CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. This particular cannabinoid has gained popularity in recent years due to the relief it reportedly provides to a range of issues like anxiety, chronic pain and even sleep disorders. While more clinical evidence is needed in order to fully confirm its efficacy, CBD products like CBD oil seem to be showing a lot of promising signs, especially when it comes to improving the quality of sleep.

But how exactly does CBD oil work? What are the biological mechanisms that allow CBD to affect so many different aspects of our physiological and mental well-being? In particular, how does a cannabis compound help us get a good night’s sleep?

To find out, let’s have a look at how CBD interacts with the body’s cannabinoid receptors and how this influences our sleep. We’ll also look at CBD’s relationship with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and how these two compounds are used in most modern CBD oil products.

How CBD affects our body

Before we can understand how CBD can help us sleep, we need to first understand how the compound works.

While more studies still need to be conducted to fully understand the exact mechanism of action that allows CBD to influence our bodies. However, some studies have suggested that it is the way CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system that produces therapeutic effects.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is said to regulate our pain-sensation, mood, memory, appetite and various other physiological processes. It is said to have two main receptors: the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor. The first receptor is said to be found in our central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. The second receptor is more associated with our peripheral nervous system, which are branches of nerves that extend from the spinal cord to other parts of the body.

Studies have shown that CBD can affect both of these endocannabinoid receptors. However, there’s also a growing body of research suggesting that CBD can also affect serotonin receptors. These receptors regulate the release of dopamine (the ‘feel good’ hormone) and cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone).

The way CBD influences both cannabinoid and serotonin receptors may be responsible for its effects. 

CBD can be taken in a variety of ways. It can be inhaled as vapor and it can also be sprayed into the mouth or under the tongue. Some users mix CBD with their morning coffee or in various CBD edibles. There are also claims that CBD can be applied topically over an area of pain in order to reduce inflammation.

The way CBD is taken, along with the dosage, may change its efficacy and/or how quickly you feel the effects.

What are its medical effects?

If you research the medical benefits of CBD oil, you’ll find blogs and academic studies that list quite a wide variety of things. It’s essential to know these effects to understand how CBD can help us sleep.

It is often claimed that CBD can help with:

Once again, it needs to be stressed that more clinical studies and evidence is needed before these benefits can be fully confirmed.

It’s also worth noting that many of the studies that have been conducted on CBD have been on animal subjects. More human trials are necessary in order to get a full picture of CBD’s effectiveness when it comes to treating the mental, neurological and physiological symptoms.

How can it help you sleep?

So, how exactly can CBD help you sleep? Unfortunately, the answer to this question might be a little bit more complicated than you might think.

One study found that taking a 300 or 600 mg dose of CBD oil might be able to decrease cortisol levels (likely through the serotonin receptors). This suggests that a high dose of CBD has a sedative effect and may be able to help us get good quality sleep.

Another study found that a 25 mg dose of CBD was able to help with participants’ anxiety. However, in most cases, it wasn’t high enough of a dose to treat sleep problems. The same study also found that some of participants who did experience an improvement found that their sleep worsened over time. This suggests that CBD’s effects might be temporary.

CBD dosage is an important matter as some countries have limits for the daily amount one can take. For example, in Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) only allows a maximum of 150 mg of over-the-counter CBD each day. This might not be enough to treat sleep problems.

It’s also possible that CBD can help us sleep by treating other symptoms that cause insomnia. Chronic pain, depression, anxiety and PTSD are all conditions that can affect our rest. So, by reducing the symptoms of these conditions, one might be able to improve the quality of their sleep.


CBD oil products generally contain some THC, although usually in very small amounts. THC is another cannabis compound that has a similar chemical structure to CBD. The most significant difference between the two is that THC has psychoactive properties. Put simply, it’s the cannabis compound that gets you ‘high’.

Because of this, THC can cause a user to feel euphoria and sedation. However, just like with marijuana, a high dose of THC might also cause paranoia and therefore might not be suitable for treating sleep disorders.

However, research suggests that CBD can counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. Some users even forego THC altogether to avoid its undesirable side effects. 

It’s important to mention that the legality around CBD and THC are changing quite rapidly across the globe. Some countries have legalised the recreational use of CBD and THC. Meanwhile, other countries only allow it for medical purposes. In addition, some countries also have a limit to how much THC a CBD product can have.

So, before you purchase CBD oil, make sure you understand the legalities of the product in your country or state.

Hopefully, this has helped you gain a better understanding of CBD and how it influences our sleep. If you have any questions or concerns about taking CBD, we recommend talking to a health care professional to ensure your safety and well-being. There’s still a lot that we don’t know about CBD and so it’s best to take professional advice if you’re unsure about the product.