People have long wondered if taking hemp-derived CBD will make you tired or wake you up. Since a known side effect of marijuana and THC is sleepiness, it is thought that CBD, will do the same. Another reason for drowsiness is the terpene called myrcene, which causes what many call “couch-lock,” or a deep level of relaxation that coaxes one to sleep.
Of course, this could potentially be keeping you from trying hemp-derived CBD oils and other CBD products. You might not want to be drowsy throughout the day, especially if you have a job that requires total awareness throughout the days, or if you are an athlete with long practices. With some many responsibilities to get done throughout the day, it is no wonder you do not want to be slowed down.
So will CBD oil make you feel tired? Let’s learn the truth.
What is CBD and CBD Oil?
Before getting to the bottom of the main question, you need to know the basics of CBD. As one of the main bioactive compounds—or, cannabinoid—of Cannabis sativa (hemp and marijuana), cannabidiol (CBD) is known to have multiple medically relevant benefits. Research has discovered that CBD has anti-psychotic, antidepressant, anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant, and neuroprotective abilities, meaning it can protect your brain from nerve damage and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
Unlike another cannabinoid called tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC), CBD does not cause feelings of euphoria, because it lacks psychoactive effects. In other words, CBD derived from industrial hemp will not make you high.
When CBD is extracted from hemp, it is often in the form of oil that comes from the seeds and stalks of the plant. CBD oil can be taken in various ways, which will be mentioned later on.
Different CBD Oil Products
If you do not know much about CBD oil, you may be visualizing the item as something like essential oils that ran be rubbed on your wrists. While there are topical CBD creams, they are often not used for reducing anxiety or insomnia.
There are 5 ways you can take CBD oil for sleep:
• Tinctures: Taken by putting a few drops under the tongue. Dosage can range from 10 mg to 1000 mg. Ingesting CBD sublingually is the best for immediate results and is an excellent option for use right before going to bed.
• Capsules: One of the easiest ways to get CBD. Typically, a single capsule holds about 10-25 mg of CBD. You can easily track how much you are taking and can use capsules alongside tinctures.
• Sprays: Ranging between 1-3 mg per use, oral sprays are the weakest concentration of CBD.
• Vapes: According to many reports, vaporizing CBD oil tends to be the least effective way to administer CBD when compared to tinctures, capsules, and sprays. If you have stomach troubles, you may want to vape CBD oil, however.
• Edibles: You can also eat CBD infused snacks, like gummies. These generally have a low dose of CBD per serving. Again, since ingested CBD can sometimes upset sensitive stomachs, this is not the best method if you have digestive issues or are on medication.
Before starting any kind of CBD product, be sure to receive clearance from a medical professional, especially if you are on medication. You should also discuss dosage with your physician to ensure you will get the maximum benefit of CBD.
How CBD Oil Works
Briefly, we touched on the medical benefits of CBD oil. Where do these benefits stem from? CBD can lessen anxiety and epilepsy and assist with other conditions by interacting to receptors found throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems and immune system. Once cannabidiol enters the body, it is seen by the body as part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and used in homeostasis.
The endocannabinoid system is a vital system that assists with cell communication, thereby regulating appetite, mood, memory, pain, and even cell life cycles. In some studies, CBD is seen interacting with serotonin receptors and taking on a role similar to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the brain.
This means that CBD oil has an overall relaxing effect. Even if you do not feel immediately sleepy, you will feel better and less anxious throughout the day. This may lead to better rest at night.
CBD and Sleep
If CBD relaxes the mind and body, doesn’t that mean it puts you to sleep? Not necessarily. Cannabinoids can go either way. On perspective on how CBD affects sleep is that there is an indirect influence on the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in our circadian rhythms. When your biological clock is messed up, it becomes more difficult to get to sleep and wake up at a normal time. Similarly, anxiety and depression—two things that CBD oil can help relieve—can also negatively impact your sleep cycle.
Most of the time, when people suffer from insomnia, it is a mix of anxiety, depression, and disrupted sleep cycles. Sometimes, it is pain that keeps you from sleeping restfully.
Since CBD oil can relieve pain and reduce the effects of anxiety, you will feel more relaxed. Even if you don’t necessarily feel tired, you will be able to get to sleep more easily because you are not stimulated.
Studies on CBD and Sleepiness
Scientifically speaking, every aforementioned effect of CBD is brought about by interactions with the ECS. There are two receptors that CBD typically works with: CB1 and CB2. Instead of exciting these receptors like THC, CBD can inhibit the receptors. Since CB1 is involved in releasing the neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin, CBD prevents levels of these chemicals from dropping.
Furthermore, CBD also works with the serotonin receptor 5HT1. Cannabidiol blocks other agonists from binding to the receptor, blocking other neurotransmitters and chemicals that may imbalance serotonin and cause anxiety or depression. The hypothesized consequence of this is more relaxation or tiredness.
There are two animal studies using CBD that are important, since they highlight the importance of dosage. It has been found in many studies that the amount of CBD is responsible for what you feel. A 2006 study gave micro-doses of CBD to rats and observed them. The rats that took CBD spent more hours awake than those who didn’t get the micro-dose.
Another study from 2013 that was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that rats given high doses of CBD (around 10-40 mg/kg) had a significant increase in their total percentage of sleep .
Obviously, humans can tolerate much more than 10 mg of CBD a day. That is why it is essential to test CBD on people, too. Small studies involving volunteers have look into doses ranging from 160 mg/day to 600mg/day . In one study using 600mg/day, the volunteers spent much more time sleeping than those who used little to no CBD throughout the day. Meanwhile, another study using 160 mg/day showed similar results, with those who used cannabidiol sleeping more.
The participants of the latter study reported sleeping longer when they used CBD and also experienced far less periods of restlessness or wakefulness. Subjects also stated that they didn’t feel hungover the next day after using CBD.
More on CBD Oil and Alertness
Turns out that CBD may have the opposite effect on people, as well. Yes, CBD can indeed reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, stop seizures and epilepsy, soothe inflammation, aid in insomnia, and even assist with certain neuropsychiatric problems. But it can also be stimulating at low doses.
What does that mean? In one of the studies above, we mentioned that a low dose of CBD (around 15 mg a day or less)  can make someone feel more awake than drowsy. Though these lower doses are typically mixed in with THC, it doesn’t mean that CBD by itself won’t have the same effect.
But why does this happen?
It may be misinformation in regards to the type of cannabis that is being used. There are two kinds that are used: sativa and indica.
A couple of studies have found that indica might be better at sedating people than sativa.
However, others say that whether you feel more alert or more sleepy has more to do with the breeding of the plant rather than which strain is being used. Regardless of the type of cannabis, cultivation has a direct effect on the quality and quantity of CBD extracted.
In a 2004 study , the human subjects reported that it was THC (15 mg/day) that made them drowsy, while those who used CBD (15 mg/day) experienced more alertness. When THC and CBD were blended, it appeared that the sedative effects of THC were slightly mollified.
Another survey from 2014  asked medical marijuana users whether they preferred indica or sativa CBD for falling asleep. The majority preferred indica, saying it helped them fall asleep quicker.
So, if you are planning on using CBD for sleep and don’t want to experience the opposite, you should opt for higher dosages.
Please keep in mind that any cannabis-derived CBD oils are illegal in the UK. Only those who have access to medical marijuana should concern themselves with the kind of cannabis (indica or sativa) they are receiving.
The Bottom Line
So, will CBD make you tired throughout the day? Or does it just help you sleep better? It depends on the dosage, but in most cases, no. CBD will not make you feel lethargic throughout the day. CBD only calms the mind. When you feel calmer and more lucid, you will also feel more alert throughout the day.
Whether you want to improve your focus for an upcoming exam or want to shut down a racing mind in the evening to get some quality sleep, CBD can help you do both. Though you may want to experiment with how much CBD you need and how you take it, there are few reasons not to give CBD a try.
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