Ms. Suraev, along with the other experts we spoke to, noted that CBD itself does not have sedating effects. While some studies on CBD for seizures found that a side effect of the treatment was drowsiness, that may have been because of “CBD interacting with other medications” like anti-epileptic drugs, Ms. Suraev said.
Still, CBD may indirectly help you sleep by alleviating other conditions, said Ryan Vandrey, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and principal investigator at the university’s Cannabis Science Laboratory. For example, he said, if pain is keeping you awake at night and CBD helps lessen your discomfort, you may be able to sleep better. Similarly, if you can’t sleep because you’re anxious, he added, “CBD may reduce anxiety,” which in turn may promote sleep.
In, researchers looked back at the medical charts of 72 people with anxiety or sleep problems who were treated in the same clinic with 25 to 175 milligrams of CBD per day for three months. Based on the patients’ self-reports at follow-up appointments, the researchers found that CBD was most helpful for anxiety, not sleep. But “ultimately, even if they weren’t sleeping better, they were less anxious about it and felt maybe more rested,” said Dr. Scott Shannon, a psychiatrist in Fort Collins, Colo., who led the study.
Dr. Vandrey cautioned that the available studies, like this one, are limited and there isn’t enough data to determine what dose to take, what form to choose or what brands to purchase for anxiety or any other condition. Epidiolex is the only CBD product regulated by the F.D.A., so there is a lot of variety (including a range in formulations, purity and labeling practices) in products like oils, gummies, creams, patches and vape pens. “There’s state-level regulation, but it’s different from one state to the next,” Dr. Vandrey said. “And none of those states have the right infrastructure, resources or level of enforcement that the F.D.A. does.”