Is CBD the Secret Ingredient to Unlocking Vivid Dreams and Lucid Nightmares?

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CBD products are often used to enhance sleep quality, but reports suggest CBD may lead to vivid dreams. Some individuals even use CBD to experience lucid dreams, whereas others discontinue the use of CBD oil because it causes them nightmares.

In this article, we dive deep into the science behind CBD and dreams, exploring the research and the experiences to uncover the truth about this hazy topic.

So, sit back, relax, and get ready to explore the dreamy side of CBD.

Why Do Dreams Occur?

Dreams, the mysterious mind-movies that play out while we snooze, have been a source of fascination and intrigue for centuries.

But why do we dream? Well, the truth is, scientists still aren't entirely sure, but there are several theories.

Some theories suggest that dreams are a way for our brains to process and make sense of our memories, while others propose that they serve as a form of emotional regulation. During sleep, the brain is more active in consolidating memories and emotions, which is thought to help us better understand and make sense of our experiences.

And let's not forget the psychoanalysis crowd, who believe dreams are a window into the subconscious mind, revealing our deepest desires and repressed feelings.

But honestly, all we really know for sure is that dreams are a weird and wild ride, a product of the mysterious inner workings of our brains.

What's Going On In The Brain While We Dream?

Researchers have observed that the human brain is much more active while asleep than awake, especially during a sleep phase called rapid eye movement.

During the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep phase, the brain is in overdrive, activating the regions responsible for visual and emotional processing and memory consolidation. This is when dreaming occurs — though you may not remember all of your dreams.

If you get eight hours of sleep, you might spend a quarter of that time in REM sleep.

The REM stage typically begins about 90 minutes after falling asleep and can last for several minutes to an hour. During this stage, the muscles in the body become temporarily paralyzed, which prevents individuals from acting out their dreams.

The other sleep phase, called non-rapid eye movement (NREM), happens in three stages. This phase is where you'll get deep sleep as the body works to regenerate cells and strengthen the immune system.

Together, these sleep phases form the foundation of a good night's sleep, ensuring that we wake up feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the world.

What Are Nightmares?

A shadowy image of a person’s hands behind ominous glass

Ah, nightmares, the stuff of horror movies, and restless nights.

But what are they exactly?

Simply put, nightmares are vivid and distressing dreams that usually occur during the REM stage of sleep. These bad dreams can range from the mundane to the truly terrifying, leaving you shaken and disturbed upon waking up.

Experts believe that nightmares are a way for our brains to process and cope with stressful or traumatic experiences. Certain medications, sleep disorders, or certain foods can also trigger them. And let's not forget the impact of current events, the state of the world can affect our dreams as well.

One theory is that nightmares are a way for the brain to process and work through difficult emotions and traumatic experiences. Like normal dreams, during sleep, our brain processes and organizes memories and emotions, but those memories and emotions are often distressing in nightmares.

There are some anecdotal reports from individuals who have experienced vivid bad dreams after consuming CBD products. However, there is no scientific explanation for why some people might experience nightmares after taking CBD oil.

One theory as to why this may be happening is that the most common reason someone might want to take CBD is to support their stress and anxiety.

People who take CBD oil for stress could already have troublesome thoughts buried deep in their subconscious, and taking CBD could relax their bodies enough to fall deep into sleep and experience these vivid dreams and nightmares.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)

REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) could be another reason people experience weird dreams or extremely vivid bad dreams, although it is rare.

During the REM stage, which is the stage where most dreaming occurs, the muscles in the body become temporarily paralyzed, preventing people from acting out their dreams.

However, in people with RBD, this muscle paralysis does not occur, allowing them to act out their dreams physically.

This can lead to potentially dangerous or violent behavior during sleep, such as kicking, punching, and even getting out of bed and walking around.

RBD can be caused by various factors, such as neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's disease, multiple system atrophy or Lewy body dementia, and other neurological conditions such as narcolepsy or brainstem lesions [1].

The Endocannabinoid System and Sleep

Before we dive deeper into the topic of CBD and vivid dreams, it's helpful to have an understanding of the primary system through which CBD works.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex network of receptors and chemicals regulating many bodily functions, including sleep. The ECS comprises two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2, and the chemicals that bind to these receptors are called endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids, such as anandamide, are naturally produced by the body and bind to the CB1 receptors in the brain to help regulate the brain's activity. When this balance is disrupted, it can lead to problems with sleep [2].

CBD interacts with the ECS and affects the CB1 receptors in the brain. CBD is believed to enhance the activity of the endocannabinoids in the body, which can help to regulate the brain's activity and balance, leading to better sleep quality [3].

Research on CBD and the ECS is fairly new. Scientists are still looking to understand the complexities of the endocannabinoid system and how it may influence the circadian rhythm and sleep.

How CBD Is Used As a Sleep Aid

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Some studies have found that CBD can help reduce anxiety and insomnia, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep [4].

CBD can be consumed in several forms, including CBD softgels & capsules, oil tinctures, and CBD gummies & edibles. A common combination of CBD products for sleep is CBD with melatonin.

CBD and melatonin are two compounds studied for their potential benefits as sleep aids. They work in different ways but combined, they may have a synergistic effect that can improve sleep quality by reducing sleep disruption and reducing anxious thoughts.

Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin can be purchased as a natural wellness supplement. It's particularly helpful for people who have difficulty falling asleep, wake up frequently during the night, or have jet lag or shift-work disorder.

Additionally, CBD may help to reduce any potential side effects of melatonin, such as headaches, dizziness, and grogginess.

Move Aside CBD, CBN is Becoming A Popular Sleep Aid

CBN, or cannabinol, is a minor cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant that has been found to have potential benefits for sleep. CBN products are thought to have sedative properties, and it's believed to have a stronger sedative effect than CBD.

CBN is thought to work by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system, which regulates sleep, among other processes. Experts theorize that CBN can enhance the sedative effects of other cannabinoids, such as CBD, promoting deeper and more restful sleep, which may allow for more vivid dreaming.

It's worth noting that research on the effects of CBN on sleep is still in its early stages, and more studies are needed to fully understand its benefits and potential risks.

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How Can CBD Produce Intense, Vivid Dreams

Every night we dream, but what makes a dream more vivid is the dream recall — how much we remember from the dream.

No matter how bizarre dreams are, we start to forget dreams as soon as a minute after waking up.

The most common explanation for this forgetfulness is that the hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for memory consolidation — is less active during REM sleep, which could mean that the memories formed in a dream may not be as strongly encoded as our waking memories.

Although most dreams vanish, certain ones tend to remain.

These dreams were so beautiful or bizarre they captured our attention and increased activity in our brains. So, the more impressive your dream or thought is, the more likely you will remember it.

No specific studies look at how CBD can induce vivid dreams and nightmares, but it's hypothesized that better sleep quality overall can produce more vivid or memorable dreams.

How To Have More Vivid Dreams

An infographic on how to have more vivid dreams

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst with a unique perspective on dreams.

He believed dreams were a way for the subconscious mind to communicate with the conscious mind. According to Jung, dreams reflect the unconscious mind, revealing our deepest desires, fears, and unresolved issues.

Jung also believed that dreams have symbolic meanings, and he developed a method called dream analysis to help people understand the hidden messages in their dreams. He believed that by interpreting the symbols in our dreams, we could gain insight into our subconscious mind and better understand ourselves.

Based on this, many people try to have more vivid dreams to remember the dreams or implement lucid dreaming techniques (where the dreamer is fully aware they are dreaming and are in control of their dream) to connect with their subconscious.

There are several ways you can have more vivid dreams and even reach a lucid dream state, which includes:

  1. Keeping a dream journal: Writing down your dreams every morning can help you remember more details and make your dreams feel more vivid.
  2. Changing your sleep environment: A dark, quiet, and cool environment can help improve sleep quality and increase the chances of vivid dreams.
  3. Incorporating dream-inducing herbs or supplements: Some herbs and supplements, such as valerian root, melatonin, and even CBD, are believed to help improve sleep and increase the chances of vivid dreams.
  4. Incorporating sleep-promoting activities: Activities such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help relax the mind and body and promote better sleep, which can lead to more vivid dreams.
  5. Changing your diet: Eating a diet rich in vitamin B6, magnesium, and calcium can help promote vivid dreams.

How CBD Oil Can Help With Nightmares

Nightmares also remain a great mystery in the understanding of dreams.

But many experts believe that they're a result of our anxieties. Dreams that are much easier to recall are more closely tied to stronger emotions.

While there are some anecdotal reports of experiencing nightmares after using CBD oil — there's not much information explaining why. In fact, the mechanism of CBD oil on the body suggests that it can potentially help with bad dreams.

CBD is suggested to reduce anxiety by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain [5]. Serotonin is a chemical messenger that regulates mood, anxiety, and sleep, which may lead to fewer and less intense nightmares.

There is a growing body of research on the effects of CBD oil on sleep and nightmares. Studies have shown that CBD may positively affect sleep quality and reduce the frequency and intensity of nightmares in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example [6].

The Takeaway: CBD Vivid Dreams & Nightmares

So, we've journeyed into the world of CBD oil, dreams, and nightmares.

And what have we learned?

Well, for starters, we know that CBD can impact our sleep and potentially influence our dream experiences.

Some people have reported vivid and intense dreams on CBD, while others have reported nightmares. But, as we've seen, the science behind this phenomenon is still a bit of a mystery.

It's important to highlight that no scientific research currently suggests that using CBD oil products causes nightmares or bizarre dreams.

Factors such as waking life experiences and subconscious thoughts can significantly impact our dreams. While the effects of CBD on sleep are still being studied, some evidence suggests that its calming and relaxing properties may support a deeper sleep.

However, CBD may affect individuals differently, so this may have to be experimented with on an individual basis.

Always ensure you purchase high-quality CBD products online with third-party lab tests to confirm their contents. If you're interested in diving deeper into your dreams and your subconscious mind, keeping a dream journal by your bedside can also help you recall and keep track of any changes in your vivid dreams after using CBD.


Does CBD affect dreams?

It's important to highlight that no scientific research currently suggests that using CBD oil products causes nightmares or bizarre dreams. In fact, some studies have shown that CBD may have a positive impact on sleep, reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation. However, individual experiences may vary, and more research is needed to fully understand the effects of CBD on dreams.

Does melatonin give you weird dreams?

Melatonin can affect dreams, with some users reporting more vivid or bizarre dreams while taking melatonin supplements. This is because melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle and can influence the REM phase of sleep, which is when most dreaming occurs. However, these effects may vary from person to person, and not everyone who takes melatonin will experience unusual dreams.

Does CBD help with sleep?

CBD may help with sleep, with some studies suggesting that it can improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia. CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating sleep, and can also have anxiolytic effects, reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation.

When to take CBD oil for sleep?

The best time to take CBD oil for sleep may vary depending on the individual's needs and preferences. Some people find it helpful to take CBD oil in the evening, 1-2 hours before bedtime, to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Others may benefit from taking CBD oil earlier in the day to address underlying conditions that can affect sleep, such as chronic pain or anxiety. It's important to start with a low dose and adjust gradually to find the optimal time and dosage for each individual.


  1. Hu, M. T. (2020). REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). Neurobiology of Disease, 143, 104996.
  2. Mechoulam, R., Fride, E., Hanu, L., Sheskin, T., Bisogno, T., Di Marzo, V., ... & Vogel, Z. (1997).
  3. Crippa, J. A., Guimarães, F. S., Campos, A. C., & Zuardi, A. W. (2018). Translational investigation of the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD): toward a new age. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 2009.
  4. Kuhathasan, N., Dufort, A., MacKillop, J., Gottschalk, R., Minuzzi, L., & Frey, B. N. (2019). The use of cannabinoids for sleep: A critical review on clinical trials. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 27(4), 383.
  5. Sales, A. J., Crestani, C. C., Guimarães, F. S., & Joca, S. R. (2018). Antidepressant-like effect induced by Cannabidiol is dependent on brain serotonin levels. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 86, 255-261.Chicago
  6. Mechoulam, R. (Ed.). (2019). Cannabinoids as therapeutic agents. CRC Press.

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