Insomnia can be a major drag. It makes us feel deflated and defeated, never allowing us to really enjoy the day. There are a number of different treatments, many of which are narcotic and have adverse side effects. CBD oil and melatonin are excellent alternatives – they both are safe, effective, and natural.
What is Melatonin and Why Do People Use It?
Today, we live in a bustling world. A good night’s rest can be an invaluable commodity. Insomnia is a serious and widespread condition in the United States and needless to say, many people are losing sleep over it. Thankfully, melatonin can help to counteract this precious loss of sleep, aka insomnia.
According to a 2011 research survey from the journal Sleep, approximately 1/3 of all adults have difficulties sleeping at night on a weekly basis. Furthermore, approximately 25 million people (about 10% of the population) suffer from chronic insomnia.
So how does insomnia affect people? Well, it has been linked with overall reduced quality of life as well as the following related conditions:
- Increased risk of major depressive order and/or social anxiety disorder
- Hypertension and cardiovascular disease
- Impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes
- Alcohol abuse
In other words, insomnia is serious and sleep is important! Unless you’re Thái Ngọc, a Vietnamese insomniac who claims he hasn’t slept for the over 46 years. As for the rest of us, many try to use a wide variety of supplements to help get the sleep we need. One of the most popular and effective choices is melatonin, a hormone which our pineal gland naturally releases.
Melatonin made by our bodies (endogenous melatonin) has fluctuating levels that depend on the presence of light or darkness in the environment.
For example, once the sun sets, the pineal gland releases more melatonin, peaking between the hours of 11 PM and 3 AM. As a result, there is roughly 10 times more melatonin in our bodies at night versus during the day. These fluctuations and changes in our internal chemistry govern the sleep-wake cycle, also known as our circadian rhythm.
Aside from our pineal gland, there are two other sources from which melatonin comes from. Natural melatonin comes from the pineal gland of animals. However, this source can carry viruses. In order to avoid contamination, humans use synthetic (manmade) melatonin to combat their insomnia.
The synthetic version works on melatonin receptors in the brain known as MT-1 and MT-2 receptors. These special receptors are crucial for sleep. Synthetic melatonin can promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle stay by telling your body when it’s time to go to bed. Additionally, it does not cause intoxication like narcotic sleep medications.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol oil (CBD oil) is an extract of the cannabis plant with a number of health benefits. It is a type of cannabinoid, a group of compounds that interact with cannabinoid receptors spread throughout our body. These receptors are all part of an important control and regulatory system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
So why is the ECS important? Well, as the researcher Vincenzo Di Marzo stated, the ECS primary functions are: “relax, eat, sleep, forget, and protect.” In other words, the ECS keeps our bodies balanced and our natural rhythms functioning properly by regulating:
- Sleep-wake cycles and circadian rhythms
- Pain and inflammation
- Reward and motivation
- Digestion and metabolism
- Immune system
- Memory and mental clarity
- Body temperature
As you can see, a healthy ECS is absolutely vital!
Why Would You Mix CBD Oil With Melatonin?
As we saw above, the ECS helps the body regulate its sleep patterns via its cannabinoid receptors. These are specifically known as CB-1 and CB-2 receptors, which are technically G protein-coupled receptors (GCPR). Now, do you remember the MT-1 and MT-2 receptors we discussed before? Well, these are also GCPRs, meaning that the similarities in the underlying structures make cannabinoid and melatonin receptors natural allies in fighting off insomnia.
Because melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in the body, using melatonin supplements to treat insomnia is formally known as melatonin replacement therapy. Research suggests that melatonin replacement therapy can:
- Treat insomnia
- Decrease wake time after sleep onset
- Decrease sleep latency
- Increase sleep efficiency
- Help patients quit using narcotic sleep medications (like benzodiazepines).
- Decrease jet lag
- Adjust sleep cycles in patients suffering from blindness
Now let’s turn our attention to CBD oil. Interestingly, the research suggests that the dosage amount of CBD oil can influence its effects on sleep behavior. For example, lower doses of CBD appear to have a stimulating effect while higher doses will cause sedation. An influential study in The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology took a group of insomniac patients and divided them into five groups based on daily dosages:
- Placebo (no medication)
- 5 milligrams of nitrazepam (a narcotic benzodiazepine used for insomnia)
- 40 mg CBD
- 80 mg CBD
- 160 mg CBD
The study concluded that all three groups taking CBD had increased total sleep time and woke up less frequently throughout the night when compared to the placebo group. Furthermore, when compared to nitrazepam, CBD did not produce any psychotropic or toxic effects.
Can You Mix CBD Oil With Melatonin?
Yes, absolutely! CBD oil and melatonin are natural complements of each other. Not only do they work on GCPRs and have similar mechanisms of action, but together they may alleviate insomnia safely and effectively. Furthermore, unlike benzodiazepines, they do not cause:
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Serious side effects
In other words, they mesh together quite nicely!
How to Mix Them Properly
As with any medicine or supplement, getting the right dosage is important. This will ensure that you get the rest you need in order to stay alert, happy, and healthy.
An effective starting dose for melatonin is anywhere from 0.3 to 0.5 mg, especially if you are trying to stabilize your circadian rhythm (due to jet lag, for example). Most commercially available products have 1-milligram tablets (which can be cut in half, if necessary), although many patients have to take higher doses, sometimes between 3 to 5 mg. However, once you start getting above this dosage amount, you may experience side effects like:
- Grogginess the following day
- Vivid/strange dreams
It’s best to start with the lowest dose and work your way up. Remember, melatonin is exceptionally safe. Interestingly enough, a study performed by Cochrane, a health industry research group, indicated that dosages above 5 milligrams did not appear to be more effective than lower doses.
As for CBD oil, a fully-grown adult can start with a dose as low as 10 mg. However, don’t forget that the research indicates that lower doses may have a stimulating effect. Much like melatonin, it’s best to start low and work your way up. As a result, you can use this nifty formula to determine how much you may need to take:
- A regular dose – 0.25 milligrams for every 1 pound of body weight. For a 200 pound adult, that would be a 50-milligram dose.
- A strong dose – 0.5 milligrams for every 1 pound of body weight. For a 200 pound adult, that would be a 100-milligram dose.
Ultimately, you will have to just listen to your body and see how you feel after administering it. Never underestimate the importance of sleep. Make sure you practice some self-care and keep yourself alert, happy, and healthy by treating your insomnia – your body will thank you for it!