Until my mid-20s, my relationship with sleep was peachy. In college, I managed to sleep through my roommate’s constant, baritone snores for two whole years. On most flights, I’d be dozing minutes into takeoff; and even jetlag couldn’t screw up my REM cycles significantly. Being able to fall—and stay— blissfully asleep was pretty much always a given.
But at some point fairly recently, I joined the fretful sleep club—likely thanks to normal grown-up anxieties and no thanks to the screwy current state of the world. So far, I haven’t turned to prescription meds to help me snooze, but I’ve definitely gone through a couple jumbo bottles of melatonin pills. I’ve also sought increasing comfort in ever-larger, more frequent pulls from my THC vape each night, all in the hopes of reigning in the spiral of over-thinking in my brain.
And it’s become worse. The existential shit storm of a pandemic combined with the turmoil of an election have been seriously messing with my sleep—and trusty melatonin & THC vape just haven’t been cutting it. Though I’d always been a little skeptical about using CBD as a sleep aid, a discussion panel about CBN—a lesser-known cannabinoid that’s apparently sensational for sleep—at the virtual Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference in September piqued my interest. I was ready to put my non-psychoactive cannabis skepticism to bed and decided to embark on a two-week experiment using Mineral’s Sleep Tincture. It must be a best-seller for a reason, right?
I immediately dug the scent: warm, spicy and weed-y with notes cedar wood, black pepper, and California pine. The tincture’s 1:1 blend of CBD and CBN, along with relaxation-promoting terpenes like myrcene, linalool, and terpinolene sounded promising. I was happy to find that the coconut oil-based sublingual tincture tasted pretty much the same as it smells, so I opted to use it after I’d brushed my teeth. I thought it’d be best to let the stuff absorb as long as possible and not rinse it away.
Per the instructions, I squeezed half a dropper (about 25 mg) under my tongue 30 minutes before bed. It was a bigger dollop of oil than I expected—how would I know when the slick, aromatic oil was absorbed? The bottle’s label simply advised to “Hold until dissolved. Breathe.” I peered into my mouth in the bathroom mirror every few seconds to investigate, dribbling a little on my shirt in the process. I focused on the breathing part for a little while instead, until finally deciding to swallow several minutes later. The velvety coating and herbaceous flavor lingered, weirdly comforting as I burrowed into my sheets. 10 or 15 minutes later, I felt some mild body relaxation. I drifted off gradually. Not quite the powerful, sudden knock-out effect my usual melatonin has, but soothing nonetheless.
“Within the first two or three mornings after using the tincture before bed each night, I was waking up from deliciously heavy sleeps that didn’t contain my usual and constant tossing and turning.”
But here’s the big thing: Even though falling asleep wasn’t quite as quick as I expected, the quality and depth of my slumber was noticeably changed. And almost immediately. Within the first two or three mornings after using the tincture before bed each night, I was waking up from deliciously heavy sleeps that didn’t contain my usual and constant tossing and turning.
Since I still suspected that perhaps I wasn’t doing this whole sublingual consumption thing right, I decided to seek some expert guidance from Soda Kuczkowski, Sleep Health Educator and founder of Start With Sleep, a sleep heath resource center in Buffalo, New York. She recommended to “dispense under the tongue, take two deep breaths, and allow the oil to sit for 60 seconds before consuming.” 60 seconds was way shorter than I’d been holding the tincture in my mouth the previous nights. Whoops.
Mineral is the first and only hemp/CBD brand Kuczkowski stocks among her tight edit of sleep-focused products, which impressed me—especially since I knew Mineral Sleep had been a favorite at Miss Grass for years. “The main reason I decided to finally carry a CBD product was the unique process and time Mineral takes in producing its products,” she says. “They’re 100% organically grown in small batches, and are free of chemicals and pesticide; they also grow their products in distinct batches that follow a seasonal process and include a report that outlines the product ingredients and information about the manufacturing process.”
“I begin to wonder if the tincture has anything to do with the quieting of a super-stressful eczema flare-up I’d also been tortured by.”
Her clients tell her it helps them “sleep longer and deeper,” and that it’s also super helpful for folks that “suffer from inflammation, which can be disruptive to sleep.” I didn’t notice a huge reduction in post-workout soreness of inflamed hamstrings or calves—but I do wonder if the tincture had anything to do with the quieting of a super-stressful eczema flare-up I’d been tortured by; eczema is an inflammatory disorder and a bulk of research suggests that easing inflammation is one of CBD’s super powers.
But perhaps the most surprising side effect—and one that I sadly have yet to encounter—are reports of a spike in libido that can hit after taking CBD tinctures. Which weirdly makes sense? After all, cannabis does reportedly help arousal—and a great orgasm is a tried-and-true stress-reliever and a time-honored sleep aid.
I can definitely get into that.