CBD and Melatonin for Insomnia

Study Finds CBD-Melatonin Combo May Help Combat Insomnia

New research from Italy’s University of Modena shows that two popular sleep-aid remedies may work best together.

Zack Ruskin Updated on June 17, 2022

With all that’s been happening in the world these days, it’s probably safe to assume we could all use a good night’s sleep. Even in less chaotic times, the issue of subpar slumber is one that affects as many as a third of all Americans. As a result, countless hours, effort, and dollars have been poured into finding safe ways to help us sleep.

Encompassing a host of homeopathic and pharmaceutical solutions, today’s options for sleep aids range from ancient remedies to modern-day medicines. In the latter’s case, enthusiasm for popular prescription options like Ambien and Lunesta is tempered by concerns over side effects and worry that prolonged use could potentially lead to a lasting dependence.

For this reason, the larger wellness industry is eager to uncover alternatives that won’t leave one at risk of cutting holes in the walls in their quest for quality rest. Two of the current stars of this non-prescription campaign: cannabidiol (CBD) and melatonin.

New Study Shows the Combination of CBD and Melatonin May Be Effective for Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders

As our CBD for Insomnia guide details, insomnia is among the most common reasons consumers cite for using CBD. Though hard evidence is limited, there are available studies that suggest that CBD may be helpful in treating some of the underlying causes that create poor sleep (like anxiety and pain).

Likewise, the jury on taking melatonin – a natural hormone produced by our bodies and now also sold as lab-made supplements – is still largely out too. Similar to CBD, melatonin’s efficacy as a sleep aid shows some signs of promise but mostly remains an area where we still need to learn a lot. One such question: how might CBD and melatonin work when consumed together?

That was the premise of a recent study conducted by a team of researchers at the Italy’s University of Modena.

Operating under the assumption that CBD and melatonin may each individually provide relief to patients suffering from insomnia, they decided to see if combining the two into one sublingual formula would produce any positive results. Relying on a tincture that combined 2.5mg of hemp-derived CBD with 1.5mg melatonin, the study’s authors amassed a subject pool of 20 patients that ranged in age from 43- to 96-years-old.


Those participating were asked to take this dose overnight for a period of three months. And, in findings published last month, researchers concluded that their data suggests this CBD-melatonin formula “could be competitive [with] classic hypnotic synthetic drugs.”

Specifically, they wrote, “results show that sleep improved for all the recruited patients, and they are still satisfied 30-60 days after the end of the trial.” Their paper also detailed partial or total symptom remission for subjects suffering from “chronic pain […] due to the resting body position, pressure upon joints and bone, [and] involuntary movements” and “frequent micturition due to prostate enlargement, hyperactive bladder, [etc.].”

Additionally, the study’s authors detailed similar improvement for those suffering from anxiety-related nightmares and associated involuntary arm and leg movement as well as relief for patients experiencing “disturbing bowel movements, reflux, [and] bloating.”

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, there are some sizeable caveats that come with this study.

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Still, This Study Doesn’t Give Us Enough Insight

The first, of course, is that it only involved 20 people. Beyond this notably small sample size, there is also the matter of the dose of CBD provided in this study. Though it isn’t possible to say that 2.5mg is a subjectively insignificant amount of the cannabinoid, it is worth noting that Epidiloex – the first drug approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to feature an active ingredient derived from cannabis – starts at 100mg CBD per dose.

In fairness, Epidiolex is a drug prescribed solely in the treatment of seizures associated with two rare, severe forms of epilepsy. That’s very different from the intended demographic for an oral solution meant to combat insomnia. Nonetheless, this disparity in dosage should be recognized as we continue to follow researchers on their deep dive to define just what role CBD can ultimately play in human pharmacopeia.

As things stand, the category of sleep is one in which CBD is poised to dominate sales for some time to come – and in some cases, melatonin is already along for the ride. Indeed, there are already some state-legal markets where products featuring both the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as well as melatonin are now on shelves.

Is this a case of the cart arriving slightly before the horse? Perhaps, but given the rapid speed with which new cannabis products (both hemp- and marijuana-derived) continue to hit shelves, the time for slowing down this freight train has long since passed. Instead, it’s time to welcome this onslaught of research for every answer it can possibly provide.

Zack Ruskin

Zack Ruskin is a freelance reporter living in San Francisco. His bylines include Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Leafly, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Billboard, Cannabis Now, and California Leaf.