxiety and sleep, respectively.
The anxiety piece is important as that may speak to CBD's real power with sleep.
Keep in mind that anxiety generally reflects a reduced GABA function as well.
GABA has two foes to contend with in the brain….anxiety/stress and excitation/wake-promoting chemicals like cortisol, glutamate, and histamine.
As researchers put it:
Conclusively, CBD may block anxiety-induced REM sleep alteration via its anxiolytic effect, rather than via sleep regulation per se.
Other studies are showing that CBD may be helpful for insomnia:
The higher doses of CBD that studies suggest are therapeutic for anxiety, insomnia, and epilepsy may also increase mental sedation.
Here's the important piece compared to almost all other sleep aids:
Different from anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs such as benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, acute administration of an anxiolytic dose of CBD does not seem to interfere with the sleep cycle of healthy volunteers.
It's a very complicated system and many things need to go right.
The present findings support the proposal that CBD does not alter normal sleep architecture.
- During light periods (middle of the day), CBD is wake-promoting.
- During dark periods (middle of the night), CBD is sleep-promoting.
Goodness. A substance showing benefits for insomnia
Finally, preliminary clinical trials suggest that high-dose oral CBD (150-600 mg/d) may exert a therapeutic effect for social anxiety disorder, insomnia, and epilepsy
Hourly analysis of sleep data showed that CBD blocked the sleepiness during the lights-off period across 7h post-injection in lesioned rats.
Let's look at some practical questions that arise from this.
Does CBD get you high
This question comes up consistently.
No. CBD is not like THC, its psychoactive cousin.
In fact, CBD works to counter many of the effects of THC including this psychoactive response.
Just check out the study on CBD and psychosis to its balancing effect.
We're not taking CBD to get high. We're taking CBD for its health benefits including normalizing our sleep cycle.
What's the best time of the day to take CBD
So...what is the best time of the day to take CBD?
Let's take our clues from research.
The peak blood levels after taking CBD is about 4-6 hours.
That coincides nicely with our meals which have an added advantage of keeping our liver busy and increasing bioavailability.
See how to increase CBD bioavailability by 4 times as well.
Looking at the research above, it definitely points to one dose at the time of waking and another one prior to sleep.
The 300 mg is based on research showing peak neurogenesis at this level (see CBD and brain neurogenesis for anxiety).
Obviously, work with your system and test what's best.
Finally, an important piece almost no one is talking about for sleep and wakefulness.
Notice how antihistamines have a pronounced and noted side effect of drowsiness?
We don't want this effect in the middle of the day.
It speaks to histamine's powerful excitatory effect in the nervous system.
It directly counters and eats up GABA.
That's why histamine or allergy attacks can feel a bit like anxiety or even panic attacks.
Many people are finding that their CBD has unintended consequences.
This likely due to the full spectrum (lots of plant material) versus CBD isolate.
We found out the hard way with 3-4 of the biggest brands when we started on this CBD journey.
Roughly 40-60% of the popular has histamine issues.
Worse for women and worse yet when we get older.
All that plant material is not likely to be well-received.
For this reason alone, we focus on CBD isolate.
If you have any bad effects from CBD in the middle of the day, middle of the night, or anytime...see CBD isolate (with 3rd party testing and these guarantees on product pages) have a completely different effect.
It's a shame most people's first date with CBD turns out so bad for this reason.
Even in the middle of the day!
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.