Most of us have heard it countless times: we need 8 hours of sleep each night in order to maintain optimal health. But, for so many of us, that is easier said than done. So many factors can interfere with our ability to get enough shuteye, ranging from stress to hormonal imbalances, and even nutritional deficiencies.
Of course, anyone who is struggling with some form of insomnia should seek out the help of a sleep specialist who can properly determine the underlying cause of the issue, but the good news is that at the same time, there are products on the market that can offer restful sleep in a natural way. Even more specifically, more people are looking into cannabinoids (a class of compounds found in the cannabis genus) from the hemp plant to improve their sleep such as cannabidiol (CBD) and delta 8 THC.
What Effects Might Cannabinoids Have on Our Sleep Cycle?
To understand what the cannabis genus’s CBD and delta 8 THC could potentially offer to those people struggling with sleep, we need to take a closer look at what makes these two compounds unique.
Cannabinoids are unlike any other plant compounds in nature because they are the only compounds that work directly with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is a bodily system consisting of cannabinoid receptors located in every system of the body. Each cannabinoid receptor is tasked with regulating the function of a process of the body, with sleep being one of the many processes that the endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining.
Cannabinoid receptors can only achieve this if they are given cannabinoids, which bind to the receptors to create a chemical reaction that enables this process. That being said, some cannabinoids in hemp work more directly with cannabinoid receptors that are responsible for sleep than others.
Using CBD for Sleep
CBD is the dominant compound of hemp, making up about 15% of the plant’s total chemical composition. This compound also has more research behind it, so scientists have put a considerable number of resources into analyzing its effects including sleep.
CBD binds to two categories of cannabinoid receptors:
- CB1 receptors work within the nervous system.
- CB2 receptors mostly work in the digestive and immune systems.
Sleep is a process pertaining largely to the nervous system, although indirectly, it is affected by the wellbeing of our digestive and immune systems, where a host of issues including autoimmune disorders and gut health dysfunction can affect our sleep by leading to hormonal imbalances and other issues.
That being said, cannabidiol has been shown in studies to offer sleep-enhancing effects mainly through its capability to regulate neurotransmitters in the brain pertaining to our sleep process. CBD may lower cortisol levels and increase serotonin and melatonin, creating the perfect environment in which sleep can become effortless.
A lot of people note that they get to feel calmer after taking cannabidiol, and long-term use could offer cumulative effects that promote better neurotransmitter balance to address potential chronic stress that can lead to episodes of insomnia.
Using Delta 8 THC for Sleep
Delta 8 THC has not been around on the market for as long as CBD, so we don’t have as much access to studies pertaining to its individual effects. However, one thing we do know is that already, a lot of hemp enthusiasts are taking delta 8 specifically at bedtime in order to get better sleep. Delta-8 is also a minor cannabinoid in hemp that comes from degraded delta 9 THC, and people have been using delta 9 THC for centuries for sleep purposes.
On the flip side, delta 8 and delta 9 are not the same due to the following:
- While delta 9 is converted into delta 8, it loses about 30% of its psychoactive activity.
- Delta 8 takes on new molecular characteristics that give it its own unique properties.
- Another thing that makes delta 8 unique from both delta 9 and THC is that it seems to work almost exclusively on CB1 receptors in the nervous system, and this means that its effects on sleep and other nervous system processes could be particularly potent.
- Research has shown us that delta 8 could:
- Study #1: Have notable anxiolytic properties, meaning that it could naturally provide a sense of calm that can be especially useful at night.
- Study #2: Delta-8 was found to promote better sleep in cats.
- Because delta 8 is mildly psychoactive, it promotes a temporary high that can in and of itself be useful for sleep. The “high” is often described as calming and uplifting to the mood, while also relaxing the muscles. These properties could work together to get us into a state in which we fall asleep more easily at night.
Should You Use Delta 8 THC or CBD for a Better Night’s Sleep?
Well, ultimately that’s your choice. Both have been found in findings to have the potential to aid in sleep, through different means despite ultimately belonging to the same category of compounds in the same plant.
Naturally, the fact that one cannabinoid is psychoactive, and one is not, can have a lot to do with your decision.
- If you want to abstain from getting high, then CBD is clearly the choice for you.
- If comfortable with the effects of delta 8 in terms of its intoxicating properties, possibly try both and see how you feel. Taking delta 8 and CBD together allows them to work in a synergistic way that can offer a feeling of balance while each cannabinoid provides you with its properties pertaining to sleep. Also, some products on the market the gummies or vapes contain both compounds in active levels.
Basically, delta 8 THC and CBD each offer properties that may contribute to improved sleep, through different means in terms of how they work with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
Final Note: If you’re struggling with sleep, we suggest talking to your doctor and even seeing a sleep specialist first. Ask them about these two hemp-derived compounds in order to get personalized guidance for using them specifically for sleep-related purposes, if they give you the okay to do so. Then you can go ahead and choose which forms you want to take in such as in a vape oil, tincture, or perhaps digestion (capsules or edibles).