Yes, the science and anecdotes both show that CBD can affect dreaming, but it also appears to only affect dreaming for certain people. Whether or not CBD influences your dreams may depend on whether or not you have any sleep disorders.
In one 2013 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology , CBD was found to reduce symptoms of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder in Parkinson’s patients; in particular, REM sleep latency (the amount of time it takes for REM sleep to onset) was increased in the subjects. Why is this significant? Because shortened REM sleep latency is a sleep disorder associated with depressive symptoms.
12mg is small potatoes, though, so I didn’t necessarily expect a huge effect at this dosage. Let’s step it up a bit.
Does CBD help nightmares?
REM sleep is the stage before deep sleep in which dreams occur, so a reduction in REM sleep behavior disorder would indirectly hint at a positive effect on dreaming.
As with so much about CBD, we’re forced to rely mostly on anecdote. Let’s be honest though: anecdotes are more fun. But when it comes to CBD’s effect on dreaming, anecdotes are mixed: a lot of people say it gives them more vivid dreams, some say it gives them nightmares, and yet others insist that it allows them to lucid dream.
I carried out this experiment in three different sections over the course of three consecutive nights, increasing the dosage each night, all administered within one hour of going to bed. Immediately after waking up, I wrote down everything I could remember from my dreams to get the clearest sense of the effect CBD had. I used NuLeaf Naturals Full-Spectrum CBD Oil.
This variable effect of CBD — providing positive benefits for some but no effect for others — aligns with the anecdotes you can read online of how CBD has affected people’s dreams: some say it’s had a positive effect, some say it gave them nightmares, and some say it had no effect at all. It appears to all come down to context.
Some Californians, Russo adds, even use pure CBD, sometimes called CBD isolate, to replace caffeine.
From Vigil’s perspective, experimentation is a good thing: Patients, he says, should be “forced to interact” with what they put into their bodies.
CBD and Sleep
At best, CBD product labels display the concentration in milligrams per milliliter. But the purity of the CBD isolate within those milliliters, and the presence of other compounds, are harder variables for which to create a control group. And considering the gray legal area in which CBD currently exists, it may be some time before its effects on sleep, dreams, and everything else it’s purported to touch can be distilled into a science.
The length of the story we tell upon waking is often proportional to the length of the dream, and the general emotion of the dream tends to bleed into our narrative, Cerf says. He knows this because he’s working on a way to record the content of dreams as they’re actually happening.
Russo, who one Cleveland Clinic doctor told me was the “CBD guru,” told me that “it is clear that pure CBD in low to moderate doses is alerting,” as shown in his 2007 review and a 2004 study by a different group of researchers.
So, what’s our take on this? Well, we know that there is no clinical or academic evidence that suggests using CBD causes bad dreams or nightmares. With that in mind, in this post, we’ll discuss the effects of CBD on dreams based on the available studies.
In Stage 2, there’s even more dramatic muscle relaxation, along with decreased heart rate and lowered body temperature. Next is Stage 3, also known as deep sleep, which is crucial to cellular repair and recovery processes. This is the stage where the body and the brain are most relaxed. When a person enters a deep sleep, they usually don’t start dreaming. This is because their cerebral activity is mostly halted to focus on other internal processes.
The Confusion Surrounding CBD’s “Non-Psychoactive” Nature
REM (random eye movement) sleep is the sleep stage in which most dreaming episodes occur. Physiologically speaking, REM sleep usually occurs about one hour and a half after you fall asleep. And it usually involves some peculiar, yet normal processes.
Sleep has a number of different and distinct stages. As we reviewed earlier, the Rapid Eye Movement stage is normally where we dream or remember our dreams. And deep sleep is when our bodies recharge their batteries, so you wake up feeling refreshed.
Adding to the confusion, there’s mixed anecdotal evidence about the effects of CBD on dreams. Many people claim that CBD gives them more vivid dreams; others insist that it lets them have lucid dreams; while some say that it gives them nightmares. This explains why many people wonder how CBD will affect their dreams.