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If you can use some sleep support, you aren’t alone. Many of us struggle with that long, stretched-out period of time that seems to strike between when our head hits the pillow and when sleep actually comes.

And if you’ve been looking for ways to help fall and stay asleep, you may have come across both CBD and melatonin.So what is the difference between CBD and melatonin, and which one may be best for you? Read on to find out with The Brothers Apothecary!

What Is CBD?

CBD is one of over 100 known phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. As the most active ingredient in hemp and a federally legal strain of the Cannabis sativa plant, CBD products can support our mental and physical well-being.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD works by partnering with the endocannabinoid system (the ECS). This internal messaging system uses naturally-produced endocannabinoids to send chemical messages throughout the body capable of responding to changes in normal body function. 

When endocannabinoids bind with cannabinoid receptors throughout the central and peripheral nervous system, the receptors become activated and can stimulate responses that help regulate stress, discomfort, mood, and sleep.

What Are the Benefits of CBD?

When CBD is introduced into the ECS, it can interact with neurotransmitters in the brain and help boost and prolong the many beneficial effects brought on by endocannabinoids.  


The ECS plays an important role in responding to stress, thanks to the blissful endocannabinoid known as anandamide. When anandamide binds with cb1 receptors in the brain, it can help lower the production of the stress hormone cortisol and promote feelings of calm and full-body relaxation.

Temporary Relief from Discomfort

CBD can help ease physical discomfort throughout the body by partnering with endocannabinoids at the source of discomfort. 

When endocannabinoids bind with cannabinoid receptors in a tense muscle or swollen joint, they can trigger a response that provides relief. And with its naturally soothing properties, CBD can help that relief go even further.

Temporary Relief from Feelings of Tension

CBD not only provided relief from mental stress, but physical manifestations of stress as well. When cortisol is released, it can affect digestion, immune function, and cause your muscles to tense up.

But, when CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream, it can work with endocannabinoids at CB receptors in the brain and in affected muscles to ease tension, while also lowering levels of the stress-producing hormone cortisol.

Reduced Tension in Muscles

Along with soothing tension by working with cb receptors in sore muscles, CBD can further reduce muscle tension by improving your sleep quality.

Sleep is prime time for immune function and muscle repair to take place. When your body is in a state of rest, there is more energy available for these vital functions. This is one of the reasons why people who get more sleep are less likely to get colds and are able to more quickly recover from muscle soreness.  

The body also produces less of the stress hormone cortisol and more of the Insulin Growth Factor hormone, which supports muscle health. By helping settle the mind and ease discomfort, CBD can help promote rest and shift the body into sleep mode when taken before bed. 

Temporary Mood Support

CBD can help boost the mood by positively engaging with anandamide and serotonin, both of which can enhance feelings of bliss, calm, pleasure, and joy. 

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in the pineal gland with the brain that helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm. Melatonin production is triggered by darkness, so when the sun goes down, melatonin production helps ready the brain for sleep.

However, melatonin production can be thrown out of whack pretty easily. 

Keeping the lights on late or staring at the blue light from a screen can affect hormone production, making sleep more difficult to come by. Other factors may also lead to lower melatonin levels, including traveling to different time zones, certain medications, or caffeine consumption.

How Does Melatonin Work?

One way to help reset your circadian rhythm if you are having trouble sleeping is to take synthetic melatonin supplements.

The melatonin dietary supplement replicates the hormone and can help communicate to the body that it is time for sleep once absorbed into the bloodstream. 

Melatonin supplements often come in a capsule, pill, gummy, or liquid form.

What Are the Benefits of Melatonin?

Melatonin can help with jet lag after travel, occasional sleep disruption, or occasional issues falling or staying asleep. 

Sleep Quality Support

By working with the endocrine system–a messaging system that uses hormones to communicate within the body–melatonin can help shift the body into sleep mode by sending messages that it is time for sleep.

It is best to take melatonin 45 minutes to an hour before bed, which gives the body time to absorb it. And since melatonin levels are affected by light, we recommend shutting down your screens after taking melatonin, and focusing instead on calming activities, such as reading or deep breathing exercises. 

What Are the Side Effects of CBD?

CBD is considered safe even when consumed in high doses. However, taking too much CBD can lead to mild side effects, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy 
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Dizziness

To help avoid any side effects, we recommend taking no more than150 milligrams in a day (and start with even less if you haven’t used CBD before), and only use high quality and third-party tested products to ensure your product is safe, accurately labeled, and free of any potentially harmful toxins.

CBD may interact with blood thinners and blood pressure medication, so check in with a doctor if you have any concerns.

What Are the Side Effects of Melatonin?

Since melatonin is a replica to the natural hormone our brain already produces, there are relatively few side effects associated with short-term use of the supplement. Minor side effects include:

  • Tiredness
  • Head and neck tension
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach 
  • Nervousness or temporary mood changes
  • Feeling of heaviness in the head 

Melatonin may also interact with other medications such as:

  • Blood thinners
  • Diabetes medications
  • Immunosuppressants 
  • Birth control pills

If you’re using any of these medications or have any questions or concerns about melatonin use, check with your healthcare provider to see if melatonin use would be safe for you.

Also, keep in mind that melatonin tends to stay active for six hours (and may stay active even longer if you are older), so if you use it within six hours of when you need to wake up, you may find yourself feeling a bit groggy and tired at the start of your day.

Make sure you follow the recommended dosage for melatonin, as you should not be consuming higher levels of the hormones than your body would naturally produce. 

Is CBD or Melatonin Better?

Both CBD and melatonin can be beneficial in promoting restfulness and sleep.

CBD can help you fall asleep by soothing nervous thoughts, promoting relaxation, and easing any tension and discomfort that may contribute to you tossing and turning through the night. 

Meanwhile, melatonin can help regulate your circadian rhythm by alerting your internal clock that it is time for sleep and can help shift your body into rest mode. 

The Bottom Line

If you need those zzz’s, The Brothers Apothecary can give you the best of both worlds with our CBD + Melatonin Sleep Aid capsule. This capsule will help ease tension, calm the mind, and help reset your sleep-wake cycle for the ultimate rest that will have you waking up ready to take on the day.

Find our Sleep Aid, along with the Apothecary’s other relaxing CBD products at our shop!



Neurobiological Interactions Between Stress and the Endocannabinoid System | Neuropsychopharmacology 

Effect of cannabidiol on plasma prolactin, growth hormone and cortisol in human volunteers | Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 

Lack of sleep puts you at higher risk for colds, first experimental study finds | Science

The effectiveness of melatonin for promoting healthy sleep: a rapid evidence assessment of the literature | Nutrition Journal

Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag | The Cochrane Database of Systematic Review

Jesse Richardson, Health & Wellness Advocate
Ambassador of Teas, CEO

Jesse Richardson is the co-founder of The Brothers Apothecary. He's an avid tea drinker and the primary creator behind The Brothers' products. An undergraduate of UCLA for Political Science, Jesse currently studies Medicinal Plants at Cornell University and The International School of Herbal Arts & Sciences.

Meet the Brothers.

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