EDUCATION

Which Might be a Better Sleep Aid: Delta-8 or CBD?

a sleeping lady-image

People use cannabis for all kinds of reasons.  One of the most common though, is help with sleeping.  One out of four Americans report at least semi-frequent trouble getting enough sleep each night.  Whether it’s falling asleep or staying asleep.  There are all kinds of factors that can contribute to poor sleep.  The most common reason, however, by far is stress.  Cortisol, the hormone that’s secreted during moments of stress, is a direct antagonist to serotonin and melatonin.  These are two hormones that must flow freely in the evening to support adequate sleep.

Cannabis, being completely natural and uniquely gentle on the body, is a preferred means for sleep support by many.  We know that the hemp plant in particular is rich in desirable compounds that may aid in sleep, and many people who use it for this purpose say that they like the fact that it doesn’t make them feel groggy the next morning as some sleep medications are known for.

Within the hemp plant is a variety of compounds known as cannabinoids.  They produce specific effects that can play a role in sleep health.  Hemp has over 100 distinctive cannabinoids, with some being more associated with sleep than others.

Cannabinoids and Sleep: What the Science Says

Before we compare CBD and delta8, we need to explain how cannabinoids work in the body so that our readers can understand why both of these compounds may offer unique effects on our sleep.  Cannabinoids are a unique type of compound derived from cannabis which are fed to the body’s endocannabinoid system that is in charge of regulating every bodily process, including sleep, pain and mood.  It does this by sending cannabinoids to cannabinoid receptors throughout the body as needed, with each receptor using cannabinoids to produce specific regulatory actions that can promote overall wellbeing.

Both delta 8 THC and cannabidiol follow this process and have been widely studied for the direct effects they provide by binding to specific cannabinoid receptors.  Each are commonly used for sleep as well as other purposes.

But which is more effective for someone who is desperately trying to get quality sleep each night?

CBD for Sleep

Cannabidiol is being touted as a natural sleep aid, and for good reason.  Many studies by now have shown that cannabidiol seems to regulate one’s sleep cycle by regulating the secretion of specific neurotransmitters that play a role in sleep.  These inlcude melatonin, cortisol, and serotonin.  Those who take CBD for sleep typically find that once the compound peaks in the body, they feel a sense of calmness and a feeling that their nervous system is slowing down, making it easier to drift off.

Note: CBD is not an intoxicating compound.  Hence, if you take it for sleep, you won’t feel a sudden mind-altering state.  It works more systemically, producing effects behind the scenes that seem to create a condition conducive to sleep.

Delta-8 for Sleep

Delta 8 THC is a degraded form of delta 9 THC, which is best known as the intoxicating compound that makes marijuana illegal federally.  It’s milder than delta 8 and is becoming popular in the form of an isolate.  People are using it for all kinds of things, including pain relief, anxiety relief, and focus.  Hence, it’s becoming yet another cannabinoid being used for sleep.

Unfortunately, delta 8 is very new, and so we don’t have studies about its effects on sleep compared to the enormous wealth of information we have about cannabidiol in the form of clinical research.   Delta-8 is psychoactive, and some say this property alone helps them sleep better as the effects on the mind are favorable for sleep.

We can consider comparing its effects on sleep to those of delta 9 THC, which has been studied much more thoroughly over the years.  Again, delta8 is degraded delta9.  So, in theory, it should produce the same effects, only in a milder fashion.  Research has largely shown that delta 9 can reduce sleep onset time and help a person stay asleep throughout the night.  However, due to its psychoactive effects, some scientists believe that it may inhibit REM sleep, which is a stage of the sleeping process that deals with the processing of emotions, events and circumstances, which many feel is beneficial to mental health.

Which One is Better?

First of all, it depends on the individual.  We each have our own experience with specific cannabinoids, probably due to our unique bodily chemistries.  Some may find that CBD works better, while others can’t sleep without delta 8.

Also, an influx of people are finding that combining cannabinoids seems to produce the best results, as they are taking it “as nature intended.”  Taking the whole plant, or at least multiple cannabinoids in one formula, produces synergistic effects for a typically stronger and more balanced type of cannabis experience.  Therefore, many argue that combining cannabidiol and delta 8 is uniquely conducive to quality sleep.

Factors that Can Make a Difference

There are some other factors that can determine how effective specific cannabinoids are at inducing and maintaining quality sleep.

Variety of Compounds

We mentioned combining cannabinoids may offer more desirable effects.  But, there are also terpenes that naturally occur in hemp.  These in fact, may offer further stress-relieving and sleep-supporting properties, including myrcene and linalool.  Both of those are known for their promising calming effects.  Many hemp products include these cannabinoids, so look for them if you want to explore more of what the hemp plant can offer.

Milligram Strength

Basically, determines how potent each dose actually is.

Timing

Yes, timing your cannabinoid intake so that it peaks at bedtime is ideal.

  • Vaping: Do so right at bedtime as they peak within minutes.
  • Tinctures: Take your dose 30 minutes before going to bed.
  • Edibles: Consume your dose 90 minutes before bedtime.

Overall, Cannabinoids like CBD and Delta 8 Can Offer Their Own Unique Effects on Sleep

As of now, we don’t have enough research on delta-8 to understand how it may work for sleep specifically.  What we do know is that cannabis is commonly used as a sleep aid due to the effects of its various cannabinoids.  Therefore, feel free to explore with different combinations and formulations to find what works for you.

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