Globally, the world is suffering from poor sleep. Whether it’s stress-related, dietary issues, pain or even covid, recent data has revealed that a staggering 10% of the worldwide population has insomnia. Furthermore, according to the Sleep Foundation, women have a lifetime risk of insomnia up to 40% higher than men. (there are some good stats in this article)
You may have already read our article on using cannabinoids for sleep,1 and how it works. It’s undoubtedly a complex issue, as much as sleep is a complex process! Here, we delve into CBD, CBN and the biphasic effects of THC and explore why some say this cannabinoid helps while others say it hinders restorative rest. Then, in this article, we’re going to go a little deeper into some other lesser-known cannabinoids and terpenes, and how introducing these into your daily self-care routine might impact sleep.
Of all the minor cannabinoids, CBG (affectionately known as the mother of all cannabinoids) is perhaps the best known. As this appears at higher levels than other minor cannabinoids, we already know more about this molecule, and it’s possible to get CBG-predominant cannabis strains and CBG oil products.
Studies have shown that people using CBG-predominant products do so for both medicinal and recreational purposes, with the most common conditions targeted being anxiety, chronic pain, depression, and insomnia. Impressively, 73% of participants in one study 2 of 127 individuals found that CBG-predominant cannabis was better than other conventional medicines tried.
There’s currently a triple-blind, placebo-controlled study underway, 3 testing CBG tablets on sleep quality veterans. Still, there’s limited ‘gold standard’ evidence to fully understand how effective CBG might be on sleep.
However, what we do know about how CBG works, as well as anecdotal evidence, indeed suggests this cannabinoid holds great potential.
CBG interacts primarily with CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which are found throughout the body and play a role in regulating inflammation and immune function. CBG has a weaker interaction with CB1 receptors, which are mainly found in the brain and nervous system. In addition, it also stimulates α2 adrenoceptors while acting as an antagonist on TRPV8 receptors. Through these mechanisms, preliminary research has found that CBG may hold the therapeutic potential to lower blood pressure, reduce acne and even inhibit tumour growth. 4
The question ‘does CBG help with sleep’ really comes down to what’s causing the problems with sleep in the first place. Acute and chronic stress remains one of the top causes of struggling to get to and stay asleep, with prolonged stress levels associated with decreased sleep duration, reduced REM sleep, and prolonged the time it takes to get to sleep. CBG's interaction with CB1 receptors, which are abundant in the nervous system and areas of the brain responsible for regulating the release of neurotransmitters such as GABA, dopamine, and glutamate, may help address the underlying causes of sleep issues.
There are thousands of terpenes (aromatic compounds) in nature, often up to 100 terpenes in a single cannabis flower. While many of these have been found in studies to help lift mood and reduce stress, one, in particular, is often talked about when it comes to aiding sleep: Myrcene.
Cannabis cultivars famous for their ‘couch lock’ effects are usually very high in myrcene, which has a fairly well-established sedative action. It’s also the principal constituent of hop essential oil, making up as much as 70% of the essential oil by volume. Furthermore, the sleep-inducing potential of myrcene doesn’t stop with this single compound - the presence of myrcene has actually been found to assist other molecules, like cannabinoids, across the blood-brain barrier, enhancing the therapeutic effects. So it’s a real team player!
Although most terpene-infused CBD products crafted for sleep focus on myrcene, two other terpenes even beat myrcene on specific points. These are limonene and citral, which are found in cannabis but also in many other plants across nature, such as lemon grass and orange peel.
One study found that, although muscle relaxation was noted at the highest dose of myrcene and citral, the same effect occurred with the lowest dose of limonene! Furthermore, at the lower doses, citral increased sleep time almost as much as myrcene and limonene at the higher dose.
A 2017 report found that aromatherapy and orally administered essential oils containing limonene “can be an alternative option for enhancing sleep quality, prolonging the duration and preventing insomnia-related complications affecting the daily routine functions of the patients."
While there are clearly a number of components in cannabis that have the potential to aid sleep, it’s evident that a combination of the right cannabinoids and terpenes is likely to generate vastly superior results. If you’re thinking of formulating a terpene-infused cannabinoid product for sleep, it’s definitely worth considering the individual molecules and how they might best work together. For example, while myrcene may not beat limonene for soothing properties, pairing both together could make for an authentic powerhouse product, thanks to myrcene’s enhancing effects. The more we learn about the cannabis plant, and each cannabinoid and terpene within, we’re learning that the entourage effect is powerful, but perhaps even more so if we pick and choose the suitable molecules to create that entourage effect with.
CTA Ready to start working on your terpene-infused cannabinoid product for sleep? Get in touch!
2. The study investigated the use and therapeutic effects of cannabigerol (CBG), also known as the "mother of all cannabinoids," in CBG-predominant cannabis users. The study found that most CBG users reported using it for medical purposes, with the most common conditions treated being anxiety, chronic pain, depression, and insomnia. Efficacy was highly rated, with most users reporting improvement in their conditions. Additionally, most respondents reported greater efficacy of CBG-predominant cannabis over conventional pharmacotherapy, with a benign adverse event profile and negligible withdrawal symptoms. The study suggests that CBG-predominant cannabis-based medicines should be studied further in randomized controlled trials
3. A study is being conducted to investigate the therapeutic safety and efficacy of cannabigerol (CBG), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, in treating sleep issues among veterans. The study will use LEVEL's targeted effects-based cannabis products with a controlled dosage and a triple-blind, placebo-controlled design. Participants will undergo a four-week run-in and eight-week treatment phases with either a CBG ProtabTM or a placebo ProtabTM in tablet form. Participants will also answer questions and wear a Fitbit Inspire 2 to collect biometric data
4. This study aimed to see if extracts from the Cannabis sativa plant could kill colon cancer cells and adenomatous polyps (abnormal growths in the colon). The researchers identified two fractions of the extract that strongly affected cancer cells but less on normal colon cells. They also found that these two fractions worked better together and contained a compound called cannabigerolic acid. The extract caused the cancer cells to die and also affected specific genes related to cancer.
5. TNL-What is CBG? - True North Labs explores the mother cannabinoid, While CBD and THC have both had plenty of time in the spotlight, a lesser-known cannabinoid, CBG, is capturing interest from consumers and scientists