Best CBD Oil for Sleep and Insomnia

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Updated: November 17, 2019

Why It's Important to Thoroughly Research CBD Sleep Products

The CBD industry is new, unregulated, and has been referred to as "the wild west." There are brands with no CBD in them, and in rare cases, have ingredients that are harmful.

We've done a deep dive into CBD products for sleep and insomnia and found a few winners based on several criteria.

  1. Soil: the hemp plant is a bioremediator, which means that it can clean the soil of toxins and other harmful chemicals. It was used in Chernobyl after the nuclear disaster to return the soil to a usable state. You don't want to ingest hemp that has been used in unhealthy soil.
  2. Formula: many CBD products for sleep are combined with other sleep supplements such as melatonin or GABA to make them more effective than CBD alone.
  3. Extraction: CBD can be extracted in 3 ways. The first is to use CO2 (carbon dioxide) under high pressure and low temperatures to maintain the quality of the oil. The second is to use olive oil to extract hemp oil. The third method is using ethanol which is mainly for extracting CBD for vaping. The issue with ethanol is that it destroys waxes, which have health benefits.
  4. Form: there are a lot of ways to take CBD, including in a  supplement, tincture, gummy, liquid, vape, topicals (balms, creams, etc.) How you take it can affect how quickly you feel the effects, and how the product works. As topicals are better for joint pain and vaping looks to be unsafe, we've chosen tinctures, gummies, and capsules for our top choices.
  5. 3rd party testing: to make sure there's nothing harmful and to ensure what's in the final product, all of our top choices have a certificate of analysis (COA). CNN did an episode on CBD and featured a vaping product called "YOLO CBD" that had no CBD in it and was sending people to the emergency room.
  6. Company vision and reputation: in any new industry that has lots of opportunities to make money, there will be charlatans and players that are there just to make fast cash. We've focused on companies with leaders that have a passion for helping improve people's health through cannabinoids.

What is CBD?

CBD is cannabidiol, a compound from the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant has two species: hemp and marijuana. One of the most important differences between the two is that hemp has a much higher percentage of CBD, and marijuana has a much higher percentage of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol—the compound that makes a person high. Though many CBD products contain .3% THC, these products don't make anyone high. CBD doesn't cause a high and has been shown to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC.

CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Researchers still don't understand exactly how CBD works with ECS receptors, but the ECS plays roles in many systems in the body, including sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction, and fertility.

Where to Buy CBD Products for Sleep

There are a lot of CBD products, but less CBD products designed specifically for sleep. Taking a product that only has CBD can help you sleep, but if it's in combination with a sleep aid such as GABA or melatonin, it wil probably be more effective to help you get to sleep and stay asleep.

You can't buy products advertised as having CBD on Amazon, though they have hemp products. Don't buy hemp products that don't have CBD on the label, you have no idea how much CBD you're getting, if any.

You can buy CBD products from retail stores, a marijuana dispensary, or directly from a CBD company online. We recommend doing thorough research before buying—not just buying off of a retail shelf without knowing exactly what you're getting.

Different Forms of CBD

  • Capsule- a good way to take CBD as you know exactly how much you're taking. It has to pass through your digestive system and get metabolized by your liver, so take capsules an hour or two before bed.
  • Tinctures and sprays- the fastest absorption rate of all the different ways you can take CBD products. Spray place the drops under your tongue and wait 60-90 seconds, and it will be absorbed in about 20 minutes via the mucous membranes in your mouth. The only drawback of these methods is that it's a little more difficult to get an exact dosage, and sprays and tinctures will sometimes have a taste that people don't like.
  • Gummies- A similar absorption method to capsules, the only caution is that some brands contain a lot of added sugar, which may it more difficult to fall asleep.
  • Creams and lotions- this method is generally better for localized pain, such as pain in your knee or elbow.
  • Vaping- we don't recommend vaping due to safety concerns. Though it's smokeless and fast-acting, manufacturers aren't regulated and as of October 2019, there have been 1,200 cases of vaping-related illness and 26 deaths.

Dosage

The general rule for dosing CBD is to take 1-6 mg for every 10 lbs of body weight. It's better to start small and track the amount you're taking and the effects you're experiencing. For more information, check out our guide to CBD dosage.

Full-Spectrum vs. Isolate

Full-spectrum CBD contains a range of cannabinoids, including THC. It will be .3% or less, so the chances of it showing up on a drug test are very small, and it won't make you high, but for those who don't want to ingest any THC, isolate is recommended. The drawback of isolates is that they don't have the benefits of other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. Isolates are also more difficult and expensive to process.

CBD studies such as this one from Israel showed full-spectrum to be more effective than isolate. When CBD is used in conjunction with other compounds it's referred to as the "entourage effect." Dr. John McPartland describes cannabis as "inherently polypharmaceutical." For those who are looking for the most benefits from CBD, full-spectrum is a good choice.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds produced by plants as well as some insects. There are over 20,000 of them, and at least 100 are produced by the cannabis plant. Terpenes often have strong odors and protect plants from insects and animals. They're the primary constituents of essential oils. They will give a plant distinct smells, flavors, and colors, and affect the ECS.

Some terpenes found in plants and herbs are:

  • Curcumin: from the turmeric plant, used often in Indian cooking, it's a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
  • Terpinolene: found in sage and rosemary, it's a sedative, antioxidant, and antibacterial.
  • Limonene: found in citrus, it smells like lemons, it elevates mood, relieves stress, is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.
  • Linalool: found in flowers, spices, and cannabis, it relieves stress, anti-inflammatory, and an anti-depressant. Linalool may boost the immune system and reduce lung inflammation.
  • Myrcene: found in lemongrass, hops, basil, thyme, and cannabis, it can compose up to 50% of the cannabis plant's terpenes. It's a muscle relaxer, sedative, and anti-inflammatory.

What are Flavonoids?

Flavonoids are a diverse group of phytonutrients (with over 6,000) found in almost all fruits and vegetables that are responsible for vivid colors. They're also found in grains, bark, roots, stems, and flowers.

Some flavonoids are only found in cannabis, these are called cannaflavins.

Three flavonoids found in cannabis are:

  • Quercetin: antioxidant and anti-viral, also found in green tea, red wine, and berries.
  • Apigenin: anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory, also found in chamomile, parsley, and celery.
  • Cannaflavin A: a natural anti-inflammatory; research suggests that it could be a natural replacement to aspirin.

CBD and Insomnia Research

A lot of CBD users report falling to sleep quicker and feeling more refreshed when they wake up. There have been a few studies, such as this one published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology where subjects who took 160 mg of CBD reported sleeping more than those taking a placebo.

As CBD users often report a sense of calm, some use it to reduce anxiety, and it may help sufferers of Parkinson's disease who have REM behavior disorder, it's not surprising that many people use CBD for sleep. It also shows promise in the reduction of stress, social anxiety, and depression. Researchers believe that CBD interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain.

Some manufacturers are now producing CBD products in combination with other traditional sleep aids such as melatonin.

Best CBD Products for Sleep

We’ve spent many hours researching different products based on the points listed above (soil, formula, extraction method, form, 3rd party testing, and company vision and reputation). We've also contacted companies to find some of this information as it isn't always provided on their websites.

All of our top choices are full-spectrum CBD products because they contain all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids naturally found in the plant that are stripped away in CBD isolates. We did include one non-THC isolate for those who don't want to ingest even a small amount of THC.

We’ve spent many hours researching different products based on the points listed above (soil, formula, extraction method, form, 3rd party testing, and company vision and reputation). We've also contacted companies to find some of this information as it isn't always provided on their websites.

All of our top choices are full-spectrum CBD products because they contain all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids naturally found in the plant that are stripped away in CBD isolates. We did include one non-THC isolate for those who don't want to ingest even a small amount of THC.

Sleep CBD Hemp Extract

HempFusion Sleep CBD Extract

Top Choice

  • Includes PharmaGaba, a more natural form of the amino acid GABA, which helps people calm down before sleep.
  • High level of terpenes and plan-based omegas added via hemp oil, black pepper, and clove oil.
  • EU-certified organic hemp grown in unique microclimates in nutrient-dense soil in Poland, Lithuania, and Croatia, producing hemp with unique cannabinoid and terpene profiles. 
  • Presoil validation to ensure there are no harmful levels of heavy metals, herbicides, residual solvents, or pesticide residuals (including glyphosate).
  • Whole food full-spectrum hemp extract.
  • Manufactured in FDA-registered facilities, and the primary facility is ISO 9001 certified (the international standard for a quality management system). Facilities are also certified as cGMP (current good manufacturing practices).
  • Unique One-Pass™ extraction method that doesn't over refine the CBD oil.
  • US Hemp Authority certified.
  • 3rd party tested to have less than .3% THC and for its cannabinoid profile, as well for any dangerous compounds. Every product can be tracked via their website by entering the batch number or scanning a QR code.
  • The company was co-founded by Naturopathic Doctor Jason Mitchell, a passionate leader in the health and wellness industry.

Runner Up

  • The only hemp CBD supplement with published toxicology work to support a Generally Recognized as Safe Independent Conclusion (GRAS).
  • Seed to Shelf™ with EU certified hemp seeds are fully traceable.
  • The company is a member of the US Hemp Roundtable.
  • Third-party tested.
  • Gluten-free.
  • Non-GMO.
  • Full-spectrum hemp extract.
  • US Hemp Authority certified.
  • Non-chemical CO2 extraction process.

Highly Recommended

  • Full-spectrum extract.
  • 100% organic and non-GMO.
  • Third-party tested.
  • CO2 extraction method to help preserve the terpenes, essential oils, vitamins, trace minerals, omega fatty acids, and cannabinoids.
  • Grown in the USA on licensed farms in Colorado.
  • NuLeaf is passionate about CBD and has been in the industry for over 5 years. They're members of the Hemp Industries Association and the National Hemp Association.

Medterra CBD + Melatonin

Medterra CBD oil

Best Non-THC

  • US Hemp Authority certified.
  • 99.6% pure CBD with melatonin (the sleep hormone).
  • Full-spectrum CBD.
  • Zero THC for those who can't risk any amounts of CBD showing up on a drug test.
  • Non-GMO.
  • Made in the USA, fully compliant under the Kentucky Department of Agricultural Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.
  • You can see third-party tested results on their site.

Charlotte's Web CBD and Melatonin

Charlotte's web CBD gummies for sleep

Best Gummy

  • Grown in the USA
  • Full-spectrum hemp extract.
  • No additives or dyes are used to standardize the color or the gummies, so the color may vary slightly from batch to batch.
  • Flavored with juices from fruits and vegetables.
  • Serving size of 2 gummies contains 10mg of CBD.
  • In the process of getting the official USDA Organic Certification.
  • 3rd party testing/COA (certificate of analysis) is available on their website.
  • One of the CBD industry leaders. The founders were featured in Dr. Sanjay Gupta's TV special on CBD and Marijuana.
  • Gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and containers have no BPA. No additives or preservatives.
  • FDA registered facilities following the GMP (good manufacturing practices) protocols.
  • They follow the American Herbal Products Association's (AHPA) contaminant guidelines and specifications for Good Quality.

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