CBD hit the mainstream as a trendy sleep aid, but does it work?

Cannabidiol, known as CBD, is a compound found in marijuana.

March 15, 2023, 8:20 AM

Social media users, online groups, and even celebrities like Martha Stewart, are touting CBD as a real aid for sleep, but some are beginning to wonder if the legal chemical found in marijuana really works.

Cannabidiol, known as CBD, is a compound found in marijuana but is not an intoxicant, meaning it does not cause a "high," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jessica Ater, a mother of two in Washington state, said she's been struggling with sleep.

"I can't sleep at night. Like that's when my brain starts going crazy," Ater told "Good Morning America." "Nothing worked and, if it did work, not long term."

After reading about CBD in an online mom's group, Ater said she bought some CBD gummies at a dispensary that helped.

"My anxiety I mean I still have it at night, but it definitely helps shut my brain off so that I'm able to sleep," said Ater.

However, Annie Guthrie, a college student who wanted to fall asleep earlier, said her experience with CBD chocolates didn't work for her at all.

"I had the hardest time sleeping so I needed to try something that could help that," Guthrie told "GMA." "Nothing happened. It didn't work. It didn't work at all."

Dr. Ryan Vandrey, one of the country's preeminent scientific researchers on CBD, said CBD may have better results for people with anxiety or pain compared to those who have a hard time falling asleep.

PHOTO: CBD is seen in an undated stock photo.
CBD is seen in an undated stock photo.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

"Someone who has insomnia might not benefit from it unless the insomnia is secondary to something else like anxiety, or pain condition," Vandrey said to "GMA."

The Food and Drug Administration has indicated that they want to create more regulations for CBD. So far they've only approved it for the treatment of some seizure disorders.

Vandrey said that studies that exist on CBD are small and some found that the chemical doesn't always isolate from THC, the part of cannabis that makes you high.

"So we don't have the large randomized controlled trials," he said. "So we see a lot of promise but we still need more evidence."