Understanding CBD Cream: Effects, Safety, and Sleep

by – Samuel Turner – Published January 22, 2024



Navigating the world of Cannabidiol (CBD) and its myriad products, a common question arises: Can CBD cream make you tired?

This query not only speaks to the safety and effects of CBD but also to its potential as a sleep aid.

To address this, it’s pivotal to understand CBD, particularly in cream form, and its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

  • What is CBD?
    CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a prominent cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant.
    Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), its psychoactive counterpart, CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t induce the “high” typically associated with cannabis.
  • The Endocannabinoid System (ECS):
    The ECS is key in maintaining the body’s internal equilibrium.
    It consists of endocannabinoids (produced by the body), receptors, and enzymes. Essential elements of the ECS include:
    • Endocannabinoid receptors: These receptors, scattered throughout the body, are triggered by endocannabinoids to regulate functions like mood, pain, and sleep.
    • Enzymes: They break down endocannabinoids after their role in the ECS is completed.
  • Consistent CBD Usage:
    Consistent application of CBD is often recommended for optimal results.
    This regular usage allows CBD to effectively interact with the ECS, potentially leading to more pronounced and enduring benefits.

Can CBD Cream Make You Tired?

A key inquiry for many considering CBD products, especially CBD creams, is whether they induce tiredness.

Understanding this aspect of CBD is crucial for those seeking to incorporate it into their daily routines without disrupting their energy levels.

  • CBD’s Interaction with Sleep: While research is ongoing, current findings suggest that CBD doesn’t inherently cause tiredness.
    Instead, it may influence sleep by interacting with the ECS, which regulates various bodily functions, including sleep cycles.
    The effect of CBD on sleep appears to be more about balance rather than sedation.
  • Anecdotal Evidence and Research: Many users report improved sleep quality with CBD use, but it’s important to note that these experiences can vary.
    Some studies suggest that CBD may help with issues like anxiety and pain, which can indirectly improve sleep.
  • CBD’s Direct Effects on Sleep: CBD’s potential to aid sleep may stem from its ability to address factors that commonly disrupt sleep, such as:
    • Stress and Anxiety: CBD is thought to have calming properties, which might help in reducing stress and anxiety levels, leading to more restful sleep.
    • Pain Relief: By possibly alleviating pain, CBD could contribute to more comfortable and uninterrupted sleep.
  • Daytime Use: For those concerned about daytime drowsiness, it’s important to understand that CBD does not typically induce the same level of sleepiness as some sleep medications.
    Users often report feeling more relaxed rather than outright tired.

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Effects of CBD vs. THC

When discussing the effects of CBD, particularly in the context of sleep and energy levels, it’s crucial to differentiate between CBD and THC, two well-known compounds found in cannabis plants.

  • Differing Interactions with the ECS:
    • CBD: CBD does not bind directly with the primary endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2).
      Instead, it influences these receptors indirectly and interacts with other biological targets, which might affect various physiological processes.
    • THC: In contrast, THC binds directly to these receptors, particularly CB1 receptors in the brain, leading to the psychoactive effects or the ‘high’ associated with marijuana.
  • THC’s Effects on the Body:
    • Euphoria and Sedation: THC is known for inducing feelings of euphoria and, in some cases, sleepiness or lethargy, especially in higher doses.
    • Impact on Sleep: THC might initially aid in falling asleep, but it can disrupt sleep architecture and reduce the quality of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
  • CBD’s Non-Psychoactive Nature:
    • No ‘High’ Effect: CBD, due to its lack of binding directly with ECS receptors, doesn’t produce the ‘high’ associated with THC.
    • Potential Benefits Without Sedation: CBD can offer several benefits, such as anxiety relief and pain management, without the sedative effects often linked to THC.

Understanding these differences is essential when considering the use of CBD creams and other products.

While THC may have more pronounced sedative effects, CBD offers a non-psychoactive alternative that may support various aspects of health and well-being, including sleep, without the overt drowsiness associated with THC.

This distinction is key for those seeking the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids while maintaining their daily energy levels and cognitive clarity.

Potential Benefits of CBD

Exploring the multifaceted benefits of CBD reveals why it has gained such widespread attention.

Its potential extends beyond just addressing sleep concerns, encompassing a range of health and wellness applications.

  • Mood Elevation:
    • CBD may contribute to an improved mood by interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain, which are crucial for mood regulation.
  • Stress Management:
    • The calming effects of CBD are often cited in stress reduction.
      Its interaction with the ECS can help in moderating responses to stress.
  • Muscle Soreness Relief:
    • CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties are thought to aid in reducing muscle soreness and inflammation, making it a popular choice for post-exercise recovery.
  • Sleep Improvement and Energy-Boosting:
    • While it doesn’t act as a sedative, CBD might help regulate sleep patterns, leading to more restful sleep, which in turn can improve energy levels during the day.
  • Focus and Concentration Enhancement:
    • By potentially reducing anxiety and stress, CBD may create a more conducive mental state for focus and concentration.

Each of these potential benefits contributes to the growing popularity of CBD in various forms, including creams, oils, and edibles.

As research continues to evolve, the understanding of CBD’s impact on health and well-being will likely expand, offering new insights into its diverse therapeutic potential.

For now, CBD stands as a versatile compound with a broad range of applications for people seeking natural health solutions.

CBD and Daytime Drowsiness

A common misconception about CBD is that it causes daytime drowsiness, similar to some sleep aids.

However, the reality is more nuanced, and understanding CBD’s role in sleep regulation can clarify this aspect.

  • Non-Sedative Nature of CBD:
    • Unlike certain sleep medications, CBD does not typically induce a state of sedation or deep drowsiness.
      Instead, it may help in balancing the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
    • This balancing act can lead to improved sleep quality at night, which, in turn, contributes to better alertness and energy levels during the day.
  • Promoting Healthy Sleep Patterns:
    • For individuals with sleep disturbances, CBD might aid in normalizing sleep patterns, thereby reducing the likelihood of daytime fatigue.
    • This effect is different from the direct sedative action of sleep medications.
      Instead, it’s about supporting the body’s natural rhythms.
  • Individual Responses to CBD:
    • It’s important to note that reactions to CBD can vary from person to person.
      While most do not experience significant daytime drowsiness, some may notice a subtle increase in relaxation or calmness.
    • This variance underscores the importance of personal experimentation with dosage and timing when starting to use CBD products.
  • CBD Creams and Daytime Use:
    • When applied topically, as with CBD creams, the effects are localized, and systemic absorption is minimal.
      This means that the risk of any significant drowsiness is even lower compared to ingestible forms of CBD.

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Choosing the Right CBD Product

When delving into the world of CBD, selecting the appropriate product is crucial for achieving the desired results.

This choice depends on individual needs, preferences, and the specific issues one aims to address.

  • Variety of CBD Products:
    • The market offers a wide range of CBD products, including oils, tablets, mints, balms, and gummies.
      Each form has its unique benefits and methods of application or ingestion.
    • For instance, BRITISH CANNABIS™ CBD products offer a diverse selection, catering to different preferences and requirements.
  • Topical CBD Creams:
    • CBD creams, such as those available on BRITISH CANNABIS™, are designed for external application.
      They are particularly beneficial for localized issues like muscle soreness or skin conditions.
    • The topical application ensures targeted relief, and the cream’s texture often provides additional moisturizing benefits.
  • Quality and Purity:
    • The quality of CBD products is paramount.
      High-quality products ensure purity, potency, and safety.
    • It’s important to choose products from reputable sources that provide transparent information about their ingredients, sourcing, and manufacturing processes.
  • Form and Concentration:
    • The form of CBD chosen should align with your lifestyle and ease of use.
      For example, oils and tinctures are suitable for those preferring oral ingestion, while balms and creams are ideal for those seeking topical application.
    • The concentration of CBD in the product also matters.
      Beginners may start with lower concentrations and gradually increase based on their experience and the results they observe.
  • Personal Health Considerations:
    • Individual health conditions, allergies, and sensitivities should be taken into account when selecting a CBD product.
    • Consulting with a healthcare provider, especially for those with pre-existing health conditions or those taking other medications, is advisable to ensure safe and effective use.
  • Legality and Compliance:
    • It’s crucial to verify the legality of CBD products in your region, as laws can vary.
    • Ensure that the products comply with local regulations regarding THC content and are derived from legally grown hemp.
  • Customer Reviews and Testimonials:
    • Reading customer reviews and testimonials can provide insights into the effectiveness and quality of the product.
    • These reviews often highlight user experiences and can help in making an informed decision.
  • Experimentation and Patience:
    • Finding the right CBD product may require some experimentation.
      What works for one person may not work for another.
    • Patience is key, as the effects of CBD can vary and may take time to become noticeable.

Safety, Legality, and Habit-Forming Aspects of CBD

When considering incorporating CBD into your wellness routine, it’s important to address concerns regarding its safety, legality, and any habit-forming potential.

These factors play a crucial role in making an informed decision about using CBD products.

  • Safety of CBD:
    • Generally, CBD is well-tolerated and considered safe for most individuals. Side effects are rare and typically mild when they do occur.
    • Common side effects might include fatigue, changes in appetite, and gastrointestinal issues, especially at high doses.
    • It’s important to use CBD responsibly and start with lower doses, gradually increasing as needed and tolerated.
  • Drug Interactions:
    • CBD can interact with certain medications, similar to grapefruit, by affecting how the body processes these drugs.
    • If you’re taking prescription medications, particularly those that come with a “grapefruit warning,” it’s vital to consult with a healthcare professional before starting CBD.
  • Legal Status of CBD:
    • The legality of CBD varies by region and is often tied to the source of the CBD (hemp vs. marijuana) and its THC content.
    • In many places, CBD derived from hemp with less than 0.3% THC is legal, but it’s important to check local laws and regulations.
  • Non-Habit Forming:
    • Current evidence suggests that CBD is not addictive. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a high or euphoric effect, which significantly reduces its potential for abuse.
    • This makes CBD an appealing option for those seeking natural alternatives without the risk of dependency.
  • Quality and Compliance:
    • Opt for high-quality CBD products from reputable sources. Look for products that undergo third-party testing and provide certificates of analysis (COAs) for transparency.
    • This ensures that you are getting a product free from contaminants and with the accurate concentration of CBD as claimed.
  • Consultation with Healthcare Providers:
    • Always consider discussing your intention to use CBD with a healthcare provider, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Conclusion: The Potential of CBD for Sleep

In summarizing the potential of CBD, especially regarding sleep, it’s evident that its role is more about enhancing sleep quality rather than inducing sleep directly.

CBD may help in regulating the sleep-wake cycle by addressing issues like stress and anxiety, rather than acting as a sedative.

  • Realistic Expectations: It’s crucial to approach CBD with realistic expectations. It’s a supportive tool, not a cure-all, and individual experiences can vary.
  • Starting with CBD: For those considering CBD for sleep improvement, begin with a low dose and adjust as needed.
    Different forms, such as creams or oils, offer various options to suit individual preferences.
  • Staying Informed: As research on CBD continues to evolve, staying informed about new findings is key to making educated decisions about its use.

Ultimately, CBD’s potential in sleep enhancement and overall wellness is promising, but it requires a personalized approach and an informed understanding of its effects and benefits.


  1. Giacoppo, S., Mandolino, G., Galuppo, M., Bramanti, P., & Mazzon, E. (2015). A new formulation of cannabidiol in cream shows therapeutic effects in a mouse model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 23(1), 48. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40199-015-0131-8

  2. Eskander, J. P., Spall, J., Spall, A., Shahrvini, B., & Sadiq, S. A. (2020). Cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment of acute and chronic back pain: A case series and literature review. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341491070_Cannabidiol_CBD_as_a_treatment_of_acute_and_chronic_back_pain_A_case_series_and_literature_review

  3. Davenport, S., & Zorzan, N. (2021, March 31). CBD Skin Cream: Benefits, Uses, and Best Options. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/cbd-skin-cream


About author

Samuel Turner

Health & Wellness Correspondent for BRITISH CANNABIS™ News