Reason #2 for people to use CBD is sleep.
This logically brings up a common question we get.
Will taking CBD make you feel tired?
Obviously, this wouldn't work before working, driving, or the usual warning of using heavy machinery (really, how many people are getting behind the bulldozer today!).
We covered a great deal of what can be expected in our How Will CBD Make Me Feel articles but let's talk about tiredness.
Either desired or undesired!
It gets to the heart of what makes CBD so fascinating according to research.
Always research. The marketing hype has to stop somewhere.
We'll look at the following:
- Does CBD make you feel tired?
- CBD and the sleep-wake cycle
- Can CBD make you have energy?
- Does the type of CBD affect how you feel?
- Full-spectrum CBD can make you feel tired
Let's jump into it.
Whether you want to feel tired or want to avoid it!
Let's start with the initial question and work from there.
Does CBD make you feel tired?
Drowsiness is one of the side effects listed for CBD.
We have to be careful here.
This is based on research for just CBD by itself.
That's not what most people are taking these days.
We'll get into that below.
Some people do experience drowsiness and even more, people mistake "calm" for being tired.
If you're in an amped-up state (from stimulants like caffeine, stress, etc), CBD can have a calming effect.
This may be construed as being tired.
Technically, CBD is not a sedative.
It doesn't work like most sleep aids in the body which pump certain pathways that make you feel sleepy (see CBD and GABA).
This is primarily the workings of histamine, cortisol, and GABA in the brain.
We talk about histamine quite a bit on this site due to allergy issues but histamine has another important role.
It governs the sleep-wake cycle!
Most people don't know this.
The key takeaway is this….
Our feeling of being tired or energized is a function of:
- Environmental factors (exercise, good food, toxins, etc)
The actual levers in the brain that govern feeling tired are generally hormones.
CBD directly interacts with the endocannabinoids system and guess what it balances…
- The Endocrine system - hormones that directly govern alertness/tired feelings
- Nervous system - neurotransmitters that also interact with energy/sleep hormones
- Immune system - affects mood, states of mind via inflammation and histamine!!
The interactions are many and very complex.
When we're functioning correctly (tired at night, energized during the day), they follow a rhythm.
The circadian rhythm.
Here's where things get interesting with CBD.
CBD and the sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythm
Most of us have heard of the circadian rhythm and researchers have even found the neurons in the brain that act as a master clock.
That's only half of the story.
Every cell in your body also has its own clock.
They have to coordinate with the master clock to keep everything in sync (tired at 4 am, alert in the middle of that meeting at 4 pm).
Researchers just found that fasting can reset this syncing which is critical to age-related illnesses
The endocannabinoid system is directly intertwined with this circadian rhythm:
exogenous and endogenous CBs affect many important physiological processes that exhibit a circadian rhythm: sleep-wakefulness, body temperature, HPA endocrine secretions, food intake, learning and memory, and locomotor activity.
Exogenous just means originating from outside the body...such as CBD!
CBD has been shown to inhibit the release of cortisol, our primary alertness hormone.
Conversely, it has also been shown to promote wakefulness:
We covered this in detail at our Can you take CBD in the middle day article.
How can it have the opposite effects in the body?
That's the biphasic piece that speaks to CBD's greatest strength.
Where stimulants only work in one direction and sedatives only work in the opposite direction, CBD appears to help balance the internal system for tiredness and alertness depending on what is needed.
What the body needs is driven by the circadian rhythm.
Our favorite way to show this comes from this great summary study of CBD based on other independent findings.
Just follow along and see if you can spot the pattern:
For instance, Monti (1977) found a diminution in sleep after systemic administration of CBD , whereas Carlini and Cunha (1981) showed an improvement in sleep in insomniacs after using CBD . Moreover, systemic administration of CBD (10 or 40 mg/kg) in male Wistar rats during the light period, enhanced the total percentage of sleep . Further complexity has been added to the understanding of CBD pharmacology since Nicholson et al. (2004) found that 15mg of CBD administered to young adults increased wakefulness (W) during the sleeping time . In addition, our laboratory provided further evidence supporting the wake-inducing properties of CBD, as i.c.v. administrations of CBD (10µg/5µL) in rats during the lights-on period increased W, but decreased rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
That was a lot of scientific jargon to follow but the net-net of it is this…
The feeling of being tired or alert depends on your body's state when you take it!
So...does CBD make you feel tired?
- Yes, if during the night cycle of your circadian rhythm.
- No, generally if during the day part of your cycle.
That's balance and it's something that sedatives or stimulants can't do.
In fact, they generally adversely affect this clock.
The sleep aid hangover in the morning or the post caffeine crash reflect this.
You can learn all about CBD and energy here.
Make sure to check out the dosages of CBD for feeling tired or alert below.
Does the type of CBD affect how you feel?
All the research out there is on CBD Isolate.
This is CBD by itself (or in a base oil besides hemp oil).
You can see very different responses from CBD isolate versus full-spectrum CBD.
You can learn all about CBD isolate versus full-spectrum here.
Here's the deal...the plant material in full-spectrum can have a histamine response in the body.
Especially for people with allergy or histamine issues!
That's roughly 40-60% of the population (towards the higher end for women and especially women over age 40).
Histamine is a powerful player in the tiredness/alertness balancing act.
It's a huge proponent of alertness when high.
That's why a histamine response can feel like anxiety or mania.
We only deal with CBD isolate for this very reason.
Almost every brand is pushing CBD full spectrum not realizing that a good percentage of the population will have a negative response to all that plant material (and the .3% THC allowed).
We have zero THC in our products (3rd party tested) for this reason.
THC has been shown to increase drowsiness but there are other issues coming to light with more research.
Check out CBD versus THC here.
Let's look at an important consideration…
How much CBD will make you feel tired
Research is showing a dose-dependent effect of CBD on feeling tired.
Smaller doses appear to increase alertness (15-30 mg) while higher doses increase tiredness.
Sleep benefits were seen at 160 mg of CBD.
Again, the time of day appears to alter the effect.
Make sure to test your reaction and use CBD Isolate so you can rule out the effect of histamines result from full-spectrum.
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.