Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the many chemicals found in the cannabis plant. While cannabis is known for having psychoactive effects that make you feel high, that is due to the THC in the plant, not the CBD. CBD has many different effects on the body, but getting stoned is not one of them. If you’re looking for a “sweeping sense of relief” however, then CBD is right up your alley.

One of CBD’s effects of interest is its ability to help with sleep disorders and sleep problems in general. A number of studies have come out to validate this. Here is the lowdown on how exactly CBD helps with sleep issues.

Consuming CBD, by smoking, vaping or ingesting it, affects the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating sleep, mood, and appetite, as well as inducing a state of relaxation. As it turns out, because CBD is a cannabinoid, putting it in your body can activate the release of the body’s natural cannabinoids, putting the regulation of sleep and emotions into overdrive. Another way CBD impacts the body is by interacting with the nervous system by blocking the transmission of pain signals, thereby controlling pain as well.

Many factors go into how well a person sleeps. Both anxiety and pain, chronic or otherwise, are primary causes of sleep disruption. So, not only does CBD interact directly with the body’s sleep regulation, it also interacts with the body’s pain and mood systems, reducing anxiety and enhancing relaxation. This combination of effects makes CBD kind of a miracle worker where sleep is concerned.

Going a little deeper, studies have shown that CBD may contribute to the improvement of REM sleep abnormalities. This means using CBD may increase the amount of sleep one gets as well as the quality of sleep. Research into CBD has so far shown that CBD decreases the duration of the REM phase. When we sleep, this is how it goes: we begin with non-REM sleep, then we have a short period of REM sleep, repeat. Non-REM sleep is the restful part, and in REM sleep, we experience dreams. Reducing the REM phase of this cycle (thanks to CBD) increases the amount of restful sleep we get.

CBD has also proven helpful in improving insomnia and treating REM behavior disorder, a condition that invokes physical action while dreaming. Even more, smaller doses of CBD can help with a different kind of sleep disorder called narcolepsy, which causes people to feel bouts of sleepiness during the day. In this case, CBD acts a stimulant to make you more alert.

There are a number of substances, including plenty of pharmaceuticals, out there that can help people sleep. The THC in cannabis is one of them, but for people looking for a sleep aid without psychoactive effects, this is less than desirable. Melatonin supplements are also known to help with sleep, but vary in effectiveness. The long list of pharmaceuticals out there offered as sleep aids have often proven effective, but tend to come with side effects, some quite serious, like dependency. CBD on the other hand has so far shown no serious side effects.