CBD has become increasingly popular in recent years for a range of therapeutic treatments. Increased curiosity on its possible effects on energy, however, is often met with mountains of contradictory statements and false claims.
According to the National Institutes of Health, fatigue is a common occurrence in America, with 1 in 5 adults saying that it interferes with their daily life. Lack of energy is a common complaint, and apart from coffee, there are few naturally occurring remedies to help.
So, can CBD be used for energy? Read on to learn more.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over sixty cannabinoid compounds found in the hemp plant. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS contains an assortment of cannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors and enzymes responsible for its upkeep. Two important receptors in the endocannabinoid system are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors are commonly found in the bodies' immune cells and gastrointestinal tract. CB1 receptors are found in high quantities in the central nervous system (CNS).
A common misconception is that CBD is related to psychoactive effects and risks of psychosis. This is actually associated with THC (another cannabinoid receptor), which is known to cause effects such as creating euphoria and a “high.” The psychoactive components of THC are thought to be reduced in the presence of CBD. This is because CBD binds to CB1 receptors and acts as a competitive inhibitor, blocking the binding and activating of the receptor by THC.
What Does The Research Say?
Research regarding the impact of cannabidiol is limited, and it can be hard to decipher the causality with such early studies. Here is what we know so far.
CBD may be able to help with certain sleep disorders. If energy issues are related to impaired sleep or insomnia, CBD might be able to help in that area.
According to one systematic review, CBDs effects on energy were highly dependent on dose. In individuals with doses as high as 160 mg/day, there was increased sleep time and decreased disturbances during sleep. Due to its more sedative effects at higher dosages, CBD may be able to improve sleep quality and duration, though research on this is still in its early stages.
Conversely, CBD may be linked to increased wakefulness, particularly at low doses. One clinical trial involving 8 healthy volunteers, looked into the impact of CBD and THC on sleep and morning behaviors. They noted that low doses of CBD seemed to have a stimulating effect. CBD may also counteract the sedative activity of THC when taken in a combined form. There are few clinical trials replicating this, and more research would be needed to be sure.
Another study conducted in 2014 tested the effect of CBD on the lateral hypothalamus. Following microinjections of CBD in rats, researchers observed an enhancement in extracellular levels of dopamine (DA), as well as increased wakefulness. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in many functions such as mood elevation, heart rate and learning. CBD may therefore have energy boosting properties, but further clinical trials are needed to fully understand CBDs impact on the sleep-wake cycle.
Anxiety and Stress
CBD might be able to help reduce symptoms of anxiety to aid with focus on a day-to-day basis. If anxiety and stress impinge on your ability to focus or get proper rest, CBD may assist energy levels indirectly.
One randomized control trial looked into the effects of CBD and anxiety induced by public speaking. In those given CBD, their anxiety levels were significantly lower than those in the placebo group. Therefore, CBD may be able to help reduce anxiety to improve sleep and focus, but again, research in this area is significantly lacking.
How To Use CBD For Energy
Using CBD is fairly easy, though there are a lot of forms to choose from.
CBD vapes contain e-liquid infused with CBD extract. One 2020 study found that vaping in comparison to oral CBD usage was 10 times faster in its delivery of CBD. It is thought to be the fastest in CBD delivery as it accesses the bloodstream directly through the lungs.
Tinctures are a mixture of CBD oil and alcohol, usually in a small dropper bottle. Tinctures are usually applied sublingually (beneath the tongue) and take 30 to 90 minutes to take effect. According to one systematic review, tinctures when taken sublingually offered one of the fastest deliveries of CBD.
CBD oil is similar to tinctures but is usually mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut or hemp seed. These are usually taken sublingually, though they can be added to drinks or consumed as is.
Capsule or edibles
Edibles and capsules are usually more convenient to take, however, it may take up to an hour to feel the effects. Edibles and capsules usually last much longer than the above methods, but this is said to be dose dependent.
Selecting Quality CBD oil
As finding the right dose often takes a lot of trial and error, it is best to consult your doctor before starting any CBD. Currently, there are no FDA-approved guides for CBD doses, so we can’t place a name on the “perfect” amount. For this reason, it is best to start small. Users often recommend low doses of CBD (10-15 mg) for increased wakefulness.
It is best to start slowly as higher doses are said to have a more relaxing and calming effect.
As a general rule of thumb, doses should be taken between 4-6 hours apart but can be taken at any time of the day. Consult your doctor about medical advice and be sure that you are purchasing from trusted sellers.
Selecting quality CBD Oil
As with any product, selecting the highest-quality CBD oil is important, as not every product is made the same.
Here are some things to look out for.
A Certificate of Analysis (COA) is widely recognized and usually includes a lot of useful information about the product and its company. A high-quality CBD company will not only have a COA but will indicate that their CBD does not have more than 0.3% THC. Quality checks and lab results will also list who conducted it – preferably lab analysis would be done by a third-party as opposed to “in-house.”
Free of Contaminants
CBD is derived from the hemp plant, which is known to be a great bio accumulator. This means that the presence of heavy metals or chemicals is readily absorbed by the plant, which is not good news. Quality checks in a COA will also ensure that there were no pesticides or chemicals used.
Lawsuits and FDA warning letters are a big red flag. It is important to ensure that the company you are purchasing from is compliant and up-to-date with the latest laws and policies. A quality company will also be transparent about where and how their hemp is grown.
Safety and Side Effects
CBD is generally considered safe to use. According to the World Health Organization, it is normally well-tolerated with a “good safety profile.” Despite this, some users experience the following side effects.
Loss of, or change in appetite
Side effects might indicate that doses are too high, though there may be a variety of interactions with common medications that are not yet known. It is always recommended to talk to your doctor before making the decision to try CBD for energy, especially if you are taking other medications.
Other Ways to Boost Energy
Apart from using CBD, there are a bunch of other options to help you stay energized. These include:
Caffeine is a popular and natural way of improving energy levels throughout the day. Strength can range from low (in green tea for example) to high (coffee and energy drinks). Caffeine for some individuals may also cause sleepiness, so it is different from person to person.
Exercise is known for having energy boosting properties due to the increase in oxygen mobilization and the release of endorphins.
As we discussed, improving sleep can definitely have an impact on energy levels. Ensuring that you get enough sleep is vital to allow the cells in your body to repair.
If you find that symptoms of fatigue are pervasive, it might be wise to talk to your doctor.
The Bottom Line
CBD may help improve energy indirectly by alleviating symptoms of anxiety and improving sleep quality. It might also help increase energy levels and promote wakefulness. CBD looks to be a promising supplement for energy, however, research in this area is limited, and increased understanding of its impact on the sleep-wake cycle is needed.
Starting out with CBD can be particularly difficult as there are no FDA-approved guidelines about dosage. It is best to speak with your doctor if you are thinking of trying CBD for energy.