Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis. It has many therapeutic effects such as providing relief from psychological disorders including anxiety and depression as well as reducing pain.
Many people experience increased tiredness after using cannabis. However, this is usually not due to CBD. Except for when consumed in very high amounts, CBD does not have a sedative effect and is instead thought to be wake-promoting. The tiredness often associated with cannabis use is usually due to the THC content.
People who struggle to sleep due to anxiety, depression, or pain disorders may experience tiredness after CBD use as a result of relief from these disorders.
Does CBD make you tired?
Contrary to common belief, CBD use has been shown to be energizing when consumed in low doses. It is thought that CBD may increase protein synthesis in certain parts of the brain that are involved in wakefulness. This results in increased activity in these parts of the brain, promoting a more wakeful state.
CBD and stress
One study found that when CBD was administered at low doses of 25-175 mg per day, it did not increase sleep in healthy adults. Higher doses of 300-600 mg per day of CBD do tend to elicit a sedative effect; however, this may be due to the associated drop in the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in a more relaxed state.
High levels of cortisol in the body cause the common symptoms of stress, including difficulty sleeping. CBD is known to interfere with the secretion of cortisol, reducing the levels of this hormone in the body. This calms the nervous systems and causes the body to be in a more relaxed, less stressed state. For some people, this relief from stress may cause tiredness after ingesting CBD.
CBD and anxiety
One common symptom of anxiety is difficulty falling asleep. This can result in excessive tiredness. CBD has been shown to relieve symptoms of anxiety and thereby may improve the ability to fall asleep.
The region of the brain associated with fear and anxiety is called the amygdala. The amygdala is often over-active in people who experience anxiety. This causes fear and anxiousness when there is no external cause for these feelings. Research has suggested that CBD may reduce the activity of the amygdala, resulting in a decrease in symptoms of anxiety. This may increase the likelihood of falling asleep, although the tiredness is not directly caused by CBD.
Additionally, CBD can improve symptoms of anxiety by acting on serotonin receptors in the brain. For some people, anxiety may be a result of low levels of serotonin. CBD is a partial agonist of serotonin receptors, meaning it can act on these receptors similarly to serotonin molecules. This can decrease feelings of anxiety, potentially improving the ability to fall asleep.
CBD and depression
Similar to the mechanism of anxiety relief described above, CBD may improve sleep by reducing symptoms of depression. Depression is caused by low levels of serotonin in the body. By binding to the serotonin receptors, CBD helps to regulate your mood and decrease feelings of depression.
Some people with depressive disorders experience difficulty falling asleep. By relieving symptoms of depression, CBD may make falling asleep easier.
CBD and pain
Pain, whether acute or chronic, often makes falling asleep difficult. CBD is thought to be a safe treatment option for both acute and chronic pain. By reducing pain, CBD may improve the ability to fall asleep. This could give the impression that CBD is causing tiredness when it is actually diminishing causes of sleep disruption.
CBD binds to the CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the body to reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a common cause of chronic pain. Additionally, CBD is known to be an allosteric modulator of opioid receptors in the body. These receptors regulate the sensation of pain. Opioids, such as codeine and morphine, bind to these receptors and reduce feelings of pain. CBD binds to opioid receptors and alters how they respond to pain stimuli, ultimately reducing the sensation of pain.
How to avoid sleepiness from CBD
CBD does not tend to cause sleepiness when taken in relatively low doses as it is not a sedative compound. To avoid sleepiness after consuming CBD, refrain from ingesting over 300 mg per day, as high doses may have a sedative effect in some healthy people.
If you suffer from conditions that negatively affect your ability to fall asleep, such as anxiety, depression, pain, or stress, you may be more susceptible to tiredness after CBD use. To avoid this sleepiness, talk to your doctor about options to improve sleep at night.
The bottom line
CBD does not tend to cause tiredness in healthy adults unless consumed in high
CBD may be beneficial in aiding sleep for people who suffer from disorders that negatively affect sleep, such as anxiety, depression, stress, or chronic pain. However, sleep assistance in these situations is not directly caused by CBD but instead is a result of relief of these conditions.