Are CBD Pillows really a thing?

Written by Lydia Kariuki

Results from a recent Consumer Reports survey showed that 1 in 10 Americans who had used cannabidiol (CBD) for sleep had found it to be effective. Of course, sleep disorders vary and so do the reasons behind the sleep issues. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder with long lasting insomnia affecting about 10% of adults in the US. Other common sleep disorders include sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and REM sleep behavior disorders.

By the day, there are increasingly more Americans that are turning to CBD for varied reasons. Addiction to traditional sleep pills provides the much-needed-leg-up for CBD. And in this case, full-spectrum CBD is proving to be more appealing due to the associated entourage benefits. Popular CBD options for sleep include CBD tinctures, capsules, gummies, edibles, creams, and patches. More sophisticated consumers may use CBD smokables. Most recently, consumers have been trying CBD pillows which is an entirely new and innovative product segment- medicated pillows. But is this all hype?


How Do CBD Pillow Work?

A number of companies in the CBD space are now offering CBD infused pillows to consumers who are looking to enhance their sleep naturally using CBD.  This category is quite innovative and well thought-out. For example, some designs will feature a shoulder cut-out design that is ideal for side sleepers.

The basic technology used in most CBD pillows is microencapsulation, but a few will have CBD oil directly infused into the pillow.

Micro-encapsulation means that the CBD pillow contains microscopic capsules of CBD. The capsules form a protective barrier around the CBD particles preventing them from evaporating, oxidising, or getting contaminated.

The CBD in the capsules is released through friction. When you rub your head against the pillow in the course of your sleep, the capsules are torn apart and they release the CBD. It is accurate to say theoretically the more you turn during your sleep the more the CBD is released.


Do CBD Pillows Really Work?

The science behind CBD pillows is legitimate. The sleep promoting effects of CBD have been demonstrated in small studies. In one study where CBD was compared to a placebo the researchers found that 40, 80, and 160 mg of CBD helped to induce sleep in the participants. [1] One theory is based on the ability of CBD to affect the release of cortisol, thereby acting as a sedative. CBD also helps to relieve pain and fatigue which are reasons for poor sleep. That said, evidence remains anecdotal and clinical evidence is needed to rubberstamp the validity of CBD pillows.


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  1. Zhornitsky, S., & Potvin, S. (2012). Cannabidiol in humans-the quest for therapeutic targets. Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland), 5(5), 529–552.

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Lydia Kariuki

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