Why CBD Oil Is My Sleep Aid of Choice

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I’ve tried Ambien, melatonin, and more. Placebo or not, CBD works wonders.

ame a sleep aid and I can describe the specific type of hangover it gives me. The morning after overdoing melatonin by even five milligrams, I wake up to pressure at my temples and mental fog so thick that conversation is difficult. Post-Benadryl fatigue feels as if each of my cells are begging me to get back in bed. If I take too much Ambien, it’s like I never woke up at all: I float around half-sentient, reanimating just in time for dinner.

Enter cannabidiol, or CBD, one of many chemical compounds produced by cannabis, and the latest darling of the wellness world.

CBD is all the rage right now, with a former Coca-Cola exec declaring it the “new avocado toast” thanks to its popularity among millennials. It’s estimatedthat the market for CBD products will hit $22 billion in the next four years. Unlike another well-known cannabis compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (better known as THC), CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high. Many of us use it to calm down, and some of us take it to fall asleep.

I was unmoved by the CBD craze until last year, when a sample of hemp extract oil crossed my desk at work and I started experimenting with a dropperful or two in the evening. The calming effect was subtle, but noticeable, and I was falling asleep more easily. The peppermint-flavored oil became part of my nighttime routine. Taking it was a habit, and the taste became a signal that it was time for me to start getting sleepy. I wasn’t sure exactly how it was working, but it seemed like it was.

Many of my CBD-taking friends say they also use the compound for better sleep, and that they found their way to CBD after other unsavory sleep aid experiences like mine. “I used to take melatonin, but it gives me the craziest dreams,” says Madeleine Kerr, 24. “Super vivid and I always wake up confused. I definitely wake up feeling more refreshed with CBD and don’t get that foggy feeling.”

Hannah Rimm, 25, says she is taking CBD every night with her psychiatrist’s support. “I’ve been on a million sleeping pills — Lunesta made me super exhausted all the time, Ambien gave me crazy dreams, Remeron made me gain 20 pounds in a month,” she tells me. With CBD, “I’ve been sleeping through the night much more and it feels less like a drugged sleep… My psychiatrist said she doesn’t actually know the science well enough to comment because there haven’t been enough studies, but she said if it works, keep taking it and keep her updated.”

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