Using CBD for Sleep: Can CBD Cause Nightmares or Dreams?

CBD is well-known for resolving people’s sleep-related problems. However, whether this sleep causes sweet dreams or nightmares to occur is the real question.

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CBD and Nightmares

The benefits of CBD seem to know no bounds. From helping resolve people’s pain to anxiety, and to inducing sleep and relaxation, CBD can do it all without any problems. 

However, it is also important to explore and discover another side of CBD for sleep, and that is to find out whether this usage causes sweet dreams or nightmares to occur in a person’s life.  

The Science Behind CBD, Sleep, and Dreams

Before we dive into the essence of this topic, it is important to remind ourselves that the current research on CBD and dreams is limited. 

So, judging from what we know, CBD induces sleep in people. It causes people with insomnia, sleep paralysis, restless leg syndrome, and nightmares to get a good night’s sleep by inducing deep sleep in them. 

At the same time, it works to resolve anxiety and all built-up tension in a person’s mind, which further helps them sleep better at night, thereby improving the overall sleep quality.

However, as far as the mechanism behind this sleep induction is concerned, it is believed that CBD, once consumed, works on the endocannabinoid system to relax the mind and make sure that the sleep cycle is also regulated in return. 

The major action is the alleviation of stress from a person’s mind and body, both of which work in coherence to make sure that the person gets a good night’s sleep in return. 

It was also seen that CBD streamlines the circadian rhythms of people and allows them to have a more synchronized, organized sleeping pattern. This effect was majorly seen to benefit people who work late night shifts, such as nurses, healthcare workers, and others. 

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Anecdotal Evidence: CBD and Changes in Dream Patterns

The science behind sleep and its relationship with CBD remains mysterious, due to obvious reasons – limited research.  

Nevertheless, based on existing research and personal observations, two significant factors may contribute to this effect.

  • Firstly, CBD, along with other cannabinoids, has been linked to longer REM (rapid eye movement) and deep sleep cycles. REM sleep is associated with dreaming, although recent studies suggest dreams may also occur during other sleep phases.
  • Secondly, the hippocampus – a brain structure integral to memory retention, learning, and emotional processing, possesses a high density of cannabinoid receptors. These receptors regulate nerve transmission, influencing the storage of information in memory.

    During sleep, the hippocampus uploads memories to the cerebral cortex for consolidation but does not typically process new information like dreams for long-term memory storage.

    Therefore, the activation of cannabinoid receptors during sleep may facilitate the transmission of dream data to the hippocampus, enabling its storage in memory.

CBD for Anxiety and Nightmares: What Research Says

Both anxiety and nightmares have been studied in great detail before entailing them as possible targets by CBD. Let’s collectively explore both of them to see how CBD helps get rid of either of them through its consistent usage. 

A review published in Neurotherapeutics in 2015 examined numerous studies on CBD’s potential for treating various anxiety disorders.

Some studies have shown that CBD can reduce symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It does so by mechanisms that are not yet completely understood, but have something to do with the upregulation of certain receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain. 

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On the other hand, the possibility of CBD to reduce nightmares in PTSD patients has left many researchers and clinicians with no option but to take a look at it. 

A small study printed in The Permanente Journal in 2019 exemplified the impact of CBD on sleep and anxiety symptoms in persons who had PTSD. The research identified that the use of CBD therapy led to a reduction of PTSD-related symptoms such as nightmares and a problem of insomnia.

Nonetheless, the necessity of conducting large-scale and more rigorous studies cannot be overemphasized to validate the preliminary results and define the underlying mechanism through which CBD affects nightmares.

How to Use CBD for Better Sleep (Without Nightmares)

Although all types and forms of CBD are useful for everyone, if we are specifically talking about sleep, then CBD Oil might just be the perfect solution for you. The reason for this is its faster mode of action, easiest route of administration, and lesser risk of side effects involved. 

Moreover, CBD Oil can help people of all ages go to sleep easily because there are still several people who do not wish to eat these products or consume them in any other way. Just make sure to use full-spectrum products, and always start with low doses to be on the safe side. 

In such cases, CBD Oil might come in handy because it does not require you to directly come in contact with it for a longer time – just use a drop or two, keep it under your tongue, and you will soon be off to bed for a sweet, deep sleep (and that too, without nightmares) in no time!

Andleeb Asghar - Pharmacist

Andleeb Asghar - Pharmacist

Andleeb Asghar holds a “Pharm-D” degree from Lahore College for Women University, Lahore. She is an official Registered Pharmacist (RPh) in Punjab, Pakistan. She has also got a “Master of Philosophy” degree from the University of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Lahore. Andleeb has worked in various practice settings as a clinical Pharmacist and has a wide range of experience. She has been cited in Healthline and Telehealth for her expertise. She has also served as a distinguished guest speaker at various local hospitals and high-profile organizations. She has been writing Cannabinoid & Marijuana related content for the past five years for different reputable companies. She is passionate about serving others by crafting information and helpful pieces for her readers.

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