A Nitecap: CBD vs Alcohol

A Nitecap: CBD vs Alcohol


“Contrary to popular opinion, consuming alcohol can actually interrupt your sleep rather than improving it.”

Ah, the humble nightcap—often disguised as an innocent invitation into your date’s home, or an unexpected signifier that the night, in fact, will continue. But have you ever had one too many drinks before stumbling into bed, hoping to fall into a deep slumber, only to be jolted awake in the middle of the night without knowing why?

Once the alcohol enters your bloodstream and is processed through your liver, the disruption in your brain is caused by the alcohol trying to mimic gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). Increased GABA levels reduce your neural activity. This is why you’re able to fall into a blissful slumber in the first half of the night.

However, once the alcohol is fully metabolized, the GABA is replaced by glutamate, which functions exactly the opposite of GABA. Glutamate excites your brain, rather than quieting it. So, when you drink alcohol, it copies GABA and blocks the brain’s main hype-man, glutamate, but only temporarily, which is why it feels like you’re able to sleep deeply for the first few hours, until your brain jolts you awake after the alcohol leaves your system.

You’re shook. Sleep is not an option.

Let’s put it this way: high levels of GABA feel like having young Khalid croon you to sleep, until glutamate levels kicks the door down and puts on Wake Me Up by Avicii.

In contrast, using CBD products can actually raise GABA levels naturally.

If you crave uninterrupted sleep, try replacing that glass of whiskey with cannabis. Before you gasp, shudder, and refuse to associate yourself with illegal drugs, let’s consider the facts:

First off, the stigma against cannabis is long gone. The unveiling of marijuana’s benefits has galvanized more and more states—including the country’s capital—to decriminalize or legalize the medical and recreational use of cannabis.

Although smoking marijuana is the more commonly known method of using cannabis, consuming CBD products has proved to hold more therapeutic benefits, such as using Full Spectrum CBD oil or adding CBD Bitters to your mock-tail to help you sleep. Other benefits of CBD oil include pain-relief, alleviating anxiety, and reducing stress.

But what is CBD oil and how does it work?

CBD is the non-psychoactive component of marijuana that affects the body, rather than the mind, unlike its counterpart tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is what gives you the distinctive high that marijuana is notoriously known for.

The natural extracts of CBD are able to boost GABA. With increased GABA levels, your brain’s GABA receptors can organically reduce the amount of signals your brain receives, relieving your brain of mental activity and making you feel calmer. In other words, CBD will help us relax more, relieve tension, and sleep deeper.

You could also naturally increase your GABA levels by meditating daily, doing yoga, or listening to Morgan Freeman gently narrate an audiobook. Probably.

With wellness trends changing quicker than Kanye West’s fans, it’s difficult to keep up with what works and what doesn’t. But passing the Farm Bill in 2018 marked an important milestone for the CBD industry because implementing regulations actually helped weed out (pun intended) the shady proprietors from the legitimate businesses.

Despite all of the hype around CBD products, none of that really matters when it comes down to what you want to gain. Want deeper, uninterrupted sleep? Don’t drink too much alcohol before bed, and try reach for a little CBD instead.

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