CBD, Melatonin & Sleep Disorders: The Natural Substitutes.


It has been estimated that about 50-70 million of Americans today suffer from some form of sleep related disorder and roughly 11% of individuals who have reported sleep issues suffer from sleep disturbances almost daily. Investigators have explained that both adolescents and adults that suffer from chronic insomnia may develop depression and anxiety related conditions later in life. Studies have also explained that people who suffer from sleep disorders are likely to develop issues with substance abuse, alcohol dependency and decreases in work performance.

In recent years research has focused the attention towards holistic approaches to find ways in which people can control their poor sleeping habits without pharmaceutical intervention. Research has recently been highlighting the impacts of melatonin and cannabidiol (CBD) as a natural sleep remedy and the results have been showing much promise in both animal and human models.


Research from the early 1970’s identified that melatonin is produced by the pineal gland within the brain, which plays an important role in circadian variation and sleep regulation. Normal increases in melatonin concentrations occur at night to induce sleep and little to no concentrations during the day, while cortisol levels rise to induce arousal. However, growing evidence has shown that as we age, decreases in melatonin concentrations contribute to poor sleeping patterns, which can also be identified in adolescents who experience poor circadian variation due to factors such as stress and anxiety.

A clinical review investigated both the safety and efficacy of melatonin for sleep disorders. Although the report was not conclusive as to whether or not sleep related disorders can be treated with melatonin, the authors did explain that there is some evidence to suggest that melatonin is effective in treating delayed sleep latency with short-term use. The study also explained that there is evidence to suggest that melatonin is safe with short term use, less than 3 months and can be used in moderation to naturally regulate circadian rhythm (Buscemi et al., 2005). If you are unsure about administering melatonin please consult your physician for more information on whether or not it is right for you.


Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the main constituents of cannabis has been known to possess hypnotic effects and has been identified as a natural sleep remedy that can improve overall quality of sleep by naturally regulating circadian rhythm. This response occurs by interaction with cannabinoid receptors within the central nervous system, immune system and the periphery. However, further research is needed to identify the underlying mechanisms associated with the effects of CBD on sleep regulation.


 A recent clinical review stated that individuals who ingested 160 mg/day showed that both sleep duration and quality were significantly improved without any adverse effects in relationship to the placebo and nitrazepam (5 mg). An additional study recently published found that CBD provided notable therapeutic applications on circadian rhythm and was consistent with clinical trials that state the therapeutic effects of CBD, but not THC to treat insomnia by triggering regions of the brain responsible for sleep regulation (Lafaye et al., 2018).

Although insomnia is just one of many sleep disorders, CBD has shown to have significant impacts on sleep duration and time, which has been recognized in animal and human models (Lafaye et al., 2018, Murillo-Rodríguez et al., 2006, Chagas et al., 2013). This ultimately allows the body’s natural ability to control sleep with the administration of CBD and can have significant impacts across a variety of sleep disorders. However, further research is still needed to prove these results and how CBD acts to control variations in naturally occurring cortisol and melatonin concentrations.

We identify that CBD and melatonin can have different individual subject responses in sleep patterns and sleep regulation. The literature has expressed the safety and the efficacy of both CBD and melatonin in subjects experiencing sleep deficiencies. We hope further research will be able to identify optimal dose responses of both products to maximize the therapeutic benefits of these natural remedies.


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  3. Lafaye, G., Desterke, C., Marulaz, L., and Benyamina, A. (2018) Cannabidiol affects circadian clock core complex and its regulation in microglia cells. Addiction Biologyhttps://doi.org/10.1111/adb.12660.
  4. Murillo-Rodríguez E, Millán-Aldaco D, Palomero-Rivero M, Mechoulam R, Drucker-Colín R. Cannabidiol, a constituent of Cannabis sativa, modulates sleep in rats. FEBS Lett2006;.
  5. Chagas MHN, Crippa JAS, Zuardi AW, et al. Effects of acute systemic administration of cannabidiol on sleep-wake cycle in rats. J Psychopharmacol2013;.