Despite the current view that CBD appears to be both a positive agent in and of itself and a potential modifier of some of the negative aspects of THC, reports of how the constituents of cannabis have changed over the first decade of the 21st century are concerning. Typical reports of the amount of THC and CDB in cannabis have been around 4% of each substance.
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an active ingredient in the drug cannabis, also known as marijuana. CBD is the second-most widely recognized element of marijuana, after delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol, or THC. Marijuana contains over 400 different active substances, with THC and CBD being just two of its 60 different cannabinoid molecules.
Effects of Cannabidiol
Another study looking at the effects of various drugs on dementia showed that CBD may have positive effects on some of the behavioral manifestations of the disease. There is also some research to suggest that CBD may reduce symptoms of psychosis in people with Parkinson’s disease.
A study comparing THC with CBD showed that some of the unpleasant aspects of the marijuana high, such as anxiety and paranoia, appear to be caused by THC, and alleviated by CBD. Although complex, studies have shown some neuroprotective effects of CBD.
Because CBD produces its biological effects without acting significantly on the brain’s cannabinoid receptors, it does not cause the unwanted psychotropic effects that are characteristic of other marijuana derivatives.
This gives it a potentially high potential to be used in the development of various forms of medical marijuana.
Burns agrees, adding that THC can also cause anxiety and restlessness at doses higher than 10 milligrams. “Because of this, I would say that CBD is a better sleep aid for most people; however, dosing less than 10 milligrams of THC along with 20 milligrams or more of CBD could be a great combination.”
“CBD is an anxiolytic, which means that it reduces anxiety and is calming,” explains Dr. Elaine Burns, a naturopathic doctor who is CEO and founder of Dr. Burns’ ReLeaf. “In addition, it helps to relax the muscles. These two properties both contribute to a feeling of relaxation in the mind and body.”
THC, the cannabis plant’s most abundant and intoxicating cannabinoid, is reputed to induce sleepiness. Ford believes any feelings of drowsiness associated with CBD oil can most likely be attributed to THC. “If CBD oil is making you feel drowsy, it’s probably due to a fraction of THC being left in the product,” he said.
What effect does CBD oil have on sleep disorders?
“CBD itself doesn’t do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors but instead promotes the binding of the endocannabinoids already in our systems,” Drew Ford, Chief Science Officer at Kase Manufacturing, a cannabis extraction facility, told Weedmaps. “It ensures they bind to the receptors that they’re supposed to go to.”
Dr. Patricia Frye, a board-certified cannabis clinician and Chief Medical Officer at HelloMD, pointed out that there is evidence that high doses of CBD can modulate adenosine pathways in the brain. “Adenosine is the substance that accumulates during the day and deactivates the sensory neurons in the area of the brain that keeps us awake.”
CBD may also trigger tiredness or a sleep response through its reported effects on the 5-HT1a serotonin receptors, as observed in a study published in the medical journal Pain. “When binding to the 5-HT1a receptors, CBD essentially blocks those receptors from other agonists binding to them,” Ford explained. “Depending on the individual’s body chemistry, when CBD binds to these receptors it can essentially block the anxiety or depression-causing molecules, leading to immediate relief.” As a result, some individuals may feel a sensation of sleepiness.
Vo points out that terpenes present in CBD oil also influence the individual’s response. “We know that terpenes play an essential role in determining the strain and influencing a sedative effect, energetic effect, or combination of both,” he explained.