Does CBD Foster Alertness?

It depends on the dose and how your body reacts to CBD

blankCBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), crucial to the smooth performance of many physiological functions. For one thing, the ECS helps regulate the circadian sleep-wake cycle. It helps you sleep.

Although researchers have paid a lot of attention to how THC influences sleep, recent studies have also been looking into the ability of CBD to induce wakefulness. According to one such study, by Eric Murillo-Rodríguez and other Mexico-based researchers, research results have seemed to be contradictory. Some of the results indicate that CBD improves insomnia and other sleep disorders; other results indicate that it increases wakefulness.

Dosage Matters

Can these seeming contradictions be reconciled? Yes. Many factors are relevant.

Murillo-Rodríguez et al. observe that the differing effects of CBD can be understood in light of differences in methods of administration, in frequency, in doses, in subjects, and so on. For example, the dose-dependent difference pertains to how much CBD is taken: smaller doses tend to induce wakefulness whereas stronger doses of CBD tend to induce calm.

One study, a review of the literature on the relationship between cannabis and sleep, found that administering a high-potency dose of 160 milligrams a day of CBD “increased total sleep time and decreased the frequency of arousals during the night, while low-dose CBD has been associated with increased wakefulness.”

Another study considered the effects on sleep, memory, and early-morning alertness that result from ingesting only a fairly large dose of THC (15 milligrams), a smaller dose of THC and CBD combined (5 milligrams of each), and a larger dose of THC and CBD combined (15 milligrams of each). The authors conclude that “15 mg CBD appears to have alerting properties as it increased awake activity during sleep and counteracted the residual sedative activity of 15 mg THC.”

Studies of the potential of CBD to improve the quality of sleep have found that small doses of CBD can indeed promote alertness. The mild activating effect is attributed to the fact that CBD activates the same adenosine receptors that stimulants like caffeine activate.

Every Body Reacts Differently

In addition to dose, how your particular body reacts to CBD is also relevant. And that reaction depends on things like your health and how you’re feeling at the moment.

Also keep in mind that CBD can interact with other substances you ingest and that, for the moment, therefore are part of your bodily environment as well. As the FDA cautions, “use of CBD with alcohol or other drugs that slow brain activity, such as those used to treat anxiety, panic, stress, or sleep disorders, increases the risk of sedation and drowsiness.”

Bottom line: You and another person may experience distinctly different effects even if you are both taking the same dose with the same potency of CBD.

How Much CBD Should You Take?

As the above considerations make clear, there is no one-size-fits-all dose or strength of CBD. You may need a smaller or larger dose to experience the effect you want to experience.

We recommend that you start with relatively low amount and increase the dose until you get the results you want. We also advise that if you have a serious medical condition or are taking any medication, you consult with your doctor to help determine the most appropriate CBD regimen for you.