While marooned in Jamaica, West Indies, due to COVID-19-related flight cancellations, I was in a vehicular accident. I cracked four bones simultaneously – snapped them like twigs. Do I win cool (or stupidity) points for saying I was riding a motorcycle? I haven’t been able to sleep through the night since. A slew of sympathetic friends from across the industry sent me all sorts of CBD for sleep products. Having tried all of them as a human guinea pig, I am happy to share my results with MARY’s readers. Without further ado, kindly allow me to spin my personal, universe-handed bag of lemons into lemonade, like Queen Bey.
If you have a hard time falling asleep at night, you aren’t alone. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, 30 to 40% of the population will experience insomnia at some point in their lives. Lengthy, extended shelter-in-place scenarios potentially exacerbate abnormal sleep routines. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to keeping one’s spirits up.
Speaking of life’s lemons, Altwell makes yummy lemon-tasting CBD gumdrops for sleep. The Altwell team has a background in wellness that predates CBD. The founders conceived the product line of Muscle Milk. Still, I have reservations.
To be utterly fair to Altwell, my apprehension of their sleep product is not exclusive to this brand. IMHO, it seems counterintuitive to douse any substance intended as a sleep aid in sugar. Anyone practicing intermittent fasting can explain why it is best not to eat anything – especially sugar – after 8pm. Therefore, I am unenthusiastic about eating a sugar-coated gumdrop at midnight to quell insomnia. Companies who manufacture sweet tooth sleep aids will argue that the products generally do not contain enough sugar to keep a person up at night. However, some people are more sensitive to sugar than others.
I suspect melatonin’s inclusion, rather than CBD, might overpower the sugar and causes drowsiness. Travelers often use melatonin to reset their body’s circadian rhythm when dealing with jetlag. Unfortunately, while melatonin helps me fall asleep (which starts by gives me the “yawnies”), it doesn’t necessarily help me stay asleep. Two hours after taking an Altwell gumdrop to fall asleep, I was awake again, with my teeth clenched. Still, they taste delicious! I would keep them around to induce an afternoon power nap, such as when on a short flight, since traveling with candy generally does not arouse suspicion.
Another reservation I have about CBD gummies is that it is counterintuitive to consume only one gumdrop. Before CBD edibles were a thing, did anyone ever eat just one gummy bear? It takes self-control to eat just one bite of sugar during a midnight snack raid. While CBD gummies are ubiquitous, I honestly wish companies would stop putting covert medicinal products in delicious confectionaries! At least with CBD, rather than THC, if you impatiently think it isn’t working after half an hour and wind up eating another, and another, you probably won’t get high or trip out. You’ll have a sugar rush and eventually fall asleep.
Anyone who claims CBD “can’t get you high” is full of beans. Catching a buzz or feeling out of sorts after consuming anything new is relative to a person’s tolerance level and brain chemistry. For instance, I can take 10mg of hemp CBD, and it is business as usual. Any more than that, and I can feel it in my system. I might not feel “high” per se, but I feel somethingweirdbut pleasant.Cycling Frog’s 200mg-per-capsule CBD had my eyes popped as wide open as a bullfrog. Even though the capsules are as innocuous-looking as a vitamin E capsule, 200mg of CBD packs a punch. I caught a buzz and therefore was not in the slightest bit sleepy. There isn’t an industry-standard recommended dosage, but most CBD products contain between 10-25mg.
Quality sleep is crucial to our mental and physical wellbeing. Bloom Farms recently added Dream, a 1200mg Dream 1:5 CBN (cannabinol) / CBD Tincture to its product lineup. This product has an earthy, distinct and unfiltered flavor, which Bloom Farms claims is “the mark of an exceptional cannabinoid tincture.” It contains full-spectrum extract complete with naturally-occurring terpenes and a rich amber hue without artificial flavors or colors. In short, the exact opposite of a CBD gummy.
Potent hemp-derived CBN (cannabinol) is combined with organically grown, full-spectrum whole-plant hemp tincture for boosted evening relaxation and sedative effects. While the company claims it is non-intoxicating, it is recommended for evening use only.
Care by Design’s hemp-based Rest Tincture is full-spectrum CBD drops formulated to help get to sleep, stay asleep, and wake refreshed. Rest is manufactured with a proprietary blend of terpenes and cannabinoids uniquely designed to discourage restlessness. Rest’s formulation fortifies CBD and CBDa with a strategically-crafted proprietary blend of over 16 unique terpenes to enhance the experience, aroma, and flavor.
Rest’sterpene highlights include terpinolene, which is found in plant species such as cumin, sage, rosemary, lilac, and apple. The aroma and flavor are quite multidimensional, often described as a combination of floral, citrus, and pine. Rest also contains Linalool, which is the principal constituent of lavender essential oil and gives the flower its wonderful floral scent. Linalool has been studied and used for centuries, particularly in the form of aromatherapy. The benefits of this terpene are vast and should help relieve you of your worldly stresses so that you can get some shut-eye. I prefer to combine Care by Design with This Works Deep Sleep lavender pillow spray.
A good night’s sleep is also critical for maintaining peak performance and overall wellness. ABX Sleepy Time is formulated with potent THC and a supporting blend of terpenes designed to support restful sleep. ABX’s 15ml sublingual drops contain 450mg of potent THC and a supportive blend of terpenes intended to promote sufficient slumber. Marketed for long-lasting relief, the soft gels contain distillate cannabis oil and MCT coconut oil. ABX claims MCT oil aids absorption for optimal benefits in easy-to-consume gel capsules and is ideal for precise dosing. Although MCT oil might not be the best thing for high cholesterol individuals, it is commonly found in various CBD products. Talk with your doctor if you have high cholesterol or live on fried bacon, before consuming too many products containing MCT oil on a daily basis.
1906’sMidnight consists of various fast-acting chocolates and plant-based drops designed to peacefully lull you to sleep. I have the same reservations about eating chocolates before bed as I do about gummies. However, one piece of Midnight chocolate knocked me out for the entire night, without morning-after grogginess. I definitely recommend it for chocoholics with occasional insomnia.
Midnight’s formulation comprises 5mg of THC, 5mg of CBD, and a strain of corydalis, Chinese medicine used for millennia. 1906 claims its blend of all-natural cannabinoids and herbs work together in synchronicity. Midnight has an onset of 20 minutes or less, which is considered expedient for an edible.
Woman led-company Green Roads’Sleepy Z’s Bedtime CBD Gummies are a delicious and effective blackberry treat that contains no artificial colors or flavors. Each gummy contains 25mg of hemp-derived, broad-spectrum CBD isolate and 5mg of Melatonin. The company’s CEO and Co-Founder, Laura Fuentes, RPh, is a licensed compounding pharmacist, which lends credibility to her formulation. Like all gummies, it is tempting to eat more than one; therefore, her Nightly Dose Sweet Sleep sublingual oil might be a more practical choice. Sweet Sleep contains the same CBD and melatonin formulation as Sleepy Z’s gummies, with CBN’s added bonus.
Soul CBD’s Co-Founders siblings Mike and Angie Lee explain they created their company while sharing their traumatic personal experiences dealing with a professional athlete’s chronic pain to stage fright, respectively. Mike is a former professional boxer diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, which caused him to become addicted to painkillers. Sharing his personal journey of CBD’s transformative effect on his overall health, and climbing out of his dark time, is an effective sales pitch. Soul CBD’s Dream capsules are just as effective. He suggests that if your body feels like a train wreck like his did, give Soul CBD a try. The brand’s Dream CBD capsules are formulated with both CBD and melatonin. Each capsule contains 25mg of CBD isolate, 2.5mg of melatonin, and a proprietary blend of snooze-inducing ingredients to improve the length and quality of your Zzz’s.
Papa & Barkley 30:1 (CBD-Rich) Releaf Capsules are another favorite that always leaves my body in a much better condition than before. Alchemist Guy Rocourt is the mastermind behind some of the industry’s foremost concoctions, and Releaf is no exception. These capsules are thoughtfully-made with a whole plant infusion process to maintain the full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes and phytonutrients. The ingredients are then carefully dropped in vegan capsules that remain chemical-free with no isolates, distillates, or solvents. Releaf is made with just two simple, all-natural ingredients: cannabis and MCT oil. Each capsule contains 30mg of CBD. Every 30-count bottle delivers 900mg of high-quality cannabis from U.S. farms.
Stream Well, being a new kid on the block, caught my attention with its Rest. This formula is tasty and combines the beneficial and tranquil properties of chamomile, lemon balm, and holy basil to soothe the day away. Stream CBD uses a patented process whereby heated air is the only thing that comes in contact with itsplant material. The company states its automated extraction machines continuously feed hemp into a rapidly moving stream of heated air that instantly distills cannabinoids and terpenes from the dry plant material. Every bottle of Stream CBD purchased supports 20 minutes of yoga for inner-city youth. With mindfulness, yoga, and wellness practices, Stream helps bring a calm oasis to Chicago’s inner-city kids. Stream partners with igrow Chicago to “help heal the hood” by bringing mindful practices to Englewood’s underserved community as a part of the initiative to consciously consider healthy choices.
Tarot CBD’sTrance makes the list of MARY’s favorites introduced earlier this year. Tarot CBD’s formulation is inspired by the ancestral use of herbs to promote relaxation and ease tension. Trance is a combo of CO2 (carbon dioxide) extracted, organic Valerian root sourced from India. (Melatonin is hormonal, so it is a bit stronger than Valerian, which is herbal.) The ancient Valerian root herb is used to help cause calmness, sleep, and is also used to help treat anxiety. Tarot contains CO2 extracted, organic mint sourced from Bulgaria. This calming herb is high in potent terpenes, including Beta Pinene, B-Caryophyllene, and L-Limonene. Tarot’s CBD Oil blend has helped MARY’s staff with various issues from dealing with anxiety to battling insomnia. Tarot pledges not to use isolates in their CBD oil.
Tonic CBD is born and bred in the Big Apple and sourced from the company’s native, upstate Tricolla Farms. Tonic provides organic, sun-grown hemp flower that delivers full-spectrum distillate (800mg CBD/30mL or 400mg CBD/15mL). Tonic’s Chill contains Ashwagandha (a plant in the nightshade family) that combats stress to restore balance. Additional ingredients, including lemon balm and passionflower, potentially calm the mind and promote a greater body relaxation. Simultaneously, black seed oil elevates the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-regulating effects of each dose.
Charlotte’s Web gained notoriety early on for their slew of male sibling co-founders and precious poster child, company namesake Charlotte Fiji (RIP). Her passing broke the cannabis community’s, collective heart. However, this renowned brand was issued a warning letter from the FDA, nearly three years ago – along with 14 other brands – to stop advertising its products for medicinal or dietary purposes. While the counterculture may believe that “the man” and Big Pharma do not want people to have access to alternative medicine, there are valid reasons why unregulated products and beneficial health claims may pose a danger to the general public.
According to medical cannabis advocate and physician, Dr. Peter Grinspoon, CBD affects other drugs precisely how grapefruit juice does —it competitively inhibits the liver enzymes (cytochrome P450). Therefore, CBD can somewhat raise the levels of other drugs in the body. Drugs are metabolized and eliminated by enzymes in the liver—specifically, the cytochrome P450 (CYP) family of enzymes. In short, specific medications taken in combination with CBD can either decrease or increase their effectiveness. The critical thing to remember is not to mix CBD with any drugs that can be more harmful when combined.
Rx drugs that do not mix with CBD or THC:
· Warfarin. The use of cannabinoids increases bleeding risk in patients taking blood thinners, including warfarin and coumadin.
Anyone taking other medications at bedtime should consult with a knowledgeable doctor such as Dr. Grinspoon or Dr. Sue Sisley, to rule out any potential contraindications with cannabis and cannabidiol.
Is CBD safe to take daily? Definitive research is not readily available yet. As is a standard warning on many pharmaceuticals, sometimes the benefits will outweigh the risks. For now, I will continue to consume CBD until my displaced clavicle bones fuse together. I hope by doing so, in the immortal words of my baby daddy Samuel L. Jackson, I will go the fuck to sleep!