When the Farm Bill was passed in 2018, industrial hemp was legalized, and so was CBD oil with less than 0.3% THC. The cannabinoid seems helpful for just about anything, although there is not enough scientific evidence to prove true some of the claims.. This article looks at the connection between CBD oil and sleep.

Understanding CBD Oil

CBD oil is a chemical substance and one of the more than a hundred active compounds called cannabinoids, naturally found in cannabis plants. It can be derived from hemp or marijuana plants, but most brands focus on hemp-derived CBD oil whose total THC concentration does not exceed 0.3%. It does not have the ‘high’ or psychoactive effects linked to THC. CBD oil is readily available as edibles, tinctures, vapes, capsules, and topicals that feature any of the following three formulations;

Full-spectrum CBD Oil

This oil has terpenes, flavonoids, CBD, the psychoactive THC, and many other cannabinoids, including CBC, CBN, CBT, CBG, and CBDa. It is linked to a full entourage effect. 

Broad-spectrum CBD Oil

It contains terpenes, flavonoids, and as many cannabinoids as in full-spectrum CBD oil and is also linked to the full entourage effect. It does not have the psychoactive THC.

Isolate-based CBD Oil

 Isolates have CBD as the only component, with no other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids.

Can CBD Oil Help with Sleep?

CBD oil proponents claim that it could make a good sleep therapy that boosts sleep quality and treats insomnia, but there is not enough scientific evidence to prove this. Below is what early research says about CBD oil for sleep;

  • A review by Vučković et al. (2018) shows that CBD oil could help with sleep by reducing chronic pain.
  • In a study conducted by Shannon et al. (2019) involving 72 subjects, 66.9% of the participants reported having experienced better sleep after taking 25 mg CBD capsules. However, the study population was too small to form viable statistical significance. The research reported that 79.2% of the participants experienced reduced anxiety, which realistically would boost one’s sleep.
  • A study by Chagas, et al. (2014) noted that CBD oil could help with RBD, ultimately improving sleep, but the study subject size was too small for viable statistical significance.

However, the studies have limitations. Most of them have smaller populations that are significant in the real world but are statistically insignificant. Besides, most of them admit that there is a need for further studies before upholding their findings, especially because they could not explain particular observations.

Can CBD Oil Make You Sleepy During the Day?

The section examines CBD oil as an agent that promotes daytime sleepiness. There is insufficient research to support this. If anything, CBD oil has stress- and anxiety-relieving properties that seem to promote calm and focus in people during the day. Here is what research says about CBD oil and anxiety;

  • In a study conducted by Bergamaschi, et al. (2011), public speaking contestants took CBD oil before the exercise and reported less anxiety.
  • Another research by Crippa, et al. (2011) noted that CBD oil could help with social anxiety disorder.
  • According to Hundal, et al. (2018), CBD oil did not show signs of improving anxiety and paranoia but seemed to increase anxiety in people.

These studies are positive for the largest, although one recorded negative results. Still, most of them used small populations that, despite being real, do not represent the large populations. Besides, they did not look at the long-term effects of CBD oil, and there is no certainty that the same results would be observed if CBD oil use was continued for longer.

CBD Oil Versus THC for Sleep

THC and CBD oil are popular cannabis products, and some people look up to THC for sleep benefits. Even so, CBD oil promises better sleep-enhancing properties than THC. Besides, THC is psychoactive, and if it helps with sleep in any way, it still likely makes you ‘high.’ As such, many people avoid it and opt for CBD oil, which despite not having sufficient evidence to support sleep-promoting benefits, will not make you ‘high’ or ‘stoned.’

Is CBD Oil Safe for Sleep?

While research by Iffland & Grotenhermen (2017) shows that CBD oil is safe for sleep, the real-world situation might differ. CBD users expect to experience a range of mild side effects, but some are alarming. According to the FDA, some possible adverse side effects of cannabis derivatives, CBD oil included loss of appetite, gastrointestinal problems, change in moods, and liver damage.


Some studies suggest that CBD oil might boost one’s sleep and improve sleep quality, but there is insufficient evidence to prove this. CBD oil seems to be less likely to make one sleepy during the day. Still, there is a need for further studies to examine its anxiety-relieving benefits connected to wakefulness during the day. That said, CBD oil might not be all safe as touted, and it might lead to some mild to severe side effects, including loss of appetite, liver damage, changes in mood, and gastrointestinal issues.


Bergamaschi, M. M., Queiroz, R. H. C., Chagas, M. H. N., De Oliveira, D. C. G., De Martinis, B. S., Kapczinski, F., … & Crippa, J. A. S. (2011). Cannabidiol Reduces The Anxiety Induced By Simulated Public Speaking In Treatment-Naive Social Phobia Patients. Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(6), 1219-1226.

Chagas, M. H., Eckeli, A. L.,

Zuardi, A. W., Pena‐Pereira, M. A., Sobreira‐Neto, M. A., Sobreira, E. T., … & Crippa, J. A. S. (2014). Cannabidiol

Can Improve Complex Sleep‐Related Behaviours

Associated With Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behaviour Disorder In Parkinson’s Disease

Patients: A Case Series. Journal Of Clinical Pharmacy And Therapeutics, 39(5),


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G. N., Ferrari, T. B., Wichert-Ana, L., Duran, F. L., Martin-Santos, R., …

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Hundal, H., Lister, R., Evans,

N., Antley, A., Englund, A., Murray, R. M., … & Morrison, P. D. (2018). The

Effects Of Cannabidiol On Persecutory Ideation And Anxiety In A High Trait

Paranoid Group. Journal Of Psychopharmacology, 32(3), 276-282.

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F. (2017). An Update On Safety And Side Effects Of Cannabidiol: A Review Of

Clinical Data And Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis And Cannabinoid Research,

2(1), 139-154.

Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee,

H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol In Anxiety And Sleep: A Large Case

Series. The Permanente Journal,


Vučković, S., Srebro, D., Vujović,

K. S., Vučetić, Č., & Prostran, M. (2018). Cannabinoids And Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules. Frontiers In Pharmacology, 1259.

MS, University of Tartu
Sleep specialist

Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.

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