CBD and Melatonin: What You Need to Know When Taking Both

cbd with melatonin
By Anthony Pellegrino Updated April 30th

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of health and well-being. And yet, many people regularly struggle to get enough sleep. In fact, approximately 50 to 70 million Americans have chronic or ongoing sleep disorders. As a result, many people turn to supplements like melatonin and CBD to improve their sleep quality. 

Melatonin, a hormone naturally produced by the body, is commonly used as a sleep aid instead of harsh pharmaceuticals like Ambien or Sonata. In the body, melatonin regulates our sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm

Disruptions in melatonin production can occur due to things like irregular sleep patterns or sleep disorders. As a result, over 25% of Americans turn to melatonin supplements to alleviate insomnia, reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and manage sleep disturbances caused by shift work or jet lag.

At the same time, CBD has gained widespread popularity in recent years for its potential therapeutic effects on several medical conditions, including sleep disorders. As a matter of fact, helping improve sleep is the reason that 42% of American CBD consumers use the cannabinoid to begin with. 

However, some may wonder if it's safe to use both CBD and melatonin together to help get a better night's rest.

The Complete Guide to Medical Cannabis for Sleep Troubles

Fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more rested with our comprehensive (and completely free) patient’s guide to medical cannabis for sleep troubles.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin, often called the "sleep hormone," is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland within the brain that plays a significant role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm. Specifically, melatonin production is how the body responds to darkness as a means of helping get people to sleep at night (This is why late-night doom-scrolling makes falling asleep so hard). 

Melatonin levels typically rise in the evening, signaling to the body that it's time to sleep. These levels gradually decrease as the sun rises, promoting wakefulness. 

While the pineal gland produces melatonin, it can also be found in certain foods, such as tart cherries, walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, and tomatoes. However, the melatonin content in these foods is relatively low compared to supplements you'd find at your local pharmacy. Even so, a 2017 study found that, "The intake of melatonin containing foods could significantly increase the melatonin concentration in human serum, indicating melatonin could provide beneficial effects on health through foods."1

Still, most people struggling with sleep problems likely prefer melatonin supplements, as they contain significantly more of the hormone than these foods. People typically take melatonin supplements in the form of pills, gummies, or liquid, usually around 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. These melatonin supplements can effectively reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, alleviate insomnia symptoms, and manage sleep disturbances caused by factors such as an overnight flight or working the graveyard shift.2 

Remember, though, that melatonin is not a sedative (like many sleeping pills) but a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.3 Therefore, it is most effective for individuals who have disrupted melatonin production or need temporary assistance adjusting their sleep patterns. 

And, as is the case with any supplement, melatonin is most effective when used responsibly and according to the recommended guidelines.

How Do Melatonin and CBD Interact?

Melatonin and CBD

While the research into the specific interaction between CBD and melatonin is limited, some studies shed light on this topic.

One study conducted on rats' pineal glands found that CBD affects how the body metabolizes melatonin when the two supplements are taken together.4 Specifically, the research strongly indicates that cannabinoids can reduce the activity of the enzyme responsible for melatonin production (AANAT) and decrease melatonin synthesis. In other words, this means that the presence of cannabinoids like CBD can potentially reduce the effectiveness of melatonin as a sleep aid. 

However, it's important to note that the study's findings were on the intracellular (within the cells) actions of cannabinoids and don't specifically mention the actual effects of CBD and melatonin in humans. So, this data would require further research and clinical studies to understand the potential interactions and impact on melatonin effectiveness.

On the other hand, both melatonin and CBD can cause drowsiness, so taking them together could increase the likelihood of feeling sleepy or fatigued. Again, the current research is minimal on the specific interactions between CBD and melatonin, so it's difficult to say with certainty beyond anecdotal reports how taking them together can affect your sleep or affect the efficacy of one another.

Are There Any Benefits to Combining Melatonin and CBD?

While research is limited, some studies and sources suggest that the sleep cocktail of melatonin and CBD may have genuine advantages. 

Specifically, a 2022 study was conducted on 20 patients suffering from sleep disorders and anxiety, in which they took sublingual (under the tongue) doses of a melatonin-CBD combo every night for 3 months.5 It found the, "Data suggest[s] that the formula CBD-melatonin could be competitive with the classic hypnotic synthetic drugs, the antioxidant activity of melatonin offers a further benefit to the brain network, restoring the biological clock functions, while CBD, reducing chronic pain perception, helps to complete the neuromuscular relaxation and to relieve anxiety fulfilling a very balanced sensation of well-being during the sleep."

This suggests that, in certain situations, the combined use of CBD and melatonin may work together to aid the consumer in their quest for better sleep. For example, combining CBD's potential calming effects and melatonin's sleepy-time power could provide a more holistic approach to addressing sleep issues for those with sleep difficulties like insomnia or anxiety-related sleep disorders.6 

However, it is crucial to consult with healthcare professionals to determine if this combination suits your particular circumstances, as they can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific needs and medical history.

Are There Risks or Side Effects When Taking CBD and Melatonin?

CBD and Melatonin effects

As is the case for many combinations of medications or supplements, there are potential risks and side effects to consider before using CBD and melatonin together.

For instance, an article published by Harvard Medical School found that, "While generally considered safe, CBD may cause drowsiness, lightheadedness, nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, and, in rare instances, damage to the liver. Taking CBD with other medications that have similar side effects may increase the risk of unwanted symptoms or toxicity." The same article also warned that, "Increased sedation and tiredness may also happen when using certain herbal supplements, such as kava, melatonin, and St. John's wort."

With that said, there are currently no definitively known adverse effects of a melatonin and CBD combo. However, although some products are available which contain both CBD and melatonin, these products are not approved by the FDA and should be taken with caution. 

Of course, individual responses to CBD and melatonin can vary, as is the case for many things within the body. As a result, some people may be more susceptible to their respective side effects. 

Not only that, specific ailments or conditions may require additional caution when using both substances. For example, individuals with liver disease or impaired liver function may need to exercise particular care due to the potential impact on liver health.

Which is Better as a Sleep Aid: Melatonin or CBD?

Alright, so which is better? What should I take to help me sleep: melatonin or CBD? 

Both melatonin and CBD have shown potential effectiveness, but there are some differences to consider.

First and foremost, a 2013 meta-analysis on melatonin for treating sleep disorders found that, "Melatonin decreases sleep onset latency, increases total sleep time and improves overall sleep quality. The effects of melatonin on sleep are modest but do not appear to dissipate with continued melatonin use."7 So, while melatonin may not be as effective as the likes of Ambien, it can still help deepen sleep without the need to worry about a tolerance building that'll dampen its effectiveness over time. 

CBD may also be effective for sleep disorders, according to a 2022 literature review on CBD and insomnia.8 Many consumers report that cannabis often leaves them feeling tired and sleepy, and the reviewed studies suggest that short-term use of medium to high doses of CBD may improve insomnia. 

However, the review also highlighted that combined use of CBD with THC may lead to a decrease in slow-wave sleep. In other words, it may decrease the time you're in the deepest part of your sleep, which is a critical aspect of a good night's rest. 

So smoking a joint to get to bed at night may turn out to help you get to sleep faster, with the trade-off being some detriment to the overall quality of your sleep. 

Both melatonin and CBD are generally considered safe, and for many consumers the choice comes down to personal preference: what has worked best for them in the past while resulting in the fewest side effects.

Melatonin side effects are typically mild and may include daytime drowsiness, headache, and dizziness. CBD, particularly at higher doses, may cause side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and nausea. However, the responses to these substances can vary from person to person, and some people may experience no side effects at all.

Beyond CBD itself, certain terpenes found in cannabis, such as pinene and linalool, have been associated with potential sleep benefits.9 For example, linalool has shown cognitive, anti-anxiety, and antidepressant benefits in those experiencing sleep deprivation. However, further research is needed to fully understand the specific effects of terpenes on sleep.

Both melatonin and CBD may provide some relief for those struggling with insomnia. While melatonin directly targets sleep regulation, CBD's potential to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation may indirectly aid individuals with insomnia. 

Combining melatonin and CBD may have a synergistic effect in certain cases, but more research is needed to understand the extent of their combined effectiveness on insomnia specifically.

Safety Tips When Taking Melatonin and CBD

Melatonin and CBD interaction

To ensure the responsible and effective use of both melatonin and CBD, it is crucial to follow these safety tips and best practices:

  1. Talk with your doctor: Before you start adding CBD to your melatonin regimen (or vice-versa), it's always best to speak with your doctor first. 
  2. Start Low & Go Slow: Begin with low doses of melatonin and CBD, especially if you are new to either substance or have yet to use them together. Starting with a low dosage lets you see how your body responds and helps you gauge your tolerance without accidentally taking too much.
  3. Follow Recommended Dosages: Both CBD products and melatonin supplements will come with recommended dosages. Of course, you can find both in varying levels of strength and concentrations, and dosages may vary depending on age, weight, and the specific sleep disorder or condition targeted.
  4. Choose High-Quality Products: You should only consider high-quality and reputable brands, no matter what CBD or melatonin products you choose.
  5. Monitor Your Response: Observe how your body responds to the combination of melatonin and CBD. Keep track of changes in sleep patterns, side effects, or other symptoms. 
  6. Avoid Driving or Operating Heavy Machinery: Both melatonin and CBD can cause drowsiness or impair cognitive function in some individuals.10 So, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery after taking either of these substances.

CBD and Melatonin Products for Sleep

Here are a few of our favorite CBD products that you could try to help you get some shuteye. 

  1. Papa & Barkley - Edible - Sleep | Blackberry Elderberry: These edible gummies, crafted with natural fruit flavors and real elderberry extract from Papa & Barkley, offer a blend of CBD, THC, and CBN that can help you both fall asleep and stay asleep. 
  2. Kanha - Edible - Blue Raspberry Gummies: Kanha's Blue Raspberry Gummies are made with all-natural ingredients, coloring, and flavoring and are infused with the highest quality cannabis oils. These gummies are delicious and packed with hybrid terpenes, which can help boost your mood and slip you into a deep sleep.
  3. Yummi Karma - Tincture - Lights Out Drops | Broad Spectrum | High THC: Yummi Karma's Lights Out Drops is an excellent choice for a sleepy-time tincture which contains an herbal formula of chamomile, lavender, magnesium (all of which promote sleep in their own right), and 1000 mg of broad spectrum THC. Also, it tastes like a toasted marshmallow for a little bedtime treat. 
  4. Care By Design - Tincture - Rest | CBD Drops: Care By Design offers a tincture consisting of a blend of THC, CBD, CBDa, and CBN, which is great for those new to marijuana and for those who want a night of better sleep. Also, these drops are vegan, full-spectrum, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
The Complete Guide to Medical Cannabis for Sleep Troubles

Fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more rested with our comprehensive (and completely free) patient’s guide to medical cannabis for sleep troubles.


  1.  Meng X, Li Y, Li S, et al. Dietary Sources and Bioactivities of Melatonin. Nutrients. 2017;9(4):367. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9040367
  2.  Ferracioli-Oda E, Qawasmi A, Bloch MH. Meta-Analysis: Melatonin for the Treatment of Primary Sleep Disorders. Romanovsky AA, ed. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(5):e63773. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0063773
  3.  Pagel JF, Parnes BL. Medications for the Treatment of Sleep Disorders: An Overview. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry. 2001;3(3):118-125. doi:https://doi.org/10.4088/pcc.v03n0303
  4.  Koch M, Dehghani F, Habazettl I, Schomerus C, Korf HW. Cannabinoids attenuate norepinephrine-induced melatonin biosynthesis in the rat pineal gland by reducing arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase activity without involvement of cannabinoid receptors. Journal of Neurochemistry. 2006;98(1):267-278. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.03873.x
  5.  Palmieri G, Vadalà M, Corazzari V, Palmieri B. Insomnia treatment: a new multitasking natural compound based on melatonin and cannabis extracts. La Clinica Terapeutica. 2022;173(1):91-96. doi:https://doi.org/10.7417/CT.2022.2399
  6.  Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-836. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
  7.  Ferracioli-Oda E, Qawasmi A, Bloch MH. Meta-Analysis: Melatonin for the Treatment of Primary Sleep Disorders. Romanovsky AA, ed. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(5):e63773. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0063773
  8.  Higueras TG, Cortés FC, López EDS, Arjona LM, Alonso SSDLC, Forés SV. Cannabidiol (CBD) and Insomnia : Literature review. European Psychiatry. 2022;65(S1):S809-S809. doi:https://doi.org/10.1192/j.eurpsy.2022.2092
  9.  Weston-Green K, Clunas H, Jimenez Naranjo C. A Review of the Potential Use of Pinene and Linalool as Terpene-Based Medicines for Brain Health: Discovering Novel Therapeutics in the Flavours and Fragrances of Cannabis. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2021;12. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.583211
  10.  Solowij N, Broyd SJ, Beale C, et al. Therapeutic Effects of Prolonged Cannabidiol Treatment on Psychological Symptoms and Cognitive Function in Regular Cannabis Users: A Pragmatic Open-Label Clinical Trial. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2018;3(1):21-34. doi:https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2017.0043


The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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