Cannabinoids May Help Us Sleep Better

Word Cannabinoids

What if you could find a safe, effective way to sleep better, feel more refreshed when you woke up, and have more energy throughout the day? If you are among the 30 percent of the American population who experiences insomnia at some point during their lives, and especially the 10 percent who have chronic insomnia, then discovering a way to do this would be welcome.

Among the potential solutions to insomnia and getting a good night’s sleep are the ingredients found in some common plants. That is, some experts say that cannabinoids can help us sleep better, and here’s why.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that are secreted by a variety of plants. These specific compounds are also known as phytocannabinoids and include substances such as alkylamides, anandamide, beta-caryophyllene, diindolylmethane, and yangonin. These phytocannabinoids are able to initiate health benefits when they interact with certain message receiving sites in the body called receptors; specifically, CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Use of cannabinoids has been associated with a number of health advantages, including an ability to aid with sleep and reduce pain, anxiety, inflammation, and nausea, among others. Cannabinoids mimic substances produced by the body, called endocannabinoids (“endo” meaning “within” or “inner”), which help your cells communicate with each other. When there are not enough endocannabinoids circulating in the body, health problems can occur.

Why? Because the cannabinoids, which are part of the endocannabinoid system, have a critical role in maintaining balance among the body’s other systems. Basically, cannabinoids have an ability to help restore equilibrium to what is out of balance in the body. This realignment and readjustment are necessary if you want a good night’s sleep.

Read about no cannabis: how other plants impact the endocannabinoid system

Cannabinoids for sleep

So far, researchers have identified more than 100 cannabinoids. It’s not necessary to know the names of these cannabinoids, but it is important to know which plants have them so you can take advantage of their sleep-aiding properties. That means they seek out your CB1 and CB2 receptors sites, attach themselves, and then release chemicals that transport messages to your organs and glands that can help restore balance and can result in better sleep.

The following plants contain phytocannabinoids that imitate the endocannabinoids made by your body. Taken alone, these plants can be beneficial for sleep, but their real potential is revealed when they are combined and work in sync to relieve sleep-disturbing symptoms and assist you in achieving a good night’s sleep.

  • Black pepper (Piper nigrum) contains a substance called guineensis, which stimulates the endocannabinoid system
  • Clove oil contains beta-caryophyllene and helps relieve pain and inflammation. It also has eugenol, which is a powerful antioxidant, antidepressant, and antimicrobial.
  • Echinacea is an herb that hosts N-alkyl amides, which work to reduce pain and inflammation and enhance the immune system
  • Ginger root is known for its anti-inflammatory abilities, which means it can help ease swelling and pain in muscles, tissues, and joints
  • Magnolia bark contains honokiol and magnolol, which may be especially helpful for relieving your sleep problems. These substances interact with cannabinoid receptors, help relieve anxiety and pain, and leave you with a sense of calm.
  • Peony, a flower that has powers to relief inflammation, muscle spasms, and menstrual cramps

Read about 7 cool facts about the endocannabinoid system

In addition, an herb that works well when used along with these phytocannabinoids to induce sleep is passion flower. This remedy has been used for centuries to help those struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical for overall health and longevity. If you haven’t tried a natural way to better sleep or if you want to avoid the side effects associated with conventional sleep aids, then now may be the time to investigate the power of cannabinoids found in nature’s remedy chest.

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Chen CR et al. Magnolol, a major bioactive constituent of the bark of Magnolia officinalis, induces sleep via the benzodiazepine site of GABA(A) receptor in mice. Neuropharmacology 2012 Nov; 63(6): 1191-99
Guerrero FA, Medina GM. Effect of a medicinal plant (Passiflora incarnate L) on sleep. Sleep Science 2017 Jul-Sep; 10(3): 96-100
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Deborah is a freelance health writer who is passionate about animals and the environment. She has authored, co-authored, and written more than 50 books and thousands of articles on a wide range of topics. Currently, she lives in Tucson, Arizona.