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THE CANNABIS INDUSTRY is in a full sprint to create products that harness the best of the plant’s health-inducing benefits. We’ve been exploring the CBD market thoroughly over the last few years, helping to demystify how this non-psychoactive component of cannabis works and learning about how our bodies’ own innate cannabinoid system is the reason for CBD’s efficacy. Emerging studies on the benefits of CBD simply can’t be ignored, and one of the most promising applications have to do with anxiety and sleep.

According to a survey by Consumer Reports, almost 80 percent of Americans say they have trouble sleeping at least once a week. We’ve been hearing about the issue from readers, as the wellness industry opens up more and more about emotional and mental health issues that were previously been less explored.

Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep can be rooted in a wide array of issues, from physical pain to emotional imbalances. One of the reasons cannabis holds so much promise as a natural sleep aid is that certain components of the plant (both CBD and THC) have a unique ability to reduce pain and anxiety and promote deep relaxation. While pain and anxiety aren’t the only causes of sleep issues, for those that do struggle, cannabis could be just what’s needed for a better night’s sleep — especially in comparison to conventional sleeping pills which often have adverse long- and short-term side effects.

Most of our CBD content thus far has focused on THC-free products, as THC is the component responsible for creating cannabis’ high. But when it comes to a solution for sleep, taking a microdose of THC can be majorly therapeutic. While everyone’s body is different, we find that this small amount helps us ease into sleep and stay there without actually feeling sedated.

Lately, we’re loving La Haute’s cannabis-derived sleep supplement, Dream, that includes 2mg of melatonin and a microdose of 1mg of CBD and 1mg THC – an extremely low dose that La Haute finds to be just the right fit for those needing sleep support or to ease occasional anxiety.

What Is Microdosing?

Microdosing involves ingesting minimal doses of a substance that are so low they are unlikely to produce whole-body effects, but high enough to allow the therapeutic benefits to take hold. If you typically turn down THC to avoid the feeling of being intoxicated, microdosing is a safe way to experiment with medicating mindfully and allows you to control the outcome to some degree. Using smaller amounts — combined with nervous-system soothing CBD — essentially negates the psychoactive effect while still enabling a state of serious well being.

The goal of microdosing cannabis isn’t to get high but rather relax the body and mind and ease into a state of relaxation that is completely natural. According to La Haute’s co-founder, Josh Weiner, “the microdose allows you to continue your lifestyle, so you’re not taking these products to then sit on the couch and be stoned, you’re actually taking them for a functional purpose.”

On The Connection Between Cannabis + Sleep

In a 2017 extensive literature review entitled Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature, the research team found that CBD and THC were two cannabinoids most often cited as sleep-inducing aids. THC has a sedative effect and can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. CBD has a range of mind-body benefits, and some research shows that the entourage effect, or harmonized interaction between cannabis compounds like CBD and THC, seems to carry over to sleep.

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According to The Sleep Association, researchers discovered that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in maintaining certain body functions, such as mood, appetite, and sleep including regulating circadian rhythms. Within the endocannabinoid system is a network of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. The two primary receptors identified are CB1 and CB2.

In another study published in the Permanente Journal, 72 adults with anxiety and poor sleep were involved. The participants completed anxiety and sleep assessments at the start of the study and at the first-month follow-up. Study participants were given 25 mg in capsule form of CBD. Those that had predominately sleep complaints took the dose in the evening. Participants that had anxiety as the predominant complaint took the CBD in the morning.

After the first month, anxiety scores decreased in 79 percent of the people. Sleep scores improved in 66 percent of the participants, which indicated less trouble sleeping. The results suggest that CBD decreased sleep difficulties in many of the participants. But while the decrease in anxiety symptoms remained steady for the duration of the study, the sleep scores fluctuated over time.

How Does Cannabis Help With Sleep Issues?

Regulates Stress + Anxiety | According to anecdotal evidence and science, CBD tackles stress like a 300-pound football player. The molecule ensures there are more mood-regulating chemicals like serotonin available for the body to use. While CBD doesn’t create these chemicals, it makes them more accessible so the brain and body can use them more efficiently, and return to a state of balance in a completely natural way. Research also shows that CBD stimulates neurogenesis or the growth of cells in the brain. Studies have revealed that in people who are really anxious or depressed the hippocampus shrinks, but after introducing CBD, neuro-imaging showed an increase in the size of this part of the brain.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY | Cannabinoids have many anti-inflammatory activities beyond reducing the production of inflammatory prostaglandins. For instance, THC activates endocannabinoid receptors (CB2) located on your immune system’s killer cells (macrophages). When these receptors are activated, they prevent macrophages from releasing inflammatory proteins (cytokines).

PAIN-RELIEVING | Although prostaglandins and other inflammatory molecules can make pain-perceiving nerves more sensitive, cannabinoids fight back by desensitizing these nerves. Both CBD and THC target nerve receptors that help decrease the sensation of pain (TRPV1 and CB1, respectively). Additionally, not only does CBD desensitize TRPV1, but these soothing effects can spread to neighboring pain receptors.

How To Microdose For Better Sleep

La Haute worked with a chemist and a pharmacist to formulate their sleep supplement in a way that gets the job done, but doesn’t get you high or leave you groggy.

Still on the fence? Start with a small dose (you can always add more if that’s what your body wants) and treat it like you would treat trying alcohol for the first time — slowly, safely and mindfully. Settle into a comfortable environment and let the plant-powered capsule take you into the best sleep you’ve had all year.

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs. 

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