EducationHow to determine how much CBD to take for insomnia

How to determine how much CBD to take for insomnia

9 min read

Sam North

How to determine how much CBD to take for insomnia

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Lauded for its potential anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic and antioxidant effects, it has found great popularity around the world as a health supplement. While cannabis use is strictly regulated in the UK for the consumer market, the law states that CBD products are legal as long as they contain less than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per dose or less than 1 mg per container. This ensures that users can enjoy the health benefits of medical cannabis without the psychoactive effects of THC.


This has given rise to a tsunami of CBD products flooding the high street and a huge range of bold claims about how CBD can help with a whole host of health conditions from joint pain to digestive trouble to anxiety, depression, and insomnia. In this post, we’ll be setting our sights on the latter.

In November 2018, the UK government passed new legislation allowing the medicinal prescription of products containing higher levels of THC. Only certain doctors registered to do so can offer medicinal cannabis prescriptions.  

While there is evidence to suggest that CBD may help to alleviate the causes of insomnia and aid restful sleep, it’s essential to find the correct dosage. Although CBD is generally regarded as safe to consume, every individual is unique and a highly personal approach to dosage is necessary to achieve optimal sleep-inducing effects and mitigate the risk of side effects.

Seven signs you may have insomnia

We’ve all suffered through the proverbial ‘long night’ where sleep proves elusive, the mind won’t relax, and the body can’t get comfortable. But when this inability to relax and fall asleep persists, this may be classified as insomnia.

The NHS suggests that you may suffer from insomnia if:

  • You consistently find it hard to fall asleep
  • You wake up multiple times throughout the night
  • You wake up very early and cannot fall back asleep
  • You wake up feeling exhausted
  • You are unable to take naps during the day even though you are tired
  • You feel tired and irritable throughout the day
  • You find it hard to concentrate and make mistakes during the day due to fatigue

Adults typically need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night in order to maintain good health. As such, those afflicted by long-term insomnia may greatly increase their risk of a number of serious health conditions including hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease, obesity, and depression.

How does CBD help with insomnia?

As we can see, a lack of sleep can be hazardous to our health. Fortunately, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that CBD can play a key role in aiding sleep and eliminating insomnia.

Like all cannabinoids, CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is present in all mammals and is the largest and most comprehensive network of signals and receptors in the body. And yet, its discovery did not rise to medical prominence until the late 1980s.

This system regulates a wide range of bodily functions including immune function, the body’s natural inflammatory response, mood, and sleep. By facilitating and blocking impulses between receptors, CBD can help to alleviate inflammation that may prevent comfort and restful sleep. It may also have analgesic effects, although further study and good-quality data is needed. It can ease anxiety and stress, calming the mind and helping it to achieve a state of restfulness.

Is CBD safe to take? Can I overdose?

Broadly speaking, CBD is well tolerated by the body and can be consumed fairly liberally without needing to worry about adverse side effects. The human body can usually tolerate around 1,500 mg of CBD in a single day without ill effects. That’s roughly equivalent to a whole bottle of sublingual CBD oil drops or a whole box of CBD gummies. Because it is not toxic in large quantities, it is impossible to overdose on CBD.

That said, CBD affects everyone in slightly different ways. Some people have reported adverse side effects after consuming CBD in very large quantities. These include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Light-headedness

Although a 2019 rodent study raised potential concerns that long-term CBD use may result in liver damage, this has since been contested by a subsequent study commissioned in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The general consensus among medical professionals is that CBD is safe as long as it is taken in reasonable doses.

How much CBD should I take for insomnia?

CBD dosing for insomnia is a very personal matter, which makes it very difficult to recommend a perfect dose for everyone. A 2015 review of studies in the US identified a daily dose of between 300 mg and 600 mg as being effective in alleviating anxiety and inducing the kind of restful state necessary for good-quality sleep. But this will not necessarily be the correct dosage for everyone, nor should everyone start out at this dosage.

Follow this CBD dosage guide to find the right amount for you.

Find a starting dosage by consulting with a doctor

When starting out using CBD, it’s important to start out with a low dosage. It’s generally recommended that those new to CBD start out by taking 1–6 mg for every 10 lbs of body weight. So, a person weighing 9 stone would start out taking between 126 mg and 756 mg per day. A greater concentration of CBD does not necessarily mean a more effective dose. As such, it would be beneficial to start at the lower end (126 mg) in 3 doses of 42 mg per day.

With all that said, only a doctor that is both registered to prescribe medical cannabis and experienced in doing so for sleep issues will be able to provide the best advice. It’s essential that you consult with a medical professional before beginning to use any form of CBD, or any other medicinal cannabis products, as part of your treatment plan for insomnia. If you would like to start your medical cannabis journey right now, feel free to reach out at any time.

Slowly and incrementally increase your CBD intake

Having established a starting dose, it’s essential to be patient and realistic in your expectations. While some may notice a pronounced improvement in the quality and quantity of sleep as soon as they start taking CBD, others may not see a substantial impact for days or even weeks.

Increase your dosage by 2-5 mg per dose until you feel that you have found the right dosage for you.

Keep a journal of your experiences

It can be hard to identify the right CBD dosage for your needs without keeping track of your progress. Because your experience is subjective, it’s important to keep a journal of your experiences. Make a note of how much sleep you managed to get, how many times you woke up (if any), whether you were able to get back to sleep and how you felt your cognitive faculties functioned throughout the day.

This will give you useful qualitative data to inform your dosage decisions so that you can make adjustments to your dosage schedule as and when needed.

Know when you’re taking too much

While it may not be possible to overdose on CBD, unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects may arise in some when taking CBD in very large doses. While it is largely impractical, if not impossible, to exceed 1,500 mg a day in CBD consumption, this amount should be treated as the ceiling to be on the safe side.

Users should also be watchful for the side effects mentioned above and reduce their dosage if these occur.

What is the best way to take CBD for sleep?

Although there are many forms of CBD including edibles, topical lotions, tea bags and powders, oral ingestion may not be the best delivery method for CBD. Ingestion severely restricts bioavailability to a maximum of 19%. Instead, it’s best to take CBD in sublingual (under the tongue) drops. The capillary-rich area under the tongue allows for faster absorption into the bloodstream and ensures that users get more efficacy from each dose.

Can CBD interact with prescription medications?

Because it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, CBD can also influence biological interactions with other substances in the bloodstream. Studies have shown that CBD may interact with prescription medications including opioid analgesics, blood thinners, antihistamines, and antibiotics. These may compete for metabolism, rendering them less effective. This is why it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting on a course of CBD therapy.

How we can help

At Releaf, we understand the importance of taking a highly personalised approach to CBD dosage. This is why we offer a highly tailored and expert approach to our subscription service. We match concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids as well as terpene profiles to each individual’s needs and circumstances.

Accessing medical cannabis can be challenging due to the stigma surrounding it. However, Releaf makes it simple with our tailored monthly packages, specialist consultations for medical cannabis, and a unique medical cannabis card for protection, all based on your cannabis prescription.

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Sam North, a seasoned writer with over five years' experience and expertise in medicinal cannabis, brings clarity to complex concepts, focusing on education and informed use.

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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