By Emily Ledger
Every year, the month of May is dedicated to Mental Health Awareness Week – an event that has been occurring annually for 21 years. To honour the importance of mental health awareness, we have decided to spend each day from the 10th of May to the 16th of May, looking at the evidence of how cannabis and CBD may help or hinder our mental health.
Today, we will be taking a look at how CBD and cannabis can impact our sleep and how many users are utilising the plant and its derivatives to aid with insomnia and other sleep conditions.
Sleep Conditions in the UK
While most people would not consider themselves to have a sleep condition, research has shown that only around a third of people in the UK are classed as “good sleepers”. According to the Mental Health Foundation, a further third of people in the UK possibly have chronic insomnia.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that is characterised by difficulties in getting to sleep or staying asleep. The condition is often linked to high levels of stress and anxiety. It is often associated with significant disruptions to professional and personal aspects of everyday life.
Can CBD and Cannabis Aid with Sleep?
Over the last few decades, there have been a number of conflicting conclusions drawn on the link between sleep and cannabis. Studies have shown that, while cannabis use may initially help to improve sleep, this may change in the long term with heavy use. Despite these findings, many users claim that cannabis use has helped them overcome sleep issues, including insomnia.
More recent studies have scratched the surface on how different cannabis compounds, known as cannabinoids, can affect our sleep in different ways. Current evidence suggests that THC can contribute to a reduction in the amount of REM sleep we get while, on the other hand, CBD may actually improve our sleep.
Many experts believe that the sleep-aiding potential of CBD is most likely linked to the compound’s potential anti-anxiety properties. As the UK’s CBD industry continues to grow, a clear trend of use for sleep problems has become increasingly apparent. In a recent survey of UK CBD users, 37% of respondents reported that they used CBD products for sleep improvement.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2021
May 10th-16th represents Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK – an event dedicated to raising awareness and presenting “an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health.”
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week – ‘Nature’ – reflects on the importance of our connection to nature and how this can play an important role in our mental health. For more information, visit the Mental Health Foundation website.