CBD vs.THC for Sleep: What’s the Difference?

| NutraCanna
CBD vs.THC for Sleep: What’s the Difference?

Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both natural compounds found in cannabis plants. THC and CBD are known for sharing similar therapeutic properties which is why they are the most common ingredients in medical cannabis preparations. Nonetheless, there are some significant distinctions between the two, namely their side effects and their legality.

Benefits and Side Effects

Both CBD and THC are commonly used for medicinal purposes. The two compounds have soothing, anti-inflammatory properties that may help users with a wide range of symptoms associated with conditions like chronic pain, anxiety disorders, and insomnia. However, THC has potent psychoactive side effects even if it is taken in medical preparations. THC is the chemical responsible for the recreational effects, or high, of marijuana-- the psychedelic strain of cannabis. Meanwhile, CBD for sleep is completely non-psychoactive, and it’s typically derived from non-recreational industrial cannabis, commonly known as hemp.


Because THC has strong psychoactive effects, it is illegal in many parts of the United States. This is also why THC-rich marijuana is prohibited in most states. On the other hand, industrial hemp enjoys full legality at the federal level, meaning hemp-derived CBD is available nationwide.

THC or CBD for Sleep?

If you re deciding whether to choose CBD or THC for sleep, it is imperative you understand how each compound affects your sleep cycles.

THC for Sleep

Due to its psychotropic effects, THC works as a strong sedative. Moderate doses of THC usually make users drowsy and relaxed. In many cases, THC can also slow down psychomotor functions, limiting movement and almost “forcing” the user to stay in place.  However, THC can also have counterproductive effects when it comes to relieving sleep issues. If users are not accustomed to THC or if the dosage is too strong, the psychoactive effects of THC may induce paranoia, panic, or anxiety which can keep people up longer than desired.

CBD for Sleep

Because of its less strenuous effects on the mind, CBD may not be as strong as THC when it comes to acting as a sedative. Regardless, CBD can still work as an effective sleep aid, especially when it used as part of a long term regimen. Due to its soothing properties, CBD may improve nighttime problems by alleviating other symptoms related to conditions that hinder sleep. Thousands report using CBD products to help relieve pain and discomfort keeping them up at night. CBD is also widely used to reduce anxiety and stress, two common conditions that often have detrimental consequences on the quality and quantity of sleep.

What's the Best CBD: THC Ratio for Sleep?

Many experts believe cannabis strains containing both elements may be more effective for sleep than THC or CBD alone. Strains with a higher CBD to THC ratio are often recommended for sleep. This is due to CBD’s calming effects which can negate feelings of anxiety induced by THC. For example, many use the Harlequin strain which contains a CBD: THC ratio of 5:2.

CBD and Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland responsible for regulating sleep cycles in humans. In recent years, melatonin supplements have revolutionized the sleep aid industry due to their natural benefits and no harmful side effects. Moreover, melatonin has been found to complement CBD extremely well due to its natural sleep-inducing effects, which is why CBD products infused with melatonin are becoming increasingly popular. Most importantly, CBD and melatonin supplements are entirely legal, as opposed to preparations containing THC.

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