Getting adequate deep sleep is essential for your physical and mental health. But for many, falling asleep and staying asleep through the night is a constant battle. Pharmaceutical sleep medications come with concerns over side effects and dependency. This has more people turning to natural cannabis-derived options for managing their sleep disorders. Two of the most promising cannabinoids for better sleep are CBD (cannabidiol) and CBN (cannabinol).
1. CBD for sleep
CBD is short for cannabidiol, one of over 100 active compounds called cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. CBD is derived mainly from hemp, not marijuana, so it will not get you high. Instead, research shows CBD offers a wide range of therapeutic benefits, including helping improve sleep in several ways.
- Reduces anxiety which commonly disrupts sleep
- Lessens pain and discomfort that can interfere with sleep
- Indirectly interacts with CB1 receptors involved in sleep-wake cycles
- Allows relaxation of both mind and body for rest
- Contains terpenes that enhance relaxation
Studies confirm CBD holds promise for improving both the quality and duration of sleep by increasing time spent in restorative REM and deep sleep stages. While not necessarily sedating on its own, CBD calms the nervous system and sets the stage for drowsiness. This makes it ideal for easing everyday stress and anxiety that often inhibit restful sleep.
2. CBN for sleep – Key effects
Like CBD, CBN is another prominent non-intoxicating cannabinoid in cannabis that shows real potential for enhancing sleep. But how does CBN work? Research indicates CBN helps improve sleep in several ways.
- Directly activates CB1 sleep receptors
- Boosts natural sedative neurotransmitters
- Raises levels of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin
- Delivers potent sedative effects at higher doses
- Contains relaxing and anti-anxiety terpenes
The most notable difference between CBN compared to CBD is its apparent direct sedative qualities. Studies to date report CBN having at least double the potency of CBD for inducing sleepiness. Early research finds that CBN helps shorten the time it takes to fall asleep while extending total sleep time through the night. This makes CBN ideal for targeting insomnia.
Which is better for insomnia – CBD or CBN?
For those struggling with a condition like chronic insomnia, CBN may be the better choice over CBD alone.
- Faster acting sedative – CBN’s more direct sedative action helps you fall asleep quicker when your mind is racing.
- Longer sleep duration – Higher CBN doses seem to prolong overall sleep time compared to CBD.
- Less daytime drowsiness – CBN leaves users feeling more rested the next day versus groggy.
- Fewer nighttime awakenings – cbn for sleep helps you sleep uninterrupted by preventing middle-of-the-night awakenings.
However, for daytime anxiety that makes getting good rest difficult, CBD may be preferable to CBN for its calming qualities. As with any new supplement, it’s best to start with lower doses first to assess individual response. However, those struggling with anxious insomnia may see the most sleep benefits from combining CBD and CBN.