- How I tested
- What is CBD?
- My personal review of the Curfew Dream Blanket
- What does the science say?
- The bottom line
If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.
- The Dream Blanket ($295) from Bear Mattress sibling brand, Curfew, is the world’s first CBD-infused blanket.
- The blanket is very soft and comfortable. It feels like a perfectly broken-in sweatshirt.
- Ultimately, though, the added benefits of the CBD are too negligible to recommend it as a sleep aid.
- I spoke with Johns Hopkins University cannabis researcher Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., and he wasn’t convinced the blanket was a viable way to administer CBD.
In the past five years, products containing CBD have skyrocketed in popularity. In 2018, it was declared a $1 billion industry, and Wall Street projects the CBD industry could reach a $16 billion valuation by 2025.
I use CBD to self-treat my anxiety, but I’ve never found it to be foolproof. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The route of administration plays a big part in what works for me. Ingestibles and inhalants have a greater effect on me than topicals, for example, though the effectiveness of these products varies wildly from person to person.
So when I first heard about the Curfew Dream Blanket — the first CBD-infused blanket on the market — I was curious but skeptical, so I set out to test the supposed sleep aid. I wanted to answer some specific questions: How was the blanket infused with CBD? Would I feel any calming effects when using it? How long would the effects last? Would it help me sleep? Is this a legitimate way to administer CBD?
How I tested
I wanted to assess this blanket as objectively as possible. After all, it retails for $295 — not outrageous in the world of CBD products, but an undoubtedly high price to pay for a throw blanket. So I thought it deserved more of an assessment than just an anecdotal one. I came up with a few — admittedly pseudoscientific — testing metrics for myself.
First, I would use the blanket while lounging around the house and note any effects I felt. (Does it seem like it works?)
Second, I would use a Fitbit to track my sleep — a week without the blanket and a week with the blanket — to see if there were any discernible effects on my sleeping patterns. (Can I prove that it works?) Unfortunately, technology betrayed me during this test, and the Fitbit I was using only recorded the first four days of data from my week of sleep with the blanket, but even the incomplete data was helpful in determining the effects of the blanket.
Third, I would talk with a CBD expert to get a scientific opinion on the mechanics of the blanket and whether or not it could work. I spoke with Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., a cannabis researcher and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. (Can science back that it works?)
But before I delve into my experience with the Curfew Dream Blanket, let’s first get some CBD basics out of the way.
Click here if you want to skip directly to the review of the Curfew Dream Blanket.
What is CBD?
CBD — short for cannabidiol — is a molecule found in hemp and marijuana plants. But it’s not the part of the plant that gets you high. That designation belongs to the psychoactive THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. Both compounds are present in marijuana and hemp, but hemp is naturally high in CBD and low in THC. Hemp is also legal in the United States as of December 2018 so long as it contains less than 0.3% of THC.
The CBD you’ll find in your gummies or tinctures is often extracted from the hemp plant and isolated in a laboratory. Some CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC, but not nearly enough to get you high.
What effect does CBD have on the body?
This is where things start to get tricky. It is believed that CBD can reduce anxiety, aid in sleep, and ease chronic pain. But scientists are quick to point out that there has been very limited research done on the effects of CBD in humans — mostly owing to the fact that the FDA only approved CBD research in 2015.
I asked cannabis researcher Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D. about the effects CBD has been proven to have on the body, and he confirmed that it’s still early days as far as research. But the one area in which CBD has been clinically proven to work is in treating seizure disorders. Vandrey said, “We’ve seen in properly conducted clinical trials that CBD is an effective treatment for epilepsy. There’s no question that some people with rare seizure disorders have substantial, robust, positive responses to CBD.” This trial lead to the FDA approval of a drug called Epidiolex, which according to the FDA, “contains a purified form of the drug substance CBD for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome in patients 2 years of age and older.”
As far as anxiety reduction, there have been some studies, but none robust enough to definitively say whether and how CBD operates on anxiety. Said Vandrey, “There’s pretty good evidence coming out that CBD can treat anxiety. We’ve seen reductions in anxiety in laboratory models of anxiety. We’ve not yet seen any clinical trials that are placebo-controlled where CBD is used as a treatment for clinical anxiety disorder. The anxiety reductions we’ve seen in clinical and laboratory research is reduced anxiety around giving a mock public speech. That’s very different from a clinical anxiety disorder.”
The evidence that CBD treats insomnia is thin. According to Vandrey, “There have been no studies that demonstrate that CBD enhances or facilitates sleep in any way. I think there’s a misconception based on reports of increased somnolence or sedation in clinical trials. The caveat is that the individuals taking the CBD in those clinical trials were also taking a number of other medications that do have sedating properties. So most likely the reports of somnolence were not due to the direct pharmacologic effects of CBD, but rather the interaction of CBD and other medications.”
How is CBD best administered?
According to Vandrey, the route of administration is critical to the effects CBD can have on the body. After all, CBD works by entering the bloodstream and making its way to the brain where it interacts with cannabinoid receptors. Any route of administration that enhances absorption into the bloodstream is going to be the more effective one. But the route of administration can also have an effect on how intensely and for how long you feel CBD‘s effects.
Vandrey said, “When you inhale a drug, you get a big bolus concentration of the drug in your blood immediately. If you swallow it, you get slow absorption. You get a little less drug in the blood, but you get longer-lasting drug effects. With topical application, you get even slower absorption and less concentration of the drug, but you get an even longer-lasting effect.”
An important thing to note about CBD is that it needs what’s called a permeation enhancer to have any effect when administered orally or topically. The same is true for THC. Cannabis enthusiasts might recognize this scenario: If you eat a bud of marijuana, it’s not going to have any effect. But if you cook the buds in oil and then eat that oil, you’ll get high indeed. It’s the same principle with CBD — unless you’re inhaling CBD directly into your lungs, you need a carrier substance that your body can metabolize.
My personal review of the Curfew Dream Blanket
How does it claim to work?
According to Curfew, the Dream Blanket is infused with “patented, micro-encapsulated beads that release CBD.” Microencapsulation is a technique in chemical engineering where a substance is coated with a protective film that is designed to burst open under certain conditions to slowly release what’s inside.
In this case of the Dream Blanket, tiny droplets of CBD isolate are encapsulated in a coating that bursts with heat caused by friction. As you move around under the blanket, your contact with the material in combination with your body heat bursts the capsules, and CBD is then released and absorbs slowly into your skin. Importantly, the blanket has to make direct contact with your skin in order for you to absorb any CBD, so if you’re heavily clothed while using the Dream Blanket, you won’t be exposed to the CBD.
The microcapsules are not water-soluble, so the blanket is washable, and Curfew claims the CBD will be present for up to 20 washes. Because the capsules are heat-activated, it’s recommended that you don’t put your Dream Blanket in the dryer. Hang dry it instead.
Curfew enlisted a third-party to test the presence of CBD on the Dream Blanket. Devan, a company that provides finishing chemicals to textile companies, tested two blankets. It found the first blanket to contain 145% of the amount of CBD it was expected to have infused in it. The second blanket was found to have 114% of the expected CBD. Devan also washed the blanket 20 times and then reperformed the potency test. After 20 washes, just 11% of the CBD remained.
The Curfew Dream Blanket arrived in a nicely branded navy box with the tissue-paper-wrapped blanket occupying about three-quarters of the box and the brand’s CBD-infused Nightly Soothing Salve — a free gift with purchase for a limited time — occupying a cut-out in the other quarter.
Pulling the polyester-cotton-rayon-blend blanket out of the packaging, I was a bit surprised by how small it was. I assumed, as a sleep aid, it would be large enough to cover my bed, but it turned out to be 50 inches by 60 inches — the standard size of a throw blanket. But the smaller-than-expected size aside, it’s a gloriously soft blanket. The quilted gray fabric — the only color available — feels just like a perfectly worn-in sweatshirt. Definitely highly snugglable.
The scene that followed was straight out of a high school stoner movie. I draped the blanket over myself, sat, and waited. A few minutes later my partner asked, “Well, do you feel anything yet?” “I don’t think so. I mean, maybe. Actually, wait, I think I do,” was my hesitant reply.
I felt a wash of calm come over me — at least, I think I did. I handed it over to my partner who was pretty sure she felt the same thing. But I wasn’t convinced that it wasn’t just the power of suggestion, so I put it through its paces over the course of a few months, mostly using it for naps on the couch and evening TV-watching sessions.
A few times, I curled up with it as I worked from home during the day and found myself nodding off to sleep as I tried to write. No more using it during work hours after that. I also slept with it through the night for two weeks to see if it actually helped as a sleep aid. But the longer I used the blanket, the less I felt it did much of anything. The effects didn’t quite hold up over time.
I wanted to get some objective data as to whether or not the Dream Blanket was helping me sleep — mid-pandemic, mind you, so anxiety levels were high, and sleep felt elusive some nights. I began wearing a Fitbit with a sleep tracker. I recorded my sleeping patterns for a week without the blanket. Then I brought the Dream Blanket into the mix.
Since it’s most effective when in direct contact with skin, that’s where I placed it — under all my blankets, in direct contact with my body. The idea was to sleep with the Dream Blanket for a week and compare the sleep data. And I did sleep with it for a week, but the tracker on my Fitbit didn’t want to play nice. It only recorded four days’ worth of data. But the data it did record was inconclusive at best. In fact, it said I slept worse with the blanket than without it. Data aside, I didn’t feel much difference in my quality of sleep over the course of my two-week experiment.
After two months of testing, I was ready to conclude that the Dream Blanket simply didn’t work very well for me. But I wasn’t quite ready to give up on it entirely. After all, CBD affects everyone differently, and maybe topical CBD isn’t the best route of administration for me.
Maybe the Dream Blanket would affect others more strongly. So I went back to cannabis researcher Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D. to see if a CBD-infused blanket was even a viable CBD administrator in the first place.
What does the science say?
Vandrey was not surprised to hear of my difficulties with the Dream Blanket, especially several weeks into using it. I certainly expected the blanket’s effectiveness to degrade over time, but it seemed to only work in the first few days of unboxing. Vandrey had an explanation as to why: “CBD degrades when exposed to heat and light,” said Vandrey. “When you’re snuggling your body up inside of a blanket and you’re raising the heat, or if you put the blanket out on your bed and the sun comes through the window and hits it, there’s no reason to believe the CBD is going to stay there very long.”
He was also curious as to how the CBD was being transferred to the skin. I explained the whole microencapsulation process, but I noted that I never felt anything on my skin after using the blanket — no oily substance or lotion or anything that would indicate that there was something other than pure CBD isolate inside the microcapsules. That was a red flag for Vandrey. He said, “There’s been no demonstration of CBD being dermally absorbed without some kind of other agent mixed in with it that helps emulsify the CBD — a permeation enhancer. In the absence of anything like that, there’s no evidence to suggest that pure CBD in any form would actually be dermally absorbed.”
Basically, there can be all the CBD in the world on the blanket, but if your body doesn’t have a way to absorb it, it’s not going to have any effect. I also found it interesting that heat — the very thing that helps to open the microcapsules — is actually an enemy of CBD.
The bottom line
If you’re going to buy the Curfew Dream Blanket, first make sure that you’d be satisfied with spending $295 on a blanket that’s simply just a blanket. If it’s a purchase you can justify without any potential added benefits of CBD, then you won’t be disappointed.
For me, the blanket only had mild effects at the beginning of my using it. I felt a bit calmer than I have when using other blankets, and I fell asleep under it on the couch a few times. But my miniature sleep study didn’t produce any hard evidence that the blanket worked as a sleep aid — its main advertised purpose. And though my Fitbit test wasn’t as complete as I’d hoped, the research that Vandrey spoke about was enough to convince me that the data it did provide was enough to prove that the blanket wasn’t my ticket to a perfect slumber.
Due to CBD‘s tendency to break down with exposure to light and heat, this is ultimately a product with a short shelf-life as far as any potential drug effects are concerned. But it’s a nice, soft, sweatshirt-like blanket that you’ll be able to continue to use after any CBD effects wear off.
Ultimately, though, it’s not a blanket I’d readily spend $295 on when the added benefits of the CBD are so negligible.
In light of my results, Curfew responded to my request for comment with the following:
“While everyone’s experience with CBD varies, we stand by the value of the Dream Blanket. We are very bullish on microencapsulated textiles for both CBD, and other essential oils that promote a healthier lifestyle.
There is no question that CBD affects people in different ways and every consumer’s personal experience with CBD products — be it textiles, edibles, capsules, or topicals – is just that – personal, and will vary.”
Sign up for Insider Reviews’ weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.
You can purchase syndication rights to this story here.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]